Over the past 2 years of being full-time on the road (working online pretty much every day I might add!) people we meet will often tell us excitedly of their adventures... things like “we’ve just come down from Cape York, next stop Uluru then up to Darwin. We’ll then go over to Broome and down the coast then…”
It seems they will often only stay in any place they visit for a day or two – a week at the most and pretty much all of them have a precise travel plan mapped out in great detail.
Now that’s great for anyone on a fine timeline for instance long service leave or an extended break before starting a new job perhaps.
But interestingly we also find other ‘full-timers’ like us telling similar stories and we wonder ‘why?’… What’s the rush?
Australia is such a big country we know we’ll never see it all even if we end up 10 years on the road moving place to place every few days. (and yes we’ve met several people – couples and singles - 10+ years travelling!)
But for us, while officially we’re classed as ‘Nomads’ – or more correctly ‘itinerants with no fixed address’ we prefer to think of ourselves as SLOWmads…
In the first 6 months of travel north from Sydney leaving in August, we took until October to reach Cairns in FNQ. All in all just shy of about 12 weeks.
The original ‘plan’ – not that there ever really was one – was to stay there for a week or so then head a bit further north and then… who knows!? Given Cairns was our first ‘planned’ destination it had a sort of ‘special appeal’ for us. A bit like ‘YAYYY… WE DID IT!’
Well that ‘week’ ended up being 4 months. And might have been longer had we not pre-booked for a caravan event in Henty NSW in March the next year. Besides… after that we might travel further south to drop by daughter, partner & grandson in Melbourne.
So off we headed south via several overnight stays – sometimes a day or two – towards Toowoomba. Well by then this ‘thing’ called ‘COVID-19’ had reared its ugly head and BANG!... the Henty event was cancelled due to social distancing and lockdown rules.
Hmm… pity. We were looking forward to catching up with a few people we’d already met at a previous event. Oh well…
But Toowoomba is a very pretty city with everything you could possibly want so we thought “let’s stay a bit longer and check it out!”
Long story short – Our stay ended up being 6 months!
The reason for eventually moving on was the fact that Victoria – our next location after Henty – was going through on again off again lock-downs so we figured we’d head back up north towards Bundaberg aka ‘Bundy’ as we had made friends online with a couple there promoting caravan safety and thought it would be good to meet up and say g’day face to face.
But this time we made a promise to ourselves, given 4 months in Cairns and 6 in Toowoomba, that we will NOT stay any longer than 3 months at the absolute most anywhere!
One of the planned stops going to Bundy was Hervey Bay on the Fraser Coast. It’s a bit over an hour away from Bundaberg.
Well here we are coming up to 9 months in Hervey Bay!! – So much for the ‘3 month maximum’!!
Why?... to which we say “why not?” – We’re ‘Slowmads’ after all right?
We actually like the fact that we can stay in a town for a while, get to know some of the locals, try out local shops, restaurants, do tours and generally just ‘melt in’ to the local life.
Hervey Bay is once such place that ticks an awful lot of boxes for us. It has amazing beaches, is the gateway to Fraser Island (K’Gari – more on that in another post!) and has plenty of medical/hospital facilities, all the major shops such as Coles & Woolies, K-Mart, Harvey Norman, Bob-Jane, BCF, Road Tech Marine and… Oh… let’s not forget Dan Murphy’s!
In fact we often joke to people we meet that we’re doing a ‘Zig-Zag tour of Australia via Dan Murphy’s!!’
The park we’re staying in is small but friendly… and pet friendly – a must, given we are travelling with our 17yr old toy poodle Chica.
And yes – COVID has been a good excuse to not move anywhere for a while and continues to be just that. A good excuse… as if we ever needed one.
So that’s how the term ‘slowmads’ evolved. We’re loving life ‘on the road’ because we know we can get up and go anytime we want really but if we like somewhere, we’ll stay a bit longer.
And yes we WILL move from Hervey Bay – soon!??
We’ve made some great friends here both locals and visitors and it has given us the opportunity to really enjoy the place rather than an overnighter at the local pub then off to the next destination.
But whatever your choice of travelling – full-time or holiday… make sure you do what YOU want and don’t feel forced to rush things just because you want to do a lap or half-lap in 6-12 months.
Hanging around for a reasonable amount of time to experience just a few towns or visiting scenic locations creates many more memories than simply passing through 50+ locations that are then literally ‘ticked off’ the bucket list. For what?
Travelling is all about experiences and memories.
There’s an old saying… “Go placidly amidst the noise and haste…” and while those wise words come from the classic ode ‘Desiderata’ – (meaning ‘things that are desired’) they can easily sum up how we feel about travelling generally and why we consider ourselves… ‘Slowmads’!