Suddenly it seems, that time really does go quicker as we get older. How can it be that it’s coming to the end of 2019 already? In fact, it seems like only yesterday we were celebrating the millennium. Yet here we are 20 years later – Wow – that is such a scary thought! It’s so hard to believe it’s another year of camper travels over yet again.
For us, it’s been another busy year, filled with a mix of various travels near and far. In between we’ve had a house renovation and a campervan self-build project on the other side of the world. After all that, we can safely say, it’s been a very hands on year!
Of course, life as we’ve learnt, is full of surprises. No more so, than our travels to the opposite side of the world to New Zealand where our Son lives.
When we realised we’d be a regular visitor to the “land of the long white cloud”, there was only one thing for us to do – have our own campervan! New Zealand is one of the most camper-friendly countries we’ve visited and also one of the most beautiful.
Luckily, our search for a van to convert, at the start of 2019 was relatively easy. Next, with lot’s of Kiwi help, Nigel was able to build a cosy, self-contained conversion within a few weeks.
We were soon out on the road, discovering the best of New Zealand life. Then enjoying the incredible freedom camping facilities on offer in this part of the world. With an outdoor paradise at every corner, it was just our cup of tea!
Even better, when it was time for us to leave – our cosy little home on wheels was left back in the hands of our Son. Making it Ideal for his own exploring, getting to know more of this wonderful country.
When we realised, a few years ago that our new focus would be travel, we knew it meant another big change. Ultimately, that was to downsize the family house to a small place to return to.
With the big house-move completed, just a few days before leaving for NZ, our return to the UK had us pre-occupied in house renovations. What an ordeal that was! As usual with these things, they took far longer than expected!
A few months later, we were finished. Now we had fully renovated, modernised and transformed our cosy abode! Wondering why we’d needed all the space in our previous home. This was a new revelation and introduction into tiny space living!
Exciting yet exhausting at the same time, this important next chapter felt so liberating. The freedom of ditching the big house for the tiny base was just the best feeling. And making it our own was just such a lovely part of the next stage of our lives.
It didn’t take long before itchy feet syndrome set in. Before we knew it, we were catching the Euro Tunnel to France, ready for more adventures.
As usual, we were a little indecisive about where to head for. Finally we settled on Italy – with a little bit of France, mainly the Alps, thrown in for starters.
I’m not sure why, but ever since we started our campervan travels, we’ve always felt the need to really explore a region before starting on a new destination. In other words, we’ve never been ones to tick box a country or just pass through.
So, when we finally toured Northern Italy in 2018, it seemed only natural to continue where we left off in 2019.
The Central regions of Italy actually felt a bit disappointing. After a couple of months touring various areas, we headed back to the South of France. Here, we took a trip down memory lane of some old favourites, only to find things had changed a bit.
As the new look Riviera took hold, the realisation dawned. Unfortunately, the incredible “wild camping” days along beautiful beaches were now a thing of the past. The French coast had changed beyond all recognition in some places.
As Summer turned to Autumn, the French shut up shop, by Mid-October, it was over. Storm clouds came in, and sun loungers were locked away for the Winter. Next came choppy seas, throwing a wild mass of debris across the previously bustling sun drenched promenades.
Hanging on in there for a few more weeks was actually not the best idea. Ideally, we should have headed back home before the isolation of an out of season France crept in. Our return tunnel booking for the first week in November was the only reason we stayed.
As we were ready to wave “Au Revoir” for another year, the Winter travellers were descending en-masse to the coast. Breaking up their journeys, with a fleeting stopover on the French Coast, before continuing to their Winter campgrounds across the Spanish Costa’s.
There may be nothing new there. That’s except for the huge size of the motorhomes coming through this year. On top of that, most were carrying the most outrageously extravagant additions. From tow cars to box trailers. But all adding extra length of these beasts of the motorhome world.
So, we said goodbye to Europe for another year, then put on the Winter coats and headed North.
We Started out in 2019 as we will finish – in the fabulous country that is New Zealand. Here, with our nearest and dearest for company.
Yes – Summer down under, re-united with family and our cosy little self-build campervan – located in New Zealand’s North Island.
Where adventures await around every corner, the sky shines the brightest blue, and the warmth of Kiwi spirit flows through the incredible landscapes.
Here’s to the start of yet another decade – may you all have a fabulous touring season in 2020 and a long and happy decade ahead.
Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas, the most amazing campervan travels and the happiest of New Year’s for 2020!
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