Most grey nomads would agree that the secret to a successful Big Lap is to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. And while psychologists would doubtless agree that it often pays to be cheerful and to look for the best in difficult situations, is there a chance this endlessly sunny outlook could be taken too far?
Well, the Queensland Tourism Industry Council certainly raised some eyebrows a while back when it savaged the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) for being too negative in its weather forecasting … and in frightening away tourists by doing so.
The organisation’s chief executive, Daniel Gschwind, argued that current forecast language such as ‘partly cloudy’ and ‘chance of rain’ should be changed to ‘mostly sunny’ and ‘likely sunshine’.
“And rain in Queensland doesn’t have the same implications as the northern hemisphere so I don’t think it should be framed in a bad way,” he said. “It could even be described as a ‘cooling down shower’ or something.”
Leading clinical and health psychologist, Dr Bob Montgomery, says long-term caravanners and mtorhomers already have a good excuse for always looking at the bright side of life.
“Grey nomads are definitely doing a good thing,” he said. “Getting out and doing new things and going to new places is better than sitting at home watching endless TV, or not knowing how to fill the time.”
However, the cheerfulness theory doesn’t always translate a happy reality.
Ian and Helene Hipp reckon the biggest downside to the Big Lap is the grumpiness of their fellow grey nomads.
“We were put off the ‘grey nomad set’ as they spent a lot of time complaining about almost everything – nothing was good enough,” said Helene. “In fact, I was shocked that many grey nomads we met on our last trip thought Kakadu, a world heritage area of immense beauty and cultural importance, was a ‘waste of time’.”
So, should grey nomads and the Bureau of Meteorology take heed of the Queensland Tourism Industry Council’s advice and try to put a more positive spin on things?
Well, BOM at least seems to be very much sticking to a strictly scientific outlook.
“A broad range of industries rely on accurate weather forecasts in their operations,” said a spokesperson. “The most recent improvements to the rainfall forecast have delivered more specific, probabilistic forecasts to better inform our customers.”
In other words, whether the rain gauge is seen as half full depends on how much precipitation there has been, not on how you look at it.