Neither of us have travelled much. We had yearly holidays in Spain, Greece etc and as kids we used to holiday in Wales (Selina) and Scotland (Toby). So we want to see a bit of the world where those annual holidays don’t really count as ‘seeing the world’.
Back in 2010, we talked about taking a gap year to travel. At that time, it was just a dream, but over the next couple of years, the dream sort of took hold – as they do. We were in our early forties then and we said ‘let’s do it at fifty’ – that seemed a suitably long way off! Selina didn’t like the idea of backpacking and tents – the princess won’t sleep in anything without a shower and toilet!
In 2012 we took part in a weekend cycling event in Norfolk, so we hired a campervan from LandCruise (https://landcruise.uk.com/) and loved it. Then we got a little into the festival scene and in 2013 we hired a campervan for the Cropredy weekend. Again, it was great. There is something wonderful about coming home to your ‘own’ living space each day no matter where you are.
So we wanted to try a Motorhome based holiday. In 2013, LandCruise invested in a luxury motorhome, a (very large) Dethleffs Esprit. We couldn’t miss the chance to try a Dethleffs so we took it up to Yorkshire and the lakes and had a real blast for three weeks.
And then we were properly bitten by the campervan bug. We spent two years researching, attending shows, scouring ebay for the right campervan. We set our heart on the Dethleffs Alpa. But in 2015 we could not justify the expense (or actually afford it come to mention it). Instead we bought an Elddis Majestic 180 which seemed like a lot of motorhome for the price.
We’ve done about 15 festivals in ‘the mothership’ and about 8 weeks in total living in it over holidays in France, Belgium and Scotland (and a very short trip to Wales!).
Our first foray into France and Belgium taught us an important lesson: mainland Europe is well set up for campervans where the UK seem to go out of their way to make things difficult for ‘vans. It means that you are not stuck with site fees every night and many places encourage you to just park up for a night or two. So the campervan gap year dream took hold proper.
Over those twenty thousand miles we have learned what we like and don’t like and we know what works well for us and what we think will work for a long trip. It became clear that the Elddis wouldn’t work for us for a long tour. We’ll talk about that somewhere else. But in 2017 it became possible for us the get the Alpa that we first spotted in 2015.
So, here we are in June 2018 and the Alpa is nearly ready. The Elddis is nearly sold. Our affairs are almost in order and the dream is almost set to become reality….