The motorhome and camper community is growing exponentially and figures from the National Caravan Council say that this is only set to increase. Life in a camper is incredible and we are loving our full-time travels and have no regrets about our decision to leave UK back in March 2016 or the van we have bought. Although the journey to reach this point was not all plain sailing and we coursed up and down that familiar old rollercoaster.
Seeing so many more adventurers start out on their journey through the Facebook community has inspired us to share our experiences. And so we are pleased to share our First Step Starter Kit for newbie motorhomies.
This free to download Guide covers five essential steps:
Step 1 – A process that gives you a really solid starting point and helps you clarify your needs before you even think about searching for the right van.
Step 2 – Five key questions to ask that will help you prioritise the style of van that will suit your lifestyle.
Step 3 – Research resources to help you finalise your choice
Step 4 – The Technical Bits you will need to ask the salesperson helping you spend your money
Step 5 – The Practicalities that covers essentials like accessories that will make your life easier, insurances and memberships and lessons that we’ve learnt along the way.
And of course whilst you may be at any one of those junctions already, having a reference document might give you a golden nugget that you hadn’t thought about.
We recognise that a Guide like this will only ever be based on our own experiences from our particular journey and others will undoubtedly have their own perspectives and inclusions. Although we genuinely hope that this might help you along the way as you enter this exciting journey.
If you need any support or advice, then by all means drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help if we can.
Having said ‘goodbye’ to Blighty, we are now rocking and rolling with the waves of the notorious Bay of Biscay, which gives me time to reflect on the last six months leading up to our nomadic lifestyle. And what an interesting journey it’s been, with so many lessons. Here are my Top 10 Tips for navigating this period sanely:
1. Time flies
I can’t quite believe what we’ve done in six months. It has been epic when I stop to think how it was only April 2015 when Myles put forward the idea of locking up and leaving Somerset and going travelling in a motorhome. It took me until the end of August, with a little help from my mum, to work through my potentially sabotaging fears and sign up to his vision. In that moment, life turned on a six pence and the months seemed to fly by, even though the waiting often seemed painful.
However far away your D-Day is, watch how quickly the days dissolve. It is imperative to have plans in place, otherwise time will bite you on the bum.
2. Time also drags – especially the last two months
Whilst tempus fugit, there were moments where it felt like we were walking through treacle, in particular the last two months. After New Year we had two months to D-Day. Excitement was building, although each day seemed to have a ball and chain wrapped around its timepiece. I think when you want something so badly, the Universe has a very subtle way of keeping humility ever present.
Be aware that depending upon how you are feeling, time will speed up or slow down in response to your own energy. Just be mindful of this and you will navigate it just fine.
3. Stay grounded – life is now – avoid counting down the days
Myles put a time counter on the website and I remember feeling super excited when we reached 100 days. From this point we could see the light at the end of the tunnel and we began to count down the days. On reflection, I think this is really dangerous. As a Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher, I knew that spending too much time in the future was losing my life in the here and now. Yet when you’re doing something so life-changing, it’s so easy to get caught up in the dream.
So bare in mind that your excitement and expectation will hold you in an empty future – remind yourself to come back to this moment. Life is too precious to waste it wishing for a date to come quickly. We must honour the life that is happening for us right now.
4. Focus on the practicalities
Whatever shape your life-change is taking, there will be a bucket load of tasks to do and even more research needed to bring everything together. The ideal is to have everything in its place so that there is as little noise as possible when you set off on your adventure. We found it very easy to get lost in the dream of what we were about to do and forget the detail that would make it a great experience. And that detail has now paid off.
Being the organised one of us, I drew up a timeline of tasks, which we took individual responsibility for. It’s easy in the wave of excitement to miss something off the list, so the plans help you keep focused and work through the ‘To Do List’.
One a very practical note, watch out for anything that involves UK Government – they always take a lot longer than you think. Our Driving Licences are one such example. You should be able to do a change of address on-line and a new licence issued within 24hrs – unfortunately there are a small number of cases where the system fails. Being part of that ‘Club’, we had to do a paper application, which can take up to three weeks. After a few sobs down the phone when I explained we didn’t have three weeks, the DVLA offered me a high priority department to deal with our request. There is always a way around things, although they often add to the stress load that is an inevitable visitor.
5. Make emotion your friend
The practicalities are easy in many ways – it comes naturally to us as human beings to have a ‘To Do List’. What is perhaps more tricky is the emotional rollercoaster that will stealthily creep up on you and pounce when you least expect it. Change evokes some very primal responses, especially if you are letting go of your home, job and everything that defines you on a day to day basis.
Be aware of your sensitive points – what triggers you to feel unhappy, angry, fearful, tired. If you can go into this period with your eyes open, you will navigate the emotions with dexterity. Listen to your body, your mind, your heart and tune into how they are feeling. The emotions are not to be judged, just understood. Be mindful of your emotions and make them your friend.
6. Work together
If you are making plans with a partner, family or friends, it’s essential to work as a team. Once again, with the primal nature of change, even a good change, we can find ourselves in different places at different times, creating potential conflict.
We had regular check-in points with each other – often in the evening, when we talked about our days and the progress we had made – or not! We always gave each other the space for arising emotions and tried not to fix them. If we became snappy, we both recognised why we were feeling this way and rather than cobra-bate the situation, we simply gave each other space to be, at that moment in time and let it pass.
Communication is key. Talking through where you are emotionally and practically is really important as you navigate these life-changing waves. Whilst they may not be as tempestuous as the Bay of Biscay, they will exist from time to time. Be open, listen, understand, appreciate and support.
7. Learn to let go and release
Locking up and leaving for us was the chance to declutter our lives from the stuff that we think defines us. We’ve done a couple of huge moves in the last five years and yet every time we engage in a clear out, we still seem to chuck out a load more non-essential items. I guess we outgrow household ornaments and clothes, so they’re easy to let go.
Other elements are less easy to release. Friendships, jobs, passions, activities and hobbies that used to fill your life with some sort of meaning. I was holding on to a corporate client from my old life and yet it was causing me all sorts of stress – yet the money was good. In the end, I chose to let that go as the money versus the stress equation was seriously out of balance. I also had a job, as part of my new life, at a local school, teaching children relaxation and meditation. Yet this life-change meant I needed to let go of this and the voluntary work I did at the local Donkey Sanctuary. It was hard, although necessary if we were free to follow this dream.
Be prepared to let go of things that could be excuses holding you back from making your life-changing decision. Whilst it may be hard to do, your dream holds another, more important purpose for you. You can always re-engage with these things at another time. The letting go can be a really cathartic process so challenge yourself around it and then let go some more.
8. Make time for good byes
When we choose a new way of life, we inevitably leave something or someone behind. Ensure that your precious relationships are handled sensitively and with respect. Family need nurturing with reassurance of connection as you leave for new horizons. Although it might feel like lots of time is invested in saying goodbye, it is as important for your friends to have the opportunity to say farewell as it is for you. Whilst it’s not a true grieving process, important relationships need holding with love as you set off on your adventures. Give space and time to them all and work out how stay in touch. True relationships will survive all the twists and turns of life’s adventures and in this period of your life, it will be no different.
9. During tough times, hold the dream
There are going to be difficult times before you reach your D-Day, be assured of that. Our expectations and fears will always throw up hurdles to climb over. If we understand this natural passage of things, then it will be far easier to navigate. When you find yourself stressed, then take time to refocus on what you are doing and why you are doing it. Picture how your life will look and all the treasure that will enrich your lives. Keeping the dream alive is really important when you feel like you are struggling.
10. The journey starts now
Our philosophy is that it is our inner journey that will define us far more than the miles Scoobie’s tyre tracks travel. And we decided at the outset, that our journey started the very moment I overcame my fears and committed to the dream. Every twist and turn is shaping you and ultimately is remoulding the very fabric of your life. Allow this part of the journey to be as meaningful as the eventual adventure you are about to take.
And so I hope these Top 10 Tips of how to navigate the Lock up and Leave journey can help you as you, tread this exciting life-changing path.
‘Make every day an adventure and each moment count.’
You would think that in this day and age, creating a paperless office would be easy. I can categorically confirm that it is near damn impossible. Original hard copies are required wherever you go from V5 forms for your vehicles, original bills of sale in case you need to make a claim on insurance to marriage certificates and birth certificates etc, the list goes on but having had to do the exercise to downsize my office from ‘house’ size to ‘motorhome’ size I can assure you that YOU have too much paper….
De-cluttering is a fabulous exercise that I urge everyone to do right now. The amount of ‘stuff’ I shredded was unbelievable. Utility bills and Bank statements from 15 years ago ( just in boxes in the loft), invoices and guarantees for purchases long taken to the tip.. the list goes on.
I now control my life and my requirement to stay ‘legal’ in the system with an A6 diary and two of these paper folder thingy’s- the rest is stored digitally in the cloud and communication is done online via email/text etc.. And boy does it feel good.
GO ON- Take a look in those boxes and in your filing cabinet and SHRED……
Well, If we had ordered Scooby at the Motorhome Show in October 2015, Mick the salesman from DAVAN Motorhomes assured us that we would be going nowhere for 10 months such was the uptake of orders. But clever Myles and Karen ordered ours in September 2015 and yesterday ( on our way back from Stoke to watch the mighty Potters destroy Man City with consumate ease) we popped in to see him for the very first time… and how excited were we. We actually got the call that he was in in the wednesday last week just as we were headed up north so had to drive by on the motorway and had to wait another 4 days until we could touch, feel and drool over our lovely new home.
The motoroamers have their home. A few alterations and he will be delivered (BEFORE CHRISTMAS). Everyone’s a winner! Just a bit of snow on Chrimbo Day morning and it’s Oh Happy Days!!
Hi, Karen & Myles, The Motoroamers here. We are a fun-loving couple travelling full-time around Europe in Scoobie our trusty camper. We're driven to deliver seriously entertaining travel through our blogs, photography and humorous videos. We hope to inspire you too to travel.