I was absolutely determined to do this, to get a motorhome and travel through Europe with Martha and the dogs. To retire from my job, let my house, buy a motorhome and set off with no need to work and no fixed date to return. A completely different life. I have spent so long thinking about it, researching and planning it, talking about it. Worrying about it or, rather, worrying about not doing it. I can’t believe I don’t have to worry any more.

It was the start of the journey, the first steps, which always seemed the hardest to achieve to me. I never worried that once I was away something would go wrong, only that something would prevent me setting off. This one thing having been my focus and goal for so long, I have to admit, I feel a bit lost now that I have done it. It’s like when you study for an exam and really work hard for several weeks leading up to the big day, once it has passed you are caught a bit off balance while you think of what to do now you don’t have to revise any more. I still feel like that and it’s been a little over three weeks since 9th March, the day we rolled out of Chorleywood with everything we didn’t need in storage and the rest in the van. A few things in storage which should have been in the van and a few things in the van that should have been in storage, to be honest.

Our van is an Autotrail Comanche and is 8 point something meters long which is about 29 feet. It’s a big’un. It’s four years old but had very low mileage. We got it just before Xmas and although we don’t normally name inanimate objects, constantly saying ‘the motorhome’ got to be a bit of a pain so we have called it ‘the Elf’. “Where’s the corkscrew?” “It’s in the Elf…” etc. We both love it. It can do no wrong. The fridge didn’t work (now fixed), the gas leaked (now fixed), the solar didn’t work (now fixed), the lights were on the blink (sort of fixed for now at least) and the tap leaks a bit (I’ll fix it). Despite all this in three weeks we think it is the best motorhome in the world. Perhaps any motorhome would have been equally cherished but it’s the Elf that got lucky. To be fair, if we put our bungalow on wheels and towed it a few hundred miles down to Portugal I’d expect a few things to come loose or fall off completely so it’s no surprise that maintenance is an ongoing pleasure on the Elf, I like the challenge. And Marth is amazed at how capable I am. It’s all about frame of reference…

Our storage unit is a shipping container in Salisbury which I have no strong feelings about one way or another. Nor do I have strong feelings about any of the things in it other than my Anker battery charger thingy which was really handy but somehow is in the wrong place. The only things I miss from my old life, not surprisingly, are my friends and family and their dogs, so I’m writing this mostly for them (I leave it to owners to read this aloud to their animals) but have bravely decided to make the blog available to anyone else who might be interested perhaps because they are thinking of doing something similar. I read tons of blogs when I was in the obsessing phase and I know I enjoyed them and found them really useful.

So that’s my bit for now, this is the nearest I have come to doing ‘work’ since we set off and I’m a bit puffed out. I hope to get into my stride as we go along. But I don’t have to worry any more.

All the best