When Vanlife drives You Mad

Self Build Motorhome


It’s the one thing you can’t always avoid, when vanlife drives you mad usually because of those annoying Motorhome neighbours!

When a campervan pulls in alongside that peaceful parking spot, out come the owners bearing a striking resemblance to Clark Griswold’s cousin Eddie in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation! Yes, remember that scene with the RV and the contents of the toilet?  

The shenanigans begin to unwind and all you can do in a very British fashion is sit back with gritted teeth, whilst you contemplate your next move!

It’s enough to have you grimacing over your tea and biscuits, peering up from your book, hoping to avoid eye contact, before dashing indoors. Any excuse to escape or hide behind the dark sunglasses, even though the sun has just disappeared behind a thick black cloud!

Small Talk – When Vanlife drives you mad

Well it’s great to have a bit of a chat every now and then, exchanging pleasantries, neighbourly greetings and quick small talk on the weather (ok we’re British!!). More often than not, it’s about the van or even the smell of the sausages grilling on the barbecue.

Sometimes though, we can’t wait to get away from the small talk! Even moving the van completely to find solace from the most annoying motorhome neighbours or their habits.

Yes, I think you get our drift. You’ve been there, you know all too well what we’re talking about. So without further ado, here’s our pick of the most annoying motorhome neighbours, when Vanlife drives you mad!

Parked up at a private Italian Sosta parking spot

1. The TV Addict – When Vanlife drives you mad

We don’t even have a TV!

Heck I know, it’s extreme, we must be odd, slightly weird. Maybe we just like to meditate all day, whilst humming to ourselves in an eccentric sort of head clearing way! We’ll leave that one to the imagination!

So, why do people think the sound of their TV should be heard loud and clear across the parking area? Through their doors, windows, vibrating over into our space.

That’s after they’ve spent hours fiddling with the satellite receiver, resembling something from NASA HQ. Off they whizz, in and out, round the van, moving the lead, getting the spanner out, whirls of the dish, spinning out of control on the roof.

Daytime, night, morning, there’s no escape those boring, dull TV shows, sport, soaps and films. It seems people will just watch any old garbage and they have no regards to sharing it with everyone around them!

Then there’s night fall, the blinds stay open and occupants resume position, sat rigid in front of the screen, as the bright flickering lights shine straight at us. Time to shut our blinds, hide away and get the head phones out to dull the pain!

2. The Space Invader – When Vanlife drives you mad

Here we go, how many times have you had this one happen? Yes, you’ve got a great little spot and a nice view. Just settling down to a good read or sip of your favourite wine, when along comes a “Space Invader”!

They may look like they’ve landed from another planet with the way they look around at the empty parking place. You’re hoping that they choose the further most spot away from your cosy corner.

Then, they drive as close to you as they can possibly get! Coming in at an angle more suited to a F1 track, as you’re left holding on to your sun chair for dear life waiting for an impact!

Is it some sort of game? Do they do this on purpose? Are they secretly having a bit of a laugh, seeing how many of us they can take out in one sweep of the steering wheel?

As the handbrake goes on, the clattering begins inside, as the cupboards open. The kettle goes on, and we’re left looking at the side wall of a van or if we’re really unlucky, right through the side window into their van world!

When Vanlife drives you mad

3. The Generator

Oh goodness, there is nothing worse. The roaring, moaning, thumping, droning, seemingly endless noise of this dreaded machine!

You can hear them before you see them, following the sound, ears pierced to the point of no return. It’s in your head, that awful droning that you can’t get rid of it, nothing quells the vibration, whirling through the air.

You think it’s the van next door, you’re just about to give the look of despair to your worried looking neighbour. Then you notice the chunky box rattling outside of a van a few doors down.

The Sound Echo’s Around

Yep, they could be a million miles away, but the echo reverberates round like a bad smell. It’s the faux-pas of motorhome travel. Exclusive to those who haven’t enough battery power to be off-grid, haven’t they heard of clean energy?

Shouldn’t they really be hooked into power at a campsite? Especially if they need so much power, to warrant carrying the National Grid in a box with them.

Whatever your thoughts on that one, you have to agree, they sound awful and look pretty bad outside the van.

4. The Nosey Parker

You’re parked in a row, door left, door right, nose in, nose out, habitation door etiquette is just so important – isn’t it?

You’ve seen it, everyone’s following the flow, parking nice and sensibly so as to not park door to door with the neighbour. Then along comes the spoiler, who only goes and parks the wrong way! Sooooo annoying!!! Are we just too perfectionist, having to have the Feng Shui just so?

We think not, who wants to be that friendly with the stranger neighbour? Doors flung open, deckchairs out, BBQ sizzling, right next to each other – No thank you!

5. The Engine Runner

We’ve had the Generator, now the next best worst camper faux pas! Yep, it’s the dreaded time the engine kicks in, rumbling on and on to charge the leisure battery!

Please get a solar panel, get two or find a campsite!! Anything to stop disturbing the sweet sound of birdsong, whilst we gasp for air as the exhaust fumes gush out tonnes of smokey black omissions into the side of our van!

Do they not know we are choking on their carbon monoxide riddled plumes? Are they too oblivious to realise where that exhaust pipe is located? Yes, ignorance is bliss it seems.

Choked By Exhaust Fumes

So if you haven’t experienced this yet, we’ll fill you in on a fine example, from a time several years ago on an Aire in Reims. It was a dark, wet Winter and the Aire in Reims isn’t the most scenic.

On went the rattling engine of our neighbours motorhome, whirling out the most grubby looking fumes into the atmosphere beside us. Unfortunately, these fumes were finding a way into our motorhome, leaving us breathing in, the dirty fuel remnants and a very nasty taste in our mouths!

To escape the unpleasantries, we hot-footed into the city.  It did make us think – what would have happened if we’d been asleep? Could we have succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning? Who know’s, but the offenders kept that engine rumbling on for over an hour.

6. The Talker

So, we all like a bit of a natter, but some people just don’t stop!

Just the other morning, we we’re woken up by a group of noisy foreign language talk. Giggling and high voices at midnight, followed by a 5am encore by the same neighbours! No respect for other people and total disregard for waking up the whole row of campers.

There’s also those who just don’t stop to draw breath….talk talk talk all day. Into the night and early in the morning, hearing every bit of dialect, if only it were interesting!

Not forgetting, the ones that just love the sound of their own voice! Yes, they have to get those vocal tones shouting out above the rest, coming over to start conversation, which is usually all about them!

It’s no wonder we get moments when Vanlife drives us mad!

7. The Faffer

We don’t think we fall into their category but perhaps some would disagree! We’ve all seen them as they pull up into a parking spot, reverse, drive forward, turn around, forward again, back, slightly over to the left then to the right….phew, this is hard work!

Then, just when you think it’s all over, low and behold, they change parking spot altogether and start the whole process again.

They then decide to get out the levelling ramps….crikey, out pops the director with imaginative hand signals. Up go the rev’s and Whoa…..straight over the front ramps onto the grass!

If that’s not enough, they try for a 2nd time. Half way up, the handbrake’s yanked up, the van comes to an almighty stop and the camper now resembles the leaning tower of Pisa.

3rd Attempt At Those Levelling Blocks

Rather than attempt a 3rd go at the blocks, they save face and stay poised in situe. Hoping the ramps hold, whilst they get the stepladder out to climb into the van, everyone else looking on in amusement!

Why do so many people in think levelling ramps are an essential part of the parking process? Do they not know that the clue is in the name? Yes, they are intended for use on uneven ground!

8. The Snorer

They don’t mind slouching it out for all to see, usually on the cab swivel seat, reclined as far back as possible or feet up on the front lounge couch. Either way, the mouth is open, tissues ready to catch the dribbles!

Then, it begins! That loud, grunting, almost earthquake like rhythm. It’s a constant tune, never sways off pitch and is enough to capture everyone’s attention. Oh how fabulous are the most annoying Motorhome neighbours?

They wake up looking rather worse for wear with a jaded lack of fresh air look to the complexion. Totally unaware of the annoyance caused from their grunting noise levels.

9. The Double Parker

They want to use Aires or similar motorhome parking facility so widely used across Europe. But hold on, they think they can bring not only the motorhome but a trailer, car, boat or whatever other towable item can be hitched on the massive van.

Just when space is tight enough, for all those sticking to the one parking spot rules, they decide to take over 2 spaces to fit the oversized outfit. Just how inconsiderate can people be! Unhitching the trailer, rolling off the tow car and parking them alongside too!

Friends and Family

Then there’s the friends and family.  Insistent on getting parking spaces together, leaving a gap in between and setting out the party atmosphere on the middle parking space. It’s where tables, chairs and awnings are now taking centre stage.

Do they not know that a campsite is more suitable for the spread yourselves out culture?

10. No room at the Inn

It’s a hot day, the blistering sun is out, the Aire (or similar European Motorhome facility) is full to bursting. There you are trying to find a space and there they are, sitting happily under the fully extended awning. Almost laughing at you, as you circle the parking area in desperation.

Don’t you just love your neighbours! They can be so inconsiderate, not one inch of movement from them, no calling over to direct you to the free space dominated by their massive Awning.

No they just sit it out, they’ve marked their territory and they are staying put!

11. The Ones With the Yapping Dogs

They think nothing of popping out for a few hours and leaving the little fluffy cuties sat in wait in the motorhome window.

As soon as they’ve disappeared off to the shops or wherever it is they’ve gone to, it starts! The little cuties are no more, instead they turn into the Hounds of the Baskervilles on heat!

Yap yap yap yap, it does not stop! From adorable puppy dog eyes to monster guard dogs within a couple of barks.

Gone is the yearning for a dog moment, that we’d had a few moments ago. Instead, in comes the “thank goodness they’re not ours” as everyone starts glaring at the van.

We all start willing the quick return of the owners. Obsessed with every passer by, hoping this is them returning with doggie treats and with it a return to peace and quiet.

When they do make an appearance, they have no clue that the 4-legged friends, who’ve suddenly become adorable again, have been such an attraction for all the wrong reasons!

When Vanlife drives you mad
A bit of wild camping to get a way from those annoying neighbours!

12. The Exhibitionists

It’s hot hot hot, and that means the sight of pale flesh browning, under the bright blue skies. Out it comes, all shapes and sizes, the fit ones, the tanned and toned, the ones that haven’t seen the gym for a while and those that have never tried to increase that heart rate!

They love to bare all to anyone who’ll take a peak. Happy to come for a chat over the cornflakes as it all hangs out – good and bad, casting a great shadow over the al-fresco breakfast table.

We’ve seen it all – shiny swimwear thongs, that’s men and women, underwear, dressing gowns flapping open in the breeze, skimpy shorts, where there’s more hanging out than they realise. Strapless, backless, topless….when the sun comes out, so does everything else!

13. The Miserables

You try and be polite as you catch their eyes, Hello, Bonjour, Hola, Hi, Guten Morgen, whatever the nationality, there’s always the grumpy ones – looking like they want to be anywhere, but away in their van.

So you smile a little, and pretend you just haven’t been snubbed, as the awkwardness sets in, they just blank you!

You can’t believe it, how rude, did that just happen? So to make sure you haven’t just dreamt it or mistaken the moment, you try again, only to get a bit of a half, under the breath reaction back. Confirming that – hey, they just don’t wanna be friendly today!

14. The Damn Right Rude

It’s strangely apt that we’ve just experienced one of these arrogant types this very day! We’ve come across this sort before, watched from a far as they march forth, ensuring nothing gets in their way!

Whether that be the need for that parking spot you’re just leisurely eyeing up or jumping the queue at the dump area. Yes, we’ve seen them, and I’m sure you have too. But what’s their problem? Why is there so much urgency to get ahead in-front of us patient folks? Are we all just waiting in an orderly fashion for the fun of it?

A Fine Example

We arrived at a Freedom Camping spot in New Zealand to a chaotic scene to motorhome’s reversing out, others coming in – nose to nose, no room to move.

As we approached the scene, wondering who was doing what and assessing the situation. One elderly Kiwi couple, rammed on the accelerator to pass us, shouting out as they went “don’t think you’re getting in there bitch”!!

Fast forward a couple of weeks and we are minding our own business, emptying our waste, filling the fresh, yes the chores!

In New Zealand there are no drive over waste drains for the grey water, like our European friends. Instead there is a floppy plastic pipe, which you attach to the waste outlet and dangle it into the same drain as the loo – it’s not a good idea.

No Excuse for Zero Manners

There is no way to quicken the process. You just have to wait for it to drain, rinse out the pipe, fold it all away and the next in line can then do the same.

Then, along came a motorhome hire van, out jumps a British guy who grabs his cassette toilet, darts over to us, almost elbowing us out the way, takes off his cassette cap ready to empty the contents all over our waste pipe!!

Thank goodness we were alert to his presence. Keeping a close eye on his movements, we had enough sharpness in our step, to quickly grab our waste pipe, haul it out the way and watch aghast.

He continues to arrogantly tip his slops out over the drain! Whilst us two mere mortals, stood trying not to catch a whiff of the slop, plop, spilling out in front of us!

Without a moment to catch breath, he’d disappeared back to his wife, who was by now hanging out the habitation door, hurrying him along!

When Vanlife drives you mad it’s sometimes good to just write about it!

New Zealand North v South Island

When Vanlife drives you mad
Our NZ panel van at a freedom camping spot in New Zealand
When Vanlife drives you mad
A popular Freedom Camping area in NZ, early morning when lots had just left!

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