December 5-8: Mothballing the car & Zone

Author: Mrs A

Location: Canowindra, Bathurst and Sydney

Tuesday: Everyone awoke feeling a little dusty after our impromptu celebration on Monday night, but life on a farm must go on, however foggy the heads! Jo somehow found time to show Mark and I around the old house that sits on the property, the central parts still pretty sound after nearly 100 years standing. Jo and Alan have some exciting plans for a new home, office and guest quarters on the site, with building hopefully starting next year.Mr A and I drove into sleepy Canowindra to send off the last of our eBay sales, a couple of Christmas gifts to the UK, and return our tyre-pressure monitoring kit back to the factory for testing. Despite fully reinstalling the monitors from scratch in the morning, they still failed to show all our wheels on the system.

We were more or less the only people on the streets – it’s amazing how the handful of clothes, craft and trinket shops survive with such light traffic.

Alan, Jo, Mark and I finished off the day by heading into the nearby small town of Cowra, hoping to eat dinner at the Indian restaurant there. Mr A and I had dined there last year, finding the food delicious, and definitely up there with our favourite meals. Sadly, on arrival we found the restaurant in darkness, the phone number seemingly disconnected. What a shame. We opted for the local pub instead, The Oxley, which was buzzing and provided some tasty dinners.

Wednesday: We awoke knowing we had a challenging task ahead of us – to decide what items to take out from the caravan and back to Sydney with us. We were now leaving the caravan until February so had to think about all eventualities. Finally we had packed our bags, done a final tidy up and took the Zone to its undercover storage place. The Zone looked dwarfed by the barn, and we feel sure it’ll be protected from the elements, settled amongst fabulous views over the coming weeks.We farewelled Jo and Alan and drove to our next destination, Bathurst. There we stopped the night with friend David and his two boys, Felix and Rory, enjoying steak and salad and a good night’s sleep. This is where the Cruiser will spend the next few weeks while we are in New Zealand.

Thursday: David dropped us at Bathurst station and Mr A and I began our slow journey back to Sydney. Boarding a coach to Lithgow at 10am, we finally reached our next accomodation in Matraville around 4.30pm. A long hard slog!

It was great to see Miss Tassie though, and soon our patient and generous flat mates Jenny and David arrived home from work for dinner and a catch up.

We’re definitely clocking up the favours, and feel very fortunate for the strong friendships we have built up over the past 20 years in Australia which are allowing us to enjoy the lifestyle we have chosen.

Friday: After a very sedentary few days, we were determined to get out for a walk. It’s a gorgeous temperature here at the moment, mid 20s, and perfect for a stroll. We walked down to South Maroubra Beach and back, clocking up over 12km – very pretty scenery.The afternoon was spent doing a little Christmas shopping and a visit to my ENT surgeon (iSGS followers – I had my first awake steroid injection into my stenosis!).

Saturday: A hair cut was in order for me – I decided to get quite a bit chopped off and it’s now the shortest its been in several years – thank you Toni for fitting me in and doing a great job as usual! Jenny and David had invited a bunch of their friends over for Christmas drinks and nibbles in the evening, so Mr A and I helped prepare the apartment for visitors, starting with quality testing the beverages – a glass of French Champagne before the guests arrived.A fun evening proceeded – delicious food and drink accompanied by much laughter and interesting conversations. Fabulous!

10 October- 28 November: The seven week sprint

Authors: Mr & Mrs A

What a whirlwind of a seven weeks we have had since arriving back in Australia from the USA! Our goal was to get the house rented again before the Christmas lull, and set ourselves up to be free and funded to travel for the next few years. We decided that meant renting our place longer term and unfurnished, to prevent further deterioration of our contents and allow us to access our things from storage if we needed to either stop travelling and rent, our swap over clothes and gear.

In parallel to finding a new real estate agent (that we would have confidence in to protect our asset), we needed to slim down what we were going to store – restricting ourselves to only the things we felt were high value to us, financially and emotionally. That left a lot of stuff we needed to re-home, either through selling or donating to friends/charity.

We also needed to ensure our health was in optimum shape before hitting the road, and lastly but most importantly we wanted to spend as much time with Sydney based friends as possible, as we plan to be spending a lot less time there in the coming years.

So here’s the summary of how we have spent our time, and what we have accomplished. We make a good team with very different skills, and this scorecard reminds us of that.

Social scorecard

This photo says it all, lots of laughs and drinks, and great food (eventually!). Our friends were so generous with the their time and support. We couldn’t contemplate what we are doing without their help and it is much appreciated.

Catch-ups with friends: 12 awesome breaking bread occasions that created some great memories to take on our travels with us.


Of course heading home means a chance to see the dentist and get all essential check ups done…and to have a few doses of general anaesthetic drugs too – in Mrs A’s case at least – Mr A is a finely tuned machine…ah-hem….

GP visits: Mr A: 3 / Mrs A: 2

Pathology/tests : Mr A: 1 / Mrs A: 2

Specialist visits: Mr A: 3 / Mrs A: 3

Operations: Mr A: 0 / Mrs A: 2 (with another one booked for February 2019)

Dental visits: Mr A: 1 / Mrs A: 1

Friends visited in hospital: 1 (Eric, you’re a champ!)

Trips to vet: 1 (Princess Tassie in fine form)

So it has been a busy period on the health front – trying to both manage excising conditions, and be proactive about monitoring our general health. Getting health care whilst of no fixed abode is a real challenge.

House Rental

We have learnt a lot from our first two experiences as landlords. We wanted to apply that knowledge now and do things a little differently. So we found a new agent, thanks to a great recommendation from friends, and had a much better experience through the marketing and sales process, culminating in a signed agreement within three weeks. Well done Jacquelynn and Jessica of Ray White Freshwater!

Prep time: We lost count of the number of days we spent cleaning and fixing things in the house and garden. Suffice to say there was much that needed doing to ready it for showing to prospective tenants at the premium end of the price range that we are at.

Open house: 1

Viewings: 2

Cubic metres of contents eventually stored: 40m

Compared to our previous experience it was quite painless. We are were properly briefed on prospective tenants, good advice was given and a new tenancy agreement signed.


There’s nothing like living in a small space (a caravan) to refocus the mind about what you really need to live comfortably! We (Ok lets be honest here, Mrs A played the lead role in this activity) decided on a long list of things we wanted to sell or give away. When we looked at the cost of storage (a tortuous process in itself to find that out!), we quickly realised it made no sense to store things that weren’t really valuable. So it was time to “let go” of furniture we had had for some time, and sell it while it had at least some residual value. There were also things that we felt we wouldn’t need in this next phase of our travels.

For instance our bike and boat fleets have been reduced. Six bikes down to two, and sold one kayak and two packrafts, although we have replaced the latter with smaller, lighter versions for flat water only. We even sold old cameras, sunglasses, a GPS unit, the list goes on. Every item for sale had to be carefully photographed and presented well, with accurate descriptions, then packed and sent off. Time consuming but the payback was fantastic, both financially and the feeling we got from decluttering our home and garage.

Furniture & items sold/donated to friends/neighbours: 40

Trips to Vinnies/Lifeline: 8

Furniture sold on Gumtree: 4

Items sold on eBay: 19

Items sold on Facebook groups: 2

Original artwork sold: 9

Funds raised from all the above: $12,000!


We had a few things to sort out. Our first step as always was a review meeting with our financial planner. As usual he provided us with a really high quality assessment of where our investments stand, and what strategies we should use to maximise them going forward. We came away feeling confident that the life plan we have for the next few years (travelling both in Australia and internationally), is affordable now we have set up the house to provide a predicable income supplement to Mr A’s super.

We have mixed feelings about being told how lucky we are to be able to do this. Yes luck has played a part, i.e. some things that were outside of our control have gone well. However, we also feel we have played our part in determining where we find ourselves now, with smart decision making and sacrifices made along the way.

Money saved on insurance: Its amazing what deals can be done if you look hard enough and on a fixed income now we are very motivated to do that. For instance, why should our car be registered in an expensively rated city area when it won’t be there? Or through persisting with our storage insurance research we secured a deal saving 66% off our initial quote, saving thousands off our annual bill.

No home address?: Some companies are still slow to enable their systems to deal with those of us who choose to have no fixed abode for long periods. We found through research that there is often no legal reason companies need a physical address for you, but they will often tell you there is. Old habits die hard, and they do so love somewhere to send their marketing material.

So what’s next?

After 7 weeks, the sprint to achieve our goal of being able to set ourselves up to extend our travelling lifestyle is over. We drove out of Sydney yesterday, turning our back on a lovely home, plumbing connected to a sewerage system, dishwashers and ironing boards. We headed south to Kiama and will spend the next 10 days visiting some friends before storing the caravan and car, eventually retuning to Sydney a few days before our New Zealand trip.Sadly Tassie can’t be with us on every part of our travels, but she is being so very well looked after in feline foster care with all the warm spots and cuddles she needs.

We have certainly picked an interesting time to leave the security of our home, as the biggest storm in 40 years hits us. The caravan is swaying in the wind and we were warned last night we might be marooned in our caravan park by a flooding river. Well, so what? We have everything we need in here (except a blue Burmese cat to snuggle up to!)…the next adventure begins!

November: A new phase of our life about to begin!

Author: Mr A

Location: Curl Curl, NSW

We sit surrounded by packing crates. Our cat looks as bemused as we do at the state of the house! Our prized possessions being taped up and sealed in crates, with Catherine and I having no clue as to when and where we will open them again!Two weeks today we will pull out of our driveway unsure as to when we will be back. We have rented the house out again, but this time unfurnished, as we want to continue to travel for at least a year and more likely longer, and offering the place unfurnished means longer more stable rental income. Well thats the plan anyway. We’ve locked in our first tenant with the help of Ray White Real Estate, who will manage the rental while we are away.

So we have spent the last few weeks decluttering, selling furniture and stuff we don’t want to store. It’s been hard to let some things ago, but also liberating now as we look around at a more streamlined set of possessions. It all sounds pretty good, and it is, apart from the fact that we will be separated from our fur child Tasmania. She will be in superb foster care though with a couple of sets of friends, but of course will be sorely missed by us. With any direction you take in life there are always compromises to be made. Giving away our treasured book collection yesterday for instance – that was tough – but it made no sense to store them – we are trying to get our costs down of course as we will need to live off the rental income and my super.So as well as finalising the packing we are organising the multitude of things that you need to change if you will no longer have a permanent address. Of course this has been so much easier now almost everyone can transact with you without sending mail, except the RTA of course, bless them. Oh and CIL, the specialist caravan insurer who would have a huge percentage of their customers of no fixed abode! Some companies are still struggling with the digital transition it seems.

So what happens next?

Lots of people have been asking us that question, so here’s the summary. When we leave the house we will spend a few days in southern NSW catching up with friends, and then make our way back to Sydney minus the van and the car, which will be stored with some of those friends who don’t live in Sydney and therefore have nice large driveways! Thank you if you’re reading this! Then it’s off to the North Island of New Zealand on the 12 December for 6 weeks, basing ourselves with some of Catherine’s family just outside of Tauranga.

Then the plot thickens. We will spent February and March around southern NSW and Victoria, then head off to Europe in early April.

Once there, we are going to be motorhome based nomads, starting in the UK then heading over to Europe in May, which will of course be a seperate economic area by then, so our plans are pretty flexible based on what agreements are reached on Brexit. For example, maximum stays of 3 months for UK passport holders is one option being debated. We will see have to see how it all unfolds.

Lots of excitement and unknowns in the Anderson household at the moment. Catherine has some ongoing health issues which will need to be treated and managed within these plans, so we will need to be flexible.

We so appreciate the support of friends who are helping us make this happen, offering foster care for Tassie, helping me fix things (I need a lot of help). Leaving our friends behind as we spend less time in Sydney is going to be tough. However, we have been offered the opportunity so we think we should grab it.

13-20 October: An extremely busy week

Author: Mrs A

Location: Sydney, Australia

I can hardly believe we have been back in our home a single week, so much has happened!

As well as unpacking the caravan, restoring our bits and pieces into the house and restocking food supplies, we also took seven sacks of donations up the the nearby St Vincent do Paul Charity shop. It’s incredible how living in a space not much larger than your kitchen can refocus the mind, making you realise all the things you don’t need after all. It also helped that many of the clothes and shoes we gave away had been locked up for the past 18 months and we didn’t miss them. It is far better they’re used by someone who will appreciate them.

We managed to fit a few walks down to our local beach for some fresh air and to stretch the legs.This week was also about medical visits. I had a few tests and saw a doctor about my sore foot – he believes my issues are not neuroma after all, but torn ligaments around my toe – something that can take about 18 months to heal, but can be helped with an orthotic insert. Excellent! I had been fearing surgery was my next step (so to say!).

Mr A saw his eye surgeon for extensive field tests to check out his glaucoma and again heard positive news there, with no decline in his vision, fabulous news.

And I was in hospital for an operation on my airway. I’m starting a new procedure with a new surgeon and hope my idiopathic subglottic stenosis can be kept at bay so more unhindered fun can be had in the great outdoors in the coming months.

Recovery from that op has been slowed by both Mr A and I catching colds – not ideal after surgery, but probably inevitable, and only a cold after all. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger so they say!

In addition to charity donations this week, we have been sorting out some things to sell. First of all my artwork. You probably have noticed I enjoy putting paint to paper on the odd occasion, and in the past have done a few exhibitions. No time for that right now, so I’m listing everything for sale here and on my Facebook page. If there is anything that interests you, let me know!There will be a few eBay/GumTree sales coming up too – a few household items, plus our packrafts and Mr A’s single kayak. So lots of work ahead.Miss Tassie has been enjoying having a wide choice of sunny spots to stretch out in, and has settled in nicely to being back in the house for the time being.

Wednesday 21 February: Riding Narooma to Dalmeny

Author: Mr A

Location: Narooma and Dalmeny

Distance cycled: 25.5km

My first waking thought “Now what will go best with that sourdough?”. A quality problem to have. I rustled us some poached eggs and sliced up the loaf Catherine had baked last night. Delicious start to the day – but things just kept getting better. We headed off in the car to Narooma, I had loaded the bikes the night before, finally finding a way to use the new Yakima bike rack legally, by taking off both front wheels and loading them the same direction. The trouble with having an offset spare wheel with a bike rack mounted on it results in the bikes sticking out beyond the wing mirrors, which is illegal.

We parked at the town wharf and set off on the cycleway we had started walking yesterday. We were soon on new ground and climbing up and down headlands with sweeping views along the coastline to the north. The information boards spread along the path told the history of the land, and the cycleway.This area has been a gathering place for various Aboriginal tribes, the abundance of seafood in the many lakes and estuaries seems to have been the big draw card. The boards talked respectfully of tapping into the knowledge of the traditional owners to help manage this beautiful stretch of coast. It really does look like the councils here actually have a coherent plan. There were no out of place developments spoiling views. The public areas all neat and scenic.The cycleway seems to be another success judging by the amount of use it was getting on a weekday. It was a community project started in the 60s and stretches from the south of Narooma through to the next town to the north, Dalmeny. Over 600,000 volunteer hours where contributed by the locals. All inspired by the town mayor with a vision, not of feathering his nest from developers dollars, as seems to frequently the case, but to link the two communities and inspire them to work together. The end result, a 12 kilometre stretch of some of the best coastal riding we’ve ever experienced. It was heartening to see it so well used by local cyclists of advanced years – more advanced than me even.On the way back we stopped by a boat ramp as we saw a crowd had gathered, and there were more seals being fed fish scraps, and then massive stingrays 2 metres across were amongst them. The rays even came up onto the concrete ramp for a pat (or a fish titbit I suspect). Narooma is like one big sealife show – fantastic.We finished the day with a stroll from our campsite out onto Handkerchief beach a few hundred metres away. The storms over the last few days are still making themselves felt with a powerful swell. However, we have rebooked on our Montague Island trip tomorrow, so hopefully the sea has calmed a little more overnight, or we are in for a very rough ride.

Tuesday 6 February: And we’re off!

Author: Mr A

Location: Kendalls on the Beach, Kiama

So today was the day when our preparations came to an almighty climax…steady…and we left Sydney for Phase 1 of our Second Big Trip. Our new tenants arrive tomorrow, the house was being inspected this afternoon, and we thought we had everything pretty much under control with only our bathroom to clean after our showers this morning. So perhaps the house sensed we were deserting it, leaving it to cope with the vagaries of another bunch of strangers moving in. Whatever it was, Murphy’s Law operated and as I turned the shower tap on Catherine shouted out from some distance away “Why am I getting soaked?!” The shower head had decided it was a good time to play up and water was spurting all over the room.

A quick text to our property manager, who wasn’t even supposed to be working today, and their plumber turned up less than an hour later. Now that’s good service! He soon had the problem under control and we left the house a little behind schedule at midday feeling a little nervous about what we will find when we return in October. Casting doubts aside we drew away and headed through reasonable (for Sydney) morning traffic. Tassie was a little restless (for new readers she’s our other family member – the Burmese camping cat), but some serious brushing from Mrs A sorted her out.

We only had a short trip today and we were soon pulling into our home for the next two nights in a small caravan park in Kiama. We haven’t stayed here before but first impressions pretty good, especially when we saw a poster on the check in desk advertising a farmer’s market tomorrow! We set up on a nice grassy site and then found the beach within staggering distance. Just what we needed after the stresses of the last few weeks, trying to get everything organised.So here’s the plan in summary.

Phase 1: NSW South Coast Wanderings. We are planning to just amble down the coast, meeting up with various friends on the way, taking our big double kayak as we plan to stick to tar and the coast. We just love Southern NSW and always seem to be rushing through, so wanted a chance to spend longer at some places we have enjoyed previously. Then we are returning to Sydney for a wedding in a few weeks, putting the kayak back in storage at our place and collecting the packrafts so we can hit the dirt when we want. At 7.3 metres the double is just too big a beast to cart around bumpy roads.

Phase 2: Keep the ocean on our right. We will then start heading north up the coast, with very few fixed plans other than catching up with friends in Newcastle, meeting some other Zone RV owners just north of Coffs Harbour, and then calling in at Zone’s HQ in Coolum in mid April for a service. We think we then carry on heading north, and just see how far we get with the only constraint we need to be back in Sydney mid September.

Phase 3: Off to the US of A. So once back in Sydney we will store the van, leave Tassie with foster parents, and fly out to the US. Catherine is presenting the medical research she has helped run at a conference in Atlanta in October, so we thought we should take advantage of her having her flight paid and me go with her this year. Take a couple of weeks to visit friends and do a short road trip, back in the house mid October.

So that’s the idea. Hope you enjoy reading what actually transpires!

We concluded our day post dinner with a sunset cycle along the coastal path to raise the heart beats a little and see some more of the area.It is truly a beautiful coastline and we look forward to exploring some more over the coming weeks.

Day 86: 23 August – Wooleen Station wanderings

Author: Mr A

Location: Wooleen Station

Distance hiked: 8 km

I pulled down a blind in the van and was greeted by leaden grey skies – quite a shock to the retina after our months of being greeted by another blue sky day. Nothing was encouraging us to venture out too quickly…so we didn’t. A late breakfast and then we drove back to the homestead feeling we should at least chalk up something today.

A walk was chosen from a couple of detailed booklets we had been handed when we checked in. It was really well documented history lesson on the property, showing us old graves, the remains of various ramshackle buildings and even the 1800s rubbish dump! It was such a dull day it just exacerbated the feeling of desolation that hangs around these stories of battlers against the odds of the vagaries of drought and floods in outback WA. What these people went through to try and eke a living beggars belief. 

We saw zebra finches taking a morning bath, and an as yet unidentifed interloper (in photo below for Rosemary to identify ;-)). 

We headed back to the comfort of our van both quiet and thoughtful, thinking how lucky we were. The temperature here regularly climbs beyond 50 degrees in the summer – that’s Celsius for our overseas readers. There would be no relief at night either with the temperature staying over 40 degrees. Imagine that with no A/C, fridge, cold beer! These settlers trying to make a new life here must have yearned for a “hot” English summer day that some of them would remember from their previous lives. 

A quiet afternoon in the van, my achievements only including knocking a glass of diet coke all after the ever so patient Mrs A. This was followed by me trying to “mend” her prized kitchen device, the hand operated food processor. That ended in her throwing it away. I had succeeeded in turning it from a partially fiunctioning device into a number of never to be re-assembled parts.

We finally headed out again late afternoon, before things got too worked up.  We walked up the Murchison River and spotted some Major Mitchell pink cockatoos, which immediately shook off the rather somber mood we had been in today with their pompous, strutting and waddling gait. We spotted heaps of other birds including black swans, welcome swallows, herons and ducks.

The sun was going down as we headed back to our little paradise on wheels for…..homemade chorizo pizza!!! 

Day 84: 21 August – Walking the beaches of Shark Bay

Author: Mr A

Location: Denham

Distance walked: 7km

We spent the morning getting organised for our final push down into Perth. Areas we want to see researched, campsites reviewed on WikiCamps and booked, road conditions checked (been some heavy rain up here), and scheduled our trusty 200 Series in for some TLC at Geraldton Toyota. 

The weather has been pretty chilly and windy, but we dragged ourselves out for a walk this afternoon and so glad we did. Heading down the to the beach, a short walk and we come across a mob (flock?) of five emus strutting around in the scrub. 

Further along the beach we were rewarded with a stunning late afternoon light show, captured exquisitely by Mrs A of course. 

Tomorrow we leave the coast for a few days and head inland again, a whole new adventure!

Day 63: 31 July – Bikes, birds and beaches

Author: Mrs A

Location: Giralia Station (Exmouth Gulf)

Distance cycled: 17 km

We started the day with a mountain bike ride, heading off down several 4WD trails into the property. We cycled until the sand got too deep to pedal, then left our bikes and walked up into the red sand dunes, covered in beautiful wildflowers and a multitude of tracks from the action last night. It was a stunning location, so peaceful we could hear little more than the flutter of wings and the twitter of birds.

On our return we visited the homestead to learn more about where we were staying. Giralia Station had remained (at least partially) in the same family since the 1920s, only being relinquished in 2005 when the Western Australia Department of Conservation & Land Management purchased the land, recognising it as a site of special interest. It has several kilometres of coastline as well as much land which is gradually returning to its natural state since the removal of cattle and sheep.

Our explorations would suggest there are still camels wandering around here somewhere, with evidence of footprints on the dunes, as well as feral cats, having spotted small paw prints in the sand also. 

We decided to drive out to the coast, which felt desolately beautiful with the tide out and beach overtaken by soldier crabs hunting for a feed on the mud flats. We also felt cool (it was only 23 degrees C) for the first time during the day for ages – we almost needed long sleeves…almost…we must be heading south!

We decided to head out for a final bike ride before dinner, to try and spot the cockatiels and budgerigars we had seen flying past last night. Unfortunately it was a fated ride as an evil twig lashed out and attacked Mr A, catching him across the nose and cheek. He now looks like he has been in a fight…I meanwhile was fighting back the giggles as I tried to be sympathetic to his pain and embarrassment…I think he’ll be ok though (brave soldier!)…

Day 59: 28 July – Point Samson…point disapPointment….

Author: Mrs A

Location: Point Samson

Distance cycled: 5 km

I woke this morning with a puffy swollen face and sore glands again – signs that I am about to have another allergic reaction. Have doubled the antihistamine to try and prevent anything too dramatic, and Mr A has been re briefed on the Epi pen should that be needed. Fingers crossed the antihistamine works.

It was another lovely day, but alas mostly spent cleaning out the red dust from our clothes and van. Another few washes done, even bravely used the campground machines as well, and the floor washed on hands and knees. Mr A emptied the car and did a thorough wash out and vaccuum.

So today, all went well other than:

  • The caravan repairers in Exmouth who had been lined up to fix up our broken/damaged bits and pieces have accidentally double booked us and can no longer fit us in during our visit. We have to wait another month until we get to Perth to get repairs done
  • Our washing machine has a mysterious error ‘OE’ which suggests the drain is blocked, despite us proving again and again it is not…sigh…
  • Mr A’s fat bike has a puncture and he cannot get the tyre off to fix it, so we need to spend the day in Karratha tomorrow repairing that, instead of kayaking down a beautiful river…

But all first world problems really. We managed a short cycle around the neighbourhood – we really have seen all of Port Samson now, and truly praise the talented Marketing writers who managed to make it sound like a seafood dining Mecca. 

We enjoyed sunset beers at Honeymoon Bay, before heading out to dine at the local pub ‘The Tavern’  – a truly delicious Fisherman’s Basket with chips and salad, with a bottle of Taylor’s Promised Land for $30 – not too bad!

The day concluded with a lovely FaceTime conversation with my sister, Helen, letting her know I plan to make a flying visit in September. Very excited about that!

And finally, our current location – the blue spot on the left hand side…’D’ is where our holiday truly started at the beginning of June, at Lake Argyle…