Nomads ‘pay it forward’ as they get back on the road

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grey nomads volunteer at stations
Joan and Bryan love to volunteer as they travel.

As state and territory border restrictions further ease in the coming weeks and months, regional communities will be increasingly counting on an influx of grey nomads to help boost their Covid-19 ravaged economies.

A lot has been learnt about the virus since it caused such confusion and anguish to travellers back in March, and smaller towns are perhaps a little less fearful of ‘outsiders’ than they were six months ago.

That’s not to say that they won’t remain cautious, and it is vital that all travellers continue to follow all Covidsafe protocols.

Grey nomads volunteering

Bryan gets to work

Most grey nomads though, of course, are more than happy to do their part, both in terms of helping to minimise the risk of spread, and in terms of helping rural communities any way they can.

Bryan and Joan Walters, who have been married more than 50 years, are perfect examples. They normally travel north each year from their home in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, but their initial plans were scuppered by the pandemic.

However, when that ‘first wave’ was brought under control and Queensland opened its borders to its southern neighbour for a few weeks in July and August, the couple seized the opportunity.

“It was so exciting to be back on the road and we find each day is an adventure,” said Bryan. “There are gorges to climb, beautiful skies to enjoy, roaming cattle and wide open plains to see, plus there’s been an abundance of wildflowers this year … and, of course, lovely people to meet.”

Like many though, Bryan and Joan – who travel in a 16’ New Age Manta Ray caravan towed by a Toyota Prado – are keenly aware of their good fortune, and they’re keen to ‘pay it forward’ at every given opportunity.

“We enjoyed doing volunteer work as we travelled in Queensland and the NT and this was very much appreciated as there is a shortage of workers this year,” said Bryan. “People appreciated that we took the plunge and that we travelled to their towns that were not going so good without us nomads.”

He mentioned Muttaburra, Yaraka, and Julia Creek as just a few examples. The Walters have now tried volunteering at everything from collecting garbage and feeding sheep, dogs, and chickens, to cleaning amenities and washing sheets.

They recently stayed at the Grass Hut Station, approximately 100 kilometres from Townsville.

“Barry and Liz were very busy with their horses, cattle and transport business so we asked if we could help,” said Bryan. “I helped a mechanic working on a road train, and then Joan and I painted posts in a cattle yard … it is very rewarding for us.”

Bryan and Joan are already looking forward to next year when they hope to get up to the Arnhem Land.

“If we can’t do that for any reason, we will still head off and enjoy life on the road,” said Bryan. “We did notice there were not so many Happy Hours this year, but most people are just happy and grateful that we can travel this great country in relative safety.”

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One Response to Nomads ‘pay it forward’ as they get back on the road

  1. “Volunteering during these times is the antithesis of selfishness”. Great work to both of you.

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