Travel and Culture

Life on the Road – Part 1

When planning their retirement, Carron and Geoff Stevenson had always planned to retire early and travel, true to their plans they now live a life on the road both here in New Zealand and in Australia. After meeting people who were travelling full time and having completed rebuilding post the Christchurch earthquake plus successfully dealing with a few health issues including cancer, the time was right to give travelling a go. “We tried out living together on the road for three months while I was on leave. We didn’t kill each other, so I handed in my notice a few months later. We haven’t looked back.”

Carron and Geoff toast at Boags Brewery Tastings, Tasmania. Photo: Carron Stevenson

One of Carron’s first points is enjoying no longer being defined by her work or career. “The first question when meeting someone is usually ‘What do you do?’ On the road it’s ‘Where are you from?’ Followed by ‘Where are you heading?’ If each traveller is heading in the direction the other has come from, the conversation usually heads in the direction of great places to stay, things to do and an awesome little cafe, often in the middle of nowhere.”

So are you thinking about taking the plunge but not sure where to start? Carron suggests trying it out first as travelling isn’t for everyone. They have met people of travel 6 months of the year before returning to their “‘stick and brick’ (not mobile) home.” The internet and social media makes connectedness easy with the family in between face to face visits.

Carron also suggests now is as good a time as any to give travelling a go “don’t wait until… you’ve retired, got enough money, the kids have left home or no longer need you to babysit. Or any other reason holding you back. We were worried as we were about to take off. Were we doing the right thing? What if… a whole lot of things. It’s easy to have doubts no matter what new thing you embark on.”

While Carron and Geoff have always purchased their campers, Carron suggests you rent first while you’re deciding if full time travel is for you. Carron’s first camper actually belonged to Geoff’s parents, it was a 9ft Zephyr before being “upgraded to a 16ft Classic caravan as the kids grew older, then a 20ft Paramount caravan with a bathroom as we got older.”

While planning their retirement, Carron and Geoff purchased an 8.4m Hino Rainbow bus which had been converted to include a slide out living area. Her name was “Eidlewize’ and they travelled NZ for 2.5 years in her – they were even joined at various times by their grandchildren.

Carron and Geoff with Eidlewise. Photo: Carron Stevenson

Once they decided to explore Australia, they knew they may need something new. Eidlewize was a 1989 and the Outback is particularly unforgiving so they purchased a Jayco Conquest which they saw at the Melbourne Caravan and Camping Show.

Back in New Zealand, they had to sell Eidlewize – usually motorhomes in New Zealand can take over six months to sell, but Eidlewize sold within 3 weeks. “What were we to do…”

Carron’s resourceful ways continue on “Life on the Road Part 2” (including a bigger photo gallery!)

Not Carron and Geoff’s  next camper… Tin Art, Hyden, WA Photo: Carron Stevenson

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