We’re finally on the road … and our Big Lap is on song

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guitar playing grey nomad
John strums happily in camp with his ‘fur kids’ listening.

It was a long time in the planning but grey nomad John Tuffs and partner, Chris, are finally on the open road fulltime … and life couldn’t be sweeter.

The pair first bought a VW Transporter T5 Frontline with a shower, solar power and portaloo back in 2016 and have been dreaming of living the dream ever since.

Having spent the past few years taking shorter trips to get a feel for the lifestyle, a few short weeks ago, all of the stars aligned … and it was ‘go time’.

The couple, who travel with their three small ‘fur kids’ Deesha, Siska and Sammy, have already seen enough to know they have made the right decision.

“We both love the peace and quiet of camping and try to seek out free bush camps and occasionally caravan parks to do washing,” said John. “We also travel with a trailer that we call The Tardis, which allows us to bring larger items like a folding bicycle, kayak and extra water containers.”

When they sit around the van, John and Chris play Scrabble, do crosswords and play music from the ’50s, ’60s and ‘70s on their guitars.

“I have been a musician all my life and find that music is great therapy and very relaxing,” said John. “At one caravan park, I met another muso, Dave, and we played songs together in the camp kitchen to everyone’s delight.”

John and Chris also enjoy seeking out a quality tipple.

“I have always been a wine buff and even worked in a couple of wineries after retiring, so we always like to try the local wines,” said John. “At McLaren Vale in South Australia, we discovered a Grey Nomad wine at Pirramimma Wines … they have a Sauvignon Blanc, and two reds – Cabernet Merlot and a GSM – and they were very drinkable and affordable.”

It hasn’t all been plain sailing though. While driving between Port Augusta and Whyalla, the couple came across a dead kangaroo in the middle of their lane at exactly the same time as a road train was passing.

“I figured that we had enough clearance if I let it go under the right side of the van to miss our water tank on the other side,” said John. “However, I didn’t realise that the trailer connections were quite low and the animal hit and broke our electrical cable, snapped the winch handle on the jockey wheel clean off, and sprayed blood, cartilage and flesh all over the back of the van and under the trailer!”

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