December 22nd 2009………Finally off!!!

22 12 2009

Since I took my redundancy in February 2009 we have been building up, although slowly, to tomorrow when we finally leave our home behind and go for a six month adventure travelling around Europe in our motorhome. It’s been a bit of a nightmare at times but at others a real joy.

It all started when I was made redundant in February and then Lorna took her voluntary redundancy in March. We both decided that it was about time that we did something different with our lives and get out of the 9-5 life of stressful work that was no good for either of us health wise.

In the build up, we have been burgled, had a nightmare with our insurance claim, had a house on the rental market for six months which was at first unfurnished, completely re-decorated, furnished and then unfurnished again before we found a tenant, researched and eventually bought a motorhome, completely redecorated our house and let it within two weeks of it going on the market, given away much of our furniture, sold off things we no longer need, gone through a complete decluttering process (very theraputic, you should try it) and generally prepared ourselves for the ‘off’ which was originally planned for mid to late November. But, after all of the things we have been through we finally hit departure day tomorrow.

Today has been one of the busiest I have had for a long time and only now have I been able to find time to write this, the first real blog about our travels. Busy old day today, we sold our car at the best possible time, had friends round to collect things that we are giving to them, had electritian friends round to make up special leads for ‘reverse polarity’ sites in France, carried out final shopping for storage boxes, bought out Euros, visited family for our final goodbyes, shopped at Tesco at stupid ‘o clock’ and loaded the motorhome up ready for tomorrow, having to weigh everything that went in to ensure that we stayed under the gross weight allowed for the vehicle.

Tomorrow we will be heading down to Dover whenever we are ready, we will then spend the night on Marine Parade and plan to catch the 8.15am ferry across to Calais, from there we will head slowly south, stopping in Saumur for Christmas Day and then down to Toulouse and onward into Spain, heading down to the south coast to catch the best of the weather Europe has to offer at the time of year. We have no real route planned after that, we will generally potter about southern Spain and Portugal, wild camping whenever possible before slowly heading back into France when the weather gets better in late March……….that’s the rough plan anyway, things could and probably will change……..but there is no rush is there!

I have a few concerns, the main one being how we are going to manage to hold water in the motorhome when the temperature drops. The Hymer has an automatic water release system that kicks in when the temperature drops below a certain point which means that we could lose our entire water reserve in a matter of minutes, there is a work around using a humble peg but the risk is then that you freeze and burst pipes which could be a bit of a disaster. I understand that many of the French ‘Aire de Service’ points turn off their water taps to avoid freezing in the winter so we could have problems refilling. I have a suspicion that much of our time initially could be spent visiting Aires to try and get water onboard but it’s something we will get round no doubt.

I have decided not to buy into a dongle for access to the internet as they are simply too expensive, so, will be relying on free wi-fi when and where we can get it (hello McDonalds!) to keep the blog and my Flickr up to date with news of where we are and to upload photographs of where we have been. Hopefully it will serve as a diary of our travels with photographs for those interested. For now though I wish all who read this a very Merry Christmas and an excellent New Year. We’ll be back in late June 2010!




7 responses

22 12 2009
David Turner

I’m delighted that you’ve finally managed to bring all the strands of your departure together after a number of hiccoughs. Hopefully, the British roads will be clear and you’ll get across the channel without incident. We wish both you and Lorna all the very best for your journey, wherever it takes you and some great experiences and scenery. We expect to see some stunning photography (no pressure there!) and, from time to time, an update on your latest exploits. À votre santé!

22 12 2009

I hope you both have a brilliant time…. good luck for your trip!!!

Speak soon!!!


22 12 2009
Ian Andrew

The very best wishes to both of you, I’m sure it’ll be a really interesting and fun journey in many, many ways!

22 12 2009
Dave Friel (Dave-F)

Good luck on your travels and I hope your adventure lives up to your expectations
Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year
David Friel

23 12 2009
Simon Butler

Great to hear that you are finally off on your big adventure. Will be looking forward to reading your blog as the months go on and of course, seeing what photos you post too!

Merry Chrimbo too. Have a great day in Saumur.

23 12 2009


I’m so happy for you two, that you are going! Good luck guys, take your time and wild camp as much as possible!

Don’t fret over the water….you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to get it once you start looking around…springs, fountains, taps, people….maybe carry a big plastic bottle, enough for a day without a shower…or maybe I’m being stupid and missing the point.

See you on the road…?

24 12 2009
Steve Brodie

Have a fantatsic trip, quite envious really!!. Hope all goes well and look forward to seeing some fantastic pictures, book in the future maybe!

Have a great Christmas and a brill new year

ALl the best to you both


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