Life on the road question

Submitted: Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 10:11
ThreadID: 13740 Views:1587 Replies:11 FollowUps:7
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My wife and I are aged in our late fifties and live on a 5 acre block, which we own outright, on the outskirts of a regional Queensland town. We've moved around quite a lot during our thirty two years of married life and enjoy bushwalking and camping.

Having no dependants or any real reason to live in this town we have often thought about life on the road. The problem is that we have little cash and little income. We're too young for the aged pension and too old, it seems, for employers to show any interest in us. The only way that we could finance our dream would be to sell our home to buy some sort of mobile home.

We consider this to be a very bold step. We have spoken to travellers who have done just that, however we know that we would never be able to afford to buy another home again, and that's what has kept us from moving beyond the dream stage. We don't want to end up destitute but we don't want to continue to stagnate either.

We would very much like to hear from others who have taken this course of action and how they are faring. We imagine that we might be able to earn some income along the harvest trail but would we earn enough?

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Reply By: Russell [Pajero] - Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 10:33

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 10:33
Dreams, where would we be without dreams?

I'm in my early fifities and dream of the day we can escape.

I can't tell you of my experiences but I can relate a fine story of living one's dream.

I was with some friends on the River Ramble 2001 (I think) when we stopped at Martins Bend near Loxton, there a spritely 80 year od chatted with us. He had a 1940s JEEP Truck (with a 186 Holden motor) on which he had installed a 16 foot Caravan.

He just wanders around staying at free public camping grounds (mostly) and potters around. He does this all on an old aged pension. "I still gotta eat no matter where I am so thats no more expensive, when I'm ready I'll move on, not far mind you, but theres just some much to see and so many people to talk to. Buggerred if their gonna put me in a nursing home."

I just loved his attitude, I hope I can convince the Navigator to come with me.

If you get over that hurdle then or your both of the same mind then what's stopping you.

Get out Life's Fun, hope to see you on the road.

AnswerID: 63062

Reply By: FourbyFour - Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 10:41

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 10:41

Go for it!

Life is an adventure, grab the mnoment and run with it, this isn't a dress rehearsal. This is it!

Don't sell your place. You don't need a lot of money to travel. Start off small with a vehicle and caravan or a small camper. You don't need the latest gear just a means of conveyance and a few utensils.

There is lots of work out there in the outback as long as you are prepared to do anything and age is no barrier. Jobs in domestic avenues like cleaning, cooking, gardening, maintenance, painting are available. If you have a trade ven better so. There are more and more holiday destination type places being built in all kinds of places and they all need staff. Most businesses need staff from April to October and there is then still plenty of time left to travel in the year.

Friends of ours in the same age group as yourselves spent 15 years on the road working in a variety of situations including fruit picking( but that is hard yakka).

We spent 5 years travelling this country. We created our own business selling craft items at markets or to shops. Spent only 10% of our time in caravan parks...the rest was spent in bush camps all over the country. It was a great time.
AnswerID: 63063

Follow Up By: Patrol22 (Queanbeyan - Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 12:06

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 12:06
Welcome back Willem - I trust you enjoyed your break.
FollowupID: 324411

Follow Up By: FourbyFour - Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 12:31

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 12:31
Thanks how did you guess that or is it obvious? :-)

FollowupID: 324412

Follow Up By: Boeing - Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 14:07

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 14:07
Willem, Where is Rosie's picture???
The website address does give it away a little.........


FollowupID: 324418

Follow Up By: Patrol22 (Queanbeyan - Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 17:24

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 17:24
Yep the website url did it for me too.
FollowupID: 324428

Follow Up By: Des Lexic - Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 22:22

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 22:22
Oh Willie, Youv'e been exposed so quickly and by your own hand.
Thanks for coming over for the weekend.
FollowupID: 324477

Follow Up By: adventure - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 08:25

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 08:25
Wow, what a response!

Answering each response in turn:

I had expected negative responses along the line of being a dreamer rather that a doer. Which may well be true since we have been thinking about our escape for at least the past five years, and we still haven't progressed very far.

Finding work in the outback seems more likely than in a city. I have an IT degree and age is most definitely a barrier. I managed to get a six month contract just after I completed my degree at the age of 51. I haven't even been able to get an interview since. I once worked as a contractor at a mine in New Guinea so I think I'll research the remote areas a bit more and I'll contact the Outback International people.

The idea of selling our home was to raise the capital needed to buy a mobile home. We don't even have enough cash to buy a small caravan, plus we would need a larger vehicle to pull it. Our Mazda 121 would have difficulty pulling even the smallest camper trailer.

We've heard some horror stories about renters wrecking homes, but of course, the income would be very useful. Storage for our "stuff" is also quite expensive.

The Grey Nomads' register sounds like it could be the answer. Barcaldine must be a Mecca for Grey Nomads; it's mentioned as a destination it travelling magazines quite often.

The idea of a reverse mortgage is something I had considered. I picked up a brochure from our Building Society the same day that I posted my original question. The idea of an accumulating debt is frightening and I already have an accumulating HECS debt. We've been mortgage free for almost 30 years and it's something that I would certainly not enter into lightly.

House sitting is another angle that I've looked into but it's another one of those catch 22 situations. One needs a reference but how does one get to sit their first house? It's the same in the IT industry; no experience means no job, no job means no experience.

If we could get $200,000 for our place then our problem would be solved. Property values in country Queensland are not what they are close to the cities. We would consider ourselves lucky if we could raise $100,000. We sold 720 acres with a large house 15 years ago for $100,000 and the local agents were not interested in handling it because they thought it was over priced. We only got back the money that we paid for it.

The book mentioned is probably similar to the one that we gave our son before he decided to pick oranges. The Internet has lots of up-to-date information about the harvest trail, especially in Western Australia.

Boredom is another thing that we wonder how we might overcome on the road. My wife spends a lot of her time spinning and knitting and I have many hobbies that probably help to keep us poor as well. Perhaps we could cut back a little.

Finally, we thank everyone for their positive thoughts and I'm sorry if this post is unnecessarily long winded. We WILL put more effort into achieving our goal.

Phil and Lorraine.

FollowupID: 324773

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 11:42

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 11:42

Try Outback International, in Rockhampton, (07 49274 300), for possible positions on Stations and tourist places.

DON'T sell your property, you'll need a base for later on. Maybe you could rent it out while you are away? This would give you some extra income too.

You shouldn't need anything flash to travel around in, but something that can give you some privacy while working at different places, and is big enough to be comfortable for an extended stay.

Am in same age bracket, and what you wish to do, occupies my mind more times than I would care to admit. Probably having my mid-life crisis?

Good luck in what you decide,

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 63071

Reply By: rolande- Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 13:08

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 13:08
I worked with a couple who hitched up aa 18" Caravan to their Falcon and have been gone for the past 3 years. Both in your age group. Have no trouble following work around the country. Kept their house if they decide to settle down again, have it rented out, don't use any help from Gov' to keep going. Best thing they ever did! Just waiting till I am old enough to do same!
AnswerID: 63076

Reply By: Kiwi Ray - Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 13:44

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 13:44
Hi Folks
Rent your house buy a truck and go. Enjoy it while you can.
You must be able to earn the od dollar along the way if you are prepared to try different things.
I have a few years to go yet but that is what I will be doing, no ifs or buts
AnswerID: 63082

Reply By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 17:43

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 17:43
On the ABC News this week was talk of a Register for Grey Nomads who wanted work - maybe three weeks here or there and not aksing people to do more than they could easily undertake. The Register is in Barcaldine - but I don't know anymore than that.
My advice - I'm only doing my job here so I can go and do what you want to do - but won't be able to do it without working some of the time. Go for it - but don't sell your place. Follow your dreams - whether for one month or ten years - but go now whilst you can still do it - otherwise you'll be sitting in your old rockers wishing like hell that you tried. See you on the road.
AnswerID: 63097

Reply By: Magnus - Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 20:35

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 20:35

Am coming at your post from another angle. If you are cash and income poor, the actually getting started is the major issue. Hence your thoughts about selling up.

I agree with the other poster about not selling. Howerver depending on where you are in Regional Qld, renting may be a problem.

Have you considered using the equity in your house. Reverse Mortgate used to be the name for it. It is offered by only a very few institutions but essentially you borrow against the property and either pay it back or let it accumuilate and it comes out of your estate. You could find out more from your local friendly mortgage broker or do a google search.

This gives capital, which you do not have in a cash form at present.

You can then spend say 60% on mobile accommodation of whatever type or style that suits your budget and retain the rest as working capital for travelling etc until you find work.

Say you borrowed $20,000. You would spend $12,000 on a rig and keep $8,000 for working / travel capital. Or maybe a $14,000 / $6,000 split.

I am sure there are plenty of other posters to this forum who could sensibly advise on what you could do with $12,000 for a rig.

If you can rent the property as well, then that is a whole lot better.

This way you can keep your place, do the travel and even perhaps earn enough to help pay off the loan.

Whatever you do, make sure you get good professional advice before you hock the property. You are not after an ordinary loan where the property may be subject to forfiet. This is specialised lending. It does exist, but you will have to search to find it.

And make sure you run it past a solicitor before you sign anything. This is your major asset you are talking about here. !!!!!!!!!

So, I reckon, go at the right way and you can do the dream and still keep a base to return to and then maybe sell and move somewhere else. Like somewhere you have found that you like.


AnswerID: 63138

Reply By: Des Lexic - Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 22:29

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 22:29
Another angle that you could look at for a start is register with a house sitting agency. That way you only need a vehicle and you live rent free in other peoples houses and find work while your in that area. That way you don't need a caravan or whatever.
AnswerID: 63164

Reply By: Member - Roachie- Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 22:35

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 22:35

I understand your situation and the other respondents have all had excellent thoughts and ideas.

The only other thing I would throw in would be to ask yourself this question:

"Do we really need to keep a 5 acre property?"

You may find you can sell that place for (say) $200,000-. Spend $100,000 on a more modest house in town which could be your home base. You could rent this out in a fully furnished state (people like young, first year teachers often need this type of accom). The other $100K goes partly towards buying a modest rig and rest to be invested etc.

Of course all this depends on the market place in your particular area and your willingness to give up your acreage.

It's a position I'd be pleased to find myself in.

Good luck.....
AnswerID: 63166

Reply By: ianmc - Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 22:37

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 22:37
Any such arrangement as suggested by Magnus could be fraught with problems.
How long will the debt ride, ie until death, which may be 30 years.
Will U be able to get a loan at a LOW fixed rate over the time U may need it as rates appear likely to rise, remember the depression we had to have at 20%.

There is a book the name of which escaped me, which details work available in various states. An important factor here would have to be what interests do you have to occupy yourselves over long periods of spare time so you dont become unfit from just sitting in a car seat etc or watching the world go by.
AnswerID: 63168

Follow Up By: Magnus - Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 19:21

Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 19:21
Yes Ianmc. It is specialised lending and not without its problems.

However, it is still an option for Adventure, and these types of loans are available and will become increasingly available as Baby Boomers retire and find they have nowhere near enough to live on in the style to which they have become accostomed.

Watch this space for an increase in popularity of these loans as people have to cash in their equity to continue to afford their lifestyle. However in Adventure's case it is worth a look, which was all I was really suggesting.

It is not a type of loan that is for everybody. I suspect they may be too young to even get a look in with a lender, but they need to ask to find out.

Stil, I am sure we, and all the other posters, hope they realise their dream in the best way they can.


FollowupID: 324561

Reply By: Yeah Mate - Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 01:19

Tuesday, Jun 15, 2004 at 01:19

Don’t let your dreams be dreams

Follow your hearts, go with the flow, cause life’s to short.
AnswerID: 63180

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