Inspirations. An interesting question. I guess it started in my Dad’s pub’s car park with Uncle Alan taking a brand new Mercedes van and turning it into a camper for an American couple. I was entranced by how you have a house on wheels. I was 14 at the time.
Next I joined the infantry where everything was in small, light packages. We had cut down towels, cleaned our teeth with half a toothbrush and kept spare socks and pants in waterproof bags in our bergens. We traveled light, cooked outside, slept in holes in the ground and mostly got wet and miserable. Uncomfortable? Yes. Fulfilling? Most of the time.
And so, newly married with little money and a small but growing family, holidaying in tents, caravans and finally a camper seemed like a natural choice. But going the step further and trundling off into the sunset in an over-large bergen on wheels requires a greater degree of inspiration. For me, not a natural risk taker, it required precedent. I needed to see that other people could actually make a go of it and not fall over badly. So whilst we were deliberating about breaking clean from school and with the arrival of Doris (the van) I started to look at other people’s blogs.
In some sort of order that I started reading them (I hope they don’t mind but I’ve stolen a photo from each of their sites):
1. Bill and Shirl (ex-RAF I think and now with over 1500 days on the road) – Bill and Shirl’s Incredible Adventure. They seem to winter in southern Spain and come home for the summer. There seems to be a group of like minded souls who get on well, party quite a lot and enjoy the southern European sun. Find them here: Bill and Shirl. I don’t think we’ll be following the same pattern (I’m not sure our livers would cope), but it’s great to see a couple really enjoying retirement and being able to afford to do so. They update their blog monthly.
2. Catherine and Chris – Our World is Our Lobster. They have recently finished a four-year European tour visiting every European country including taking their van to Iceland. I loved their blog which really resonated with what we hope to do (but probably not each country so systematically). It’s a great story which you can find here Our World is Our Lobster. They blogged every week. Catherine brings the trip alive with humour and comment.
3. Julie, Jason and Charlie (their pooch) – Our Tour. This is inspirational stuff from a younger couple who took about two years off to rattle round Europe. The wonderful thing about this is seeing them grow with the experience and, as they both write eloquently and daily with great photos, it was infectious until the end. Well worth a read here Our Tour.
4. Eric and Shazza (also ex-military in his past) – Big Momma’s Great Adventure. I am currently following Eric and Shazza with interest. They are about 10 months ahead of us and have taken summer employment with the Caravan Club. We are very much in their mould as to how we will play things I think. They have already been abroad to Portugal for the winter. Eric, by his own admission, talks a lot and his blog (updated every couple of days) is detailed; but for me seeing what’s what makes it all the more fascinating. Find them here Big Momma’s Great Adventure.
There are a couple of others which I keep a track on, but the four above have really provided the reassurance that we’re not completely mad, nor alone……