Two bags and a yellow motorbike
At 49 years old, I was a manager in a non-profit organisation with a great salary, a company car, a phone and laptop. At 50, I became sort of motorbike riding gypsy, with no regular income. I spent the whole year travelling, exploring and living on an average of $100 a week.
It was a magical year.
I have always loved travelling and started at an early age. When I was three years old, my parents left England for New Zealand, the land of clean, green pastures, rugged hills, and described in my childhood as the quarter acre, pavlova paradise. I feel exceedingly fortunate to have grown up there.
I took holidays to Fiji, Singapore and England in my late teens. I got married in Samoa, and lived there for a year, sometimes staying in homes with no glass in the windows, no flushing toilet and a shower that was a hose attached to a tree branch.
Even when I had five sons, we managed a trip to Disneyland with a weekend In Hawaii and another week in Samoa.
I loved being a mother but my marriage was always hard work.
Finally, just before I turned fifty, and the second to youngest turned 18, I finally realised my marriage would never be any better and moved out into a flat of my own. I left my husband the house and children so he could continue his home based business. He repaid me by taking the youngest, who was almost 12, to Australia.
I love New Zealand and it surprised me to see so many of my friends and family move to Australia. I thought it was just a bigger New Zealand, with koalas, kangaroos, giant spiders and poisonous snakes.
I wanted to be closer to my youngest, so I decided to follow.
Before I could set a date to leave, an alcoholic I met online began to cause trouble for me. He called the police to report me missing and then sent hate letters to my employer. Soon after, I was made redundant from my well-paid job.
It seemed like the ideal time to go to Australia.
Luckily, I had also met a wonderful Australian man while online dating. He was my physical and moral support as I left New Zealand to follow my son.
I applied for a live in role at a health retreat but it was only two days before my flight that I received a call saying I could stay with them while they processed my application. The retreat was not what I expected and the job I applied for never materialised, but is set me up as an adventurer. Once I had made the leap, I decided to continue.
After the generous gift of a motorbike from my friend, I began to travel thousands of miles on my own up and down the east coast and mid-western highways. I took up scuba diving again after a thirty year hiatus and began hunting for geocaches* in remote and diverse spots.
To solve the problem of a place to live, I began to house sit. I moved into my first suburban home with one small bike bag and a backpack and began a new life. I stayed in 15 homes in one year. A dilapidated bungalow in the city, a recently constructed urban ghetto development, a Midwest country town, and several up market homes in inner city Brisbane, including one in a multi-million dollar gated community.
In between, I travelled and explored. I spent a night in a luxury High Rise overlooking the city and many more nights in a pub rooms that were no better than the back of a stock truck. I even slept in a friend’s car.
It has been a wild and adventurous ride and the adventure isn’t over yet.
I have plans to head to Greece, South America and Malta, the land of my birth. I want to visit Spain, Turkey and as many European countries as possible.
I expect to accompany my friend as he sails from New Zealand to Australia and one day I might try International Housesitting.
I have adopted the quote from the movie called Mr Magorium’s Emporium and now refer to myself as a wonder aficionado. While some people find the years when their children are grown are difficult, I love my new life.
I have written a book about my marvellous year and hope my story inspires others to take a chance on a dream and try something radically new, especially in their later years.
There is a whole wide wonderful world still waiting to be explored.
 Geocaching is explained in more detail in my book “Housesitting in Australia – Big Adventures on a Tiny Budget”.
Biography – Nikki Ah Wong
Author of “Housesitting in Australia –Big Adventures on a Tiny Budget”.
Mr Magorium said it best. I am a wonder aficionado. I love life and adventure.
I am a life coach, mentor, house sitter, writer and lifelong learner. I am also a grandmother and the mother of six wonderful sons. I have been exploring the East Coast of Australia on my motorbike.
I am almost ready to release my new book called “Housesitting in Australia – Big Adventure on a Tiny Budget”. It is a story of my transformation from stay at home mother, to a motorbike-riding adventurer. I am very happy and I want to share that happiness with others.
Thanks Nikki for this Gutsy change in your life and for sharing your adventures in Housesitting and traveling around Australia. I can think of several people who would love to start a new life, away from the “conventional” life, and this might inspire them.
To submit your own, “My Gutsy Story” you can find all the information, and our sponsors on the “My Gutsy Story” contest page. (NEW VIDEO)
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