Ten countries and 13,000 miles in 13 months living in our motorhome full time. What an amazing adventure and journey we have had but we have now been back in the UK for over 2 months and starting a different adventure. We have loved living in our motorhome for the last 13 months. Despite living in a small space we found our motorhome to be cosy and comfortable and found ourselves outside in the fresh air all day exploring.
We have learnt so much about Europe and how the scenery is so beautiful. We have explored little known places that have captivated us; places such as the west coast of Norway, the frozen lakes of Sweden and the mountains of Spain. We have met like minded people who have realised that life is about the places you see and the people you meet rather than the material things that you can buy.
So, why have we come back you might ask? Well, family commitments have become a priority, but we still intend to use our motorhome to explore the UK and to carry on exploring Europe. The more we have seen of Europe the more we realise how huge the area is and how much there is to see.
Where are our favourite places in Europe?
Every place we visited we enjoyed but we did have our favourite places. Norway has got to be a motorhome paradise. Food is expensive but there are so many free places to stay overnight in a motorhome that it makes up for the high cost of living. The west coast of Norway, where the highest mountains are, is just stunning and driving a motorhome here gets you to places where most tourists don’t visit. You can read my blog article about our motorhome tour of Norway here.
We visited many inspiring Spanish cities and were awed by their architecture, splendour and magnificence. We discovered places that we had barely heard of such as the incredible Roman city of Merida, the Medieval town of Caseres and the exotic city of Cadiz as well as visiting well known cities , Alicante, Salamanca, Bilbao, Seville and Granada that certainly more than lived up to their grand reputations.
I said that Norway is motorhome paradise but France is the number one motorhome destination in the summer. France has everything from beautiful beaches, stunning mountain scenery to historic Medieval villages. In the summer of 2018 we explored the beautiful villages of south-west France (blog post here) and took our motorhome to Chamonix, one of the most amazing places in Europe. (blog post about Chamonix here). The list of amazing places is endless and there are so many places still to visit – we have hardly touched the surface!
Going back to bricks and mortar
Returning to live in the UK again with just a motorhome posed a few questions for us. Firstly, where are we going to live? We ruled out living in our motorhome in the UK because the weather in winter is cold and wet and the cost of campsites is nearly as much as renting somewhere more comfortable and spacious. Last winter was spent in sunny and mild Spain and we decided that we really needed bricks and mortar.
The things I have missed the most about the UK are traditional English pubs with good beer. I have missed my Thursday night drinking buddy, the English countryside as well as family and friends of course, so I was looking forward to setting up home again. I see it as another adventure!
I’m a proud Yorkshireman born and bred but we decided to look for a house in Cheshire, where Anne spent her childhood years. After spending 3 weeks on the lovely Chester Fairoaks caravan and motorhome site we decided to rent an apartment in the historical Cheshire town of Bollington. Nestled in the foothills of The Peak District, Bollington is a historical cotton town with several old mills that have been converted into spacious apartments. Our plan is to rent for 6 months and look for somewhere to buy again.
I must say that I am very impressed with Cheshire. Whilst, obviously, not as pretty as Yorkshire ( editorial bias!), it is a very rural county with lots of space and a very good road network. Bollington itself has the wonderful Macclesfield canal and The Middlewood Way which is an 11 mile stretch of disused railway line that has been made into an excellent walking and cycling track. I think it’s good to live somewhere different too. I suppose it’s good to leave your comfort zone. Having lived in Leeds all my life I can say that whilst I love Leeds there are plenty of other places to live that are equally as nice or better.
Jumping through hoops
Renting a house or apartment in the UK is not that straight forward. For a start we had to prove that we are entitled to live in the UK. After living in the UK since birth and having a British passport I thought it would be a simple matter of showing a copy of my passport, but no! There is now an organisation that you have to provide lots of information to so that they can check your entitlement to live in the UK and, of course, there is a fee to pay. After providing evidence that we could afford to pay the rent we got the keys to a comfortable apartment. The furniture is very dated, we’re definitely in a 1970’s timewarp here but the location is very rural, quiet and overlooks the Macclesfield canal.
The challenge of staying in one place
One of the reasons we decided to be fulltime motor-homers was the attraction of seeing many different places. We ‘lived’ in many places in many different countries, whether it was near the sea, next to a frozen lake in Sweden, a cosmopolitan city in Spain or in the middle of nowhere. Every place we stayed had its own unique charm and excitement so we said to ourselves that we would treat living in the UK as a new adventure. This was helped by the fact that we would be living in an area of the UK that we hadn’t lived before so we could go out and explore new places.
Will we still use our motorhome?
The answer to this is a definite “Yes”. We’ve been pretty busy with family stuff since we came back, that’s starting to settle down now so we’re keen to get back in the saddle. We have been to Chester and just booked a few days in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. Our plan is to explore more of the UK and we have a ferry booked to France in May. Touring in a motorhome is too much fun for us to say we won’t use it again. We won’t be full timing in our motorhome from now on but we fully intend to have a mixture of short and longer motorhome breaks in future.
So, after living in our motorhome full time for 13 months, our motorhome has now gone into storage. This feels strange after seeing it every day. I’ll write a blog article about how to find the best motorhome storage, because I found it hard to find the perfect storage facility.
There will be many more blog articles to come about our motorhome travels but in the meantime here are some photos from our full time motorhome adventure.