It would be three months before we could move from our caravan to a house during a major housing shortage in Perth during the summer of 2012.We had been working and travelling across Australia for several years and when we arrived in Perth after crossing the Nullabor Plain from east to west, we had towed our caravan 25,000 kms. Every single item we owned was somehow packed and stored in our 18 foot caravan and annexe and yes, the cupboards and storage spaces were filled to capacity. We were comfortable living in the caravan and during the next three months we spent time with family, made new friends and secured employment. Workers from various industries and professions live in caravan parks for a variety of reasons, in particular at that time, the crisis with available housing. Every morning and night, the amenities blocks in the caravan park would be witness to all preparing for their day or night at work.
It only took us an hour or two to move everything we owned from the caravan to the new home. After that it was a mad dash around Harvey Norman where we purchased an entire house full of furniture and electrical appliances in just a couple of hours. How fantastic is Harvey Norman’s “15 months interest free” offer. It was a Thursday night and yes the finance company was working late and just waiting for us to sign a contract. On Saturday morning the truck load of our new possessions had arrived and by Sunday afternoon, the place looked like home.
Now we were committed to work to pay for all the possessions we had purchased on credit. As we were both in full-time employment, we felt confident in our ability to pay for everything and continued to buy as each week we worked, we were paid and we went shopping. We got a bigger TV, a better laptop, more linen, a second car, two push bikes, the must-have treadmill plus a gym membership, stuff for the man’s shed and so much more. We had little time for holidays so we made the tough decision to sell the caravan and annexe that had been our home for the years we journeyed across Australia.
After three years in our home filled with possessions, we realised that all we were doing was working and buying – work, get paid, shop had become our way of life. We had completely paid the finance company well ahead of time in order to avoid interest fees and now we were paying cash for every new item. We had the state of the art food processer, 4 different egg poachers, kitchen items which never got used, wardrobes full of clothes and shoes and items we probably forgot we had.
At the end of 2015 we spent some time contemplating our lives and our dreams for the future and we mutually decided that we wanted to return to a life with a difference– something more rewarding, fulfilling, meaningful and challenging. It was time to sell all our possessions again as we prepared for the next part of our life journey.
It took us 6 weeks to sell or give away everything we owned. It was hard work – early Sunday morning markets, Gumtree, eBay, people coming to our home, strangers telling their friends about our sale and soon we were again sleeping on a blow up mattress on the floor, just like in the early 1980’s when we first met. However, this time it was a queen size mattress as now we are older and much wiser. We sold two cars, two bikes, all the items in the shed, half used tins of paint and WD40, 65 coat hangers and gave the local charity shop another 60 or more coat hangers which raises the question, why did we have over 100 items of clothing on hangers? During the years we lived in our caravan, we managed perfectly well with a few items of clothing on about 5 or 6 coat hangers.
As Mother Theresa said – ” you only need 3 items of clothing, one being worn, one clean in the cupboard and one dirty being washed”.
We are still wondering why we owned a 5 seater lounge suite with 4 reclining chairs when in reality we only needed 2 chairs – one for each of us. It is such a throw away society we now live in and nothing is made to last long these days. So many of our possessions which we had only owned for three years were thrown out in the rubbish as not suitable to be sold or given to charity. We were horrified by the number of times we completely filled our wheelie bins in the weeks before our departure.
Finally it was time to donate the blow up mattress to Vinnies as we began our departure from Perth. Now we have just three small packing boxes of precious items in storage with my sister in Mackay and when we left Australia, we each had 15 kgs in our suitcases and a small cabin bag and just one Australian 20 cent coin in our wallet which we have kept for good luck.