It’s now been 2 months since I started this journey, and it certainly has not been without it’s challenges. Aside from issues with the motorhome itself, for me it’s more about learning how to balance work with the travel aspect.
I think I’m getting the hang of the work side of things, but when it comes to the travel side of it, I think I have been winging it too much.
Too Much Freedom?
Most people do not lead lives of perpetual travel. Even many other vehicle dwellers have some kind of time limit; some agenda. I no longer have a house back in the UK, nothing to go back to (other than friends and family of course), so I really can do this for as long as I want.
But I have discovered that there is a downside to this much freedom. I’m wasting the opportunity! Even though I did create a custom Google map that has hundreds of points of Interest on it that I could visit, and indeed I have visited many of the villages, I find myself drifting somewhat aimlessly from place to place.
I am driven more by the weather and the Park4Night app, than my actual intention! Sometimes, I’ll park up somewhere that is nice, and I’ll end up going on a nice walk or something that I didn’t expect or necessarily plan for. Here’s an example of that:
But other times I end up parking at crappy places that I really have no business being at. There’s no services, there’s nothing to visit, nothing to do, no walks or hikes I can go on. Recently I found myself parked at probably the worst spot of my trip so far. And it was this place that really made me start questioning what I was doing.
Yes, I need time to work and sometimes I just need to park somewhere and get on with it. But that’s still no excuse for parking somewhere like the place above, when I have total freedom of travel! I am not stuck, not limited, I have wheels and can take my little house anywhere I want, so why would I stay there??
One thing that does screw up my plans is the rain, which makes me dependent on electric hookup. I talked about that at length in my last post. After staying at that dump, my batteries were low and the forecast was showing a lot of rain so I tried to find electricity. Unfortunately I seemed to be in a really desolate region, with just nothing around and I ended up driving over 40 miles in the general South West direction and settled into a campsite for a couple of days.
Generally I don’t like campsites because they are expensive and the pitches are nearly always heavily shaded which means my batteries don’t charge well at all. However, at this particular one I did make a little feline friend for a couple of hours which was awesome!
Having a Reason To Park The Motorhome
I knew from the start that I wanted to start doing some walking & hiking in France and I’m finding myself focusing on that more than just visiting the next pretty little village.
While I was at the campsite I was giving some serious thought to my travel plans and I made the decision that from that point on, anywhere I went would be for some kind of purpose:
- To visit a particular place
- To do a specific activity (such as go to the beach)
- To go on a walk or hike
- To get hooked up on electricity (last resort!)
I was in a region with some nice countryside and several walking routes so after I left the campsite I found somewhere that would be a great base for walking.
I was also torn at that point between heading west towards the coast so that I can start going to the beach (when it’s not raining!) or to go further South into the Pyrenees mountains. The idea of driving in mountainous regions scares me a bit but a friend on Facebook spoke to me at length about it and showed me some videos of her driving her motorhome in the Alps and that put my mind at rest!
On one of the walks I was on, I caught a glimpse of the Pyrenees in the distance and that made up my mind! The beaches could wait, I would head South first and then go to the coast later.
Yes I still need to work, and no I won’t necessarily go out exploring every day (as I write this I have been stuck in the motorhome for 3 days as it has rained constantly day and night!) but I’m no longer just going to drift aimlessly from place to place just because it’s close by or because it’s free.
Yeah, It Might Cost More Money
Traveling in this way will probably cost more money for two reasons:
- I may drive longer distances which uses diesel
- Many of the best spots (especially on the coast) are paid parking
But when I stopped to think this through I realised that there’s no point being a complete cheapskate and only traveling very short distances and parking in free places if it means that I am wasting my life away parking in crappy locations with nothing to do!
At first I just told myself that it didn’t matter where I was, because I could always work. But what I have found is that when I live and work in such a small space, my surroundings greatly affect my mood and if I am feeling down, my work suffers.
I would rather spend more money and really enjoy my traveling, do the cool stuff and go on the awesome hikes, park with good views and then I will work much more productively outside of those times.
So that’s the new plan – to travel on purpose, with intention!