The call of the unknown
Winter is here, but the weather is still perfect. A little colder in the evenings, but those perfect clear, crisp, sunny winter days are with us. The sun has risen into a sky that is blue and cloudless every day for the past week. I love this time of the year. Pottering in the garden, walking along the beach is pure pleasure. This is also ideal weather for driving…
I can feel a restlessness inside…
Matilda has had her 10,000 km service and her wheels are painted and she has a clean bill of health. Not bad for a 255,000km vetran of travel. We have also had our health checks, eye tests and feeling fit. The garden has had its autumn pruning and a new coat of mulch to help keep the weeds down.
I am ready to go…
So I have set a date. A decision to “Hit the road Jack”. JULY 1st….
Two weeks, just time to sort out all the camping gear, pack it into Matilda. Give her a wash and polish. Final farewells to friends. A good excuse for farewell lunches. Then away to find the winter sun of tropical Australia…
This year the plan is to head into Northern Territory and explore Darwin and Kakadu and all areas around there. The Territory has a reputation for untamed wilderness and larrikan characters. First though it will be up to Rockhampton, then across the middle via Longreach and Mt Isa and that will be cold at night, so will need warm clothes for that part of the trip but then our reward will be the warm barmy, tropical heat of the north.
Meanwhile I have a lot to do before we are ready to go.
We have a decision to make….
What do you do when you are both Pisces? Not only are we both Pisces but our birthday is on the same day…. Notice our sign is 2 fish swimming in the opposite directions… It is getting colder on the Gold Coast, you North American folks and other people who suffer freezing winter temps may not consider 8 to 10 degrees as cold. Since we bought our lovely Toyota Hi-ace camper, Matilda, we like to head north and find the beautiful winter sun. Winter 2010 was spent in Northern West Australia, 2011 we were in North Queensland. So where is it to be this winter? This is when our Pisces characteristic trait shows up. We keep putting off making a decision. We are dreamers and drifters and generally just take life as it comes. She’ll be right!!!! Live in the now… But I think we will make a decision very soon and then it will be up up and away… When the decision is reached I will blog about it. Matilda goes in for her check up tomorrow so she will be ready what ever we decide…
We are leaving our trusty companion and home for the past 2 years behind and setting off to New Zealand in a weeks time.
The van maybe small in comparison to some rigs on the road but it held all we needed to live very comfortably when we travelled around Australia. The small purple back pack squatting next to Matilda’s wheel will hold 10kg of “stuff” and that will be all we are taking to New Zealand.
What a challenge…
We will be in New Zealand for 2 months and want to travel as light as possible. We also plan to travel “low tech”. Will we be able to survive without a computer? Oh dear it will be a challenge to keep up with the blog. Of course we will take our cameras, it would be like cutting off an arm to leave them behind, but how to keep track of the hundreds, possibly thousands of photos we both take? Then there is the mobile phone. I now have a “smart phone”. A few years back I would never consider taking a phone with me. The adventure of travel back then was to just go.
So I struggle with what will I pack. How many shoes do I need? How much colder will it be in NZ? Will I need a jacket? How small amount of “smalls” can I live with? I have clothes scattered around as I check and re-evaluate what is essential and what I can do without.
My gypsy spirit, and itchy feet are stirring and I am looking forward to being on the road again.
PS, yes I think I will take the phone…..
It’s Wednesday, it’s raining and we are almost ready to go.
Wow it has been two very intense days. I keep getting minor panic attacks. Will every thing fit in? Have we forgotten some thing important? I will be so glad to be finished with this preparation period and actually on our way.
The next week house sitting will be like staying in a holiday resort, pool, spa, mini gym, central to all the Goldcoast activities. The casino is only a ten minute bike ride away or two minutes in the van. A great way to wind down, relax and get into travel mode.
Bring it on….
D-day has arrived….
Will this be enough for a full year?
It was a major decision deciding what to take. I looked at my clothes and in the end just choose the things I wear most. Anything that fell into – I like but don’t wear often – category, I left out. The only exception was a cream skirt, 2 pairs of jeans and 2 jackets, just in case we do get some cold weather.
It has all fitted in ok
Every thing had to fit into this box. Jack has the same size box for his clothes. So what did I take?
- 2 long-sleeved shirts; 1 sleeveless blouse
- 3 t-shirts; 5 sleeveless tops.
- 4 shorts; 1 skirt; 1 shift dress
- 6 undies; 2 bras; 1 nightie; 3 prs socks
- Sealed in a plastic vacuüm bag; 2 jeans; 2 jackets; 1 cream skirt.
- Packed separately; sneakers; 2 prs sandals; best shoes; thongs.
This is it for a year!!!!
I now have all my favourite clothes packed and ready to go, so now I will have to make do with whatever is left in my wardrobe for the next few days until we move out….
Well it really is crunch time now. What is the minimum amount of clothes and shoes we can live with. More importantly what can we leave behind?
Before packing starts
What a mess…
small, tidy dining area
Our very small one room granny flat looks like a bomb hit it as I spread “stuff” all over the floor, leaving tiny pathways to tiptoe through every thing. One pile is for the kitchen; cooking and eating utensils. Another pile is bedroom and bathroom; ie. towels, sheets, sleeping bags (do I think we will use sleeping bags? After all we are planning to follow summer around the country, maybe one blanket will take up less space…) Jack has put aside an arsenal of tools, I hope we will not need them, but better to be safe than sorry. A very important box contains our play things, cards, dominoes, sketch pads, pencils, camera and battery charger, cds, maps and camping book. For outside the essential mosquito nets, tarps,ropes and bungy cords (NZ term for occy straps), rain coats. The list seems endless
Todays task is to sort through our clothes, BIG decisions, but of course if I only take a bare minimum it will be a good excuse for shopping when I, either, get fed up of the same things every day, or wear them out….
Only 4 more sleeps in our own bed…
Forecast last night was for a storm, so with a lot of trepidation I parked “Sunnyboy” the van, in the open over night. Then we crossed our fingers, and our toes and every thing else that would cross…
8pm the storm came. Thunder, lightning and heavy rain. Before going to bed I found an umberella, took a torch and dashed out to peer inside the van. All looked dry.
This morning first thing we did was rush outside, open the back and look inside the van. Hallelujah, it was dry as a bone. There had been 15mm of heavy rain overnight, so the van has now had its baptism of water and come out with flying colours.
Hamish came out to look and said “well you are ready to pack now”…
The van is now checked out and ready to go, so now it is time to get our check ups.
- Skin scans, I’m ok, the doctor said the years between 6 and 14 are the vulnerable years for forming of skin cancers. I was living in England and did not get much sun exposure. Jack on the other hand had 4 big ones cut out a month ago, and, thankfully he now has the all clear and they have , almost, healed.
Looks like a centiopede
A chip off the old block.
From Jack’s jottings…. I love a sun burnt country, I lived down by the sea, and except for melanoma there’s no better place to be. So when you are in Surfers keep an eye out for a shadow obscured by SPF30, a shadow cast by me.
- Doctor check up, blood tests, flue injections including the swine flu injection, and a top up of pill prescriptions. Both checked out OK.
- Eye test. Jack no longer needs glasses after the cataract surgery and his eyes are good. This time I needed new glasses, oh so expensive, and the optician said that I will need the cataract surgery “soon”….
- Dentist check for me…This was the most painful of all as I need major overhaul. Don’t even like to think of how much that will cost…
Jack is reading a good book and he keeps saying “listen to this one” and “I will just read you this”
This quote is so appropriate for us that I think it could be our “mission statement”
Life is mostly about what you do on your way to your destination.
This was from “Pursuit of Perfection” by Tal Ben Shahar
The sun is shining again and after approx 300mm of rain over the past week the garden is looking very green and tropical.
We are also feeling happy and relieved that Hamish has managed to find the problem leak and with a bit of Aussie ingenuity it is now, fingers crossed, fixed and ready to start packing and fine tuning what we are going to take.
Tropical summer rain february 2010, originally uploaded by gypsy woman1.
The rain has come with a vengeance,the radio reported 300mm to 400mm. The rain gauge, which holds 125mm, had overflowed when I went to read it at 10am. The garden is slowly turning into a lake…
I decided to move “Sunnyboy” out of the cover of the car port to test if the leak had been fixed. An hour later I went to check it…..
O.M.G…. I lifted the back and a flood of water poured out…
Well I guess the good news is that we still have time to fix it before we hit the road. I put it back under cover and dried the inside. Will now have to wait till the rain clears before we can look at it. Hamish, our tenant who works in a panel beating shop, has said he will look at it for us.
16 days to “D-day”….