Our Plans For The Future

Crisp raw beans in home-made humomus 

Mrs HM and I have made a decision about how we wish to live the last trimester of our lives. It simply is this:

  1. Buy a caravan and suitable tow-vehicle for cash and travel for at least 6-9 months of the year around our beautiful country. Maximum spend A$100,000.00
  2. Buy a small property in rural NSW or QLD to be our base and for the five HM daughters to use/come-back-to as needed. Maximum spend A$100,000.00

This will mean a secondhand caravan and tow-vehicle and a humble country property.....both of which are totally fine by us.  The amount of near-new caravans that come up for sale is just astounding and the amount of affordable rural properties that become available is also very achievable - I've been watching both for nearly 4 years now and know that these goals are doable.

Frying up succulent chicken

If Mrs HM had her way it would be just the caravan and the tow vehicle and full time nomadic lifestyle.....I see the need for a basic base-property in the event of either one of us getting seriously unwell or any of our five daughters needing a place to call home for the short or long term.  Also if the economy goes bad or political unrest hits then at least we have a place to call our own and be self sustaining.

So how long away is all of this?  Well - it depends how quickly the following list of events gets ticked off:

  1. Cash saved for caravan and tow vehicle
  2. All five daughters finish their university (college) degrees and gain employment
  3. Cash saved for a rural small holding
  4. Skills and qualifications gained to support earning potential whilst traveling (very important)
  5. Divesting of all our unneeded worldly goods
Number 4 above has been the topic of interesting conversations lately with us both coming to an initial agreement that we would both complete a Cert IV or diploma in Nursing to give us national accreditation as AIN's.  This would allow us to pick up shifts through Nursing agencies as we travelled.  We have two daughters who are finishing Nursing degrees as we speak who can assist us with our studies too if needs be.  This may be a little bit of a rose-coloured plan, but the facts are unless we have a usable,transferable and portable skill whilst we travel then the plans will not eventuate - simple as that. (Nurses - your thoughts on this plan would be appreciated too please). Both of us would go 'nuts' not working at all and this profession would allow us to also contribute directly back to the communities that we spend longer periods of time at as we travel.

BIG kitchen cupboard declutter today........

.....Mrs HM's on a roll!!
I guarantee this will be sparkling by tea time.

So how long?....well our guess is probably five and a half years to be realistic. We will be both 56 by then.

Are we dreaming, or do you think this is achievable?

Take care folks and stay nice.



  1. Of course it's possible. Anything you put your mind to is :) And there's 2 great minds thinking alike. So go for it I say! How exciting for you both. I also think to have the base home is a great idea for you and your daughters. I would definitely do the same as that's along the lines of what we're thinking of doing down the track but our time frame is 10 years.

    Erika L
    Gold Coast QLD

  2. That's a pretty well thought out plan there, Mr. HM. I don't know enought about nursing, caravans, towing vehicles or the price of rural properties to get an idea of whether it's "pie in the sky" stuff or not BUT I do think that you're a pretty sensible chap and if you think it's doable than it probably is because you will have done/will do the research. 5 and a half years is a long time too so there's always room to adjust and change. Meg

  3. If any one can do it you can, you are so focused.

  4. Wow Mr and Mrs HM, what an exciting plan. Some one to love, something to do and something to look forward to - you have nailed all three. My daughter is an RN and I am so pleased she chose nursing as a career. I have always said to her that as a Nurse she can work in a variety of roles and find work anywhere! I hope the preparation is as much fun as the journey! Lisa J.

  5. It Is doable. I have done it. I am a teacher and had to be registered in each state I chose to work in. Registration paperwork is extensive. I say this just in case there are the same sort of regs in Nursing. I was 49 when we did this. We have a beach house but spend a couple of months travelling each year. Go for it as its a fantastic life.

  6. Nursing is definitely a vey useful skill - especially if you're prepared to work in aged care. I think you could get a caravan and vehicle under 100k but I think a property with a liveable house under 100k might be a challenge unless you go to a mining town (hot and high cost of living). If you could get a deposit saved in the next 18 months would you consider renting it out for a few years and use the rent to help pay it off? Also, have you thought about joining a house sitting website? That way you might be able to get by with a much smaller caravan??? I do love plans - good luck!

  7. You have to have your dreams, you both have to agree and they have to be achievable, how long is up to the both of you, good luch it's fun to have something to aim for.

  8. Hi Mr HM...oh what wonderful plans, I hope to be a grey nomad myself one of these days!

    I don't know a lot about travelling and picking up nursing work, so I don't really feel qualified to give an opinion on the subject, but I do know they are always looking for staff in rural and remote areas. It won't be the sort of work where you could do a couple of weeks here and there and move on, because the costs of uniforms and orientation etc won't be worth it to the area health service, if you could commit to 3-6 months in one place I think you will find it easier to pick up work.

    You will likely have better results in larger areas doing agency work, I'm thinking of Darwin here. But the old catch 22 will apply...no experience = no work...can't get any work = no experience, so I would strongly suggest you rack up a minimum of 1-2 years working as a nurse before you head off!

    Good luck with your plans, they sound adventurous and achievable to me :)

    Oh and another qualification that will always get you work as you travel is your RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol)...just a thought.

  9. After almost 3 years of searching we have just found the right rural property for us in SE Qld. Our goal is to get it ready for us retiring in 2019 when we are 60. Any goal is achievable if you want it badly enough. To live peacefully, sustainably, frugally and enjoy the fruits of our labour - perfect!

    1. Good on you! That sounds so interesting. If you decide to blog about your experience please let us know!

  10. I always believe that things start off as a dream but it's what happens next. I think for you it is most certainly achievable. You have a goal and a clear one at that (tick), you have steps (tick), you have a timeframe (tick), you have it written down (tick), you are both on the same page (tick) and you are focussed very sensible.

    I wish you every bit of success Phil.

  11. We sold up and live on the road permanently in our caravan. The freedom is awesome, the opportunity to meet people there for the taking as is involvement in local communities. Rural people are always looking for help and they need it badly. No 'pay' of course, but a place to park your van, sometimes the ability to plug into power and sometimes meals as well. Plus the satisfaction of provided much needed help.

    My hubby also wanted a 'base' in the beginning to "come back too". I said "what for" and he really couldn't answer the question. Then he said "what if I get sick" to which I replied, "drive to the nearest hospital, open the door and let me out and then go and park the caravan". I said that our caravan becomes our 'base' and that is where we go back to. In fact we don't refer to our caravan as a caravan, but 'home'. So if we go somewhere , we always go 'home' afterwards.

    Living on the road is different to traveling on a holiday. We stay in one place much longer, to get to know it a bit more and support the local community by buying our food etc there. So we agreed not to have a property somewhere and never want to live in a house again. We just have holiday homes all ever the country:).

    Do your homework regarding vans and tow vehicles, in particular to the weights and what they mean. There are many out there who are overloaded and if they have an accident their insurance will be invalid. Make sure you know what the GCM of your tow vehicle and van will be because it is very important and should not be exceeded.




    You will never regret your decision

  12. Of course it is doable. You are focused and have the plan and now it is getting it into place. 5 years will not take long to pass. We have been looking at houses here in NZ ( not the cities) and found a town about 1 hour south of where we live and the houses are cheap BUT the rates and the electricity charges there are triple compared to other centres where the houses a more expensive.

  13. How exciting! I think if it's a plan that you really want, then it is possible. I would say the number one priority is to take care of yourself and your health. Nothing like bad health to derail dreams. My DH would be like Mrs. HM and would go on the road all the time, I'm the one attached to my garden and the place I call home. So, I will be curious to see how your nomadic life unfolds.

  14. It is totally achievable. We have nursing students do their initial student placements where I work. The big majority of these students are mature age in their 40's and 50's. You may want to take into consideration that you would need to do work placements as students and the placements need to be done during the course of the study This can mean two to four weeks of practical placement two to three times over the course of the study (meaning you would need to take leave from work). The other thing to consider is the physical needs of the work - long periods of standing/walking, assisting patients to mobilise into and out of chairs and beds and rolling them into another position in bed. A physiotherapist can give you great instructions on how to do these tasks without causing injury to yourself.

  15. I also think you can swing it with the humble country property. There are plenty of places where people have their holiday shacks where they go for fishing etc. when they are on holidays; and others who have vans and use their shacks (I use the term shack to describe a humble secondary abode) to come home to. You could travel in your van and when you return to your homestead spend part of the year renovating and adding to the shack. IF you did an owner builder course you could do the additions yourself.

  16. it's a brilliant idea & a doable one at that, you both sound like you have been planning this for some time already. though do give some of the camper vans a look over too, some are totally tiny houses.
    i do think a home base is a good idea, even if it is just for the daughters to live in as then there is a place for you to come back to plus you have your precious organs to store.
    i'm someone who does not travel well, i prefer somewhere to 'come home' to. sure i go for a weekend away or a week but at the end of it i'm itching to come home.
    good luck with getting the savings done
    thanx for sharing

  17. I hear you loud and clear. This is our dream too Phil.

    We are practicing grey nomads and are fortunate enough to already own a land cruiser and caravan (all paid for). The van is smallish but we managed really well on our practice run up to Darwin and back.

    I love hitting the road and would do it full time if I could, but sadly I have to wait for a few more years yet (that's if I want hubby to come along lol). We plan to sell our home when we finally take the plunge and as Gail and Nick said our van will be our base :)

    We are road tripping tomorrow from here to Sydney (a BIG drive) to visit our daughter and I am quite excited. We are not taking the caravan this time, as we are only away for just over a week. So it will be quiet on my blog until I get home :)

    Do it Phil! You wont regret it!


  18. I got a flutter of excitement reading your plans. I love hearing about folks who think outside of the boring old square, make plans, and proceed in a totally different direction. I went to live in another country, alone, when I was in my early forties, and so many people thought I was brave, but I was just keen to experience different things. I dream of doing more travel around this great country, so I'm also a little envious of you, but I wish you well with all of your fantastic plans. A lot of people in their 40's to 60's in our area are studying Aged Care, and within just a year they're qualified to take on clients. I too would probably want a little simple dwelling to return home to. Great plans, and so much to look forward to.

  19. I am sure that between you your dream will become a reality and that you will also enjoy the journey getting there.

  20. I don't see why you can't do it as your plans seem well laid out. Lol, there's a stop over here, whenever you hit the road, and lots of things to do that we haven't had enough time to participate in yet.

  21. Quite doable. As you know we did. Took us 4 years to rearrange life, money and have the kids independent. I was 54. K was 58. Never regretted a moment of the journey.

  22. I am an RN in Ontario. I graduated when I was 52. Part of the reason for me choosing a nursing career was due to the fact that I was going through a divorce and needed a job that could sustain me financially. Nursing is not easy. I work as a full time staff nurse in a hospital in a smallish city (pop. 63,000). It is long days, and long nights. 12 hour shifts. I'm up at 5 am and back home at 8 pm. The movements from nights to days are very hard. Realize that when you have to sleep (during the day to make up a night shift) all people need to be on board to let you sleep, including your animals. It is a very rewarding career. I have now worked full time for 7 years, and I do hope to retire at 60. You never stop learning as a nurse. I still go to school,; I'm getting my geriatric certification. My hope is that I will continue to work after 60 with the geriatric population. As we all know this demographic is increasing exponentially. Today's new culture about looking after older people is very different from the past. Nursing is fantastic. If I can do it, anyone can. Have your girls check into travelling nursing for you at their college/university, so you know ahead of time what requirements are needed. Here in Canada there are nurses who travel far north and look after first nations people and Eskimo's in the far north. They receive travelling money and extra money for being far from home, including winter gear. Congratulations about your choice.

  23. See that Christopher Vine jug in your kitchen declutter photo.....I bought one yesterday! Deborah

  24. All of these plans sound absolutely terrific Mr HM...and I'm sure they will come to fruition for you...you obviously are a great planner and thinker so anything is possible. Planning to get skills so you can work while you're on the road is also a great idea.

    The only thing I would suggest regarding a van and vehicle to tow it is this: Hire them first and spend a few weeks on the road to make sure you're going to like it!
    We have friends who sold up everything, bought a van and car to pull it and took to the road. They lasted a few months and then decided it wasn't for them and wanted to come home, but couldn't get back into the property market. I know that isn't your plan but, if you haven't been on the road before it's best to "try before you buy". You may find you absolutely love it, or you might think that that $100,00.00 would be better spent. You can buy a lot of cheap air tickets and stay in a lot of motels for that sort of money

    Love reading your blog by the way and I've had great success with your soap recipe.

  25. It is doable, we moved to our NSW retirement home full time after hubby retired just over 2 years ago.(we had purchased the property cheap about 10-11 years previously and travelled....
    We were 56 and 60 when we moved full time.
    We committed 2 years to renovaTions and set up (probably realistically will be 3), bought a second hand caravan and are nearly ready to do some longer trips. It has been a wonderful jpurney I wish you and Mrs HM all the best.

  26. I meant to comment on this earlier this week, but I've been working all week long and my shifts of been crazy! One thing you might want to bear in mind, is that before you can be a travel nurse (at least in the United States) you have to work for a year at the bedside at your home location. So, factor that into your timeline. One other thing to consider, is what type of nursing you do. I'm in ICU nurse. That requires more brainpower but less physical labor than a lot of other types of nursing. My husband is an OR or theater nurse and it's the same way. It's very fast-paced, but requires less heavy lifting and less physical labor than med/surg nursing. If you have any other nursing specific questions, please feel free to email me. I would be happy to answer as well as I can. I know the healthcare systems are different but the actual labor of nursing is much the same anywhere. I hope everything goes great for you and I really enjoy your blog! (I'm sorry if this comment comes out looking weird or with typos. I'm having to voice text while I drive.)

  27. Phil,
    I thought of something else that might be relevant to you. At least in the states the hospitals that use agency nurses tend to be large hospitals in larger towns and cities. Small rural areas and doctors offices tend to have their own hired staff. So, if you're not wanting to stay near enough to drive into those cities it might be an issue finding agency work. Of course things may be different where you are. I'm not exactly sure how it works in your country. I'm in Texas in the United States. Another issue here, is licensing. I have a Texas nursing license which is good through reciprocal agreements in quite a few states. But there are other areas I would have to do the paperwork and take the time to get a license for that state.

    Because my state is one of the hardest to get a license in, I can usually get one in whatever state I want to go to but there's paperwork that has to be gone through and that causes delays. I hope this helps!

  28. We have similar ideas about the future as hubby and me would like to live in an RV and travel too. Never thought of a home-base but might be a good idea. Generating some income is the problem of course so still working on that one.

  29. I did a lot of travelling when young, and cannot imagine living that way in retirement. But every person is different, and therefore, how everyone chooses to spend their golden years, will be different too. But I hope to share some tips, given my experience.

    In the light of recent events, and given the fact we dodged quite a few bullets, while travelling in the top-end of Australia, ourselves - get to know the area, you're travelling to, and be selective in the times you visit. Don't be caught up the top end, during cyclone season in a caravan. Know which roads to avoid during the rainy season, as you can quickly become isolated, and may have to risk crossing a flooded road, to get to supplies. Which is really dangerous, and potentially lethal. Avoid travelling to coastal regions during storm season, and winter - where winds can threaten to blow you off the roads. Avoid staying too long in coastal areas, or your vehicles will quickly succumb to rust from salt exposure.

    Take a vehicle with a lot of clearance (ie: 4WD) as it can get you, and your caravan, out of a sticky wicket. I was only young at the time, when we travelled, but we seemed to always be forking out money for parts. Something was always breaking down, when using the vehicle so much. I don't know the prices, but it seemed travelling came with the groan of parts, quite regularly. So you're going to have to bank on that, above your planned $200,000.

    Another thing to consider will be the price difference of petrol. A lot of the places we travelled to, the price of petrol could be up to 3 times as much as the recommended price. A lot of "out of the way" places, people want to visit, comes with a huge mark-up, not only on petrol, but on basic supplies too. So storing petrol in sturdy Jerry cans, will become necessary. I don't think people tend to factor the cost of petrol in, until they realise how much they're forking out.

    So you'll be forking out regularly on the cost of petrol, and places to park the van, while also paying rates on your house in the country. It's doable, but have you sat down to crunch all the numbers? I know I'm sounding like a wet blanket, but I just wanted to give you some reality checks, to investigate further. Nothing worse than being caught by surprise.

    I'm of the belief, you should do what you want to do, against the odds anyway. But it doesn't hurt to know what you have to plan for either. :)

  30. That sounds so exciting and I think totally achievable. If you want something enough, you will push harder to achieve it. I agree with the need to have a back up property. I would feel too insecure being totally nomadic, although I know people who do it and love it. Look forward to watching you push towards this goal and head off into the wide blue yonder!

  31. I reckon you can get a good quality car and caravan for less then $100,000 then transfer the rest of the budget into a rural property closer to a decent town. Being near good medical facilities in the final trimester of life is a necessity, if this is the final home your planning to be in. Also a small home for $100,000 on acerage sounds wonderful, but it will mostly likly need work. So dont forget to leave a renovation budget. Somethings cant be avoided, and things often break as soon as you move in when you buy an older property! I dont know why, it just seems to be the case.

    I know the kinds of properties your looking at, we too look. ;)

    Nursing is a good job - a cert 5 to work in aged care as a carer is a good starting point, which allow you to work while you finish a diploma or degree. Agency work can be hit and miss. It depends on the state and the period the health care budget is going through. There are times in SA at least the hospitals budget is in dire straights and they put a cap on hiring agency, and put pressure on the staff to pick up the slack. (a terrible strategy as the staff burn out, leave nursing and they have a big hole to fill and madly re-cruit again, using heaps of agancy, blow the budget and the cycle is repeated, but you know to avoid that would require foresight....)

    But, if your willing to set up shop in the towns there is reliable work, save for a bit and then move on till you find the next place I would say it is most likly doable. Having a good, soild, reliable relationship with your agency will help you out immensly. Being willing to help them out when its not ideal with place you in good stead.

    I wouldn't want to come straight out of trining into agency work. To sit at one place and really cement your skills and learn the ropes is a must I think for a couple of years. To be mentored, grow confident learn how to deal with dangerous/difficult situations correctly and so forth. Nursing can be wonderful, but ot can also put you in the face of some pretty confronting, heart wrentching, difficult situations.

    Many blessings as you consider the next stage! Dream big!


  32. Your plans sound exciting, but I wonder if you have considered just how much you are going to want to spend time with any future grandchildren ( at least that's how I feel). I am so blessed to spend time with mine at least a couple of times a week or more. Something to consider ( or not!). Plans can always change anyway...

  33. Hi I have had a base and lived in a caravan full time but after twelve months bought a cheap base about an hour from where family are. I also tired very quickly driving the hour visiting family (visiting grandchildren and elderly parents) when then sold up and now living back closer to family. Our present home is very small but I am happy to call it home.
    Re work, I think people have mentioned house-sitting, and volunteering on farms and blaze-aid.
    I always thought I could live on the road permanently (no rates, house insurance no electricity bills) but I found it wasn't for me. My husband still talks about the nice home we had and still says we should never had sold it. Maybe rent your existing home out before selling it and try the lifestyle before selling your home.
    This is from someone who has tried it, but we meet many people who love living on the road full time. You can only listen to what people say and judge for yourself.
    Melinda (SEQld)


Post a comment