Itinerants, other ways called Wayfarers or Nomads are people who chose to live traveling and working seasonal jobs, like fruit picking, for example. Jobs that ideally suite those people and their lifestyle, as they like to “follow the sun” chasing the changing seasons countrywide. And... Australia is unique country with a lot of space for travel. One can live whole life in this country and never get bored with traveling her from one end to the other, being quite a few thousand kilometers.
This requires, of course, appropriate living arrangements.
For short term tents or swags are frequently used, as they are cheap in comparison with caravan, easily replaceable and don't require special registration, towing and other costs. Most of the time it is, though, a caravan or motor-home. This days the motor-homes are often a veritable road-mansions (for example: a a huge fifth wheeler, road-home caravans and similar monsters). Most of the time, though, people are quite happy with just an old bus, transformed into the motor-home, which is by the way, often quite a bit more roomy and comfortable than an average single bedroom flat, with built in wardrobes, and its micro kitchen with hardly enough room to move in. All such, have, of course appropriate arrangements with power and gas fitted, and all amenities, in various arrangements, inside and outside, depending of the size or rather capacity of the user's pocket.
As in Australia are often visible even very old caravans, fairly cheaply available, with solar installation, big Battery bank on-board and double electric installations, with 12V system (or sometime 24V) alongside with 240V, as the modern power inverters transform the 12V into 240V very efficiently this days, with just a little bit power loss, but saving costs of expensive 12V cable installations, that have to be heavy and thick to be efficient. Today, one can buy solar panels on E-bay very cheap in comparison with the retail pricing – I suspect this days it is so all over the world – and batteries also fall significantly in the price. Therefore, for about 2000 $A is possible to equip caravan, camper-van or motor-home with very efficient power system using nothing but the average household electric appliances, that are a lot cheaper of what one can get in the tourist applications market.
When using the newest LED globes, where one globe of some 60 to 80 LED's gives more light than old 100W incandescent globe used to do, one uses some 4W to 5W of power, DC or AC, as they are available at almost the same price through e-bay. At the price of 17.95.00 $A, I got 5 of them on e-bay. This is true, that I had to wait for a few weeks month for the delivery, but this will serve me well for years to come, and very, very cheap. The lite spectrum is identical with the traditional incandescent globe, and they use so little power that I am not worried to live them on when I leave my caravan for a few hours, as the lightning give deterrent factor to eventual amateurs of other people properties. So far works fine with me, and I never over-drained my batteries.
I use two 105Amper/hours AGM batteries for my main power use, all up = 210 a/h, for lights. For main lighting I use 5m stripe of 12V warm light LED's, with light spectrum of incandescent globe agreeable with my eyes, and two 4W/240V LED bulbs (also warm light spectrum) in both my caravan rooms. AS my caravan had no 12V installation, having been an oldie but goodie, I installed the LED strip myself just for lights, and all the rest of my electric needs I realize by using my 1500W-3000W surge inverter, connected to my two batteries battery bank. I use a fan, lights, laptop, and occasionally TV to watch movie or two. With 210 a/h power bank, I never run in trouble with batteries running out of power. And I like often staying long nights, writing and/or browsing Internet or otherwise working with my laptop. The laptop uses only 30W f power, though, less then the LED TV I have. I have separate 100a/h battery dedicated to my 92 litre capacity fridge/freezer working of 12W installation direct from the battery, with its own 120W solar panel. I use two 120W foldable solar panels for my main power bank, and so far this is working just perfect, with enough power for all my needs. So far, I never run out of power in either my main installation or the fridge set-up.
I cook on camping LPG gas stove, with inbuilt grill and baking facilities, that I purchased on E-bay for just 250.00 $A. Cheaper than many other home appliances, slightly smaller to fit caravans, but just as good, if not even better and more efficient.
I got inbuilt onto the wall inside caravan the shower heater working from the same installation as the stove, but as my caravan is only 16 footer, I decided install my shower as a quickly demountable installation outside the caravan, at its wall. Each time I stay camping for more then one day I fit it there.
Instead of an annex, troublesome to erect and heavy, too, I use quickly set and folded 3m * 3m gazebo, which work just as fine, and I paid for it 165.00 $A together with postage and handling costs, comparing to nearly 2000 dollars needed for the roll out annex, or just slightly less for the traditional one, with all its troublesome fittings, etc. Gazebo appeared to be light, very quickly set by just one person, and just as quickly demountable at moving.
I have small 850W inverter/generator, for the heavier electric jobs, like using the small, old type washing machine, and/or some other electric tools when I rarely need it. I used it only twice in nearly 4 years for recharging my battery bank, as it was for over two weeks very cloudy and raining. The generator used just 2.1 litres of petrol (the tank capacity) for nearly 7 hours of uninterrupted running to power battery charger, fridge and all my computer and all light. In running just my computer and later TV with lights on, I run it ones for almost 9 hours on its 2.1 litre petrol tank. This is quite cheap I reckon. Besides this, I use my genie very rare, occasionally when I do some work with my power tools, and when I need to do washing when far from any locally available laundry, and which is not so very often.
After calculations, that what I had had to spend in power and gas costs while on the Grid, living in the City in one year – and with very heavy saving on using the power and gas - covered easily all my installation costs with none caring any more on saving on power or gas, and still started saving me money in less than one year. Of course. I did all installation myself, as electricians tend to charge quite a lot, and it is just a very basic installation, easy to make by anyone.
As a final outcome, I landed up with old, but comfortable caravan with all amenities that I feared to use while living in the city, but having no more problems now, and living practically a lot more comfortable, with less worries and problems, healthier and a lot happier. And I think, the life is worth it, even if sometime, it can be a bit less comfortable otherwise. Just different lifestyle, but in overall a lot healthier and more enjoyable.