Reflections on our first six weeks

We are now into day 40 of our 365 day sabbatical and it feels like it has not really started yet. Whilst we have been to some wonderful places, Norfolk and Suffolk particularly stand out, we have also spent a lot of time visiting family and friends. We really need to have a longer period of time “doing” a particular location without continually having other things get in the way. However it looks like that isn’t going to happen until the New Year.

Falling into a nomadic lifestyle in a motorhome has been easy for all three of us. We have not argued and have quickly adopted to living in a smaller space, squeezing past each other, going to bed at different times and so forth. Archie really enjoys smelling out every new place he goes to and having new experiences, he even found his inner puppy when he visited the beach. My internal clock has now reset itself from a 6am start to 7:30am, which I’m happy about, I love getting up at this time and watching the sunrise, or the mist, birds or really anything developing at this time of the day. Typically we don’t have anything to rush for so we can take our time, which in a motorhome is a requirement, you can’t do anything too quickly.

Everybody seems to have a name for their van. It has taken us quite some time to come up with a name for ours though. But after much thinking and sleeping we have decided to call ours Cosi Van Tutte or Cosi for short. It was a joint effort with Lisa adding the pun on Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Cosi has behaved well, although there have been a few niggles, some of which have already been sorted by the dealer, some still need to be rectified, the biggest problems have been the fridge not firing on gas and the poor design of the drawers on their runners. We also decided at the beginning not to overload Cosi with extras, since we didn’t know what we would really need and how we would use the van. But we now have in mind exactly what extra things we need: a solar panel, LPG conversion for the gas and a bike rack.

Having only one bike though, has been a drawback. The garage is ready to take Lisa’s e-bike but that does not arrive until the beginning of November, it means that we need to take Cosi to places we could have cycled to instead. So I’m really looking forward to Lisa having her bike.

Staying one or two days in each place is taking a toll on Lisa after six weeks, her head is in a spin, particularly as we have not been on a “road trip” but rather point to point, so we have planned a couple of places where we will stay for a whole week.

Caravan and Camping Club (CCC) and Caravan and Motorhome Club (CMC) sites are excellent, Certificated Locations, on the other hand are variable, there is a certain standard required, but that isn’t very high. Also they could be anywhere, like next to a railway line, or a nuclear power station. They are frequently on working farms so machinery noise can be a problem. Our suggestion is to read the reviews before you book and don’t go anywhere less than 4 stars.

Independent sites should be better than they are, but we have found these very poor, those that have static caravans should be avoided like the plague, they really don’t seem to care about tourers, understandably as they make more money from static caravans.

We have been tracking our finances very carefully, having set out with a definite budget, and we want to make sure we don’t blow it! Overall we are not too far off what we calculated, however there are things that we didn’t allow for like presents and, stupidly, paying for trips and attractions so the budget will need a little re-work. I’m planning a finances section for the website once we have some more data.

All in all the first six weeks have not disappointed and we are really looking forward to a longer road trip and wild camping.

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