Joan & Murray

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Joan and Murray are grey nomad characters of the road
Joan & Murray have had many different jobs

Joan C, 62, and Murray H, 57, left Toowoomba to work their way around the country. They will do most things but might draw the line at working at an abattoir … again!

What do you travel in?
We have a custom-made 5th wheeler which we designed ourselves. It has loads of cupboards, an office area, a big kitchen, and a storeroom at the back where we keep our two 50cc scooters.

Do you work as you travel?
Yes, about 10-11 months of the year. We don’t usually have any trouble finding work, but 2013 has been a bit difficult. We use the internet to search for va­cancies, as well as employment agencies, word-of-mouth, associations we belong to, and newspapers/newsletters. The most challenging job we have done to date has probably been working in an abattoir.

Any jobs that you won’t do?
We’re hesitant to work in an abattoir again – too cold.

Where do you generally camp?
Caravan parks because of security and safety.

Likes of the lifestyle?
Life experiences, different jobs, different people, freedom to go anywhere.

… and dislikes?
Missing family. Email and Skype are one thing … but you can’t cuddle or kiss them!

Have your plans changed?
Yes! We had this image of fruit picking our way around Aus­sie – we never imagined what work was out there and what we would end up taking on.

Do you keep a journal?
Yes – I write a yearly diary on the computer, include pho­tos and snippets and send to family and friends (around 40 pages) Good for us to look back on also.

On the-road hobbies?
Photography, bush walking, computers, sightseeing or whatever else takes our fancy.

What you wouldn’t be without?
A sense of humour, and courage as well as a camera, walking shoes, laptops (need them to find work, and also for banking/finances etc).

Advice for other nomads?
Do a lot of research before you take up this lifestyle. It is excit­ing and memorable but never assume it is going to be a bed of roses all the time. However, never give up on your dream. Don’t underestimate your abilities and skills … and look outside the box.

How to work as you travel?
Talk to people who live the lifestyle you are embarking on. If you need to work full time to support this new life­style then talk to people who work – not retirees who don’t need to work. You don’t need to be rich but ensure you have a little something on the side just in case.

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