Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why we want to leave OZ and live on a narrow boat

About 5 years ago we started to think about retirement and what we would like to do when we reached retirement age. The first thing we decided was that we actually wanted to stop working full time well before I reached 65, so we decided 60 would be a good age and then quickly brought that down to 58!

We both knew that we would have to find something to do rather than walking along the beach and hanging around in cafes and bars etc; we needed to keep active and do something different.

We considered the 'Grey Nomad' lifestyle cruising around Australia - the only problem being it is a bloody huge country and there is an awful lot of nothing in between something!   Don't get me wrong, Australia is an incredible country with a very beautiful, but harsh, landscape but when you go seriously outback it's all a bit too well....boring. We have both travelled to all parts of Australia so I think we can comment.  So - that was the 'Grey Nomad' angle ruled out!
We are very grateful to have lived her for the past 31 years, for me, and 17 years for Elaine.
We have made a good living in Sydney and, in my humble opinion, it really is the finest city in the world!

Next we considered living and travelling around on a yacht, but that was quickly ruled out as it is very difficult to live on a day by day basis, could easily turn to disaster with cyclones / bad weather and a we would have a reasonable chance of being killed, also we just aren't that adventurous!  So - that was 'Grotty Yachties' ruled out!

Getting married in Vegas
In  May 2007 we ran away to Vegas and got married, we then went to New York  and then Mousehole  in Cornwall, which was just magic. Next stop was an Alvechurch  hire boat  and this was that was the Eureka moment!

Behind Mousehole village

Our Honeymoon boat

So what did we like about the narrow boat holiday  that made us realise that we could do this in our retirement?

1. Stress free living at 3mph and never far from a village, town, railway station, pub etc.
2. Being close to family: Elaine has 2 brothers and 1 sister and I have 5 siblings - plus millions of nieces and nephews, all living in various parts of the UK!   Also, Elaine's step Dad lives in Cheshire and my Mum lives in Milton Keynes.
3. Constantly changing scenery and never knowing what is around the next bend.
4. Keeping active by walking and operating locks, plus keeping the boat shipshape.
5.  Living a simple, lifestyle - cooking from scratch and chopping firewood etc.
6.  Living on a 200 year old system - which we think is like a 'parallel universe' ! (When we did our holiday in 2007, Elaine felt that we were like Hobbits - occasionally venturing out to civilisation and then quickly scurrying back to our 'boat-haven' !

I am sure there are a lot more reasons but that is enough for now.

PS  The retirement age has now come down to 55!  and Elaine is a fair bit under that!


  1. Hi Paul and Elaine. We were lucky enough to achieve retirement at 55, and after many years involved in different aspects of boating, bought our narrowboat, Kelly Louise, early 2009. We love it, but after a 3 month holiday to visit the rellies in Brisbane in September last year, we would like to rent there for 6 months, and live in the UK for the next 6 months, year on year. We also think Sydney is a wonderful city. I did a post about our Australian adventure on my own blog, www.nb-kelly-louise.com. The post is James Cusick's Blog, Peter's story. The best holiday we ever had, - hope to do it again next year with Australian friends we met on the ship.

  2. Hi Peter and Margaret
    That would be the perfect situation 6 months in each country. As we are taking the animals to the UK it's out of the question.
    I'm pretty sure that we will eventually end up back in Australia, but then again.....