I am a Fitter and Machinist by trade, but have not made a living at this for a very long time now. Over the years I have gained first hand experience with pumps, hydraulics, pneumatics, small engines, sheet metal fabrication, vehicle electrics and I can weld most materials. I like to think that I can put my hand to just about anything these days; but this camper build will definitely be a test of that belief.
I have also worked as a professional ski and snowboard instructor, teaching here in Australia and also in Canada and the USA. That helps in no way with this project, but I have to say that it was a fun job. I did that for over a decade; I do miss the snow…
My last job was as an IT engineer, doing 3rd level support and development for a major government department in Canberra, where we live.
Having IT skills is always useful, especially these days, and it has allowed me design and build this website, amongst other things.
In 2008 I gave up paid employment and became my wife’s full time carer.
I must admit that I do not miss the whole going to work thing, but I do miss having a decent income. Living on a pension is definitely a challenge, that’s for sure; but we are not complaining. Life is for living, and that’s what we are doing. Now we just have to do it on a tighter budget…
One of the reasons behind building a custom expedition camper was to allow the two of us, and our dog, to get away and enjoy some quiet time by disconnecting from this fast paced world of ours. Being “available” 24/7 is not our idea of living a relaxing life. Mobile phones, as wonderful as they are, all have one feature in common; an off button! We like that feature and use it often.
Due to my wife’s medical issues we cannot afford to be too far away from civilisation but we still want to experience as much of Australia as we can. Neither of us are big fans of caravan parks so our vehicle will be designed to be fully self sufficient. This should allow us to go where we want, when we want. The truck, being a very capable four wheel drive vehicle, obviously opens up many other possibilities for travel.
Having a disability should not mean that one misses out on all that our world has to offer. That’s what we believe and how we endeavour to live our lives. If presented with a choice, we prefer to take the road less travelled…
Feel free to contact us, should you have any questions or comments; our email link is in the footer.
Update – May 2012:
In December 2011 Sharon was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Sharon is currently undergoing chemotherapy and the prognosis for making a full recovery is good, given that she found the cancer early.
For about four months very little work at all was done on the truck, as I obviously had other priorities. I am starting to get back into it now, but my available time and energy to work on the truck is still very limited.
I have now resigned myself to the fact that it is impractical to put any time frame on completing this project; it will be done when it is done, not before.
What can I say… sometimes life just gets in the way of your plans.
Update – June 2013:
Sharon finally finished her active treatment for breast cancer at the end March.
It was a very long 12 months for her, with treatments at the hospital required every 21 days. Sharon suffered from a considerable amount of lethargy during this time and she also experienced some minor complications, but nothing major; definitely better than the alternatives of not having chemotherapy and herceptin treatments.
Because of her strong family history of cancer, Sharon has elected to have some further preventative surgeries to give her the best possible outcome in the long term. Later this year she is planning to have a second mastectomy and next year she will have her ovaries removed.
Whilst Sharon recovers from these surgeries it is likely that work on the truck will be put on hold again, as Sharon’s wellbeing has to be my prime focus.
Sharon will continue with hormone therapy (tablets) for the next 10 years, which will hopefully prevent any cancer from reoccurring.
On the plus side… things are definitely looking much better now.
Update – August 2014
Earlier this year, Sharon had her second mastectomy, as planned. The surgery itself went reasonably well, but unfortunately it aggravated her Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), causing her to have serious, uncontrollable seizures. So, what should have been a weeklong stay in the hospital turned into a seventy three day ordeal that involved a considerable amount of pain. When finally allowed to come home, Sharon took about the same amount of time to recover as she spent in hospital.
At the beginning of this month it was back into hospital again to have her ovaries removed. Much to our surprise, Sharon only spent two days in hospital this time before she was released. Sharon is still recovering from that surgery, but so far there do not appear to be any complications, which is a definite relief. With any luck, this should be the last preventative surgery that Sharon will need to undertake.
Again, my ability to focus on the truck has been somewhat limited so far this year, but what can you do? When Sharon is a bit better I am hoping to get stuck into building the camper’s fiberglass composite body. Well, that’s the plan…
Owen & Sharon