Friday, February 12, 2010

How to tell if you're a Grey Nomad

Hi again!

My blog makes it clear I don't identify as a Grey Nomad (GN) and I also claimed there were some general features that made GNs easily identifiable. Now I've been asked to put my money where my mouth is - exactly what constitutes a GN?

Only thing is, there's so many different ideas about GNs that it's actually quite difficult to settle on just one definition. So I haven't!

If you're wondering whether or not you are a GN, or display any GN tendencies, wonder no more! Complete my easy quiz below by giving yourself a point for each statement below with which you agree!

How to tell if you're a Grey Nomad:
  1. You have non-standard wording somewhere on your rig (eg 'Adventure before Dementia'; 'At my age I'm happy to be driving ANYTHING!'; 'SKIN - Spend the kid's inheritance NOW' etc)
  2. You have your names (eg 'Don & Donna') and/or the name of your rig (eg 'Beatzwurkin', 'Wannabego') and/or a mission statement (eg 'Livin' the Dream', 'The Old and the Restless') somewhere on your rig
  3. The model name of your van (eg 'Horizon', 'Destiny', 'Freedom', 'Sun Cruiser') appealed to you, and may have even been a contributing factor when choosing it
  4. You have at least one pet that travels with you
  5. It takes at least an hour, usually more to set up on site - but it's worth it to have all your home comforts around you
  6. One of the first things you do after setting up is sweep the slab
  7. Another thing you do after setting up is find out when/where happy hour is
  8. For you, the caravan park and Visitor Information Centre are end destinations - sightseeing is less important
  9. There's at least one dingle on your rig from reversing it onto your site when no drive through sites were available
  10. The laundry is a great information exchange - you collect/leave tourist brochures there and discuss where to go/not go with other park guests when doing your washing
So how did you go? Tally your score and compare with the guide below! And remember ... this is MY quiz, so it'll give you MY idea of what makes a GN. If you don't agree, that's fine!
Score Guide:
0-3: HHHMMMmmm... you've got some work ahead of you to become a true GN
4-6: It's a start - you're well on the way to being a GN. Maybe after your next trip!
7-10: Congratulations! You're a GN through and through!

Now before you get started on me, there's nothing actually wrong with any of the above - these are just indicators that I've noticed on mytravels over many years! Let me know if I've missed anything, or misunderstood!
See you next time!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Red Nomad OZ is GO!

Hi there!

Welcome to my New Year's resolution (albeit a little late) - actually, the blog is the 2nd resolution, the first being to get a home computer ... yes, sad I know!

Now, finally, those who care can access an online update about where I am/what I'm doing without endlessly waiting for those collectors edition email updates. But wait! There's more!! It'll also be an expose of the joys and pitfalls of travelling with the Southern Grey Nomads (aka GNs) AND some great Aussie places to go, all while you're being entertained right here! Who knows? You could get some ideas for your own travels (including where NOT to go!) and we might even meet someday on the road.

SO ... why RED nomad? Those who received the 2008/09 travel updates (what? you didn't keep them??!!) may recall that despite much travel with the GNs in (mostly) northern OZ, I don't actually identify as one. Despite receiving an invitation to join the State Gov't 'Council on the Ageing' (their selection program MUST be defective!) I'm not yet quite old enough to qualify. But even more important - my hair is the WRONG COLOUR!

In answer to the inevitable question (real or fake?), picture if you can, a warm sunny winter's afternoon at the Channel Country caravan park at Quilpie. GNs gather, as is their wont, for 'happy hour' with travelling buddies and/or complete strangers (sometimes interchangeable). The conversation from our neighbouring site went something like this ...

'Lotsa redheads in the park aren't there?' GN#1 drawled over his stubbie under the van's roll out awning.

'Haven't noticed' replied GN#2 disinterestedly, knocking the cap off another for himself.

'Well look next door, and there's another one behind us and a couple more over by the laundry,' GN#1 jerked a thumb in my direction, undeterred by GN#2's lack of enthusiasm. GN#2 obligingly took a look as the rays of the setting sun accentuated the full force of my hair colour. He turned back to GN#1.

'Yeah, but maybe some of them redheads aren't NATURAL redheads,' he concluded, settling back into his seat for another draw.

No shit, Sherlock! That's why I put the RED into Grey Nomad!

Did I mention that some GNs can be a little hard of hearing?

But why keep the 'Nomad' bit? Well, that's a whole 'nother story.

Semi-nomadism proved a great antidote when a spate of ridiculous job demands, pointless tasks and negative-energy-boosting managers (euphemism for 'total crap' in case you were wondering) left me with two non-criminal options. Do I choose depression, relentless anger management and retarded servant treatment at work? Or do I do something different?? HHHMMMmmm... tough choice, huh?

Despite normally running a mile from caravan park entertainment, we made an exception to hear the resident bush poet at the Waltzing Matilda caravan park in Winton reciting AB Paterson's classic Australian lament 'Clancy of the Overflow'. The evocative comparison of the stockman's life with the frightening reality of city office work inspired my mission to exchange the corporate world for alternative life enrichment opportunities (yes, yes, you can take the girl out of the bureaucracy ...).

And why OZ? Happy with a semi-nomadic lifestyle, taking to the road in a camper whenever possible, we were stunned when friends announced their next family holiday would be overseas as they had 'done' Australia with previous visits to Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast 'worlds'. OMIGOD! Are we still stuck in that old cultural cringe? Or have the 'benefits' of 'civilisation' spoiled us for the rewards of exploring our own land?

While the less informed/unkind might dismiss us as 'trailer trash' we're going to be more aggressive in sharing the delights of our OZ nomad destinations. After all, who wouldn't want to experience the unique OZ travel experiences on the list below (in no particular order):
  1. Cooper's Creek for the only place in the world where two rivers form a creek (and map naming conventions that would have us call it 'Cooper Creek' be damned!)
  2. Lightning Ridge for the worlds only black opal mining cactus farmers
  3. Wycliffe Well, Australia's UFO capital (and the Elvis site!)
  4. Hughenden for the Muttaburrasaurus (and the rest of the dinosaur trail for the OZ dinosaur experience)
  5. Kakadu for the Yellow Water dawn cruise
  6. Stuart's Well for Dinky, the singing piano playing dingo
  7. Thargomindah, the 3rd place in the world (after London + Paris) to get electric street lighting
  8. The Yowah opal fields for the world famous Yowah nuts
  9. Longreach for the QANTAS museum - complete with Boeing 747 available for touring
  10. Eromanga - the furthest place in Australia from the sea
  11. Topaz for Australia's wettest place
  12. The Frankland Islands for archetypal tropical islands and wildlife including crocs, whales and rare bird sightings (Papuan frogmouth, if you care)
  13. St George - I'm betting the only place in the world where you can get a port container cast from Barnaby Joyce's RM Williams boots!
Doesn't EVERYONE want to see these places/things? Why wouldn't you want to be an OZ nomad and experience them -and many more like them! This list is SO not exhaustive ...
So ... what next? Another semi-nomadic year awaits - we're not on the road every day all the time (that's a translation of 24/7 for you young ones) but when we are, we're making the most of our lives! See you out there somewhere!!
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