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 Living on the Road :: Articles :: Hitting the Road

A carefree life on the road, a freechange. How many people have I met that have expressed envy at what we are doing? And to be sure it is a good lifestyle, but are you prepared to make the sacrifices to "make it so"?

It's not easy to ditch most of your possessions, leave your friends and hit the road, but then it's not easy to work everyday in the same old job either, and my bet is you've been doing that for several years.

The thing about working in that "secure" job and living in the same areas is it's comfortable. You know where the office dunnies are and you know what shop sells whatever it is you buy. When on the road you're always wondering where to sleep tonight, where to by groceries, where to get your vehicle fixed.

It's a lot less comfortable but it's also a lot more exciting, and let's face it, very few jobs are secure these days anyway, just ask any Impulse Airlines or OneTel employee.

But what about the family and friends?
OK so you have hundreds of relatives and you spend most of your time around at Mum's. To be sure it's tough to leave if you have strong family ties if those family members live near to you.

I have no real answer to this except to say that maybe living on the road is not for you.

However many families are spread out around the country, I haven't seen some of my relatives for 30 years, my new nomadic lifestyle will allow me to see them more often.

Likewise with friends, many of the people I've known over the years now live in Brisbane, Perth and who-knows-where. Also of course I have moved as well, I no longer live in Grafton but still have friends there that I seldom see.

Once again, living on the road will allow me to visit them more often.

But I'm by myself!
You and thousands of others. The CMCA has a solos network that will help you realise that there's a big difference between being alone and being lonely.

Frankly I could think of few worse things that sitting by myself on the fourth floor of some city apartment block. At least as a full-timer you'll be meeting people every day and staying in interesting places.

And as for breakdowns, sure they happen and can be a real pain but, once again, the CMCA has a network of people all over Australia that are only too happy to help and possibly even put you up while the vehicle gets fixed.

So maybe, as a solo, you don't camp alone on the side of the road and don't go too far off the beaten track, but you can still go.

But what about my stuff?
When was the last time you used that old Briggs & Stratton engine laying in the shed? Do you really need three record players and a reel-to-reel tape deck?

Sure I like my toys as well as anyone (probably more so) but in the end you have a life to live, there's a lot to see and do out there.

Anyway, you can still fit a lot of toys in a large motor home :-)

So you've got a massive record collection, are you collecting the actual records or the music? If it's just the music you want why not burn your albums onto CD's? Using in MP3 format it's possible to fit about 10 standard records/CDs onto a single CD.

If your hobbies require a lot of storage or other infrastructure, eg horse owning, vintage car renovation, then I guess you'll have to stay at home.

But what about my house?
Get rid of it! Who wants to be dealing with tenant problems from the middle of the Bungle Bungles? Just don't blow the money, maybe one day you'll want to buy another although probably not back in the city if house prices continue current trends.

We were watching a reality TV show the other day where a "renovator's dream" sold for over $500k in Sydney. Chris and I looked at each other as if to say "I guess we're never buying a house in the city again".

But then we don't want to. Assuming we settle again it won't be down south and it won't be in a city. We'll find a bush block somewhere warm, somewhere a house can be little more than a roof supported by four poles with fly wire strung between them.

But what about my job?
Most people's jobs aren't important to anyone except themselves and their immediate peers. Believe me, the world doesn't need the next revision of the product you're working on (unless it's a heart lung machine or some such) and few people will care if your filing is done on time.

Off course I don't want my insurance to be delayed because you didn't do the filing, I do want a doctor to patch me up if I'm sick and life would be a lot worse without any police.

My point is that most of our jobs aren't important and there are plenty of other people to do them. If you're working just to live you should be thinking about getting a life.

Ask yourself "If I didn't have to go to work tomorrow, would I still do so?"

If you want to contribute to the society that allowed you to reach a position where you are making these sorts of decisions, what about doing some volunteer work? There's plenty of worthy causes that could use your expertise, even if only for a short period.

But what about money?
Unless you plan to totally drop out and live in a self-sufficient commune you will still need money, but almost certainly not as much as you thought.

Bearing in mind that you no longer need a fancy car and the golf club membership can be dropped you can live well on about $20,000pa. You see we all spend a heck of a lot of money just to entertain ourselves, we're bored so we buy a new dress/camera/car/house/whatever.

When you live on the road you are constantly being entertained by life, there's a new town and people every other day. A new national park to explore, a new beach to wander about. While most of this isn't free, it is very cheap.

If you still need to earn a living after selling your house etc. then there are plenty of jobs out there. Even if you're unskilled (or only have one less useful skill like oboe playing) you can work picking. If you are handy, what about filling in for the owners of a caravan park. If you're a diesel mechanic or other tradesman you'll be lucky to get out of town once the word gets around.

Personally I would not like to be totally dependent on finding work, it's nice to have some investments so at least you can get by and the extra income is for luxuries. However I know plenty of people on the road with no income except the jobs they find along the way, they're enjoying themselves as much as anyone.

 

I'm the first to admit that this lifestyle is not for everyone, if you're a doctor with a vintage car collection, some Point Piper real estate and a close family living in the same area then maybe hitting the road is not for you.

But if you're a tradesman with an interest in photography and a family spread all over Australia, why haven't you left already?

As I said at the top of this article, a lot of people profess to be keen to hit the road, and most of them have a reason for not doing so.

Do you have genuine reasons or just excuses?

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