Travelling around Australia in a campervan – Part 1

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Hello there, it’s Dave again.

It’s been a busy weekend looking after the grand children but it looks like we might be in luck. My wife Maggie’s friend Carol and her husband Alan have decided to go on a little cross-country trip next Saturday. They did it last year but we couldn’t make it, we had family come over to visit us. Maggie and Carol had a chat about it, did what girls do, got everything planned and arranged before we could put a word in edgeways and it looks like this show is ready to hit the road. Alan’s a good guy, always liked him. He used to run a construction company, which he passed over, to his sons. Carol’s great too, she used to work with Maggie at the doctor’s practice. We’ve known them for 35 years; saw our kids growing up together, always lived in the same neighbourhood too.

So the idea is to go on a 2-week trip around the country. Each couple will rent a campervan and we’ll have stopovers in different places. It’s very much the done thing for people our age, it’s the perfect way to have a nice holiday and discover the country, which is a huge territory. The idea will be to take the Great Ocean Road all the way to Mount Gambier. From Melbourne, where we all live, it should be a 6 to 6 and a half hours drive. The Great Ocean Road is a little bit like the Highway 61 of Australia. It’s very famous because it was partly built by World War I Australian soldiers upon their return from overseas and it is a bit of a memorial for those who didn’t come back. It’s a beautiful road all across the southeastern part of the country. That’s where kids who are into their surfing go in the summer. Mount Gambier is a lovely town on the South Coast of the country. Maggie and I have never been before. There’s great wild life there and the landscape is apparently breath taking, so we’re definitely looking forward to that.

Then we’ll be headed for Adelaide, which is the biggest city in South Australia and the 5th largest one in the country. We won’t stop there though because we’re supposed to get to Perth before embarking on the next part of the journey. We’ll be driving through Nullarbor Plain, which is quite an unusual sight. It’s right in the middle of what used to be Aboriginal land. It was considered inhospitable for a long time because it is a long stretch of desert. This land is the heart of the Australia Outback and it is a feat to cross it. That in itself, should make the trip to Perth worth our while.

Ways to Earn a Bit of Extra Money as a Retired Traveler

Retired individuals sometimes need to have a little extra income on the side and in some cases this should be work that older people can handle easily depending on the individual’s health. Doing a little freelance work online using freelancing websites can help bring in that extra income, as long as the traveling retiree has access to the money earned, such as through PayPal or some other type of online money depository service. Directly depositing that money to a bank account makes it easier for the traveler to have access to his or her funds through the internet. Some types of jobs that are available are article writing, photography, voice talent, such as reading stories aloud, performing small tasks, or doing surveys.

The retired traveler can earn considerable extra cash by retrieving sellable items out of dumpsters. Known as dumpster diving, this practice often results in considerable extra income through sales on online marketplaces such as eBay. Some folks even make their entire living this way. People throw away perfectly good items all the time and some of them are quite valuable. You need to be aware of the laws regarding going through trash in the state where you are visiting before attempting this, however.  A few moments online doing research on the subject will give you all the information he or she needs before starting.

In some places soft drink and beer bottles and cans are returnable for a small amount of cash. Again, research is necessary to find out where returns are and aren’t allowed. In Australia, there is a 10c deposit on bottles and cans sold in SA/NT only. Picking up empty bottles and cans not only helps immediately clean up the environment but also gets those items recycled, which prevents them from ending up in landfills. It’s a win-win situation and the person collecting the bottles and cans gets a little extra income, not to mention some exercise out of the situation. Another related job opportunity is scrapping, where people pick through trash to find metals that can be sold to scrap yards. Discarded metals are everywhere and scrappers can pick up considerable extra cash doing this.

Part time jobs are everywhere. The retired traveler can pick up a job at a store as a greeter, or perhaps in a pub or bar serving beers. There are a lot of businesses that actually prefer hiring older people because they are often more reliable than young adults or teenagers. If the retired traveler is planning to spend considerable time in one place, then getting a part time job would be a decent idea. Just note that for some jobs, you are required to hold certain qualifications or certifications – i.e. to serve alcohol in a pub, you may need to hold a Responsible Service of Alcohol Certificate. These are fairly easy to obtain, and most people choose to get it online, which allows you to work at your own pace and print off a certificate in about 2-3 hours total.

For those who prefer to be on the move all the time, getting a job that requires considerable travel, such as door to door sales, might be the thing to try for, if the person has an aptitude for that sort of thing. Driving a truck and making deliveries is another option as long as the retiree gets a special driver’s license before-hand.

Where the name ‘SKI Club of Australia’ comes from

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My name is Dave Robinson and my wife and I are both 68 years old. Maggie and I worked hard all our lives. I had a career in advertising and Maggie was a secretary in a doctor’s practice. I suppose we were lucky to grow up in an era of full employment and we never had to worry too much about work. You just worked, that’s what you did. Working in advertising, I had a lot of contacts in tourism or travel agencies.

Travelling abroad became a reality in Australia for the middle-classes in the late 1960s. Before that it was mainly something that the well to did. Anyway, our firm had a couple of regular clients, and as a the perks of the job go, a couple of guys on the team and me got some good discounts on some holiday packages back in the early 1970s to New Zealand and Fiji. We took the kids, they were still quite young and we all had a great time. New Zealand was quite similar to where we came from but Fiji was a bit of a cultural shock, but any way that was a good family holiday.

Australia is a bit removed form the other Western countries and it makes it a bit harder for us to travel to Great Britain or the United States. We also have such a huge country that it is worth exploring in its own right, which a lot of us tend to do. So when Maggie and I got closer to retirement, we weighed our options and tried to decide what would be a good way to treat ourselves a little bit.

The kids have their own families now; they often let us have them during school half terms and holidays. Donald our son’s 41 and his daughter Jessica is 6. Patti our daughter is 39 and her sons Blake and Tim are 7 and 9.We saved hard to put them through to college and helped them to start their lives with their houses. We feel that we’ve done our bit. We had good pension plans and invested our savings in safe bonds products. We want to enjoy our twilight years and do a bit of travelling. The kids will be fine; they’ve got good careers and good heads on their shoulders.

Next year we’ll be travelling to Europe for the first time, all the way to the United Kingdom. Maggie still has relatives in Manchester, where her family originally immigrated to Australia from. I have relatives in Scotland. It will be a 6 weeks trip, which will take us a whole year to organise and put together, but it’ll be worth it. It won’t come cheap either, especially when we both have to fly business class because of our health conditions, but we’ve made up our minds that we’re going to spend some of our savings on trying to enjoy life while the both of us are still in good health and up for it.

There’s a bit of a trend like that, which we’ve noticed around us, with people our age. The media even call it “Spending the Kids Inheritance”. We’ve read some of the open letters to their children that people have published. We’re not quite as bad as some people who are spending everything they have and reverse mortgaging their homes, but we also feel that it’s only fair that we should enjoy the rewards of the hard work we put into our careers and our family over the years. As the self appointed chairperson for the unofficial SKI club of Australia, I decided that we should start a web site and share our journey with others. I hope you will enjoy it and find it useful.

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