Well hello there, welcome to our corner of the blogging world.
Who are we?
We are a family based in the lovely city of Brighton and we’ve recently discovered the motorhoming bug. We’re off on an adventure around the UK this summer for a month. As we both love writing, blogging and geeking out about motorhomes we decided to chronicle our journey from planning through to execution.
Where does the story start?
We are both believers in the romantic world of jumping in a van and heading away, with home comforts, on a great adventure. Husbandface has always dreamt of a small space on wheels to call his from childhood and I’ve always yearned to head off across the US in a camper van ever since I read ‘On the Road’ as a dark brooding teenager. We’ve been through a tough year, husbandface has been battling with PTSD and depression, signed off work for most of it. We’ve been talking about our dreams, in the times when we can talk to each other, and motorhomes kept coming up. Camper vans have always excited me. My mate Debs had a van conversion when we were in our 20s that I was highly jealous of. My vehicle of choice to drive me to the church on our wedding day wasn’t a vintage car or limo but a VW camper van that friends of ours owned.
After we both got a bit delighted that we finally had something to talk about other than how crap life was right now, we started dreaming. First things off we’d have to test out this new idea. I admit I was less than convinced at this point. Family holidays are a tricky thing to get right.
Working out how to do this as a family.
All my camper van dreams involved me going off on adventures on my own, or possibly the two of us together. We do, however, have 2 small people in tow at the moment and I really didn’t know how family holidays would work in a motorhome. My own family holidays held a rigid structure. We went to a holiday cottage in the middle of nowhere, far from other people and we walked up mountains each day. Northumberland, the Lakes, Cornwall (not North Wales because of the Welsh Nationalists who blew up holiday cottages back in the 80s… er. I think this happened. Maybe. I should check my facts, maybe it happened once and was so ingrained in my Dad’s mind that we never went there again) Dorset and, well, that’s about it. We went, we walked, we came home. I loved those holidays, I loved the grumpy complaining around half of each walk followed by the point where the endorphins kicked in and nature blew my teenage grumps into the wind. I loved the outdoors, I loved walking up mountains, I loved the feelings of achievement at the end of the day and I loved that we lived on ready meals for the whole week, this was Mum’s holiday too you understand.
I still can’t really conceive of a holiday where this structure doesn’t happen. It kind of scuppered our attempts at holidays before children. I would get grumpy that we weren’t conforming to the norm and husbandface would, well who knows what he was thinking, I was grumpy at him.
Kids then came along and ever since I have struggled with the ‘holiday’ tag. Holidays are for rest, reading, walking and mountains. Small children don’t aid many of those things. To deal with this disconnect between the ideal and reality we realised we needed to go away with other friends with kids, grandparents or visit husbandface’s family in Northern Ireland. It seemed like the chance to enjoy time with the four of us where it felt vaguely enriching didn’t really exist.
Why a motorhome?
As a family we really want to nurture a love of the outdoors. There are so many benefits both physically and mentally. We tried the camping with kids thing briefly when I was pregnant with son2. I kind of liked it for a weekend but a whole week seemed like a huge amount of effort and there remained the question: what if it rains all week? What if it rains all week? I know some of you thrive off that challenge but it wasn’t for us. When we started thinking about motorhomes it looked like it might be an excellent compromise all round.
I was unconvinced about a couple of things: the whole turn up at a campsite, then not be able to go to other places without taking your motorhome with you seems, and still seems, a bit odd. I am intrigued about how it’s going to work this summer. I was also doubtful about driving the contraption but for the sake of stepping into the unknown and embracing adventure I wanted to give it a go for a few days in the Easter Holidays.
We learnt lots on that first trip. You can read about it here. It was the first time we had been away for more than a night with just us and the boys. Family time. We loved it. Maybe this was our bag, no sitting around in holiday cottages feeling like we’d just taken the tired party to a different house, but a real change in rhythm, routine and pace of life. It felt less exhausting than camping, with similar benefits. Loads of time outdoors, no TV for any of us, lots of simple food and fun. Obviously we weren’t perfect and the amount of buttons that do interesting things was deeply irritating to keep the tiny people away from. But. We had a break and we had loads of fun. We loved it so much that we came home and bought every motorhome magazine we could find. We watched endless reviews on youtube, we visited a motorhome showroom and clambered around them to see which layouts worked best. We started dreaming of summer adventures and then we got the excellent news that family were willing to make those dreams reality.
What’s the plan then?
We head off for a month around England on the 25th July. We have hired a Chasson Flash 25 from Motorholme, a giant hire company who have outlets all over the UK. Our late start into planning this adventure meant we left it a little bit too late to hire from the local independent hire outlets we wanted to. So far they have been great at sorting things out and we hope that continues.
We are a little bit excited about the whole thing. The call of the open road is strong. The reality may be different. We don’t know what it will be like but we are looking forward to finding out. We’ll be blogging through the planning process, the packing lists, the things we need to remember, the boring bits before setting off and the trip itself. We hope this might be useful for anyone else thinking of heading off for the first time in a motorhome/campervan and we hope it will be helpful to families starting out on the adventure as well. We are also looking forward to having a record of our trip and the sites we see along the way. The more I plan, the more I wish we had longer and the more I realise how much there is too see on our tiny island. Here’s to the adventure, do join us along the way.