Travels of the Gypsy

By Gai and Clive Muchamore

If you don't want to read the pre-amble then click here to jump to the Blog page.


Gai and I have always enjoyed travel and being in each other's company. When you work with someone and live with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week then yes we have something special. Over the years together we have been lucky to have made many overseas trips. These really began in 2006 after we had had managed to get on top of the mortgage and finally save some money. Divorce is an expensive exercise. The UK, Paris, Brussels and Singapore beckoned on this trip. So began our web pages so family and friends could also be a part of our journey.

In 2010 we hopped across America, doing LA, Vegas, Chicago and New York. Then again to the UK and into Singapore on the way home. We had another big trip planned for 2014, but with Gai's health this never eventuated. Some major and minor operations for her but we also managed several trips to Norfolk Island, ( not really overseas as this is a part of Australia and no longer governed by itself but NSW), and also Fiji in between this as part of her rest and recovery.

So yes, we have a travel bug. Certainly I do as I used to go camping when I was a lad, tent in the back of the car travelling through SA and also central Victoria. Gai has done her fair share too and her family being of the 1st Fleet - albeit convicts, they worked hard and ended up building the first Inn over the Blue Mountains - Collits Inn. We were lucky enough to have stayed there back in 2005 and now it is a family home.

The Lead Up

Gai's health issues continue to plague her. She suffered a stroke in May 2017, but recovered and in September 2018 was diagnosed with Parkinson Disease. Medication and rehab saw her walking by herself for the first time since her stroke. In early December she had a fall at night and broke the L1 in her back. More time in hospital and luckily they let her home for Christmas. So recovery has been long, slow and painful for her.

In the mean time I was advised that at the end of January 2019 I would no longer have a job. Having worked there for nearly 10 years and seen the business grow from a very small base to a multi-million dollar business and now going backwards at a rate of knots is not a pleasant experience, but life goes on.

I needed something to be flexible so as to be able to assist Gai and also something to keep me busy. We'd been talking of buying a van a while and then the stars aligned. We found what we were looking for, what the Jeep would be able to tow comfortably and decided to rent out our house while we travel. I'd like to eventually do some work along the way - maybe volunteer, Blaze Aide or the like. There's certainly a lot out there if you want. I think my days of actually picking fruit and vegetables are over as the back probably won't take it.

Maybe He's trying to tell us something and push us in the right direction. I believe that you have to have faith - beit what ever you believe in.

February 2019

This became some me time. I discovered my love of reading a few years back and a lot of February was spent getting the old work out of my system and having a holiday at home. Not that I wasn't busy. Normal household tasks still had to be done, Gai's medical appointments, cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing and yes - some me time. Not having to do work 7 days a week is a radical life style change as even on week ends there was always sports to update or working on support as part of the team support roster.

March 2019

We collected the caravan on March 6th and took her home. Yes, she is a a she, and decided to name her Gypsy, after our cat who was 23 when we had to put her to sleep. We had her cremated and she will travel with us in the van. She has her own special spot looking down on us from a shelf. After all the pictures we had hanging up in our house this is the only one that is in the van!

Gai has a relative living in the Cairns region so I thought, yep - we can be there for August and then fly back to the Gold Coast for Gai's specialist appointments but in reality - yes reality - what would we see or do and when would we get time to 'smell the roses'. Back to the planning and if we left early April then maybe - but then there was the house to paint, garden to do, and all the things you would want someone renting your house to enjoy.

Upon moving some stuff - yes we all have stuff, I noticed blistering paint. One night when getting a beer from the fridge in the garage I saw some white things on the floor moving. Maggots I thought as the rubbish bins were in the garage but a check revealed that they were going back and forwards to the boxes. Out with the fly spray and then photo confirmed my fears. Termites!!. The pest guys were fantastic. They found the sub nest and where the little critters were getting in. They had managed to do some damage to two rooms. $4500 later for a barrier and $550 to repair one room. I managed to do the other by myself, but now it's again time to re-consider the travel time frame.

No more reading books for now.

April 2019

Removalists have confirmed they will uplift our furniture on May 1st. Now is the time to get serious about packing. Many thanks have to go to Michael, my son, for his help in some heavy lifting and storing our garden tools, power tools and some clothes at his place during this journey of ours.

As each room was packed so the painting began. Not just walls, but skirting boards, windows and doors. We need new carpets, so new floors had to be organised and laid. This was not a task I had time to do, so professionals would be called to do this once the painting was complete. Talk about putting pressure on yourself.

In the mean time Gai was organising her clothes, how much could she take, what would the weather be like, warm clothes, cool clothes ?? I'm just a simple shorts and shirt kind of guy. Socks, jacket and beanie for when it gets cold and maybe some long trousers.

Needless to say, I kept saying to Gai, too much, cut back, too much, cut back and yet again, too much, cut back. When I'd packed her clothes in the van there was space to spare. I consider that a job well done. Mind you, there is a suit case in the car with cold weather jackets and jumpers.

Have you ever tried packing your pantry into a caravan? Even though we eat simply our pantry has enough food to probably last about 2 months without actually having to buy anything else to go with it except some protein and vegetables. Why do we do this ? Maybe it's the way I was brought up. Mum and dad also had spare bags of sugar, tea, biscuits and so on but there was always plenty of food in the house. I suppose that with 6 kids and 3 adults living there you had to make sure. On top of all the packaged food there was the jars of preserved fruits, beans, onions and pickles.

I know one cupboard was taken up with jars of my home made brinjal, (egg plant) pickle and most of these have found good homes. I hope the people will enjoy them but I still managed to sneak 4 jars into the van. Then there is the 30 packets of soup. Yes - that's at least 60 days worth of morning tea - well I like my soup and it was on special at half price!

Similarly the freezers were the same. With the small one in the garage, one over the beer fridge and one in the kitchen as part of the fridge freezer I can see that cooking a dozen meals at once is just not going to work, so time to eat up and then make smaller batches when cooking. I can see that this is going to take some adjusting to.

Not everything got packed. Clothes and things for Vinnies, timber to the dump amongst other things. About 4 trips in total I think and a full rubbish bin every week. Now seeing as we normally only have a small plastic bag this was different for us.

Ahh - the joys of packing or is this de-cluttering.

April 30th

This is our first night sleeping in the van. It's been raining on and off all night. Different sounds and smells, even though we always had our bedroom door and window open. We're now sleeping, ( not living yet),in a van that is about the same size as our bedroom!

Not everything is packed into the van yet as painting and house preparation is still on going.

Click here to jump to the Blog page May