Member - milowise

State: Queensland
Vehicle: Toyota Landcruiser GXL Wagon 2001
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About Me

Fingers Crossed is still in post production, but we will very soon include a small excerpt to whet your appetite.

No one will ever convince me that something other than stress brought on my cancer. I was coping with a very demanding job and my stress levels were through the roof. Early morning meetings, late evening meetings, no time to stop for lunch, week in and week out – it’s not supposed to be like that! When I had started in the job some years before I had loved it, every bit of it. Gradually, though, more and more duties were added to my list and more and more I started to hate going to work. I felt overwhelmed with jobs and deadlines. I became terrified I’d overlook something important and find myself in deep doo-doos. Eventually, I called it quits and not long after, found out I had breast cancer. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

When the lump was found, my husband Mike and I were in the middle of planning a guided 4-wheel drive, camping trip across the centre of Australia; and back, of course. The lump was malignant though, and once it was removed we found ourselves taking a very different kind of trip; one that involved chemotherapy, radiotherapy, long term medication and ongoing regular check-ups. The future was unknown and uncertain. We found out there were no guarantees, as all who have had to confront their own mortality will know.

Those months and months of treatment were not an easy time for either of us. I was trying to face up to the possibility that I may soon die and at the same time praying that I would at least live long enough to see my grandchildren grow up. The day after I was released from hospital, my darling grandson was born. He was number five.

Mike couldn’t have been more supportive during my illness. He was wonderful, accompanying me to every one of my treatment sessions, but also worrying about the future. When I finally emerged from the last therapy session, hairless and weak, looking like death warmed up, we sat down and replanned that trip across Australia. My oncologist had encouraged us to travel – he believed it would be therapeutic for us to keep busy and not have time to worry about something that might not happen.

Of course, he was right; worrying was definitely not going to help, so jobless and with an uncertain future we consulted some financial gurus to see if we could afford to retire early and join the grey nomads. It was a stretch, but possible. We put our suburban Brisbane house on the market and went shopping for a caravan. It’s truly amazing how your outlook on life changes with your circumstances. I would never have in a million years believed I could so easily give up my home base, my roots.

I wanted to make the most of the life I had left. Our bucket list wasn’t long. Mike and I had always planned to travel before we died – Australia first and then other parts of the World. So, we got on with it.

These days Mike and I are grey nomads with a passion for travel and fishing adventures. We have put this book together after much encouragement from family and friends who were bombarded with our travel bulletins over the last eight years. That’s how long we’ve been travelling; not all of the time, but a good part of it. During our adventures we have covered much of Australia, concentrating on faraway places in the belief we could do the closer bits in shorter bursts later.

Please travel with us as we work our way through most of Australia on our eight year journey.
Join Date02 Aug 2012
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