Living Life on the Road

the motoroamers

Living Life on the Road

As those lovely Roman chaps used to say, ‘Tempus fugit’ – and you know what?  They were right, time really does fly.  I can’t believe where the last year has gone; a whole twelve months has past since we embarked on the biggest week of our lives, EVER!

From the humble and yet inspiring beginnings of a Silver anniversary road-trip in New Zealand, we packed up our belongings, said ‘goodbye’ to jobs and handed the keys back to the rented house we had called ‘home’ for four years.  We stuck two fingers up to conformity, leaving behind what society classes as normality – after all who wants normal when you can have adventure and a life on the road?  I get that this isn’t for everyone and, if truth be known, four years ago I would have said that it wasn’t for me either.  Yet we’ve never been scared to do things differently and boy, this was seriously different.

So on 4 March 2016 we left English shores for our European road trip, yet as we said au revoir to Plymouth’s port, little did we know how life on the road, with our trusty chariot Scoobie, would change our lives, possibly forever. Read more about our pre-road trip preparation and tips here…

As I look back now, on the cusp of our first anniversary, I’m wondering how appropriate it is to celebrate this landmark. Is it with champagne? Is it with a meal or do we simply acknowledge with a huge amount of gratitude how life has unfolded for us?  The latter certainly seems like the only way to mark this significant date.  No doubt we will reflect on the months that have passed and reminisce over the ups and downs of our nomadic life and the people we’ve met along the way.

Although the thing that will hit us the most will be the lessons we’ve learnt, and are still learning, as we meander our way through this new lifestyle.  So, what are those lessons?

Here are our TOP 10 Lessons from our Nomadic Classroom.

1. The first is, how fear can take over your dreams.  Fear of what others might think, fear of what could happen in the future or fear of how safe you will be in a strange country.  Fears so big, that if not addressed can consume you and hold you back from living the life you deserve.  Realising that fear is only a self-constructed thought can release you from its grasp and enable you to live your dreams. We challenged each fear and looked at them with logical eyes and common sense.  We worked out the likelihood that those fears ever materialising and generated contingency plans should the worst ever happen. Once you strip away fear’s power you fly free. See more about overcoming fear here…

2. Have the courage to be different.  Conforming to society’s expectations can be a comforting blanket to be enwrapped by, although this has its limitations, especially if your wanderlust is calling. We came to the conclusions that however others may judge us, this is our life, our dream and life is too short to accommodate norms that no longer fit your dreams. This is our time to fulfil our potential.

3. Remember this isn’t a holiday, this is a lifestyle.  For our first three months, we grabbed at everything; visited every UNESCO site there was and ticked off Natural Parks, cathedrals and cities as though they were going out of fashion. We soon realised that we needed to evolve from tourist travellers into nomadic travellers if we were going to stay sane. So stopping in one place for more than two nights became an important ingredient in our adventures.  You don’t need to see everything all in one go. Hopefully there is always tomorrow (finger’s crossed.)

      It’s all about balance.

4. Balance is important – learn the art of stillness and movement. Our first six months was a lovely yet a busy period as we not only settled into a rhythm, we committed to seeing friends and family. We hadn’t quite got used to creating a kinder schedule for ourselves. We soon realised that travelling is tiring and needs respect. Whilst we have no regrets of any one of our visits, we could have been more mindful of our needs and stresses. In twelve months we’ve covered nearly 13500 miles and 10 countries during that time, which is phenomenal.  Although at the other end of the spectrum we had five weeks at one place in January, which had us itching to travel again. So finding a balance between being still and smelling the roses whilst travelling to a new ‘home’ is really important and has taken us a year to work out.  And we think we’ve finally grasped it, although I’m not sure you ever get it ‘right’!

5. Embrace simplicity.  I’ve never been a Madonna – material girl, although Myles might disagree with the number of shoes I’ve brought with me.  Yet we’ve stripped back a three bedroomed house and fully functioning kitchen to all the bare essentials for our 7.5 metre space.  And there’s absolutely nothing we want for – at all.  Although what we have learned is to be creative with the resources we do have, be inventive in how we store things and embrace simplicity.  We cook more simply, we live more simply and we dress in a way that feels comfortable.  We regularly stream-line what we have by doing a bi-annual cull – anything not used or worn during that time is recycled.  A number of my shoes have found themselves back in my mum’s care because I hadn’t worn them.  Life on the road demands simplicity and it’s such a lovely value to embrace as it brings so much more peace to daily life.

Wild camping in Playa de Carolina, Aguilas, Murcia

6. Wilding versus campsite.  Over the last year we have done a fair bit of wild camping, although not as much as I thought we might.  I’m not sure it was anything to do with confidence or safety – perhaps more to do with internet connection and a decent signal so we could work. Sometimes it depended on the country, for example Slovenia and Italy don’t encourage wild camping, so places are hard to find.  There are some definite periods during the year when wilding is a ideal; Easter, July/August (when campsite fees are crazily expensive and you can’t use ACSI) and January/February when lots of us ‘snow birds’ are looking for some winter warmth.  In between, we’ve found a rhythm that gives us a bit of wild camping and then a top up on a site so we can juice up, do washing and get some good wifi.  Don’t miss out on wild camping though, as you get to meet some amazing characters and the sites do just what they say on the tin; wild, wonderful and warming to the soul. Read more about our life on the road perspective…

7. You can have harmony in a small space.  Who would have thought that two people (or more in some cases) could live harmoniously in such a small space.  Whilst we have met people for whom it hasn’t worked out, as it has put too much pressure on their relationship, for us we are stronger.  We have found a way to live, work and move around the van such that it doesn’t invade each other’s space and we regularly talk about how we’re doing and iron out any frustrations.  Of course during the summer we have a whole ‘outside’ space to luxuriate in.  Winter can be more compromising, although we have baggsyed our own ‘office’ space and we have a couple of rules like, only one person in the kitchen at one time and always make the bed.  Otherwise we are so pleased at how well we flow, even after nearly 30 years together.

8. Be a gracious teacher and student.  We came into our road-trip with a little experience of owning and travelling in motorhomes before.  Although having a holiday or short-break to living full-time are miles apart and we never underestimated the transition we knew we would have to make.  So we studied, researched and honed our skills before we left and soon realised how much more there was to learn on the road.  Like to how fix a punctured toilet miles from anywhere and getting off wet ground, even with grip mats.  We really do feel like every day is a school day.  Although it’s lovely to talk about our experiences and choices with others, if they ask.  We love to share and receive and we have adjusted so much of what we do based on other people’s experiences.

 Root yourselves not in one place.

9. You root yourself wherever your tyres stop.  One of my worst fears before we embarked on our nomadic journey, was not being rooted in a home that I could call my own.  I’ve always been a home bird and loved coming back after a holiday.  So how would I cope not having the security of a roof and four walls?  This has been my biggest revelation of the whole year really.  Roots are not in bricks and mortar; roots are wherever you stop for the night; roots come from your own feet and not from an address that you can return to.  Scoobie is our home and he provides our roots and our routes.  And although we’re loving this now, it might not always be this way – so when or if that time arrives, then we will create new roots, in a new way.  As Paul Young sang way back when, ‘Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home.’ Let go of roots and your freedom to explore expands exponentially.

10. You never really escape the system.  And finally, one of our biggest lessons that we learned early on was, although we had chosen to move away from what we call The Matrix (which contains all the ties, rules and regulations of life in the System), actually it’s everywhere.  You never quite escape it completely. If, like us you still have a property that you rent out for income, then there are still landlord issues to deal with, bank incompetences, tax issues to sort out and rules that still require you to comply to some degree.  So if escape is the thing you long for most, then the harsh reality is that you can’t.  The quicker you realise this, the more freedom you will gain ironically. Stress still exists in our lives, although it is only ever self-induced.  As long as you still have a NI number you will always have some ties and links to the System.  That said, the hoops you have to jump through are significantly reduced, and now our stress, after years of depression, debt and anxiety, are at an all-time low.

So how would we sum up our experiences over the last twelve months?  Although perhaps over-used, life changing definitely feels an appropriate phrase. We had a dream, overcame fears, worked together to make it happen and feel grateful for every moment that we are blessed to enjoy.  And we can honestly say that we are happier than we’ve ever been thanks to those courageous actions and a whole heap of support from family and friends.  We now play hard, work hard and live well, giving life a good old workout.  We cherish every moment and each moment inspires us to keep on trucking. May the next year be equally blessed with health, adventure and happiness as we continue our exploration of eastern European shores.  We hope you’ll join us along the way.

For support if you’re thinking of hitting the road, why not check in to our Motoroamers’ Chat Room on Facebook. It’s the friendliest group in town.

Published: March 03, 2017


  1. Dave green

    I must admit when I first watched one of miles’ s videos I thought this blokes a tad nuts! 😂 But I’ve got to say I’m quite endeared to him now.
    Your doing now what we are working towards in 9 to 10 years time. The questions are endless but the most burningly obvious ones are how do you fund the life?you mention work?
    So envious I’m turning green.
    We spent £105k on a van last year that’s got 3000 miles on the clock and makes us sad looking at it. I’m 46 and the wife’s 28.

    • Myles Davies

      Hi Dave, I’ll take that as a compliment 😃. In answer to your question we live off investment income ( property rentals and stocks and shares) and some book royalties.. No not me, I can’t write for toffee, I just do the videos. We’re just starting to turn over a small income from advertising on the website which just pays the cost of the website at the moment but it all helps balance the books. We spent 10 years working towards ‘this’ not knowing exactly what ‘this’ really looked like until we got here but glad we put the extra shifts in.

      Enjoy your van as much as possible. Hope to meet you out and about some day.


      • Dave green

        Your certainly an inspiration myles. Keep up the dream. And a happy traveling anniversary to you both.
        Looking forward to the next video diary post. 😂
        We’re taking August off in the van and undecided on Scotland again or Gibraltar to the wife’s family.
        It would be great to meet you and bombard you with my questionnaire 😂
        Anyway back to the rat race!
        Stay safe and enjoy. 👍🚍

        • Karen Davies

          Keep in touch with where you are Dave, yes be great to catch you for a beer or three. Kx

  2. Michelle - Going Nomad

    We are 3 months into this same lifestyle and would agree with everything you have said. It is not all a bed of roses and we have limited resources, but we do make it work. Once you learn to live with less and surround yourself with experiences rather than “things” you experience the real joy of this lifestyle. On the negative side it has been another miserable day in southern Spain and we have discovered a leaking window beside the bed! Oh the joys 🙂

    • Karen Davies

      Fabulous Michelle. No, you’re right it’s not all plain sailing, although nor is living in a house in UK. Just a difference set of challenges to face with much less stress. We’ve got rubbish weather too – where about are you in s. Spain. We’re in Cabo de Gata making good use of free wifi whilst the weather improves, then off to wild for a week or so. Hope you’re window leak gets resolved soon. Kx

      • Michelle - Going Nomad

        Hi Karen. We were in Cabo de Gata a few weeks ago and spent a few nights in Isleta and San José. We have continued south and are now in Cabopino awaiting on a package. Once it arrives we are heading to Ronda and then through the pueblos blancos. Are you heading north again soon for Greece?

        • Karen Davies

          Hi Michelle, I hope today’s better weather has improved your leaky window! Now the wind has died down, we have moved down to Isleta and got front row seats. Lovely area. You’ll love the pueblo blancos, especially Grazalema, which was so beautiful it made me cry. There’s good free camping in El Bosque, Grazalema (although it is a bit noisy first thing) and Ubrique, (although finding it is tricky with narrow streets). Rhonda is also stunning and there’s a good campsite there – saw our first Flamenco there – very moving. Our plans are to have a week in and around Cabo, heading into Tavernas and the mountains before heading east back to Denia for Las Fallas weekend 16-19 March. Then we wend our way to Barcelona for our ferry on 4 April. Greece here we come, really looking forward to it. If you are heading north, don’t miss Monfragüe National Park, which is by Caceres, north of Seville. Beautiful park with vultures, black storks and eagles. Well worth a visit. Have fun. Kx

  3. David Nolan

    Great read, like you have taken time out to explore, one year in Spain and now taking the long way home. It has been a real lurch to move in a direction. For the year in Spain we zigzagged our way around. Now heading home can become a strain.

    But life in a Motorhome does centre you. And we have loved it like you. Hope you continue to enjoy and thrive on your journey.

    • Karen Davies

      Hi David, yes we’ve been following your GreyGappers and Sardina. I think we just missed each other in Los Pinos. I can imagine going back is a wrench, I can’t even begin to think about it and for now, we don’t have to thankfully. Thanks for your good wishes. Steady trip back and see you out here again one of these fine days. Kx

  4. Tina B

    Hi Ms Moneypenny and Rainman,

    Thank you for such a fabulous summary of the past year, it resonated with us so much as we can identify with many of your thoughts and observations.
    We sold our house, brought our great MH 18 moths ago and haven’t looked back.
    We haven’t as yet been over the water, there was and continues to be so much of this country I hadn’t seen. And of course life happens which as caused some delay(my poorly mum).
    The idea of doing this came to me one afternoon in work, like a light being switch on and the realiseation that there must be more to life than sorting out other people’s mess.
    Although I had always been the quirky one in our group I had always done the sensible thing and worked hard to pay my way. So for some I don’t think it was such a surprise but for others our change of life causeda bit of a stir. Good job I don’t worry about what others have to say unless they are important to me!
    We have been back in our home town for a month now, getting our MOT dentists GP etc and the dogs jabs. I am so desperate to be off again, can’t wait to see what awaits us on our next step.
    Depression and anxiety is something that has bothered both of us at times and therefore how good it is to be able to be free of that part of our lives. Although we know how to manage the black dog.
    Living in such a small space can indeed make or break, and I bet my friends are surprised that we have managed it as I’m such a friery woman, however take away the stress of living a ‘normal’ life and life takes on a different rhythm.We still bicker, don’t get me wrong but we have learnt a very intrigate dance around it other and never question the other when time alone is required.
    I must also say that I love the videos and snapshots of your travels so keep them coming.
    Safe journeys and happy exploring xx
    Much love Tina

    • Myles Davies

      Hi Tina B, thanks for your lovely response. There are so many people doing what we’re doing. We’re setting a trend that I hope many more will follow. Doing the UK first is a great idea. There’s much of the east coast we haven’t seen and it’s a beautiful country. When you eventually hop on a ferry there’s plenty of resources for you to follow and we all help each other out as you have probably already found out. Safe travels to you too. Ms Moneypenny and err hmm.. Mr Sunshine now if you please (lol).


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