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Motorhome Traveller works very closely with other motorhome and travel enthusiasts across the globe! Here is the first of many ‘Guest Blogs’ we are going to feature on the site. If you want to feature on this page, then do not hesitate to contact me – [email protected] – Thanks!
GUEST BLOG – OUR TOUR
As a child my holidays were spent in a caravan on the Solway Firth, so from an early age I could sleep to the sound of rain on a tin roof. Fast forward thirty-odd years and my husband Jason and I were owners of Harvey the RV, a Talbot Express Motorhome. For two weeks each year we’d head across the channel, with our pampered pooch Charlie, to explore. We’d get as far as we could; The Voges Mountains, Ille De Rae, but like a giant elastic band, we’d stretched it far enough and have to head back – the office was calling.
We desperately wanted to see what lay beyond that two week barrier, so we stopped spending money; well, as much as we could. Every penny we saved we used to pay off our mortgage. It took a few years, but once done we carried on saving, now every penny was going into our adventure fund.
Harvey wasn’t the van for us on a long term trip. We studied layouts, lay in over cab beds and became regulars at motorhome dealerships until we knew the right van for us – a Hymer B544 or B584. In August 2011 we met Dave, a twenty year old B544. Soon Jason was adding LED lights and solar panels to him, as I emptied our house to rent out.
In October we set off. Our plan was to turn right at Calais and hug the coast. We had enough money saved for one year on the road and nothing was going to stop us – not even losing our skylight before we reached the ferry!
France welcomed us with tasty food, cheap wine and free aires and as we passed the furthest point we’d ever been on our two week holidays the feeling of freedom set in. Looking at the distant mountains of Northern Spain jangled nerves. We can’t speak Spanish. They don’t do Aires. Where will we sleep?
Northern Spain, even in wintery rain, is beautiful with plenty of places to stop, if you ask at the tourist office or police station. At the Portuguese border we were a little less daunted and driving back into Spain was a doddle.
As each country came and went; Morocco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherland and Belgium our confidence grew. We updated our blog every day, in return receiving wonderful feedback, hints and tips which spurred us on. There were ups and downs, but each day was a new adventure and we loved it.
Checking our tightly kept budget, which was based on stopping on campsites each night, we found that by mainly sleeping in free and low cost places we had enough money to do another year.
A week back home gave Dave a well-deserved service and MOT, and gave us time to catch up with family and friends. As we set off again we had a bit more of a plan. My Grandfather died in Tunisia during the war. I wanted to visit his grave and send a video to my Dad so he could see where his father rested. Four months later, I did just that. Our trip had taken us through Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Italy. We’d slept on the side of Vesuvius and Mount Etna, I’d had my wallet pinched on the metro in Rome, but all of that meant nothing as I knelt in front of the grave of a man I never knew.
After Tunisia we returned to Italy before camping on board the ferry to Greece. We started to head North, winding our way home via Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Germany and finally back into France, which now felt like home.
In those two years we climbed mountains, played in Saharan sand, learned about the history of Europe, and where some countries are – I won’t be getting my Balkans and Baltics mixed up any more. We met some amazing people, but most of all we learned a lot about ourselves. We also came to love the freedom that you have with life in a motorhome; no alarm to get you up in the morning, your own bed and bathroom, and best of all if you don’t like the weather or your neighbours you can move.
We came home and made another plan. This time to get ourselves into a financial position where we can travel whenever we want. A couple of years later, aged 43, we did it. Our motorhome Dave had been sold while we were working towards financial freedom, so we bought a new (to us) motorhome, another Hymer B544 ten years Dave’s junior. We named him Zagan, which is the Polish town that was the scene of The Great Escape. During 2016/7 we celebrated our freedom with our own great escape, which took us from Nordkapp at the top of Norway to the Saharan sand in Morocco.
Who knows where our next adventure will take us, but that is beauty of our lifestyle.
Our blog – www.ourtour.co.uk
New (to us) Motorhome – http://ourtour.co.uk/home/look-inside-our-hymer-b544-2001-a-class-motorhome-zagan/