Year of travelling solo

Anita Pavey — 28 March 2017

It’s been 12 months since I waved goodbye to my favourite aunt, Aunty Eleanor, or Nona as we call her, as she set off on her first solo voyage following the passing of her husband. It has been a whirlwind year in many respects with plenty of highs and lows to tell the grandkids about.

Starting with the highs, it was an amazing year for travelling. Accompanied by her poodle Zoe, the pair made haste around the country, not unlike the way my grandfather (opa) and grandmother (oma) used to do it. Big transport legs were never a problem and you could be forgiven for thinking they were in a hurry.


The warmth of other travellers was one of the biggest highs. There’s something about the open road that brings out the best in people. Nona rarely spent a night eating alone, as others would extend the welcome mat and ask her to join them.

She took the opportunity to catch up with her youngest son and his family in Gladstone. But despite comments to the contrary, she still made it back to Adelaide in July for Dad’s 80th birthday.

Amongst the biggest challenges for the year were health, equipment failures, pet-friendly stops and technology.

Nona became quite sick after she returned to Adelaide. Doctors initially thought she had the flu and put her on antibiotics. But you could see she wasn’t well. Although not known at the time, that’s when she had her first heart attack! She kept telling the doctors she wasn’t well. Her second heart attack followed shortly after. Fortunately, there was a nurse amongst her friends who resuscitated her.

She has since had two stents inserted to increase the flow of blood to the heart. She is now in rehabilitation meeting other women who have undergone similar procedures. It was only recently that she was advised of her driver licence cancellation resulting from these medical procedures, an outcome she was devastated about.


Paling in significance, computers were an area of great frustration during the year. Nona lost the password to her iPad and therefore all the photos from her trip (taken with the iPad) and those of her late husband and family. This was also a huge loss and took a great toll on Nona.

When it comes to creating passwords, try and make it a keyword you’ll remember. Or tell a close family member who can remind you if needed.

Nona also had some issues with her motorhome. There was no real handover when she picked it up, so she was left high and dry to try and work things out for herself. And when warranty rectification was sought, the dealer could not commit to a timeframe that would suit.

Nona is back on her feet and staying with us in Adelaide. She is aching to get back on the road, but understands she must first recuperate fully.

We remember the homeward leg of our own ‘Big Lap’ and being away from family at Christmas time. Seeing other people around the country sharing holidays with their families reinforces the need to be with family at this time.

Stay tuned for the next update on Nona…

See you on the trails.

Read the full article in Caravan World #560. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!


Travelling Solo trip story aunty eleanor motorhome tale traveller 2017


Caravan Staff