Here we are on our 9th month of The Big Lap!! 17,550 kms later and we’re still talking civilly to each other!!
Still talking to each other.
Seriously, having wondered, rationalised and dreamt about whether we could actually ‘do’ the Big Lap, we decided that time was running out and if we were to undertake this epic adventure, it would have to be done sooner, rather than later. Ray is 84 and I’m 72; we’re not decrepit but, reality needs to be addressed and plans made accordingly.
The bush hairdresser.
We planned to do about 9 months on the road. After living in our new Avida ‘Esperance’ motorhome for 2 months prior to take-off (we were actually homeless!!), we headed off on July 9th 2015. Our personal ‘comfort’ position is to have a home to return to if we needed a bolt-hole on our journeys and to know that we indeed, had a home to live in on our return. To this end, we purchased another home in a retirement village just prior to our departure. This delayed our take-off by about 3 weeks as we had to wait around to do some legal stuff.
Our new home & the Terios
During this time, our new motorhome experienced a HWS breakdown. This delayed us another 3 weeks before a replacement was carried out.
Consequently, the Winter that we wanted to spend in the northern part of Australia, was slipping by. We then ‘speeded up’ our touring through these areas to eliminate any very hot weather, that neither of us like or cope with very well.
Coping with Winter @ Lake Argyle
Our experiences thus far, have confirmed to us that the decision to DO IT, has been well and truly justified.
We have experienced the ‘normal’ life issues: inexperience, hot weather, isolation, fear, excitement, tyres needing replacement, faulty appliances, incapacity due to a minor accident, surgery to correct that issue, home sickness, and throw a robbery in for good measure!
Hot & Isolated
Flat Tyres – All part of the journey.
The absolute ‘up-side’ has been the interesting people we’ve met, the fascinating places that we’ve visited and stayed in, the experiences that we’ve had with our normal day to day living and the absolute treasures of driving through this vast and ruggedly beautiful country, as scenes open up in front of us.
Horizontal Falls, WA
Riding a Segway
We feel like each day is a bit of an adventure waiting to unfold and, having a positive outlook on life, I’m always expecting something good to happen!
” After all, strangers are only friends that we haven’t yet met!! “
Because we’re travelling in Australia, we had no fear of personal attack or being left abandoned in out-of-the-way places. Conversely, we also appreciated that we were responsible for our own safety, comfort and provision.
During our travels, we had the misfortune to be robbed in a caravan park. We try to ‘free-camp’ as much as possible because we prefer to have the freedom of choice and use the economy of this to spend dollars in the smaller towns, etc.
We were particularly tired that night and, being in a caravan park, possibly tended to be a bit complacent (safety in numbers, ‘they’ll’ look after us, etc.) and neglected to lock our cabin doors. At about 4:15am, as I lay awake (the birds had woken me), we were accessed by a young, male looking for a quick grab and run. He got my bag with about $70 and all my cards, licence, lipsticks and all those essentials that we girls keep in our possession.
Fortunately, I keep a very comprehensive list of numbers on my mobile phone (which I never leave in my bag over-night), including where to call in this type of event for bank cards, etc. Also, keep the card numbers, account details and other information necessary for a quick cancellation of these essential items. All done in about 30 minutes. This happened in Kalgoorlie where, the police told me, they have about one bag snatch a day in the area (not just in caravan parks). While upsetting, it certainly didn’t spoil our trip; figured this sort of stuff happens anywhere, anytime; and it was our fault for not locking up that night. Also, decided that keeping my handbag on the front seat was not a good thing either. We had screens all up so it was not visible from the outside; the guy just got lucky!
We seemed to have been in fire areas on about 4 occasions in 4 different states. Started to think we were attracting something or, someone would recognise us and put two and two together!!
Following the Fires
Fortunately, we were never in danger and the worst we experienced was days of smoke and a couple of days being held up by road closures. On a positive note; it gave us time to really explore these areas more thoroughly and get to see the less obvious features.
The thing that has has resonated most with us as we’ve travelled is, that we can basically utilise the same services, shops, foods etc. that we normally have in our daily lives. We don’t need to pack clothes and food and emergency stuff for the 9 months; we can pick it up as we travel.
Easy access to towns, services & local produce
We even had a 4 week stop-over in Perth while Ray had his hand operated on by a top surgeon in that city. This gave us the opportunity to explore Perth a bit more and to meet people that we otherwise would have missed. This is where the use of social media was such a help. I just floated a request for anyone who knew someone in the Perth area who had a bit of land we could park on for a few weeks. Being in a self-contained vehicle, we are really low-maintenance on someone’s property. It resulted in us being linked with a beautiful couple who had one acre in a northern suburb and we were able to stay in a lovely garden environment which was safe and quiet.
Ray recovering after surgery on the road.
Our advice and encouragement to anyone who is ‘older’ and thinking about whether they could manage it is – give it a go!!
I’d rather die having a go than sitting in the old girls’ home wondering if, in fact, we could have done it!