Today I’m revealing a secret I’ve kept from my blog. Close friends and family know, however it’s not something I’ve really wanted to share… until now. I think it’s taken me 3 years to come to terms with the shock of it and find a way to make it work for all of us.
My secret? My parents are… how do I say it? Homeless. Well, only in a sense. You see, they no longer have a house.
They’re true grey nomads, or as they prefer to call themselves, ‘silvery nomads’, even though my mum is blonde.
They’ve always been nomads and yes growing up they moved around a lot, both overseas and interstate. My parents love travelling and came to the point in their lives where they didn’t enjoy being tied to bricks and mortar and dreamt of being set free on the open road to travel around Australia.
I don’t quite remember how it finally came about, but around the same time my husband and I decided to move out of Sydney with our 4 kids to the Central Coast, my parents decided to sell their beautiful house at Leura in the Blue Mountains.
They went out one day to look at Winnebagos and came home with this!
Now I must admit my husband and I thought they had gone bonkers, but like most kids (yes my parents still act like kids a lot) they didn’t listen.
Luckily, we were wrong! They love it.
We moved to a bigger house on acreage when my parents were doing the ultimate downsize! You don’t get much more minimalistic than this, trust me.
I suppose I was worried about how things would work out and how they would enjoy the constant driving, seeing as my dad doesn’t really enjoy driving, and being with each other 24/7. There is no escaping each other in a motorhome and probably not recommended for a marriage on the rocks, so it’s lucky my folks have been happily married for 47 years! They had the massive task of selling a whole house worth of “stuff” to reduce their possessions to the small amount that would fit in a van.
They appeared in a Caravan and Camping magazine a couple of years ago, sharing their “Footloose and Fancy Free” story encouraging others to take the leap.
Our little son was not even 6 months old when they drove off into the sunset and I myself was overwhelmed with moving house, a newborn and 3 kids. I wondered if they had considered being away from family for long lengths of time just when I needed them the most. Selfish I suppose, but when you have a baby you’re desperate for help and for me the best kind is from your own mother, as I trusted her with my most precious possessions – my babies. Plus the free babysitting, I missed that a lot. Not knowing when I’d see them again made me sad, until I realised how much freedom meant for them.
They still visit and actually stay with us for longer now. We’ve worked out a nice private spot on our acreage where they can come and park their motorhome, plug into our electricity and be close enough for the kids to come over, yet far away enough to give us all a bit of privacy when we need it. Like most kids (I’m talking about my actual children now) mine are always hungry and when they see my parents’ van coming they are bursting to go and raid it for hidden chocolates and treats that they buy just to spoil them. My folks joke that they are the “food van” – like I never feed them! Ha.
The problem with getting my folks to come and stay at our place is it’s not much of a break for me. I still get the “no mummy do it” battle that you just don’t get when they go and stay at Grandma’s house.
One of the first caravan parks my parents actually visited when their van was new was Toowoon Bay Holiday Park and it’s only 20 minutes drive from our place. Toowoon Bay Beach and Shelly Beach are clean, patrolled beaches and our favourite on the Central Coast. Just beautiful. Can you believe they were playing ball at the beach in the middle of Winter? Got to love Winters in Australia!
Going to the grandparents “mobile” house when it’s parked at Toowoon Bay is a different story. This holiday park is amazing for the kids as they have a jumping pillow, resort pool, amphitheatre where they have movie nights and a newly covered playground. They didn’t have all that in Leura! Plenty to keep the kids busy. During the last school holidays the park ran a Christmas in July party and the kids could stay for free so my parents offered to have ALL 4 KIDS stay with them for the first time. The kids had the best time and it gave me a much-needed break to get over a bad migraine.
My parents have a little sun tent, which they put up beside their van so there is somewhere else to go to have a break from the mobile home and it’s too cold outside. The kids took over this area and created their own little creative cave to sketch out ideas in their journals. All the kids brought their bikes and scooters to the park too so they loved scooting around there for a few days. As we live in a semi rural area there are not many footpaths for safe bike riding near our house, so it was a welcome adventure.
The Entrance isn’t far away either and it’s fun to go down and do some tourist activities like the 3:30pm daily feeding of the pelicans, then letting the kids play at the waterfront park or the mini fun fair. One of our favourite restaurants The Arabian Lounge serves up the yummiest Lebanese feast in The Entrance, not far from here.
The kids love grabbing an ice-cream and the adults a gelato for a wander along the foreshore. In summer we actually bring our bikes down, as there is a great bike path right around Tuggerah Lake.
It’s funny, but when people notice the motorhome at our house and discover what my parents have done, they always say “wow that is so cool! I’d love to do that one day”, so it’s definitely a dream a lot of people have. It’s not for me, but yes, my secret is out – my parents are living the dream.