Like all grey nomads, Peter and Suzanne Dykstra have had to re-evaluate their travel plans in light of the chaos caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. However – despite the challenges – they have taken a positive approach and concentrated on enjoying what they can do, rather than worrying about what they can’t.
The couple, who are both in their 60s, did two major trips around Australia many years ago with their young children, and have always dreamed of doing it at a slower pace in retirement.
All seemed well with the world as they set out from their Gold Coast base in January, ready for three years of adventuring. A couple of months later however, the virus struck and Peter and Sue were forced to dash back home from New South Wales … and park their van in the driveway of a family member.
Happily, the easing of some restrictions has meant they are back on the road again now, but they are in no hurry to cross out of the Sunshine State.
“All you read and hear on the news is doom and gloom but we need to be thankful for being born in this beautiful country,” said Suzanne. “We are going to get out while we can and find all the hidden gems that Queensland has to offer and, once all states are open, we’ll do the same elsewhere.”
The couple travels in a 24’ Jayco caravan towed by a Ford Ranger, which they say is the perfect rig for them. They also travel with Sandy, ‘a small white fluff ball dog’.
“We are still planning to be on the road for three years, free camping as much as possible with showgrounds our second choice because of the extra room,” said Suzanne. “When we stay at free camps that are really good I always email the council and thank them and let them know how much we have spent in the town that we wouldn’t have if there was no free parking.”
The couple love exploring country towns and supporting local businesses, although they say they are sometimes disappointed when some small bakers sell cakes and doughnuts … but don’t bake bread!
All in all though, life is good.
“In these trying times, we try to look on the bright side of life as we explore this beautiful country and meet the characters,” said Suzanne. “Enjoy the life you are lucky to have while you can … you only get one chance at it.”