Conclusions reached...Decisions Made!
Over the New Year holidays we've been able to conclude a lingering issue which preoccupied us for most of last year: should we or should we not invest in a motorhome and embark on significant local travel in our retirement - become "grey nomads" - while we are still fit and able? We've twisted this conundrum every which way to convince ourselves we should invest a large chunk of our retirement "nest-egg" on a motorhome complete with ensuite in order to travel to every corner of this vast brown land we live in; we almost succeeded in believing we'd use it every other week for the next 5 or 6 years in order to justify this huge up-front cost - the equivalent of an annual month-long European cruise holiday - and we felt certain that we'd be fine "free camping" in remote locations as we drove far and wide for weeks at a time exploring our fabulously scenic, dramatic and sometimes, breathtakingly beautiful landscapes.
All we could reasonably do was to determine an absolutely maximum budget, to select a preferred brand and basic layout preference and let the emotion of the purchase experience drive the final result. And from our false start in a weak moment last year, we certainly proved just how much emotion there is and how little practical rationale prevails in such a large purchase decision. Until a few weeks ago, we were still on this relentless trajectory to buy one, but one morning in a moment of shared confession we both realised we held common real doubts and concerns and that if we were completely honest with each other, this could be the single most disastrous investment / lifestyle decision of our lives!
We simultaneously, as if by telepathy, reached the same conclusions:- in reality it would impossible with all of our family and community commitments at home, we could not possibly use this very large and imposing vehicle - about 25 feet (7500 mm) long and over 10feet high(3100 mm) - anywhere near often enough in any year to justify the huge capital outlay! And we also confessed our separate deep-seated fears about being stranded in remote places, of having it parked in our drive more often than not and of simply tiring of the lifestyle earlier than we'd envisaged. And so we finally decided this was not for us - no more talk or thought of buying a motorhome - and do you know, we are both so relieved by our ultimate decision!
But from this central, critical decision we've also resolved that we'll still get to see the key places of interest in our home country by using our perfectly comfortable and capable 10 year old E320 and staying in B and B's (bed and breakfast accommodation), country pubs (hotels), motels and self contained cabins at our now flourishing tourist parks. All of these can be accessed quite economically with some forward planning and combined with the much lower fuel consumption from our trusty sedan versus a 4 tonne truck (!) it will take us a long, long time to spend what we would have otherwise spent on our mobile home. We will most certainly still get to the Apple Isle (Tasmania), The Barossa Valley(South Australia), The Great Ocean Road (Victoria) and indeed the whole of the eastern part of Australia, whilst in the West we'll likely fly/drive to accomplish the same experience - a little more expensive but hey, we were contemplating a very sizable outlay!!
By this decision too, our forthcoming cruise in Europe in April/May will likely not be our last whereas had we proceeded on the motorhome route, overseas travel would probably have no longer been possible. And for this we are especially relieved as we both really do love the whole cruising experience and the prospect of its disappearing from our radar would be sad indeed.
So our decision is not only financially responsible (we would have depleted our "nest-egg" and most likely limited future choices) but also provides a much more diverse and interesting travel program - a mix of both local and overseas - well into the future. Now I know many of our contemporaries do make the big investment and embrace the whole "grey nomad" experience and we totally understand - we almost did too. But we concluded it is not for us - at least not in the true sense. Whilst our approach may be less committed financially, hopefully it will not be less enjoyed and we remain intent on getting to see those parts of our own country that appeal but that have eluded us so far.
And with some rumours, founded or not, of another GFC catastrophe looming or at very least lingering uncertainty, we feel our decision is prudent.
Remember, you only get to spend it once!!!