Rob Gray :: ontheroad :: wothahellizat :: wot1 :: diaries :: issue-020


23 Sep 1999

That's right folks, in less than three weeks I'll be unemployed. I handed my notice in last week.

I usually start work a couple of hours before everyone else so, first thing, I placed my resignation letter on my boss's computer keyboard. For two hours I stared at the ceiling and the letter, I nearly lost my nerve and removed it.

Later a co-worker needed to use the boss's computer and moved the letter to the side of the desk. "Bugga", I thought, "he'll never see it there" so I waited until he was otherwise occupied and moved it back to a prominent position.

Then my boss was late into work, talk about prolonging the agony. Anyway they took it rather well once they had determined that I wasn't leaving for another job. After all, it's hard to fight a mid-life crisis.

Here is a photo of my workstation.

I've been staring at screens like this for over 18 years. Will I miss the work? Hmm, how should I put this...


Will I miss the income, bloody oath I will and there will be a transitional period, with little income and the same out goings, that I'm not looking forward to. When I get worried I look at my spreadsheet, the bottom line looks OK so I stop worrying (hope I got the formulas right).

Anyway, while writing the previous paragraph I had a conversation that convinced me (as if I needed it) that our plan is the right thing to do. A year or so ago, while deciding what vehicle to use as the base for our motor home, I contacted a bloke, who we'll call Fred, about his off-road motor home project. We've spoken several times since and I just had a thought that he should be about finished and maybe he would be coming to the next CMCA rally.

So while I was typing I dialled his number. We got talking and sure enough, after 12 years of labour including many dramas, he had finished the motor home.

On the very day that it was wheeled out of the shed his wife was diagnosed with leukaemia.

They wheeled it straight back inside and it sits there to this day, covered in plastic, while they sort their lives out. "It's just convinced me that you should do what you want to do when you want to do it", Fred said "never mind waiting 'till you're 65, you might not make it".

I'll drink to that.

I remember doing a staff development course several years ago and hearing of a survey taken on elderly people with a question something like "Is there anything you regret about your life?". Almost all of them responded that they wish they'd taken more risks. What kind of risks? I wondered, financial risks, emotional risks, physical risks. I don't think it matters, the important thing is to do something that's outside of your comfort zone. I've done a lot of things over the years and, even when they went wrong, it NEVER turned out as bad as I thought it would.

I have been told this first hand by dozens of older people and now I get further confirmation from Fred.

So if you're reading this and thinking "Gee I'd like to do something like that one day" then wake up, buy a bus and bugger off. There may not be a "one day".

12 Oct 1999

There's a panic on at work to release a new product so I've been working back a bit, I was also sick for a while and then we attended a CMCA rally. The upshot of all this is that I've done very little work on the truck of late.

21 Oct 1999

We've just returned from the CMCA rally at Forbes. We had a ball. I was hoping to get our truck to the rally but just couldn't make it, however we camped with some friends of ours who did have theirs.

Below we see Peter & Marie's "Slineaway" on the left and Adrian and Carrol's "Tender One" on the right. Somewhere in the middle at the rear is my FWD.

We spent most of the time at the rally sitting around chatting, eating and drinking. I mentioned to Chris that we had better not make a habit of this when we hit the road or we won't fit into the motor home after a while.

Below we see Adrian and Carrol relaxing in the shade cast by Tender One.

Saturday is open day when the general public can view the motor homes. The big and unusual rigs get a lot of attention and Adrian is run off his feet all day showing Tender One's features.

Some people just stand totally awe-struck by these big rigs. Others don't know what to think. I'm sure most wonder why you would spend so much money on such a vehicle, but those who understand just can't get enough of them.

I overheard some comments coming from inside Slineaway, "...a shower...what a great kitchen...look, a 9 speed Road Ranger...dual cab...this is just what we want", and those comments were from the wife. I guess we may have another truck joining us before long.

I left the rally determined to get stuck into our motor home.