I guess the seed was already there to be full time travellers… A number of years ago my wife Peta and I had spent quite a bit of time travelling around in an Isuzu D-Max with a small slide on camper, when we were frequently on the road producing The Fishing DVD, later known as Fishing DownUnder. 42 DVDs were produced between 2004 and 2016, and as Peta and I did all the location shooting, that equates to a lot of time on the road!
We loved the freedom and mobility of the ute and small slide-on, but we were always conscious of the weight restrictions of the D-Max. Having a camper on the back of the ute, as well as towing a boat, adding the weight of people, fuel, water and all the camera gear, food, plus what you need to travel… we were usually very close to the limit of what that little ute was designed for.
Fast forward to about 12 months ago, when we first discussed hitting the road permanently. I remember the day very clearly. I was living and guiding in the Rockhampton region, and had just had a very memorable day guiding a father and son on the Fitzroy River in the middle of Rockhampton around the top rock bar. It was a great session, 5 barra landed, the biggest fish was a solid 1.28m – a fish of a lifetime for the son.
I arrived home to find a wife with a very unusual proposition – that we sell up and hit the road permanently – she was missing the old days of travelling around, and was too far from kids, grandkids and family. I thought she was joking!
No, she was not, as I soon found out. She reasoned that I was at an age where I could semi-retire, could work on the road… and travelling was something we wanted to continue to do. I didn’t need much convincing!
Over the next few weeks she did her homework and came up with the best solution for us as we would need to tow a boat: A slide on camper that was big enough and comfortable enough to live in permanently for a few years at least, one we could off-load and make a well set up camp for longer periods if needed, but could be mobile as required. That needed a good reliable truck with good weight carrying capability.
We needed a truck that was 4×4 for easy launching of the boat in remote areas, and preferably auto – manual for easy driving on long hauls. After much research and visiting truck dealerships, we decided on the Isuzu NPS. As we would be travelling with our dogs, and as I’ll continue guiding over the coming year, we decided on a dual cab as the best option.
Finding a suitable slide on camper was not as easy as we first thought. It became obvious we would have to custom build one to suit our needs. One with a shower, toilet and well set up kitchen, and a North South bed. (we’re too old to climb over one another in the middle of the night!)
We’d spoken to, and visited a few manufacturers, when mid last year we went to a Rockhampton Caravan and Camping show and met Danny Dragan Voyka from Aussie Roadrunner RVs. We were immediately impressed with the quality and build of the slide ons, and one on display was ideal for our needs, we just wanted a few changes made to suit our lifestyle. Danny was happy to design to our needs and the camper has been ordered and nearly ready to be picked up. We can’t wait!
I admit I’m very lucky to have a wife with similar interests, wanting to take on a new adventure at this stage of our lives. However, I’m sure she is going to enjoy it as much as I will, she always jokes she is part Gypsy! We can’t wait to hit the road, spend more time with our families, check out new fishing locations, and explore the more remote areas of Australia that we both enjoy!