Hats off to the Grey Nomads!

I’d never heard of the Grey Nomads but had been warned about them by Kinga Tanajewska, a Polish girl riding around the world on the same kind of bike as me. When I say ‘warned’, I mean in a GOOD way, because the Nomads have made this section of my journey really special.

In a nutshell, the Grey Nomads are retired Australian couples who pack all of their worldly goods into the back of a big 4WD or Ute (pick-up truck), hitch up a specially adapted and reinforced caravan capable of travelling off-road and then head out on the highways and byways in search of adventure/deeper meaning/whatever…

Doing a white man’s version of the indigenous ‘Walkabout’, these old-age travellers wander all over the Outback, sometimes for months on end, racking up thousands of kilometres and no doubt spending most of the kids’ inheritance while they escape the cold southern winters and inevitable arthritis by driving to where the sun always shines.

Sharing a cold beer and respective family memories with Judy

It’s great to talk to people from different generations as you can learn so much from them (this works both ways too). For a solo traveller like myself, the Nomads have been a great source of information and comfort, and they really enjoy younger company — and to them I qualify as young, believe me! They are fascinated by how I can fit everything I need in life on the back of a motorcycle, are most interested in my round-the-world ride and, in particular, my reasons for doing it at a (relatively) young age.

Rama Raphael and Kaliana Rose welcomed me with the gift of song!

Encounters have been many and memorable. There was Wally, the white-bearded septuagenarian in Alice Springs who spent over 30 years wandering the world before deciding to spend a few more exploring his ‘own back yard’ while he still can. Then there were the singing, didgereedoo- playing ’healers’ in Uluru— Rama Raphael and Kaliana Raphael Rose — who were spiritually enlightening to say the least. I’ll fondly remember Darryl and Liz at Three Ways Junction, who explained the intricacies of caravan etiquette in considerable detail, while I’ll always be grateful for the wonderful company of Alec and Judy, who fed, watered and entertained me royally at Camooweal. Short encounters all, but meaningful ones nonetheless.

Alec treated me to dinner and wine, and then breakfast. Most welcome!

Spending time with the Nomads has been a privilege and, having shared just a small part of their journey with them, I’m sure I’ll adopt a similar lifestyle in the years to come. When I think about it, I guess I’m already on my way…


2 thoughts on “Hats off to the Grey Nomads!”

  1. Andy – you found the grey nomads. Yes I guess they are unique to Aus. They can be a very interesting “mob” and have the time to share with you what they have done, seen and experienced. They are always up for a chat – especially useful as a solo rider. Enjoy the adventure.
    Noticed you ‘met up’ with Kinga – she’s an inspiration too. Comes across as a really nice person and doing an amazing trip right now – no doubt you are following her on her travels.

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