A Be Mobile Member Story - Chris Townsley

Jan 29, 2024 3:30pm


Chris the Coddiwompler


To pursue something meaningful brings us joy in life. But do you always need to pursue something with an exact destination or goal?

Someone who has asked herself this question is Chris, one of our awesome Be Mobile Online Members. She is a nomad, doing what many plan to do but never get around to, exploring the world on their terms.

Chris defines herself as a coddiwompler.

To coddiwomple is 'to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination'.

When I asked Chris why she coddiwomples, she asked me “Why not?”.

Can’t the pursuit be the goal, and the destination be wherever you may end up?

As the wise say, ‘the journey is more important than the destination’.

Let’s explore Chris’ journey.




Chris’ grew up on a farm in New Zealand. Farm life was tough. As a child, she was “expected to contribute to the running of the farm … feeding animals, mowing lawns, milking the ‘house’ cow, helping with mustering & docking sheep.” That experience seems a world away from my childhood. I fed the dog every night and mowed the lawn, but mustering sheep… that’s what you call building strength and resilience!

Chris’ sense of independence was already building as a young kid on a sheep farm. It continued to build as her High School report card documented, “Chris has a strong, sometimes trenchant independence of mind”. Some things never change.




I told you Chris was a coddiwompler and a nomad, so I wanted to focus the story on this interesting and unique phase in her life.

In 1998, before it became the fashionable thing to do, Chris moved from the seaside suburb of Bondi to the quiet, quaint town of Tea Gardens on New South Wales’ mid-north coast.

If I were to ask her ‘why?’ I am sure she would reply with ‘why not?’.

True to Chris’ style, this wasn’t a ‘sit back and relax’ operation. She and her partner Tony purchased a 30-acre property and for 10 years, ran a successful 4.5-star Bed & Breakfast. Maintaining a property that big is tough, not that Chris was averse to the hard yakka! Her childhood had clearly prepared her for that.

Deep down, however, there was a coddiwompler yelling out, trying to get some attention. Chris couldn’t suppress it any longer. In 2008, after 10 years running the business, they put their beloved property on the market and planned to buy a van to travel Australia. Unfortunately for Chris, that was the time of the Global Financial Crisis. Their suspicions were confirmed, and the property struggled to get any bites. Six years on, and they were still running their bed and breakfast but with a yearning to explore as nomads.

In June 2014, they said to themselves ‘stuff it’ and purchased a fifth-wheeler caravan, in anticipation of their property selling. Chris and Tony escaped for some short trips, but as the farm wasn’t selling, they were taunted by the caravan sitting in the driveway.




In December 2014, one of Tony's ex-Navy mates had a stroke the week before Christmas. He turned 51 the day after and had a second stroke. He was then put on life support, and sadly died.

In January 2015, one of Chris’ clients from Cootamundra went out for a motorbike ride on Australia Day with her husband. Tragically, a car hit them, and they were both killed. She was 47.

There is perhaps no bigger perspective shift than one that is brought on by grief and shock.

Reflecting on the passing of their friends, Chris says “it made us realise that we're only here once. So we decided to rent our property out and go anyway.”

Right before Tony and Chris headed off for their first big getaway, they “were lucky enough to get a buyer at the eleventh hour”, and so they took off April 23, 2015.




It had been 17 years since they purchased the 30-acre property in Tea Gardens… now all that daily structure of running a business was thrown out the window as they drove away in their five-wheeler caravan.

Chris says she has “absolutely no regrets, except not getting started sooner. It's a great life, and we've met so many fantastic, like-minded people in the last 8 years. They all get it.”

I am also starting to get Chris’ mindset. Coddiwompling allows us to remain flexible and respond to what life throws at us. It focuses on the purpose and meaning in our day-to-day existence.




In October 2020, Chris decided to join the Be Mobile Online 8 Week Fit and Strong Program. Clearly, a local gym was out of the question, being a coddiwompler and all!

She completed her 8 Week Fit and Strong Program and moved onto the Be Mobile Online Membership where three years on, she is still exercising with Be Mobile.

You’d think it would be hard to exercise when you are constantly on the go, exploring out of a 30-foot caravan, right?

Apparently not. Chris is as diligent as any other of our Be Mobile Members, crediting her consistent exercise for allowing her to continue living the way she wants to.

Based on Chris’ approach, here is a guide to being a successful traveling exerciser.


1. Be creative with equipment

Chris tells me, "The SINGLE BIGGEST CHALLENGE is always weights! We don’t have van space nor tare capacity to be carrying loads of weights, particularly when we move. Have you seen the price of fuel?". She doesn’t let the price of fuel stop her. She goes on to say, "If we’re going to be somewhere for a week or more we will fill empty 4-liter wine casks [no judgment] and put 2 or 3 in a green shopping bag. That amounts to 10-15kg per bag. Tony will use 2 x 15kg & I will use 2 x 10kgs. As that’s our weight limit we do pause and tempo squats & deadlifts… a lot!"

So if you are at home without gym equipment, you now have no excuses but to crack on with a strength workout!

2. Utilise the space you have

I assumed working out in a caravan was going to be tight work… apparently not as Chris says. "Many may think that we wouldn’t have enough space to do the workouts … wrong! We have a 30ft fifth-wheeler with one slide out so have more floor space for exercising than some hotel rooms."

Chris and Tony will even set up for a workout outside, squatting and deadlifting beneath the shade of their caravan canopy. All you need is enough space to put your arms over your head and lie down on the floor, so working at home should be a piece of cake!

3. Be active as a part of your travels

Travel can be an amazing time to explore the world and stay active. Chris tells me "the BIGGEST BENEFIT is that we never tire of walking/kayaking as our scenery is different on a daily basis."

Chris wants to travel freely, without physical limitations for as long as possible. You can understand why she wants to be fit and strong when you hear about the amount of exploring she does. When I ask her where she travels, she barrages me with a list of locations from "Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Darwin and remote walks around the base of Uluru, The Olgas, Kings Canyon, Cradle Mountain & several Capes in Tasmania. We do island treks around Bruny, Maria, Magnetic, Great Keppel, Fraser & Hamilton Islands and bushwalk in the Warrumbungles, Lawn Hill Gorge, Litchfield NP, Kakadu, Tongariro Crossing in NZ … ok I’m just showing off now."

Yes she is showing off and that’s because she can. For Chris, getting on the exercise bandwagon was guaranteeing her future independence. Seriously, look at the steepness of the hiking track in the photo above! Below is a snapshot of her wanderlust route so far… that is some distance she and Tony have covered.

4. Make it a habit

Chris is as diligent as any other of our Be Mobile Members, crediting her consistent exercise for allowing her to continue living every day the way she wants.

We often tell our members to think of daily exercise habits just as you would think of brushing your teeth. Chris has taken this advice on board. She says:

"the toothbrush analogy resonates with me. We get up every morning, clean our teeth , have a wash, sweep the floor and get into our workout, and that is regardless of what we may have planned for the rest of the day. Although we do draw the line at a big strength or cardio workout if we know we’re going to climb Mt Everest later that day! Even then, we will still do a warm-up or two."


5. Remind yourself why you are exercising

Chris has seen people close to her lead sedentary lifestyles and lose their ability to be free and independent. Chris is not signing up for that lifestyle. She has other things on her mind. In March 2023, Chris and Tony explored the vast landscapes of Antarctica and South America. The Flinders Ranges and the York Peninsulas are beckoning her to come play. The list goes on, and so does Chris’ daily exercise habit.

Her story invites you to ask what you want out of your own life. Better fitness to find more freedom in your travel? Greater strength to hike those ginormous gorges in the outback? The best part is, you get to choose.




It's funny, when I originally asked Chris where she grew up, she replied, "Not sure that I have, really". She has a cheeky sense of humor, but there is wisdom in her answer. ‘Growing up’ in the metaphorical sense implies a final destination, but Chris sees growth as a continuous process for those who seek it, both physically and mentally, regardless of age.

As Chris puts it, "Age is just a number. I don't feel any different. Age spells life experience." Chris doesn't tie her growth to material possessions but instead maintains a sense of adventure and curiosity for the natural world. She dedicates time and effort to exercise, which helps build her muscles and bones. Her travels provide experiences that give her a fresh outlook on the world, satisfying her thirst for learning and growth.

Chris shows us that no matter where you are, what equipment you have, what age you are, you can become fitter and stronger. Importantly, she embodies a growth mindset. She keeps her mind and eyes open to the world and continues to laugh, learn, and challenge herself.

So where do you want to explore?

How do you want to live your life?

The destination is not that important, but taking the first step in your journey is.

Whether it’s traveling in a caravan, starting an exercise program or booking that hike you have always wanted to do, take Chris’ advice and don’t wait.

Be a coddiwompler and journey with purpose.