Life is one big adventure for this couple who met at a gold mine nearly two decades ago
Originally published as 'You & Me: Jennifer Schauer and Lindsay Pengelly' in QWeekend on May 7, 2022 and reproduced here with permission. Interview by Tonya Turner; picture by Peter Wallis.
How did you and Lindsay meet? We were both working at a gold mine in Western Australia 18 years ago. I worked in admin and he was an all-rounder operating heavy machinery. We’d both been married before and had three children each. One night at a company party he came over and we started chatting. We knew straight away. The spark was there from the beginning. He was a good talker and he seemed genuine, not full of bullsh--, you know what I mean?
What was it like running a convenience store together for eight years? After working in the mines we decided we needed a sea change. My whole family ran businesses, and I used to run a service station in the 1980s, so we bought a shop in Caloundra that was available. We worked 18 hours a day, seven days a week until we sold up and retired in 2015 to go travelling around Australia for five years.
What do you love about caravanning? We love the open spaces, being out in the bush, getting off the highways and going inland off-grid. We’ve got solar panels and a satellite dish, so it’s well set up. We split the driving 50/50 and we love meeting people, chatting to anyone and everyone. We started with a tent, then moved on to a camper trailer, then a caravan.
Why did you move to BlueCare Wirunya Retirement Village? We wanted to secure our future and make our own decisions as we got older. The time felt right to move into our forever home and it’s been the best decision we’ve ever made.
How would you describe Jennifer? When I first met Jennifer we started talking and somewhere along the line I knew I was in love with her. She is a top lady, she is a brilliant woman and how we get on with each other is unreal. It’s something that’s hard to explain to anybody. We like to stir each other a bit too. You’ve got to have a sense of humour.
What do you love about travelling? Ever since I was young I’ve loved travelling and meeting new people. They tell you their stories of where they’ve been and which way to go. It’s a beautiful feeling. I’ve been around Australia three times now and I’ve also been to New Guinea and New Zealand.
Where are you planning to go next? We want to get back in the van to travel to Tasmania again soon. It’s so quiet, there’s no traffic, and you can sit on the beach watching the whales come back home. I grew up on the land and worked droving and mustering before I got into earthworks. I love being out in nature, the fresh air, lighting a fire and cooking outside with the kangaroos and wallabies. Life is one big adventure.
What do you like about living at BlueCare Wirunya Retirement Village? It’s a beautiful place. Because it’s semi-rural we’ve got horses and cattle out the back, you can hear the birds and magpies – it’s a good life. I’ve always liked working with my hands and I do a lot of volunteer work around the village too. It keeps my brain working and it keeps me active, plus I’ve got all the tools I need.