Sherria P

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Lyme disease caravan
Sherria is keen to use her travels to get the message out about Lyme disease

Sherria P, 66, travels Australia long-term with her dog … and she raises awareness of Lyme disease as she goes.

What do you travel in?
I drive a Nissan Navara twin cab ute towing a Bailey 430 caravan. As the vehicle and van are very spacious for a person travelling alone, I am well set up to free camp. I also travel with my three-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Oscar.

Where do you stay?
Because I am a pensioner, I free camp in the bush, at free campsites, and on private property when invited. Low cost showground camping / caravan parks are my choice when I need to do my laundry.

Why do you travel?
My self-funded campaign is to bring awareness to Lyme-like disease (relapsing fever) here in Australia. I do this by stopping in every town and visiting all the local pharmacies, health centres, visitor information centres … anywhere I can leave the brochures.

Why is it important?
It is important to make all Australians aware of the risks from tick bites and bites from any blood-sucking insects. The reason being that Lymelike illness can be contracted when infected by one of these insects. Currently, the government and many doctors refuse to recognise that Lyme-like illness exists in Australia. However, hundreds of case files have been presented to the Senate committee this month, and we are awaiting a reply.

Why did you start?
I became involved after seeing a very healthy person who was infected from a tick bite become very ill from co-infection. As I was due to retire at the end of 2014, I made a promise that I would take the message around Australia and raise awareness. I document my travels on my ‘Lyme on the Move’ Facebook page.

Is travel still fun?
The best part of the lifestyle is getting to see Australia while spreading the word, meeting new friends, attending markets with my caravan, and raising funds on my travels for the Karl McManus Foundation. The foundation is currently doing research into Lyme-like illness along with co-infections here in Australia.

Favourite camps?
My favourite camping areas so far have been the private bays on the Nullarbor Plains. My plan now is to head north up the east coast to Cooktown and come across the top to Broome and then back to my home town of Boonah in Queensland via the middle of Australia. But I could change this plan and head down to Geraldton and come back via the Nullarbor again.

Any frights along the way?
I was bush camping near Kojonup in WA and, when I opened my caravan door in the morning, there was an old, very thin bush person walking past my van. I was literally in the middle of nowhere. He did not speak … but just kept on walking!

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