A couple of winters ago I spent four months down in Spain and met an English couple who had been full-timers in their motorhome for four years. I was intrigued to find out why they had chosen that way of life and as I found out more it sowed a seed; they inspired me.
This is their story…
What made you decide to go motorhoming?
We both had busy full-time jobs and most weekends we were so mentally exhausted we hardly spoke to each other. Our heads were so full of work issues that we had no time or energy to follow our hobbies or take an interest in what was going in the rest of the world. Even our friends told us we had become hermits.
Was there a trigger that made you change your lifestyle?
We had both experienced a parent dying while still in their fifties. One weekend we forced ourselves out of the house and went for a long walk; rambling had always been one of our greatest loves before we let work and life get in the way. We started talking about the way our life was going and we realised that each of us wanted to make a radical change, but was afraid that the other one wouldn’t want to. It seemed that we both wanted the same thing, but we just didn’t know it.
Did you make a plan there and then?
Pretty much, yes. We gave ourselves a time limit, saying that within six months we wanted to be living a different life. In fact, it was much quicker than that. We both gave our notice at work, put our house on the market and sold all our furniture. It was quite funny because we had only just managed to furnish our house with good furniture after having saved for years since we got married. We had to practically give a lot of the furniture away, but it suddenly seemed that the money didn’t matter any more. The timing worked out perfectly, because we sold the house just after working out our notice period at work and then we used some of the equity to buy our motorhome.
Did you struggle to decide what to take with you and what to leave behind or give away?
We knew we would be living a different kind of life and that we would no longer be needing suits or formal clothes. So we pared everything right down and treated ourselves to some good walking clothes, the kind that you can handwash and dry really easily. The hardest decisions we made were about getting rid of books and music, but we transferred all our music to an MP3 player so that was perfect.
Do you miss living in a house?
Not for one minute. We spent the first year travelling around the UK and Europe and then decided we needed to earn some money, just enough to stop us dipping into our savings. So, we chose to work on campsites during the season, live on one wage, save the other and spend the winters travelling. It has worked out perfectly so far and we haven’t missed being in a house at all. On the contrary, we had the chance to stay in a friend’s house for a couple of weeks, house-sitting for them, and although it was a beautiful house, we found that we just wanted to be outside all the time and the house just represented work – cleaning, tidying – we were very happy to get back to the motorhome after a fortnight.
What do your friends think about you now?
It’s funny, because they hardly recognise us. We got together with a whole crowd a few months back and they told us that we looked years younger and so full of life that it was as if we had won the lottery! The ironic thing is that now we have less money and fewer possessions we are so much happier.
Do you worry about the future?
No, there isn’t any point is there? We both just live for the day. People can spend their whole lives worrying about their pension, or what will happen if they are ill, or when they get old. But realistically, none of us have any say in the way our lives will end. We believe in fate and what will be, will be. We have some savings and if one of us falls ill and can’t work any more, then we just hope that the other one will be able to keep going to get some food on the table, but the important thing is that we won’t have regrets about things we didn’t do, or experiences we didn’t have. We can look back on our lives – however short, or long they are – and say that we lived them the way we wanted to and we feel incredibly lucky to be able to say that.