It was July 2009 and we had just returned from the warmth of the Top End. Niki from Channel Seven’s Sunday Night program approached us asking if we knew of any grey nomads that just happened to heading towards the Kimberley region. Niki was doing a story on grey nomads doing the lap of Australia and we knew we had the right candidates for this story.
GNA members Rob and Sue Gude from Victoria were camped on the Daly River when we received the call and it just so happened they were heading west. In fact, every year for the last decade, heading north for the cooler six months of the year has been Rob and Sue’s annual routine.
A quick phone call to Rob and Sue sealed the arrangements after a little hesitation about being ‘celebrity’ grey nomads.
Just be yourselves and I am sure everything will work out fine, I said. But it wasn’t me who was going to be in front of the cameras so I could say that convincingly.
Throughout the filming we received several phone calls from Rob and Sue. The channel seven team and host Grant Daniel were really friendly and fun and had Rob and Sue at ease in no time at all. Rob and Sue were really enjoying this experience of fame and kept family and ourselves updated via the mobile.
There was so much involved for a 15 minute story, marvels Rob. They had cameras in our 4WD, helicopters filming us from above, people everywhere!
The first day I was worried about my hair, Sue laughs. But you know me, what you see is what you get so I got over my appearance pretty quick and wore my daggy fishing clothes when fishing as if the cameras were not there. Rob didn’t have to worry about his hair, obviously.
What questions did Grant Daniel throw your way?
Grant introduced the grey nomad population as a convoy of white vans, thongs and gout tablets doing the big lap of Australia, Sue recalls. I think he managed to sum us up quite well.
Rob remembers the first question from Grant.
Rob and Sue have racked up a decade on the road. Tell us Rob, how did that come about?
She’s got no sense of direction, I’ve got even less, Rob joked.
We’ve got a GPS. I set it on the Nullarbor last year. It said to continue straight for 564kms. When we did the 564kms, it then said to continue straight for another 621kms. Rob mused.
It’s a big mission going around the country, especially when you don’t know where you are going, Grant laughs.
How is life on the road different to life at home?
Our days seem to be so full. We spend our days exploring, socialising, fishing, cooking and Sue likes to paint. At times we don’t even find the time to watch TV. I remember being unaware of September 11 for two weeks, explains Rob.
Yeah, we felt a bit stupid when people would comment on 711, Sue says.
That’s a servo, Sue, Rob and Grant laugh.
Grant asks Sue, You have looked after kids and now you are looking after yourselves. Is it a little bit selfish?
Aaah, no. No! I don’t believe it is because my whole life was my kids and my husband. I feel Yep I’ve done my bit. I look at other people now, the hubby’s are still working and the wives are bogged down minding grandkids every day. Never any ‘me’ time. This is my space, my future and my life. Also this allows us to discover each other all over again. No clocks, no kids, just an unhurried way to discover Australia.
What am I going to do? Die in the rat race? I’d rather die out here’. Rob continues.
We have paid our taxes, housed, fed and schooled our children and they have all left the nest as happy and healthy adults. I’d recommend to anyone and everyone the lifestyle of a grey nomad.