As retirees, many of us often yearn to break free from our familiar routines and explore the wonders of our beautiful country while we still have the chance. As you grow older, you realise that the ever-present ticking of the clock serves as a constant reminder that your time for exploring and adventure is running out.
Similarly, like countless pensioners grappling with fixed incomes that fail to keep pace with inflation, we embarked on a mission to determine what we could realistically afford from our cherished wish list. The solution was to shed the clutter, embrace minimalism, and embark on an extended journey lasting anywhere from one to three months to find an escape from the cabin fever that had long plagued us.
Our journey started as we joined in online communities of like-minded individuals on social media platforms. Here, we sought guidance, posed questions, and engaged in discussions about our shared passion for caravanning and exploration. Additionally, we conducted extensive research to uncover economical and pet-friendly campsite options – our beloved fur children were to be an integral part of this adventure indeed.
Nonetheless, securing the right vehicle was crucial, and we quickly became acquainted with the world of online purchasing. Our interactions with the delivery personnel of a reputable online retailer became so frequent that one of them humorously remarked, “I don’t need a GPS, Denyse; my car knows the way to your place by heart.” It is a humorous reminder of how our shopping habits evolve when gearing up for a new adventure. We even contemplated sending a heartfelt thank-you gift to his wife for her understanding during his prolonged absences.
Ultimately, we settled on a Caddy 1.6 – a practical choice, although we secretly harboured dreams of a 2.0. The Caddy’s compact dimensions posed some challenges in accommodating our mattresses, but ageing has a way of ‘shrinking’ people. Accompanying our vehicle was a trailer, which we lovingly refurbished and equipped with a compact tent to house our kitchen and storage essentials.
Additionally, converting the Caddy into a functional campervan presented its own set of challenges, but we persevered. Our mission was to source every item, from wash-up bowls to kettles, in compact, space-saving designs. We gradually, pension by pension, assembled our essential gear, with careful consideration given to size and weight. The crown jewel of our acquisitions was undoubtedly the 3-litre pressure cooker, offering both convenience and efficiency. A custom-made flat water bottle proved invaluable, providing ample filtered water without sacrificing space.
With our preparations complete, we set out on our first voyage, embarking on a journey just four hours away to a municipal camping site in Jeffreys Bay, situated along the scenic coastline. Along the way, we could not resist stopping for roadside coffee, savouring the simple joys of travel.
Setting up camp was a breeze, taking us precisely 45 minutes. Our trusty 3-litre gas bottle connected seamlessly to the stove, and the 2.5-mug kettle soon whistled its familiar tune for tea. Words alone cannot convey the overwhelming sense of freedom, the profound connection with nature, and the escape from thoughts of walkers and retirement villages.
As we look toward the future, we eagerly anticipate next year. The promise of exploring the enchanting ‘flower season’ along the West Coast is a rather attractive choice, with a steadfast commitment to discovering pet-friendly havens along the way.
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