This is freedom!

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We’ve been on the road and staying at some beautiful campsites around Britain for a month. Tonight we’re back home for a few days to check our friends looking after our house haven’t had too many all-night raves there, plus we all have a check-up at the dentist while our lovely Swift Escape motorhome has a check-up and beauty treatment booked in at Marquis Plymouth following our alarming meeting with a loose lorry tyre on the A1 at 60mph. Then we’re back London way for a few days, plus Coventry where we’re looking forward to a meeting with the lovely folk and our saviours on many occasion (“help, it’s 5pm and we need a campsite somewhere near this field with sheep by a mountain in the middle of nowhere…”) at The Camping And Caravanning HQ.

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So in celebration of seeing so many friends and travelling the length and back again of Britain in four weeks we had a great camping sing-song yesterday thanks to a visit from our very lovely friend Jim aka Jamie R Hawkins.

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This was the first song Jim chose to belt out for us, and very apt about always being there for friends through thick and thin – and very awesome it was too!

After waving bye for now to Jim and another cosy and comfy sleep, Daniel and I checked out the wonders through the “secret window” from the double bed above the motorhome’s cab as we do every night until he falls asleep and every morning when we wake up. I asked him if he was looking forward to sleeping in his bed at home that evening (as we’re home for a few days) or wanted to stay longer in the motorhome.

“Motorhome,” he answered without a pause. We can all relate to that. It’s been some trip and we’re so looking forward to getting to Spain on Brittany Ferries big ship in our motorhome in just over a week now to carry on the Project and meet some more wonderful friends and stay on some more ace campsites.

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There’s something amazing and wondrous about travelling in the motorhome and camping out… Here’s a dozen reasons why you should try it, and if you have already tried it to get out there again and meet us somewhere on the road!

i. First off, packing is easy. No wondering what you can take: you can take pretty much everything you want – bung in all your best clothes and shoes, all the children’s favourite toys, bikes, books, in my case my hat collection (not much hair these days, so I spend on hats what I used to spend on haircuts!), we even had a supermarket shopping delivery before we set off and stocked up as we would at home (and you can even arrange these deliveries while at campsites too). You could even throw in the kitchen sink if you want, but no need as there’s already one in the motorhome!

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ii. As soon as you set off – and the driving is much easier than you’d think (and the modern motorhome engines have real poke as well as not being bad at all on fuel consumption: if on steady roads we can get about 30mpg) – you’ll see a whole lot more than you’re used to seeing due to the cab’s high-up position. You’ll feel like a king and queen driving it! You’ll literally see into the back gardens of your country and over hedges and fences that you’ve driven by wondering what’s over there a thousand times. If you want to try before you buy as we did there’s an increasing number of motorhome hire companies, but with varying degrees of help or range of motorhomes. We cannot recommend the guys at Chief Rentals enough. They’ve even made a DVD of basic know-how that comes with the package when you hire a motorhome from them, so should you forget for instance how to hook up the electric, you just pop the DVD on. Like us, they’ve chosen Swift Escapes as from our experience of looking around these are the best for families and for a first motorhome. Like us, they’re passionate about the motorhome lifestyle and this comes across in any dealing we’ve had with them. They’re good fun too, and that counts for a lot as if you’re planning a motorhome hire holiday your hol begins with that first phone call to hire one. Lloyd’s your main man to ask for there at Chief. You’ll even take Lloyd on hol with you as he’s on the DVD… 😉

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iii. Travelling is easy and a pleasure. There’s no way we could have covered so much distance, even in our larger than average family car, with two children and a dog. It would have meant stopping every hour or so, finding a roadside (rip-off) place to have refreshments and stretch our legs. With the motorhome you find a view, pull up, have a cuppa, have a snack or lunch, and (even if it’s raining cats and dogs outside) let the children and dogs run around. The loo’s on board, you can splash your face with water from the sink, and even have a quick chill out on one of the beds. You could even have a comfortable snooze if needed! The sense of space inside as you travel is so much better too – no stifling air or feeling cramped. Three hours in the motorhome goes quicker and much more comfortably than 30 minutes in a car. Even Colin the dog had a go at the wheel…

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iv. Other motorhomers are a friendly bunch and the wave from one motorhome to yours as you pass is a small and brief gesture but a big and long-lasting one that warms the heart and always brings a smile. It’s a sign or togetherness, strangers who are friendly and who you know also know the fun of the adventure you are on too.

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v. This friendliness continues at the campsites, from the campsite managers who always seem to be cheery and happy people to your fellow campers. Daniel and Darley love seeing who are new neighbours are going to be. I think the passion for camping is a bug that infects anyone – so campers come from all walks of life, all united we think by one thing – they are freedom seekers.

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vi. Having a motorhome gives you an immense freedom. You can follow the sun. Ours is also going to be a brilliant spare guest room (and how many spare rooms are so self-contained with loo, shower, two sinks, cooker and oven, wardrobe and fridge plus space for six to sleep!) as well as our study/office, either parked up at our house or driven to an inspiring view to look out on while working for the day. Then it’s also there should we, on a whim, think let’s go to the beach or onto the moors for the evening, spend the night there and come back in the morning. It gives us that great chance to get away from it all, even if it’s say a Tuesday night in February. It’s there should we need to get to see someone quickly and stay over without the hassle of finding if they can put us up or finding a nearby hotel, with the expense of that plus seeing if they’ll take dogs. Then most hotels we’ve stayed at might say “family rooms” but what they mean is normal sized room but with a sofa bed squeezed in… Now we are free of all that! We can be spontaneous and we love that ¬– it means we can live life to the max.

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vii. The campsites are great and beautiful, peaceful and affordable, practical and fun. We’ve yet to stay on one that’s not in a beautiful setting – and at those we’ve stayed at we’ve seen ducks, squirrels, rabbits, red kites, deer, ponies, goats and donkeys! Most have laundry, showers, washing-up facilities – and the all-important playgrounds! (And in Spain, swimming pools, for my sporting pastime and I can’t wait, nor can the children for a good old splash and to carry on their all-important swimming lessons!)

viii. Children love helping with the jobs at the campsites: the hooking up of electric (of course we’re careful with that one!), filling up with water, emptying out the grey water… Even washing up and doing the laundry!

ix. Children love the “fun bus”. Darley is always exploring its little hiding spots such as on the bottom bunk. And I just asked Daniel why he loves it and in his words: “Because it has bunk beds and a double bed above the cab and there’s a place where I can play with my toys behind the cab and I love the secret window and we see so many places and people. Where are we going next, Daddy? Which friends are we seeing today?”

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x. We’re heading to Spain and getting to Europe is easy and travelling there in the motorhome is so much more of a pleasant way to travel and arrive. You just roll up at the ferry and 24 hours later after a comfortable sail (complete with restauarant, café, shops, cinemas, pool, softplay area, children’s entertainers and evening entertainment – oh and a wonderful sea views!) you simply drive off and into España verde. From our trip there in March we know we’ll get to see so much of the country and its people. And we can’t wait – hope you’ll come with us on our journey to see more friends across the sea! 🙂

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