Inverters….. They’re the future!

Inverters….. They’re the future!

So, you’ve bought a Motorhome. Great, congratulations, you’re on your way, the world is your lobster. All you have to do now is to kit it out with extras and the one I want to talk about here is ‘THE INVERTER’.  Do you install one or don’t you install one? If you’re desired travelling option is to use campsites and only campsites (and there’s nothing wrong with that), probably not but if like us you fancy a bit of ‘Let’s go off the beaten track and see what we can find’ type travelling then you’re going to need power. The next question, therefore, is can you live off just 12V from the Leisure battery (or batteries) or do you need to convert your 12V into 240V.

`Well, that depends on what equipment you take with you and whether there is a 12V option. Two items that were an absolute must (take along) for us were the Nutri-bullet and the Philips compact juicer. So irrespective of what else we would use it for we decided to have one installed. Here are some pictures of our installation.

Whilst we were given an option to have the inverter wired to all the sockets in the motorhome we decided to adopt the K.I.S.S ( keep it simple stupid) method and just have a single socket and a switch installed in the kitchen and a double socket in a cupboard to charge all our devices. The inverter itself is under a seat, out of the way and you can hardly hear it humming when it’s on.

We purchased the Bestek 1000w pure sine wave inverter from amazon and had it fitted and hard wired to the batteries by the dealer. I have to say that it has been brilliant and we have used it for 3-4 hours continuously charging laptops and for just a few minutes whilst juicing in the kitchen and it hasn’t missed a beat in two and a half years.

In terms of the technicalities should you decide to have one installed follow these basic rules and you won’t go far wrong.

  1. Purchase a ‘pure sine wave’ inverter for motorhome use
  2. In terms of what size always buy more watts than you will use at any one time. For instance, if you need to power a 900W nutribullet only, a 1000w inverter will suffice. If you need to power a nutri-bullet ( 900w)  and a hairdryer (1000W) at the same time you will need a 2000W inverter. Bear in mind the more powerful the inverter the more drain on the batteries.
  3. We have a 120w solar panel on the roof to keep the batteries topped up and had an extra battery installed

Since leaving the UK in 2016 we have added two electric bikes, a drone copter and a Gopro action camera to our list of devices that need charging and together with in-car charging devices, the inverter keeps us ticking along nicely.

All in all, I would whole-heartedly recommend adding an inverter to your motorhome but we are heavy users of electronics so for us it was a no brainer. You, on the other hand,  might find that everything you want to use comes in 12v format and you don’t need one. It’s horses for courses but if you do decide to have one take a look at the Bestek. At £69.99 it’s a billy bargain. Ours has been great. Check out the links below for more info.





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Search for the big yellow ball in the sky.

Search for the big yellow ball in the sky.

So, after what seemed like an age of organising, logisticising and planning ( in fact it was only 3 months) we set off on our year long (or maybe two) motorhome trip around Europe. It was March 4th 2016. ‘Scoobie’ our Pilote 740c motorhome had arrived, had been kitted out and was ready to go. The rental house was handed back to the landlord, our furniture was squashed into a ‘big yellow’ unit and off to Padstein we went, just for a few days before we headed off.

The weather was inclement when we arrived in Cornwall as it had been for ten whole weeks leading up to our trip but that was OK because our first port of call was Spain and it was March so it will be warming up nicely we thought.  When I say inclement what I mean is lashing down with sleet, thunder and lightening. It didn’t seem to matter even though it had rained solidly since christmas because  all our hard preparation had to come an end and now was the time to get a little excited. After all, it’s not every day you sell up and head off to who knows where for who knows how long in a 7.5 meter tin can on wheels. Some 24 hours later and 800 miles further south we landed in Santander on Spain’s northern coast,  to find well, err, the same weather as we had left in Padstow… ‘Not a great start, I mused,  but it’ll warm up in a day or two, surely.

After two days of torrential rain, thunder and lightening  we decided to say goodbye to the elephant park, our first stop after disembarkation and headed south to find sunnier climes.  Most of the other Motorhomes that joined us that first night, we presume, had jumped on the motorway and blasted south to Marbella or somewhere like that but we wanted to explore the northern part of Spain as it looked fabulous on the maps. Surely Burgos, two hours drive away, would be warmer. We took our time and meandered along the ‘A’ roads up and over the hills, climbing up one hairpin after another. Over the hills, over the ‘SNOW’ covered hills we crawled, winding our way down the other side. SNOW, FLIPPIN SNOW!!!  This wasn’t part of the plan. Maybe those other Motorhomes knew something we didn’t.

It was snowing when we got to Burgos, a light dusting was forming over the camp ground as we manoevered Scoobie into place. We really didn’t do much as it was so cold you could freeze prawns on the cooker but we managed a bike ride into town avoiding the snow showers as we went. We had received the heads up about a building worth oggling over so we thought we’d take a look  and err, well, yeah actually, it was worth the frost bitten fingers and stinging earache. Wow, it was impressive.  A big church! No, a really big church. We took the tour just to warm up and allegedly history would have you believe that around 1250AD some unsavoury types with bad attitudes came up from the south to pillage, rape and claim land as their own and the christians who had settled there had to put some manners on them. Handbags were thrown and a christian victory ensued and they built this cathedral as commemoration of their glory. Some wine was drunk, a few boars slaughtered, a few more christians entered the world nine months later ( presumably) and everyone lived happily ever after.

Personally, I have no idea what these unsavoury types were thinking. I would have stayed south in the warm which is precisely what we had come to Spain to look for… warmth. Not wanting to prolong our arctic discomfort any longer we packed up and took the high road south to Segovia just north of Madrid. Surely it would be warmer there, it’s just north of Madrid. It was flippin colder, a perishing  ‘0’ degrees. That’s ZERO. Too cold to snow! As I walked around this ‘not to be missed’ beautiful Roman town complete with aqueduct, cathedral and palace, I felt my ‘stiff upper lip’ quiver as I tried to revive my frost bitten fingers once again. The thin film of light grey cirrus cloud prevented the sun from heating the ground, the icy wind piercing through 4 layers of clothing at the turn of every corner of this beautiful place. I couldn’t help thinking ‘What the hell were the Romans doing building a town here’.

In very basic Spanish I  asked a local if this was normal weather. He said.. ‘yada yada yada’. I said ‘wha?’ He said ‘yada yada yada’. I said ‘wha?’ He said ‘yada yada yada’. Not a clue if it was normal weather or not but whether it was or wasn’t it was effin freezing. Does’t really matter because  the  upshot of the lowdown is that Segovia should deffo be on the todo list, just leave it till May and stay in the freebie site in the carpark by the Bullring. It was clean, tidy and graffiti free. No electric but a dump and water. Perfick.

As we headed off to our next stop, Salamanca, I was full of hope. With the aid of a google search I had fathomed that Segovia sits a whopping 3000 plus feet above sea level, no wonder it was brassic. The further west we went and the lower we descended, the more the clouds broke up and the more the outside temperature gauge on the dash went up and up. 2, 4, 7… 9… Hey up I thought, I’m on to a winner here… It seemed to stay on 9 for an age but then just outside Salamanca a miracle happened… BOOM…10, TEN DEGREES then 11 then 12… ‘Give someone a lollypop… DOUBLE FIGURES!!! You beauty. And there it was, in all it’s glory….. the Sun.

The quest for the big yellow ball in the sky was over. Poking out from behind a little fluffy cumulo cloud in the big blue sky it was a joy to behold… After a brief trip to the hozzie to recover from mild hyperthermia, we unhitched the bikes and headed off into town for a mooch with a whopping 14 degrees outside temperature. Happy Days!

Salamanca, now there’s a place but thats for the next post. TTFN

Skid wheels

Skid wheels

A friend of mine who had a Hymer said to me ‘Are you going to get some skid wheels when you buy your new motorhome”. ‘What are they’, I replied. We walked around the back of his van and he showed me. ‘These little wheels have saved me a lot of money’, he continued, They protect the back skirt especially going on and off ferries’.

A month later we were sitting in front of the salesman drawing up a list of all the extras we wanted and I mentioned skid wheels. He didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. We agreed to leave these off and I would source them and fit them myself and thanks goodness I did. Whilst it’s only fibreglass skirting it is expensive to replace and having been away for a month now those wheels have saved my back skirt 3 times. At £300.00 a pop for a new skirt to be fitted my £89 investment has been a winner. If you have a fixed bed motorhome or a long overhang from the back wheels get yourself some skid wheels. You won’t regret it! Here’s the link from where I got mine.

Locking up and Leaving – Top 10 Tips to navigating it sanely

Locking up and Leaving – Top 10 Tips to navigating it sanely

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.

The countdown continues

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.’


With travel blessings

Karen and Myles
The Motoroamers.

Scoobie’s Coming

I quick telephone call to Mick the salesman and it would appear that our new Pilote 740c hasn’t even reached the production line yet. Week 47 he said it’s scheduled for commencement and that is 23rd November. We ordered it in September and they haven’t even started it yet… Ah, he said, if you had ordered it at the Motorhome show at the N.E.C in October I would be telling you that delivery time is 10 months from now so you have been lucky.. OK, I said, I’ll let you off. Seems our delivery date is still on schedule for mid- December after all so we just have to be patient for a little while longer…