Did we wake up one morning and decide to sell our house, quit our jobs, buy a motorhome and go travelling for who knows how long? Well actually yes we did! But it took several months to make it happen! The seeds of this, possibly crazy, plan were planted during covid. Like everyone we were home schooling our kids due to the lockdowns and for the first time in their young lives we were home with them fulltime and we all loved it. Sam & I were both self employed, he as a joiner, me as a dental hygienist. For financial reasons I had gone back to work two months after both kids were born and I hated it. Breakfast club drop off at 7.30am and after school clubs until 6pm some days! The guilt was terrible. Euan had always hated school, I had to physically drag him in, he would run away then beg and cry for me not to leave him. I thought he would grow out of it, he didn't, in fact it got worse. I often arrived at work in tears myself with the guilt of prising my son out of my arms and pulling him into school. After covid, I hoped things would have changed, but sadly not. The school tried to help but even they admitted it was getting worse. The final straw was when Euan said he wouldn't be there in the morning if he had to go to school. He was 8 and threatening to kill himself! I just couldn't do it to him anymore, he looked and sounded broken, no zest for life just a depressed shell of a boy. I deregistered him from school that day and quit my job where I had been for 15 years. I finally had the guts to put my children first no matter the financial cost! The plan to sell up and travel full time came around then. I was no longer working, Euan was now home educated, Isabella was about to finish juniors and after a horrendous time doing SATS was starting to dislike school too. Sam was worn out with the stress of running his Joinery business, especially now being the sole earner, whilst trying to maintain his 6 years of sobriety from alcohol. We decided there must be more out there than this. We weren't enjoying life, rather just existing and spending our days worrying about bills getting paid. So we decided to go for it. We had seen other families on YouTube who had done it previously and after many discussions with the kids, in July 2022 we put the house on the market. It sold in 3 days! We panicked, we nearly pulled out of the sale, several times in fact, but we didn't, we stuck to our plans. Family & friends thought we were crazy, why do we not just rent out the house? But we wanted, and needed, a clean break from life, with no stress from tenants, or constant repairs needing doing, all hard to deal with when your miles away. On 14 October 2022 the sale finally completed we moved out of our house and into our motorhome. She was a 1998 Peugeot Compass Drifter called Bessie, hence our name for social media, "The Compass Drifters". Sadly we had to sell her as she was too old and not practical for living in fulltime. We had promised the kids their own full single beds and we wanted a drop down double bed for us. No more making up of beds every morning! Ok for a holiday but not ideal for fulltime living! We bought a 2019 Adria matrix 670SL. It was important for us to have a newer van with hopefully less risk of faults/issues whilst in faraway places. We travelled the UK and Ireland initially to ensure we had all we needed, to see if anything mechanically was wrong and to find our feet! It was very hard moving into a small space in the winter especially when trying to find free spots in the UK - not easy! Other vanlifers told us it was a baptism of fire, if we can start our vanlife in the winter months in the UK, we will find it a breeze when we get to Europe! We hung around the UK for a home educating festival in Wales at the end of January then on the 1st of February we finally arrived in France! It certainly felt like our Vanlife journey properly started that day! The 3 months previously had just been a trial run! Now we are into June and the past 8 months have been amazing, did we have wobbles, erm yes many times! Are we loving it? Hell yeah! It has been the best decision we ever made! The changes in us & our kids makes me proud, we are closer as a family, we eat every meal together, we are always there for them, Isabella in particular has commented that she loves having us around all the time. Euan is the happiest and most relaxed I've seen him in years, I get so emotional thinking about how he was before we left to how he is now. That for me is what I love best about doing this; after the mum guilt I had all those years and all the tears I shed over working so much, I finally have my time with the kids. Also the freedom from debt has been like a weight lifted! We owe nothing to anybody for the first time in 26 years! It feels amazing! We cannot see this lifestyle ending any time soon, stay tuned for a sneak peak into our travels!
Becky, Sam, Isabella & Euan.