I bought a Jayco campervan about 2 years and I've been on the road ever since. And I'm actually enjoying it! Plus, I've got my four-legged baby with me… She's the boss of course!
But some people wonder WHY I’m doing this… Well basically I just woke up one day and I didn't want to die in a house.
There's way too much in Australia to see.
I’m originally from a small town near Wagga Wagga, but so far I've been to Far North Queensland and seen Cairns, Port Douglas and over to the Atherton Tablelands then down to check out Fraser Island now called K’gari. I’ve also been to Stradbroke Island, then way down to Kangaroo Island, and all the way over to Perth, then back up to the tropics all the while travelling in the van and just staying in free-camps mostly and occasionally caravan parks.
It's absolutely amazing how much there is to see, and you can't see it first-hand like this if you've got a house, and a mortgage and life in the city is tying you down!
But for me the best part – well the most interesting part of travelling like this is the people that you meet…
I must say I’ve met some absolute proper nutters. I'm being polite in saying that!!! But I’ve also met some very lovely people and generally everybody – male or female – are willing to help you.
Of course they don't know who you are from a bar of soap, so you've got to be friendly and not too shy. If you are shy and withdrawn, you'll find it very hard because you've got to be willing to take people on face value and be willing to talk to people.
In my 2 years of travelling so far, I’ve noticed quite a few single women doing the same thing but I actually think there's more men out there and I get asked “isn’t that a bit scary being on the road all alone?”
Well there's always this fear and trepidation of being (say) in the Outback or wherever by yourself but personally I don't think it's any different to being in a house on your own.
There's nothing to say that you're not going to get broken into or you're going get raped or killed or anything. There's really no difference in being in a motor-home on the road.
In fact, I've gone to some places and been the only person in that area. No one else around for four or five days. I've had no trouble (and touch wood!), I've not lost one thing yet.
So, I’m not ‘scared’ being alone but I have had a scary moment or two!
I was at one place near Robinvale in Victoria. I was free-camping for about 8 days out of town and they told me before I left that if it rains, you cannot get out. And I was the only one there and it suddenly came over really jet black.
The wind came up and I thought, I better start packing up ‘cos I’m not staying if it rains and you can't get out! My van is low in the front and could get bogged easily – I’m not in a 4WD!
Anyway I mentioned I’d met some nutters on the road. This is just one of them…. a single lady in a very old motor-home, and she was so jealous that I had a fairly new one because her fridge didn't work. Her batteries were dying.
And she kept coming over to me and saying, “It's not right!... You've got no problems” and she kept on ranting like this about something of hers not working every single day!!
I soon realised she was an alcoholic given the number of wine bottles she trashed every day, so alcohol came first, not the van.
And I soon realised ‘that's where your money's going’!
She would go into town two or three times a week for alcohol. And I thought if you cut back on that and her cigarettes, she could buy herself a new fridge or get a new battery and she’d be right.
Sadly she couldn't do that. Alcohol was the main thing in her life and she really bitched about pretty well everything day & night. That poor lady was probably the worst I’ve met and no doubt she has some issues she has trouble dealing with. I hope she does end up getting some help.
But overall the people I’ve met while travelling have mostly been amazing!... Like one couple who have been on the road 45 years. Can you believe that?... They even brought their kids up on the road.
The wife actually told me privately that she's had enough but he hasn't… Fair enough!
As for me?.... well as long as my health holds out and I can still drive and I can still see, I’m just gonna keep on going! It’s an amazing way to live and you should think about it before it's too late!
(c)2018 - Sandra Noakes as told to Brian Pickering & Kaye Browne
ORIGINAL PODCAST WITH SANDRA: