Van Life

Fulltime Super Golden ‘Grey Nomads’: Sue & Dave

By on January 5, 2015

We met Sue & Dave in the most unlikely of places: a very scary camping spot in Greece. We were the only two vehicles, in off-season, and the place could have hosted a handful of quality horror films. Instead, we ended up bonding- and then, a year later- meeting up again in France. Such an inspirational couple we wanted to share with all of y’all. (And thanks to you kids, Sue and Dave- hugs from Mork to Homer): You can take a look to her travel blog as well. 

Us at Hierapolis arch, Turkey

What was your inspiration for traveling?

I don’t think you’d call it inspiration. We’d been talking about being in Paris for our 25th Wedding Anniversary and when Sue’s job was made redundant three months before the special day we decided to “just do it”. Another reason was Sue’s younger brother had been diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier that year and we thought the time was right to do the big trip while we were both fit and healthy.

How did you manage your finances?

We put all our household stuff into storage and rented our house out. We had some savings but the rental income financed our European travels.

David in gondola, Venice

What was a highlight of your European trip?

There were many, but our trip was all about the lifestyle; living in a motorhome and travelling as we wanted. We stopped where there were interesting people and places to visit, then moved on with no timetable or agenda.

Have you got travel plans for the future?

Of course! There are always new places to see and new adventures to have. But we don’t have any firm plans or dates yet.

On the iconic Swilcan Bridge, St Andrews, Scotland)

How did your friends and family react to your travels?

Most said “good for you” and “very jealous”. Our family missed us, as we did them, especially our son and daughter but they were happy for us to be doing what we had set out to. Our two grandchildren were born during our travels, so that contributed to our homesickness and we knew we’d be going home before they got too much older.

What type of organization did you need for your journey?

Packing up our house and getting it up to scratch for rental was a difficult time – the last couple of weeks before we left were BUSY, and we were exhausted when we got on the plane out of NZ. The first few weeks of the trip were planned, booked and paid for through a travel agent. Later with no fixed agenda, organisation became a more week to week thing although we did find some challenges along the way both in dealing with issues back home (time difference) and in the countries we were living in.

Fun times at the Rock of Cashel, Ireland

How did you decide on which RV to buy? (Homer)

We’d done some research in New Zealand before we left. The Autotrail Delaware ticked all our boxes and we were lucky enough to find one at the right price in Somerset where we began our search for a motorhome.

A great tip for others who may want to try a similar trip?

Establish your criteria for a “home” you both want. For us it was an island bed, an oven and a big fridge/freezer. Accept that there will be bad days (weatherwise or other) and simply cocoon with a good book and/or a movie until things get better. Be versatile and willing to try new experiences.

David at Agios Nikolaos Church, Greece

What difficulties did you have on the road?

Getting Internet access was the biggie for us – we used it for research, finding solutions to problems along the way and keeping in touch with family back home and other travellers. SatNav sometimes lead us astray – but in each case we survived.

Any inspirational people or places you came across?

In general the places we most enjoyed were off the beaten track where we could appreciate nature in all its beauty. We met many people and made many friends along the way – all had their own stories to share. One couple built their own vehicle and then travelled all the way from Australia to Scotland for a wedding, and back again! Another couple cycled all the way from the Netherlands to Melbourne, Australia – firstly on individual bikes then changing to a tandem. And of course there were the couple of digital nomads who have made their life and their living in a van called Mork!

What did you take away from your year of travels?

The different countries and their cultures were fabulous and the history going back thousands of years is something you can truly FEEL. But the amazing people, both local and fellow-travellers we met along the way made the trip memorable for us.

Sunset in Kargicak, Turkey

 

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