Tuesday 31 December 2013

Looking Ahead - The year of the Campervan

As we approach the start of 2014, our thoughts are turning to plans for the new year.  Ours will revolve around the delivery of our new campervan - called 'El Nido' - in late February.  We're really excited and are already planning our trips away next year.  Cathy also reaches her half-century in May, so that will be a time of celebration (and no doubt some gentle ribbing!).

So there's plenty to plan for next year:

  • Our first trips in El Nido - we're planning to make the most of Brit Stops to allow us to travel regularly at minimal cost.
  • Cathy's 50th Birthday - a friends & family get together followed by a week in the campervan in Swaledale at the time when all the meadows are in flower (that's what she wants!).
  • Going to our friend's annual Camp Out in their field in West Sussex - in the luxury of El Nido of course!
  • The Rewind North Festival in Cheshire over the August bank holiday with our friends Ian & Steph and their motorhome.
  • A couple of weeks touring Europe in September - destination unknown but so what, we don't need to plan beyond tunnel crossing dates!
  • And hopefully quite a few long weekends in the van, living the life we want to lead.
So we have an exciting 2014 to look forward to.  Whatever your plans, we hope you have a very healthy, happy and enjoyable New Year.

Monday 30 December 2013

Looking Back through 2013

This year's been one of ups and downs.  Far from being a 'bad' year, we've made some decisions that will no doubt influence 2014.

I've been ill for most of the year but appear to be on the up and am looking forward to getting back to the gym and out on my bike.  I also hit my half-century back in July.  To be honest I don't feel 50 - it seems to worry others more than it does me - it's just a number right?

We've enjoyed some good holidays this year.  February found us in Lanzarote for a winter break.  The weather wasn't great but we enjoyed exploring the island.  June was our main holiday when we hired a motorhome and toured France for a couple of weeks.  We travelled widely, probably too many miles to chill out as much as we could, but that was a valuable lesson learned.  We also realised that the large, coach-built motorhome was not for us as it was too big - more on that later.  We had a short break in the hired motorhome to Cornwall in September as I had a work conference to attend; that reinforced the view that a smaller van is better for exploring the country lanes.  And finally, we headed off to Barcelona for a week in November to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary - a great week of chilling on the beach and eating good food.  Christmas has been quiet - just as we like it and New Year's Eve will be even quieter as we look forward to 2014.

On the motorhome front, having again hired a large coach-built CI Mizar, we realised this was too big for us and started to look at panel van conversions, based around the Adria Twin.  Our idea was to hire one of these to see how we got on.  But a combination of our friends selling their motorhome hire business, and talking to them about ideas for buying in the future, plus my health problems this year, made us realise that life's for living now and plans should not be put off.  So, I crunched the numbers and we found with some financial juggling, we were actually in a position to buy a campervan now.  So we eventually decided to have a new panel van professionally converted.  This is in progress and we should get delivery of our 3 berth Citroen Relay 'Sunseeker' campervan around the end of February.  We are very excited!!

So 2013 has been a good year, with a great summer, some lovely holidays and some key decisions made on our future.  The clock is ticking on our countdown to retirement - the plans are in place and so long as our mortgage pay-off idea comes to fruition, we'll be off in less than 5 years!

Our thoughts are now turning to 2014 and all the exciting things we have planned.