Travelling Solo !

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 15:05
ThreadID: 76637 Views:3663 Replies:9 FollowUps:7
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An agile 71 y.o. would appreciate any advice on how to manage the inevitable lonely moments he expects to encounter whilst circumnavigating Oz. He is a keen lawn bowler but realizes that this is not nearly enough to make each day a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Many thanks, Thomas QLD.
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Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 15:25

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 15:25
Hi Thomas,
you will find that you will meet up with lots of like minded people as you travel; even if you are just a little "outgoing", you will make lots of new friends to share your travels and memories with. You will find there will be lots to do and see along the way. Best thing you can do is leave the telly at home.... (others may not agree with that bit... lol ...) Enjoy, and have fun.
Fred B
VKS 737: Mobile/Selcall 1334

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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 15:43

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 15:43
I agree with Fred and would add that, assuming you may be staying in various c/van parks, and assuming you ARE an outgoing type of bloke........ one idea that may be worth considering is this:

Many of these parks tend to have a happy hour of some description, where "grey nomads" congregate with their own fold-up chair (and maybe a small table) together with your chosen drink (doesn't have to be alcolhol) and a plate of nibblies (something as simple as Jatz and cheese cubes) and I'm sure you'd be made most welcome.

Some ettiquete ideas are : try not to dominate conversations and NEVER put-down somebody else's choice of vehicle, caravan, partner (hahaha) or anything else.
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Reply By: Member - Kiwi_In_Aussie(Wagga) - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 15:42

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 15:42

You may find thiese sites of interest

The Grey Nomads site


Grey Nomads Solo website
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Reply By: oldfart1953 - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 15:52

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 15:52
Hi Thomas,
I reckon you will be doing so much, meeting new faces, seeing new things & generally having a great time that you possibly wont have time for the bowls.
Follow your heart......
Good on you!!!!!

CU down the road
Insanity doesnt run in my family.... it gallops!

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Reply By: George_M - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 15:54

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 15:54
As Fred said, Thomas, if you are even a little outgoing you'll have a ball travelling around this great country!

Not only will you meet many like minded people on the road, doing exactly what you are doing (with the same issues and opportunities), but you will also meet lots of amazing people in the towns and localities you visit.

It never ceases to amaze me that people you meet in the towns west of the Great Divide, more often than not, greet you like some long lost relative; even though they know that you'll be moving on in a couple of days.

I do a two week trip every year with a mate who is 94 this year - ninety four! He's a bit of larrikin, likes a drink, is a born story teller, and loves meeting new people. In response to this we are always overwhelmed, absolutely overwhelmed, by local hospitality.

In summary, if you're prepared to engage with people, and it sounds like you are, then you'll only rarely be short of company, entertainment, and interesting things to do. And if things get a little boring, then just move on.

Come any closer and I'll rip your throat out!

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Reply By: Cruiser 2091 - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 16:39

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 16:39
Hi Thomas.
Others have mentioned talking to people while in civilisation (caravan parks etc) but you asked about the "inevitable lonely moments" and there most probably will be lots of occasions like that.

I found myself asking "what am I doing this for" at times but overall the trip was worth it.

Anyway consider a HF radio. With HF you can talk to someone anywhere at anytime. Remember your mobile phone will not work in a lot of places. Furtermore HF is a very good security at our age.

Best regards
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Reply By: vk1dx - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 17:01

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 17:01
Cruiser brings up a good point. Social communications.

I am an amateur radio operator and even though I am not as active on the air these days as I used to be, at one stage I could always find someone I knew to chat to. Any time of day. I could also find new people to meet. Its a lot more versatile and heaps cheaper than the 4WD HF that Cruiser mentioned. The drawback is getting the initial licence. There are technical things and regulations you must know and pass in an exam. It is a lot easier these days and maybe it may be worth looking at for you. We are licenced not the radio.

We have even had visitors from overseas come to stay with us when visiting Australia. We also got invites many countries all over the world. Took some up in NZ and had a ball fishing on Lake Tahau. You aint seen trout like theirs.

I must say this is not just unique to me. It is the nature of the hobby. You get to know the person behind the façade. The real person inside.

Just an idea for you to ponder.

I hope one day to do as you are doing. The only difference is that I love the solitude of the bush. But that's me. With my radios I can bring the world to share my fire. And not have to make everyone a bloody cuppa!!!!!! Joking

AnswerID: 407677

Follow Up By: Thomas QLD - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 11:49

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 11:49
dear vk1dx many thanks for your suggestion. HF outfit too expensive for me. like your idea but i dont quite understand exactly what sort of unit you are referring to please give me some more info cheers Thomas QLD
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 12:19

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 12:19
Happy to help.

The reason I started down the track of HF communications is to start the ball rolling on safety communications.

This is about amateur radio:
One example of a radio is the one here: Yaesu HF, VHF and UHF.

It won't give you the RFDS and the 4WD HF system but it will give you world wide coverage. It will also give you access to the amateur repeaters and satellites. Yearly licence is about $70. My wife just pays mine. The radio in the example is smaller than some UHF CBs.

You would then need antennas and in some cases an antenna tuner. They can be a simple as a wire thrown over a tree. I have actually used a barbed wire fence to talk to an ex Aussie in Washington. I lowered the out put power to 1.5W and we still got through. Or you could get a vertical that has various settings for different bands of frequencies.

The main thing about amateur radio is that you have the licence so you can use whatever you want on the ham bands provided you stay within the regulations and specification of each service. That is a piece of cake with all these top radios around.

Now to 4WD HF services.
There are a number of clubs and organisations that hold a class licence from ACA to assist 4WD followers with both emergency and casual communications. One such service is VKS: VKS-737 Radio Network,

I do not know a lot about them so I hope someone will drop in and give you a brief.

To compare equipment for each system I shall stick to new estimates that I have heard. A good HF radio for this 4WD HF system could cost up to $3000 including antenna and antenna tuner. Please anyone correct me. Compared to the Ham radio above at $1099 thats a bit expensive.

You can do cheaper for both systems.

I realise I mentioned equipment that you may not be familiar with but you would soon understand what they do and how you use them. Not complex as most of it can be automatic.

Hows that for the moment?

FollowupID: 677733

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 12:39

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 12:39
I meant to say in summing up that this is an emergency comms system you should have.

Also every ham will answer an emergency call. When in trouble you look for anyone and just butt in. They will immediately help. They are bound by law to do so. Its in the licence. We have been lucky enough to have helped several.

There are areas set aside for emergency comms and several well run travellers nets for the mobile ops who just want to say they are still around and enjoying the outdoors. There is not limit to how long you can chat. Plenty of "channels" to use. No crowding. I have in the past spoken to Rajhid Ghandi and even King Hassein. I have met prince Phillip and thousands of equally nice people. Mostly on air. Thats what I mean by a social hobby.

Please someone give us some words on the benefits of the 4WD HF system. But don't confuse the man with tech talk about modes and cellcall stuff.

FollowupID: 677736

Reply By: horseshoe - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 18:12

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 18:12
Hi, if your into travelling and exploring Oz, them you probably enjoy what each new place has to offer. Take time to listen, smell see and feel nature all around you, if you focus on these things when your lonely, this could help.
for example-
how the day feels compared to yesterday, cooler, fresher, etc...
What new critter have you seen today
what smells different today
These are small things I know, but I have some lovely memories of things like this. For instance I am still trying to identify an amazing small white spider I saw in a flower at Geikie Gorge, Things like this can make interesting conversation when you met up with strangers.
You could grab a digital camera and start photography,
Enjoy your travels.

AnswerID: 407694

Reply By: racinrob - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 21:51

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 21:51
Thomas, I often do solo trips and find a lot of others doing the same thing. I find that when people see you are alone they will approach and if you don't open up a conversation they will.
I rarely stay in caravan parks and of an evening cook outdoors in a camp oven, most other travellers will wander over for a look, a great way to break the ice !

AnswerID: 407729

Follow Up By: Thomas QLD - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 12:01

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 12:01
racinrob many thanks for your suggestion appealing where did you learn to use a camp oven? c/oven cookbooks seem a bit daunting and complicated dont want to carry a delicatessen with me. has to be simple would be happy to have only 2 or 3 recipes i could easily survive on that. cheers Thomas QLD
FollowupID: 677723

Follow Up By: racinrob - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 18:03

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 18:03
G'day Thomas. No great skill required to operate a camp oven, once you've used one and gained a bit of confidence it's all go. One of the easier dishes is roast chicken and it's great for a cold salad next day.
Prepare and stuff a chook, rub oilve oil all over (the chook) and sit it on a trivet, that is a wire cake cooler, in your camp oven. Put your oven over a few coals at the side of your fire with a shovel full of coals on the lid. After about 40 minutes check with a skewer or fork to see if the moisture is pink, if so it indicates blood so give it a bit longer, five minutes or so.
I always do potatoes wrapped in foil in the coals, (about twenty minutes depending on size) If your oven is a dutch oven, that is no legs, sit it up on some rocks otherwise it will extinguish the coals it's sitting on, couldn't be easier. Good luck.
Go to Camp Oven Cooking in Australia on the net, more recipes then you could imagine

FollowupID: 677813

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff H (QLD) - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 21:09

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 21:09
Hi Thomas,
I use charcoal bricks on the camp oven and find it a lot easier than burning a fire for hours to get some coals. The instructions are on the Camp Over Cooking site. Easiest way to knock up a roast meal in a couple of hours.
FollowupID: 677851

Reply By: Alloy c/t - Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 18:22

Monday, Mar 08, 2010 at 18:22
Recon you'll find that a 71yr old bloke travelling solo , agile and fit , loving lawn bowls ,will have more company than he wants , [ of the lady bowler ] or can handle. , If that's not rewarding or fulfilling , Thomas buy a dog for company. lol.
AnswerID: 407912

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