Its day 29 of our 6 months away and we seem to be finding a groove. It seems pretty straight forward – go on holidays, hit the road and just have a good time. But what does that mean exactly?
Are we ‘grey nomads’ now?
Well, I’m grey for sure, but I honestly can’t imagine this experience being my life for ever and a day. We bump into people who are ‘full timers’, even people making a living out of caravan travel, being real live video ads for products that get used while camping. Its a small industry!
We watched a few of the ‘Trip in a Van’ youtube vids as they were coming west we were heading east and what was noticeable as they hopped in the car to leave Warnambool for the 4th consecutive year, was dad (Justin) said something like ‘ha… I don’t really feel excited about this. It’s kinda like going to work.’ That’s probably because it is their ‘job’ now, to travel and make weekly videos about the places they have been to.
That’s all well and good if that’s your thing, but I feel like we are generally meant to be based somewhere with a community. We are supposed to have relationships that are significant and intimate even. It generally doesn’t happen on the road. We just spent a week in Adelaide and got to know the people we lived next to a little bit. Nice people, but in a week we barely scratched the surface of life.
For me being on the road means finding new rhythms, basing life in a very small space and accepting that the upside of exploration is not ‘belonging’ anywhere. I say that because I think the ‘grey nomad’ life is sometimes romanticised as the ultimate ‘destination’ for those who are a bit older. Reality is it may not be your thing at all and that’s totally understandable.
So right now we are in the little town of Kingston where you can camp 3 nights for $10 – pretty good deal! The next few days we will get close to Melbourne and free camps will largely disappear as we get closer to the Great Ocean Rd. There is too much money to be made from travellers! so far in 29 days we have spent $420 on camp sites – about $15/night. We have free camped where we can and used low cost sites as much as possible.
In my last post we were headed for the The Flinders Ranges, a truly beautiful part of the world. Danelle got to walk and she even got to drive the best 4wd section of the tracks we were on. The surf was a bit average 🙂 I must admit this was my favourite part of the trip so far – sheer beauty!
From here the question was ‘do we head down the Yorke Peninsula and hunt for surf, or head for the Adelaide Hills?’ The weather had turned cold – sub 20 degrees most days and onshore breezes were forecast for the Yorke so I suggested we head for the hills and hope that we can pick up the Yorke on our return trip.
So we left Hawker and headed south. We got as far as the tiny town of Orooroo. We drove thru on a Saturday late afternoon and noticed they had a Baptist church, so we figured we would drop back the next morning, after spending the evening in a free camp just out of town. So we had a beautifully quiet night in the bush before returning for church at 10am. We almost didn’t make it as ‘someone’ forgot to unplug the anderson plug from the car and managed to completely kill the car battery! A local farmer gave us a jump start and we made it into town just in time to join the 15 other people who were there.
Like most smaller churches it was a handful of people all giving it their best shot and trying to make things fly. We loved being there and hearing one woman’s nervous story of finding the love of God as a constant in the middle of a life where she was perpetually unloved, abused and abandoned. This was followed by a quick 10 minute message encouraging us to ‘chew on the word’, rather than just skimming or neglecting. It was pretty simple but he cut to the chase, made his point and then sat down. Scones and cream followed along with a lazy morning tea where we had a chance to connect with the local people. It was energising and inspiring just seeing a small community do their best with what they have. Did I say ‘we loved it’?
Our hope as we travel is to visit the more off-beat churches and try to bring some encouragement to the people there. Inevitably you end up leaving feeling blessed and strengthened yourself anyway.
We left Orrooroo at lunch time and headed for the equally tiny town of Blyth, just out of Clare where there was another local sportsground set up for free campers. A couple of days sniffing around here was plenty so we hit the road again. The weather was still icy, so we kept with the plan of heading for the hills and finished up booking 7 days in a campground in Ironbank. I’m not really a ‘hills person’, preferring the beach any day, but I have to say the Adelaide hills were pretty spectacular and make our own hills look pretty lame by comparison.
A seven day stop felt like what we needed. I wanted to get some writing done and Danelle was excited about the various walks on offer in this part of the world. We did the touristy stuff of visiting Handorf and an 8km walk down and back up Mt Lofty, as well as just chilling and enjoying the hillsy vibe. The car was due for it’s service so we took it down to the local Holden dealer and while there we walked the beach, caught a tram into town and then strolled back to pick the car up, serviced and washed – awesome – because it was feral!
While in town we walked past a church and I googled their website to find their ‘about’ page was almost identical to the vibe of our own community back home. So we tripped down to ‘Holdfast Baptist Church, for their Sunday morning service – one that had no community singing and with kids part of the service the whole way. They were a very simple and open crew and we enjoyed being part of an experience that felt a bit like home.
As a surfing trip this was turning out pretty lame – the board has left the roof twice… We set out for the coast again, the town of Kingston where we are now, hoping it might be offering a wave. I scouted around for a couple of days, but between messy swells and onshore winds it just didn’t come together. Such is life… It’s been pretty icy cold too so those messy onshore waves just didn’t hold much appeal.
So, our next significant destination is Tasmania and we board the ferry on Thursday May 6th for an evening trip across. In the meantime we will continue to head East and spend a couple of days in Port Fairy and Torquay before driving up to Melbourne for the ferry. Danelle gets seasick watching the ocean so we’re hoping its not gonna be a trip like this one!
Anyway that’s all for now.