After 12 months of talking about it at last, we are ready for the off! The van is packed to the gills and we have a plan of sorts, a big map book and we think everything else will fall into place as we go, so tomorrow morning our Grand Tour of Europe commences (destination exotic Brentwood!).
The packing went well, everything we want to take fits, and as long as it fits somewhere I don’t really mind where that is. Iain has built some rather ingenious cupboard spaces in what was previously wasted gaps; such as in the outside locker above our loo (for the non campervanners – no the toilet is inside but there is a locker outside to take it out and empty it) we have a 12 month supply of toilet chemical, not glamorous but essential as now we don’t have to worry about how to translate a request for “blue stuff to stop the toilet smelling” in several languages. I have managed to fit all my clothes into a small cupboard, which is about the size of a hand luggage suitcase, how on earth that will last me a year I don’t know but on the upside it will take away a lot of the decisions on ‘what to wear’.
We are now on winter tyres, our awning is fixed, we have glued or screwed down any wobbly bits in the van (except for Iain) and its polished to within an inch of it’s life. All the essentials are onboard – decent coffee, Tetley tea, Marmite, Weetabix, Bovril, ginger biscuits and shampoo. Other than that we agreed on taking essentials only : walking gear, bikes, a tool kit, a kite (?), Kindle, camera and enough medications to keep a small country fit and well.
Our route could be termed very fluid – we have drawn it on a map in pencil so it’s flexible! The plan, as of today, is head as far South as we can for some sun then go North for several months, then home via the middle bit 🙂 . We appreciate that as plans go it’s probably only slightly better than those of mice, but at least we know which direction to turn when we arrive in Calais so we feel confident with that being covered! The first and most obvious question everyone asks us is how far will we get? No idea, we would like to think we will cover several countries every couple of months but we don’t want to rush, less maybe more.
The budget is very much set and this is neither vague nor flexible. We have a fixed sum to live on each week, if we overspend then we are going to be home much sooner than 12 months. We set the amount by adding up what we can afford – saying “that sounds like a fair amount” and dividing it by twelve, so obviously that is going to be the exact amount required!
We will post here as and when we can find a free wifi connection which should be reasonably regularly we hope. So all that’s left is curry night a la Bate then tomorrow morning the big adventure starts 🙂