16 years ago we bought our first motorhome, a mk1 Ford Transit that was a little damp and a lot out of fashion and delightfully slow. We made her homely, loaded up our 3 children and headed north. Up through the lakes we drove, stopping in Ullswater, where our youngest baffled the others with her need to swim on her back in the ice cold water. We cooked the first of many, many meals with an absolutely stunning view, the children playing, using every single minute of daylight before clambering up into the over-cab bed for the night. It was their adventure, it was magic and yes it was cosy. Up round Loch Lomond and on to Fort William. We were hooked spending 2 weeks on one big magical mystery tour, often getting distracted en route discovering more new places to explore. As life changed so did our van, a self built Mercedes Sprinter campervan. One year our 2 week holiday took in The Lakes, Glen Coe, John o’Groats, The Bristol Balloon Fiesta, and Lands End with 2 dogs, 2 children and their African Land Snails, we’ve mentioned cosy before… There was so much to see, do and explore. The children are now adults and we now motorhome without them. There are so many memories and we continue to make more.
Heading off on Friday night, never always sure where you will end up. You don’t need to go far, just away, for a night or two, an escape. Days where you just keep exploring until the night draws in. Discovering the history of places. There are nights spent in the van listening to the sea ‘til you fall asleep or waking up to bird song and doing it all again the next day. Sometimes being the only people around for miles and miles.
The motorhome is great for festivals and events knowing we can go back to the van for a feet up, freshen up before heading back out whatever the weather throws at us because it’s not all sunbeams and unicorns, this is Britain and it rains...often but those days can bring the most dramatic views and the chance to stop and reflect. We’ve pitched up and realised we’ve forgotten dog leads, can opener, the awning pegs, not all on the same holiday but still we forgot them. We don’t always get along, we’re only human after all but it’s soon forgotten. Tried lighting the cooker with damp matches or had the LPG run out in the middle of winter when all you want is a warm drink? Yes, we’ve been there and done that but we survived and soon enough it is all forgotten.
It is the freedom that brings us back to it time and time again. Not just freedom to explore, to go our own way but freedom from the timetable of everyday life. No rushing around trying to do more. It’s good to slow down, relax and go with the flow. Have a long walk, a quick dip, a late lunch or an early night. Take the shortcut or the scenic route, just wandering and wondering.
So is it for you?
If you want 50 different choices at breakfast and a pristinely made bed each night or you find the great outdoors is just too...well you know, outdoorsy then probably not. But if you love adventure, getting out and about and finding your own way then yes, do it. You might just love it! Whether you’re a seasoned camper, caravanner or simply inspired by instagrams vanlifers, try it! There are motorhomes out there in all sizes, for all budgets and with all kinds of extras. Try a weekend at low season if you’re unsure, it’s not only the most cost effective way to try it but the colours in autumn are pretty spectacular too. What are you waiting for? Hire a motorhome and get out there.