So this is how thinking about family, life and one drunken agreement ends up changing your life!
Sitting at home on Christmas Eve 2016, my girlfriend and I shook on a deal. The deal was to leave the UK in 6 months time to travel Europe in a van! (Read how I came up with this ludicrous idea here: My Tedspiration)
This was our home, the very room where the decision that would change our lives was made:
Needless to say in the morning we realised that we may have been a little drunk last night and such a decision was irresponsible and nothing but a pipedream. However, we are a stubborn pair and stuck to our word. We ended up taking steps that would make it very hard to reverse our drunken choice.
- Telling our friends and family
- Selling everything from our home (which we had JUST finished furnishing)
- Telling our landlord we were moving out
- Buying a van!
- Buying an old caravan to live in
Once we had grasped that we were actually doing this, then came the doubts… The what ifs, what will people say, what will they think, how will we actually achieve this?! This was of course reinforced by the naysayers, you know the naysayers, right? Uncle Fuck That and auntie Anti Everything, the friend we all have that grabs your heals as soon as you start rising!
I must add here that ALL of my family and close friends were supportive, they are amazing people and I am one lucky lad! I am just generalising when I speak of the naysayers as I know they do exist and yes, I have met them 😉
In the end, none of this mattered, once we were doing this, we were doing it!
The van build took a total of 5 months (3 months of actual work), with 500 man hours and a fair amount of money, although a lot less than if we were to buy one ready made!
Watch this space, for I am still to add everything up and write a page on here that will detail all costs, suppliers, building processes, everything I learnt, what to do and what not to do etc
For now though you can enjoy a timelapse of the build from start to end here:
Packed & Ready to Go
It was time to leave! We were already 4 days behind schedule and even though it was 4 o’clock in the morning and we had been finishing off the van and packing all day, we just went!
Okay, we only made it an hour away from home and I had to pull over to sleep… I tried!
So the next morning we set off properly. This is where we were going. The very southern tip of Spain and indeed Europe! We started our “Eurotrip” here as one of my best friends (Matt) lives here and he was getting married!
N.Wales to Dover
We set off for Dover and discovered on the way that the ferry would be half price the next day (£60 rather than £120)! We were behind schedule but decided it was better to wait until tomorrow. This turned out to be a cloud with one beautiful silver lining.
A quick Google search revealed a nice little spot on top of the White Cliffs of Dover where we could park up and stay the night.
We had packed in such a rush that this gave us some time to reorganise the van a little. This would be the first of many reorganisations 🙂
The whole situation became quite apt – sitting on the edge, literally on the edge of my home Country looking out over the channel to the coast of France and the European continent.
Through the night the hum of the ferry’s engines was getting me even more excited for my adventures ahead – I had the same feeling just like those Christmas Eve nights when I was a young boy.
In the morning it was goodbye to the green, green grass of home. We were straight onto the ferry and across the channel to Calais
The Drive Down
As we made our way down through France and Spain we stopped off for the night in varied places. From, truck stops to old abandoned country roads and lay-bys.
After 3 days of driving, we arrived at our first destination – Santa Margarita, Spain
It was a lovely view, with the Rock of Gibraltar in the background. Strange how we could now see Britain again…
Meet Joe (Foggy)
He’s not usually eating parmesan cheese out of a bowl, but it’s quite difficult to find a normal picture of him.
Although I have not known Joe for a long time he’s a very good friend to me. He is the kind of guy that doesn’t have a bad word to say about anyone, I value that in a person.
He is also the kind of guy to do random and sometimes quite strange things such as below, I also value that in a person 🙂
Joe found my camera and made us shake our faces…
See, strange but interesting!
Joe was the first person we met up with in Spain as we had some business to attend to. You see Joe and I were joint best men for Matt’s wedding. The wedding was in 3 days time and we had prepared nothing!
So this was us, scheming and putting a top notch speech together in no time!
We were successful and the speech went great in the end!
Here are some pics from Matt & Monika’s Wedding:
The wedding actually went on for over 3 days & nights! Yep, we know how to do it 😉
Part of this few day long party was on the beach below. Marcela and I ended up parking there and staying for a few weeks 🙂
I joke that this is my beach because the place is so welcoming that it feels like home. It’s an amazing place where camper vans just park up and enjoy life. They have 2 chiringuitos (beach bars to us Brits), showers, toilets and well, can you see that water 😉
I will be writing about this beach and many others like it, giving locations, rules and useful first hand knowledge. So please follow my blog for updates.