Apologies if this post and the accompanying video is a bit of a hodge podge! In hindsight I should have broken it up into sections but I didn’t think of it at the time! I did consider re-editing the video but uploading it would use a chunk of my data so I didn’t bother 🙂
So a little while ago I drove to the Chiltern Hills and spent 4 days there over 2 campsites. All I was trying to do here was get used to living and working on the motorhome.
The importance of mobile / cell service
My only source of income is from the online businesses that I run and 99% of my work entails being online so Internet connectivity is therefore of the utmost importance to me.
I explained recently how I get online on the road and it is through my mobile phone which means that I need to have good cell service – preferably 4G.
Last week I headed to an area in the Chiltern Hills intending to stay at a campsite for 4 days as part of a series of short trips throughout March. However, my plans were thrown off the very first day when I arrived on my campsite to find that the signal was very poor. It was several hours before I was able to get online at all and it was so slow that it literally took several minutes to load a web page!
I spoke to some of the other campers there and one guy said it worked if you hold it up high so I tried that for a while but didn’t get good results!
It was totally my own fault though. I’m with Vodafone and they provide and handy dandy coverage checker on their website. I know the postcode where I am staying ahead of time and so far I have been using that to filter out possible spots but for some reason, this time I simply forgot and sods law said that I picked one with a terrible signal!
So I only stayed at the first campsite for a single night. I’d paid for 4 nights in advance but the owners were lovely and did not hesitate to refund me for the other 3 nights. It’s a shame as they had a couple of very friendly cats that I was rather enamoured with 🙂
But I wanted to work so I had to move…
I picked a site around 17 miles away called Hurley Riverside Park which was a big site with excellent facilities that I made full use of. I really liked this site and shot quite a lot of footage of it.
Mud and blisters
My intention for this whole nomadic van life thing is to be able to move around and explore the surroundings, get off the computer sometimes and actually get some fresh air and nature!
These last few weeks have not made that easy with the crazy weather that has been hitting Europe! Still, there was a break in the rain for one day so I decided to go for a walk along the river as the campsite really was literally along the river Thames.
I knew it would likely be muddy so I put on some snow boots that I had recently bought. Note that these are not walking boots – they are a bit like wellies really. They were not comfortable! I only walked 3.5 miles but by the time I got back I was in a fair bit of pain and upon removing the boots I discovered I had a sizeable blister on one foot! Not cool.
This was partly due to the mud I suspect. At some points the mud was so bad that I was sinking into it and the suction was pulling the boots off of my feet! I must admit that this was not my idea of fun at all!
I started walking back in the summer but I’m not a die-hard hiker who will brave any conditions! Nope, I am definitely a fair weather walker! My intention when I travel is to allow my activities to be largely dictated by the weather; if it’s nice out, I’ll go outside and explore. If the weather sucks, I will stay on the van and on my computer!
So anyway I was actually feeling pretty miserable by the time I got back to the park and the mud got everywhere. The following day I spent ages trying to hoover up dried mud from the whole motorhome – it’s like sand – get’s everywhere!
To make matters worse, what had started as a bit of a cough at the beginning of the week developed into full-blown flu by Thursday. I felt bloody awful and for several nights I was awake for hours coughing uncontrollably.
It was my first experience of being in the motorhome when ill and it was not fun! This was one time when the lack of space, well, lack of comfort really, began to get to me.
I have two areas where I can rest. One is the bed which is a small space above the cab which only has a few inches of headroom when I am up there. I cannot sit up when in bed. The coughing made me jump a great many times and I kept bumping my head as a result.
On one of the nights in frustration I decided to try sleeping on the couch instead. This meant that I could sit up fine but it is very narrow and simply not very comfortable. I had nothing under me – not even a sheet, so I could feel every button and every spring.
When I’m in there full time I will also have a blanket which I could use on the couch and I am sure I’ll get more used to the lack of headroom in the bed over time but it was certainly a challenging few days!
It was the first time I had a “what the F am I doing?” moment? I had to quickly remind myself that I am choosing this lifestyle because of the amazing freedom it will offer but of course right now I’m having the challenges and discomforts but without any of the benefits yet! I’m not really travelling yet – I’m still in the UK with our exceptionally shitty weather!
Deep cleaning my water tank
I really should have separated this part out into a separate post but it’s all in the same video so I may as well mention it. Like with the toilet cassette that I did a deep clean on the week before, I really wanted to properly clean out my water tank to ensure that it is safe for drinking water.
I used a product called Puriclean for this. It goes into the tank and needs to sit over night and then you need to rinse the tank thoroughly which means filling and draining it through the taps a couple of times.
The campsite I was at was ideal for this as the water point and the drainage point were very conveniently located. I picked an evening, added the Puriclean and then the following morning I had to do the rinsing. Unfortunately on that particular morning it was raining very heavily and so I had to do most of it in the rain!
Still it’s all done now, but I also use a water filter and use that for any water that is used for drinking or cooking, just as an extra precaution.
No New Forest trip 🙁
When I got back from this trip, I was still feeling very rough and then the following morning I awoke to snow! WTF? Even for the UK, this was worse weather than usual!
I’ve said several times that I intend to go the New Forest but I have changed my mind. Forests can be muddy at the best of times but after the weather we’ve had over the last few weeks and my experiences this week I feel it would be pointless as it would be nothing but a mud bath and I wouldn’t go for any walks and would just be confined to the van. If all I’m going to do is sit on the van all day I may as well do that parked on my uncle’s driveway!!
For the rest of this week I will be staying back at my mums again getting some rest until I get over this flu and will treat the motorhome like an office as I did a couple of weeks ago. After that, I’ll re-evaluate.
Here’s the video for this trip: