Well, just when did we decide that we wanted to pack in our jobs, sell our home of 22 years, buy a 7.5 metre motor home and travel Europe.
The answer, not sure really, but we’ll try and go back and find out.
We got married in February 1987, we already had an 8 year old son Shane. In September that year Glenn was born and 2 years later our beautiful daughter Jodie came along.
Like a lot of people our age with young children we struggled along to make ends meet. In 1993, we’d saved enough money for a deposit to buy our first home. It was a lovely big house but it needed a lot of work. I remember how sacred we were when we signed that piece of paper with huge numbers of the mortgage figures that we had to pay. How on earth were we ever going to afford to pay this and the bills.
But we did, we managed to fix up the house and even managed a few holidays across the water to England.
We spent a couple of summers camping on the beautiful island of Herm, which is a 20 minute boat trip away.
We went on a few holidays abroad with our extended family. We went to Turkey one year with my dad’s siblings and their children, 40 of us descended on a hotel in Altinkum. We all had the most amazing time and nearly 20 years later we oftern talk about ‘that holiday’.
As our kids got older, Keith and I went on holidays on our own. We went to some great places, all package holidays, nice hotels, lovely beaches. We went to Egypt, Caribbean Cruise, Turkey, Greece, France, Spain. In the last 10 years we’ve been to Thailand, Dubai, Maldives, America and Australia.
In 2008 Jodie and her fiancé Shaun went on their first trip travelling around the world, and they’ve hardly been back to Guernsey since. In 2011 we travelled to Los Angeles to meet them both and took a road trip down to Las Vegas before they continued on to South America.
In April 2015 we travelled to the other side of the world to meet up with our beautiful daughter and Shaun again. At this time they were living in Sydney, but were getting itchy feet and ready to explore the rest of the country. We hired a small hightop camper van from Mighty Campers and off we went on a 10 day road trip from Sydney to Aldelade. We had the most fantastic time, moving to a different place everyday, meeting new people and exploring the wonderful wildlife.
By May 2015 we had purchased a brand new shiny VW T5 converted campervan, named Tabitha. We spent the rest of that year using the remainder of our holiday allowance popping over to England, Jersey and France for a few days here and there. Some of our friends said ‘you’ll love it so much you’ll be getting a bigger one’. No we wouldn’t, Tabitha would be fine for us for a good 10 years.
The only thing wrong with Tabitha was that we didn’t have anywhere to park her. We didn’t have parking at our house, so she had to be parked down the road at Shane’s house. This was a real inconvenience to us, every time we went on a trip, we had to collect her, park outside on the road for an hour or so whilst we packed and unpacked and we couldn’t plug her in to charge her up.
The kids had all left home years ago and we were now rattling around in a house that was to big for us. In August 2015 we made the decision to put the house on the market and buy something with parking, so we could keep Tabitha closer to us.
Unfortunately things didn’t go to plan. I was made redundant at the end of 2015 and this had a major effect on our future.
In February 2016 we had an offer on the house and decided to take it. Instead of buying another house which would of meant having a small mortgage we decided to move into our flat, which we had purchased with Glenn in 2009. Glenn had been living in the flat with his girlfriend Vicky, but they were desperate to move on to their own place. So we sold the house, bought Glenn out of the flat and moved in. It was a huge shock, we’d come from a 4 bed, 3 reception rooms, 100 foot garden to a 1 bed flat, small shared garden, but it did have a parking space.
During 2016 we took our 2 eldest grandchildren, Hollie and Riley to a local campsite and to Jersey for a weekend of camping in Tabitha. They loved it, sleeping up in the roof and couldn’t wait for the next time they would be invited.
In the summer of 2016 we went for a trip to France, Spain and Andorra with Tabitha. Although we experienced a lot of rain we had a great time, travelling around and even managed a couple of nights wild camping. It was during this trip that the idea to pack it all in and go travelling for a year entered our minds. Could we afford it, was it possible. What we did agree was that Tabitha was too small for such a long trip and we needed to find something bigger and more suitable.
Yes, it was possible, yes we could afford it, when would we go on this trip! As soon as possible.
We talked with the kids and told them of our plans. They were happy for us to go. Jodie and Shaun announced they were getting married in November 2017 in Perth, Australia.
So the decision was made. Our last working day would be 31st October, we would go out to Australia for the wedding and stay a month. Come back home and start our trip the 2nd week of December, 2017.
Living in Guernsey, there are not that many Motorhomes around, you just don’t find them for sale on garage forecourts.
We decided we would go to England at Easter and see if we could trade in Tabitha for a van about 6 metres long.
Booked the ferry tickets. Looking on the internet we saw on a local website a Knaus Sun for sale. It was 7.5 metres long, far too big for us, but we would go and have a look, at least we could see what we could get for our money, and we’d only ever been in 2 Motorhomes before!
We fell in love. One lady owner, protective covers over the seats, it had all the extras on our wish list, it was immaculate.
The following week, we were the proud owners of ‘Eugene’. Another step closer to our exciting adventure.