There is a growing group of adventurous souls who have decided to view the onset of their later years as an opportunity to travel to their heart’s content and dive into new experiences that they never had time for while shackled to the old 9 to 5. Although this “grey nomads” lifestyle was once relatively uncommon, over the past few years it has turned into a rapidly expanding tribe of seniors ready to take on the challenges and reap the rewards of a life on the road.
Departing so thoroughly from the norm isn’t for everyone but those that find they’re suited to the grey nomad way of life have an almost limitless array of sights and experiences to discover. We take a look at what it means to be a grey nomad, offering a sort of Grey Nomads 101, and explore the question of how you can discover whether you’re a grey nomad in the making.
This almost goes without saying, but the first and most important thing you’ll need to embark on the grey nomad way of life is a motorhome. Providing both transport for your travels and your very own home on wheels, a campervan is an essential part of living life on the road. Many who decide to go all the way with this lifestyle make extensive modifications to their campervan, rigging it up to suit their needs exactly - a worthwhile consideration if you’re planning to make this your home for years, rather than the weeks or months that a casual motorhome adventurer might spend in a campervan.
While some will have enough of a nest egg stored away to comfortably live life as a permanent vacation, many others will need to make a little money to keep their nomadic dream alive. Fortunately this is not an expensive lifestyle, so you won’t need to be making a huge amount in order to keep the wheels rolling, as it were. And grey nomads hunting for casual work that fits in with a life of freedom and flexibility will soon discover that it’s not too hard to find. There’s quite the market for older folk who are willing and able to do seasonal work, as these individuals are generally known for their reliability and strong work ethic. One of the best ways to find out about work opportunities is from other grey nomads. In time, you’ll meet these people in face to face, though to start off with heading to a grey nomads forum online will give you an easy way to gain all sorts of valuable information. In countries like Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada, these senior adventurers form a tight knit community which can not only key you in to opportunities and warn you about dodgy employers, but will also give you the chance to become part of a group of likeminded friends.
Money isn’t the only practicality for grey nomads to consider. There’s also the day-to-day things that go along with living in a motorhome. For example: figuring out what to do with your waste. Fortunately, there’s a widespread network of public dump points in many countries where you can empty both your grey and black water tanks. The question of what to do with “household” waste is not quite as clear cut, but most grey nomads make sure to carry plenty of black plastic bags and keep their eyes out for public waste bins. For obvious reasons, one of the biggest taboos in this community is leaving waste behind or not disposing of it responsibly.
Of course, buying your own motorhome and setting off into the blue for years at a time is not a decision to be taken lightly. The best way to figure out if this type of thing is for you is taking an extended motorhome rental vacation. The great thing about going for a longer term campervan rental is fact that you can save quite a bit of money while getting a true taste for what it’s like to spend a decent period of time living in a motorhome.
Being a grey nomad isn’t just about what you do however. It’s about who you are. So what qualities do grey nomads require? Flexibility is a big one. Shifting from place to place regularly sounds like heaven for some, while others will find the lack of stability and routine a little scary. A self-sufficient spirit is also key, as there will be many times when you’re far from the conveniences of civilisation. Prizing experiences above possessions is an extremely important trait for grey nomads: while this life will open up a multitude of incredible sights and experiences to you, there won’t be room to carry a lot with you in your motorhome. Most importantly though, you’ll need a robust spirit of adventure - the attitude that no matter what the road brings your way, it’s all part of living the grey nomad dream: seizing your later years to make them truly golden.