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Grey Nomads

AUSTRALIA | Wednesday, 6 June 2012 | Views [1998]

"Grey Nomads," Paul and Elise from Brisbane

We have joined up with a fringe of Australian society, the "Grey Nomads," people of a "certain age" who spend a goodly part of the year traveling around Oz in their caravans, spending their kids' inheritance.  Many are retired, some several times over.  Others pick up work whenever and wherever it suits them.  None seem in a hurry to get anyplace and some have put down seasonal roots in their favorite caravan parks.

The number of brands, sizes and configurations of their caravans is staggering.  They arrive in converted buses, tent trailers, pop top caravans, 5th wheel models and traditional motorhomes.  Few approach the size of American "land yachts" but our rented campervan sticks out like a sore thumb, a very tiny sore thumb.  Some of the caravans are designed for even the roughest outback tracks and are pulled by Toyota Land Cruisers.  The more dainty models can be pulled by the family's Holden sedan.

When parked for an extended stay, or sometimes only for a transient night, awnings and screened rooms sprout like fungus from a rotting tree.  AstroTurf carpets, high-tech chairs, satellite dishes and even plants complete the setup.  The greyest of the nomads even bring their electric powered mobility scooters.

Not everyone ages gracefully.  Many of the men (and a few of the women) push enormous bellies ahead of them wherever they go.  Old gents and their ladies shuffle to the shower buildings in all manner of night clothes and it's not uncommon to watch dentures being scrubbed while shaving.

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