Driving Miss Sadie is a heartfelt blog focusing on Vanessa McQuarrie’s life as a carer and her plan to take her mother Sadie, who has Alzheimer’s Disease, on a road trip around Australia. We’ve been following their story closely, and recently received an update.

“Dear Time to Roam,

My mother, Sadie, and I recently hired a camper van and did a week-long trip from Sydney to the Northern Rivers region. It was a hugely successful experiment and it augurs well for my plans for our big adventure, which I’ve dubbed “Driving Miss Sadie”.

My mother has Alzheimer’s Disease and this was a “test run” to see how she would cope with being away from home. It could have gone either way, because people living with Alzheimer’s Disease are easily disorientated and distressed. Even so, I had an inkling that Sadie would really enjoy a road trip.

I’ve been Sadie’s full-time carer for more than 2 and a half years now and we’ve spent a lot of time doing day trips in and around Sydney. Sadie loves getting out and about and is her most relaxed when she’s in the car.

Though she was a little confused at times, Sadie settled into life on the road. Travel stimulates us all I guess but I was genuinely surprised at how at ease Sadie was in the van. By the end of the week she seemed as if she was almost back to her old self and I was actually quite devastated the trip had to end so soon.

Neither of us sleeps very well at home but when Sadie woke up in the dark van I was right there next to her and I think she felt safer and more secure than she has in a long time. I had some of the best nights’ sleep I’d had in ages, too.

I’d like to thank Apollo Motorhome Holidays for helping to facilitate such an amazing week (especially Melanie at head office). The Time to Roam team were a wonderful source of information and support and we met them and many other delightful people along the way, including the lovely staff at the caravan parks we visited.

Vanessa McQuarrie

Sydney, NSW”

Video: See our interview with Vanessa below