Category Archives: FINANCES

Homeless for a Year!

 

Today is Bank Holiday Monday  28th August 2017 and it marks the first anniversary of Angie and I moving out of our lovely home closing the door and walking away from 30 years of owning a mortgage. We can’t believe that it has been a year already and that we voluntarily made ourselves homeless. Well one year on and we are still living and loving our dream although the winter and spring was a little less exciting than we were hoping for as our travels through Spain were cut short.

So how has it been?  – Well initially it was exciting and scary at the same time. Having sold up, we threw ourselves into the moment with an educated guess that we would get work somehow in the summer to pay for the winter. With that glimmer of optimism we started our first tour and headed for France. We had six amazing weeks in France (all our adventures are logged further back in this blog) and it was a superb taster of the life to come. Having travelled back to London for and induction day with the Camping and Caravaning Club we then returned to France and on to Spain expecting to spend at least Four months there.

When we were called back to do a months work in Theobalds in January for the club the “exciting and scary” became “relieved and intrigued”. Relieved that we had an income for the summer and intrigued on learning the job.

February and March saw us wandering the U.K for 7 weeks and we became “pleased and relaxed”. Pleased that we had made the right decision to return in January securing our summer placement and relaxed, touring the UK and seeing some lovely places that we had never been to before, catching up with lost and old friends and having a mini ( if you can call seven weeks mini – it’s nearly twice what most folk get all year) Holiday before we started  seven months of work.

From the end of March until now and right up to the end of October we have moved to “content and grateful” We love the job as it’s not really a job. It’s more of a way of life and we get paid to do what many people pay to do, i.e spend time in the countryside in their motorhome or caravan living life outdoors. We have an amazing pitch, a pretty garden and spend our time working, talking to and mixing with nice people who share our attitude on life and love of camping. We have made new friends, some of whome are holiday site assistants and managers and others who are campers on the site. We have had more trips away for weekends since doing this job than we ever had in the last 10 years or so put together, and we have seen parts of the U.K that were previously a mystery to us. What’s more without the trappings of mortgages and household bills etc we save more money each month than we have ever done when we lived on BIG salaries but also had big outgoings and this is despite us now being on the minimum wage. We have money in the bank so now, for the first time in 30 plus years if we want something we buy it, where as before we had to really think hard and either save up or put it on tick. We need to keep in mind that we will want to eventually settle down when we are too decrepit to continue as we are, so we keep a check on what we buy. As there are no trappings of “better this or newer that” for the home to consider we find that there is very little that we want now and we have already done the big purchases to get us up and running for our transient lifestyle. Things such as motorhome, awning, furniture for awning,smart car, V’Dub and drive away awning etc were all expensive but one offs that need not be repeated for a good few years to come

The summer had been kind to us with wall to wall sunshine until mid July only turning typically British for the 6 weeks of school holidays so I suppose we have been sort of  lucky it that respect and we have already booked the ferry on 8th November and 5 camp sites in southern Portugal Spain for the Winter so are itching to get away

So with all that said and done did the ” GAMBLE ” pay off?  Well for us – YES INDEEDY!  So far so good, we are loving it and with tans as proof and so far we haven’t Experienced the five month Spanish or Southern Europe winter escape! Don’t get us wrong there are still days where it’s not all rosy and we have had our challenges and upsets but even on those days its STILL BETTER! We couldn’t imagine going back to our old life where we hade less personal time, money, weekends away,  holidays, lazy mornings or afternoons sitting in the garden, sundrenched lunchtimes and a relaxed working day and a whole lot more commuting, traffic jams, pressure, long hours,targets, stress and worry.

FOR US ITS THE BEST DECISION WE EVER MADE?

As I’ve typed this I have realised that I may have come across a little bit braggy and I don’t want it to be. This life style is definitely not for everybody and we have given up a lot to do this, potentially risking a very comfortable old age but we are great believers “managed fate”  And living life for the NOW –  Life change can be amazing if you are willing to just give it a go. It would have been very easy for us to have carried on as we were but we are so glad we didn’t. So a year on and we are happy to be homeless when our home is where we park it and at the moment it looks like this.

 

….And we have memories like this…

 

Roll on November 8th when we return to France Spain and Portugal. 

Dub luv

Well we have given up the 9-5 life and so far are totally loving it. It’s funny how life changes as does your attitude to it. After my last mail where I said we would probably not do another post until November, we have decided to buy a cheap (ish) “Dub” otherwise known as a Volkswagen camper van.

We have settled in well to our new job, location and working lifestyle and the previous photos of our garden and awning/ conservatory show that we could settle in for six months staying where we are on our days off and relaxing in the ‘garden’. We however feel the need to escape from the site to just get away from our place of work and home for a couple of days and it will therefore allow us to visit parts of the country each week on our days off. A two hour drive each long weekend ( Tuesday 4.30 till Friday 12.30 one week and just Wednesday and Thursday the next) will give us at least two full days to explore and see the delights off the U.K.. This summer we will sample the area around us here in Hertfordshire. Next year who knows where we will be based, Scotland Cornwall, The Lake District or anywhere else in the country! What we do know is that we have a stunning county and we need to see as much of it as we can while we can and a camper van will give us that ability. It will also allow us to travel to see friends and family without the need for a two way trip on the same day. We will now post our travel adventures in the U.K too now which I hope will be enjoyed by all but especially our overseas followers. So our fleet of two  vehicles becomes three and we will soon add a funky new dub to the clan.

Its been a big decision to spend quite a chunk of our savings but with the money from the sale of the house sitting in the bank earning us exactly 0%  per year and not enough to buy another U.K home and our plans for a future home at least 15 years away we have decided to invest in “life” yet again rather than keep it safely tucked away in a bank. We hope that the enjoyment that we get will out way the loss in security. We think however that it is the best way that we can become 12 month travelers who need to earn a wage for six or seven of those months to pay for it. We loved our Caravaning weekends years ago so what’s not to love in a Dub.

After hours of searching the websites and a few inspections we think that we have now found the best available in our budget and set off on a three hour drive to Leeds today to check this one out. Wish us luck.

What a difference a year makes.

So it’s the 6th April 2017. Why is that important ? Well exactly one year ago today we decided to change our lifestyle and to recognise our first anniversary of that life changing decision I thought I should sum up how it’s been. The ups and downs, the good and bad bits, warts and all. So here goes….

Firstly the bad bits and what we miss.

Well surprisingly very little but sometimes it’s the small things that count. The Convenience having a washing machine on tap 24/7, water that just comes out of the tap without having to fill it up every three days, a W.C that doesn’t need emptying every other day, the ability to leave things messy, our garden, our house. Angie misses ‘home’, Would any of the above change our decision. Not a jot!

More importantly our family, our friends and our son. Because of our forced absence we probably make more of an effort to catch up and see everyone when we return back to our home area. They also make an effort to come and see us. When we meet there is a real interest in catching up with each other’s news and a small sadness that it will be another few months until we see them again but in a way this actually makes the friendship stronger. My dancing friends make a real fuss of me on my return after two or three months away and all of this makes us feel loved valued and missed.

We also strangely sort of miss the routine of the 9-5 where you don’t have to think what day of the week it is or what you should do that day because it is already pre planned for you wether you like it or not (most of the times not). We have yet to complete a tour of duty for the club so are expecting this feeling to dissipate. We certainly do not miss the traffic jams or the daily commute the alarm clock or the daily grind. Neither of us miss work in the slightest but do miss our work colleagues although still see most of them when we can.

Selling the house was the biggest decision to make but one that needed to be done to make this happen. We were and still are nervous about being off of the property ladder but it is also quite liberating. No bills, no maintenance, no upkeep and all of our free time (which is a lot at the moment) is our free time. Having now met so many unconventional people that have also given up homeownership to live a free lifestyle we realise that you don’t necessarily need bricks and mortar even in your old age and there are so many other options open to us than having to own a house or flat albeit that may still be an option. We were unaware of just how many thousands of people live in caravans or a motorhome all year with no intention of ever buying another property and are so fit and healthy because of it.

Ryan- Probably our biggest concern. We effectively forced his hand and made him move out into a position where he now has to devote half his salary to the art of living.  He is 21 and six months on, he is a better young man for it. We support him emotionally and help out financially when needed. In all honesty if we had carried on the way we were he would still be living at home drinking his salary away down the pub and relying on his mum and dad for basically everything and probably be doing that for the next five years. As it is he is now renting a two bedroom house which he calls home has a steady girlfriend who stays with him some nights a cat called Kier and a much more responsible outlook on life. We have seen him flourish in his new responsibilities and so far so good. Would he want to move back to his old life – Nope!

So on to the good bits

Well firstly it’s 2.37pm on a Thursday afternoon. Normally I would be sitting in the office with another four and a half hours to go before I leave to go home and I would get home at about 7.30pm. Instead I sit here doing the last edit to this blog post in full sunshine wearing nothing else than a pair of jean shorts and topping up the tan. Enough said?

What we have done. There is no denying that if we had carried on with our old life since September when we picked up Catori the motorhome we would have done nothing much other than work, have Christmas to excess and may now have been looking forward to a weeks holiday in the next month or so. What we have actually done is

Purchase and collect Catori the motorhome.

Uk Tour in  Catori – Verwood, Oxford, North Norfolk, Fareham, Bosham, found carefree (which we now feel is home).

Buy Smart Car

Set off for our first tour in France:-Pevensey, Dover U.K, Calais, Le Crotoy, Le Manns, Orléans, Château de Chambord, ChâteauDe Villandry, La Rochelle, La Tremblade, Les Mathes, Meschers-sur-Gironde, Bordeaux, Bizet-sur-Baïse, Condom, Midi-Pyrénés, Gruissan, La Grande-Motte Languedoc, Nîmes, Pont-du-Gard, Claremont-Ferrand, Thiepval memorial and back to Calais.

Came back to U.K  Chertsey, (for induction day) Lincoln,(tow bar and tow car fitted) Fareham.

Set off for Spain:- Portsmouth, Caen, Mouzillon, Montguyon, Castebon Pyrénéés, Zaragoza Spain, Benicarló, Peñíscola, Vinaròs, Pineda de Mar Catalonia, Castillion, Donzenac, Mont-Saint-Michel, Caen.

Came back to U.K for a month working in Theobalds Park.

Mini U.K Tour :-Kingsbury water park Birmingham, for N.E.C to buy awning. Cotswolds, Broadway, Chipping Campden, Burford and the Slaughters, Bibury, Bouton-on-the-water, Morton-in-marsh, Stow-on-the-wold, Castle Combe, Devises, Kennet and Avon Canal, Tavistock, Dartmoor National Park and finally back to Fareham (Carefree) before starting our first seven months at Theobalds park.

Slightly more interesting than the 9-5? Yep. What we have seen is parts of the UK that we had previously not seen and we have not even scratched the surface of UK touring! As for Europe well although we feel that we have seen a lot it we have not. To provide an analogy what we have done so far is not even as much as getting the screwdriver out of the tool box to take the lid off of the first tin of paint to start painting the forth road bridge. A Minuscule amount of traveling and so much more to see.

After being given 5 days to get set up mostly in the sun wearing shorts and a sports vest. The van is set up in its dog escape-proofed compound. Molly now has the run of the van the awning and the compound and grass under her feet. She is loving it. We have a sunny spot with a relatively private corner for our bistro table and chairs for breakfasts lunch and evening meals in the sun and  and a fourty hour a week contract for 30 weeks which by my calculations should give us enough savings throughout the summer to pay for five months of play time in the Spanish sunshine or similar.

I walk or run Molly most mornings and evenings along the new river and in the distance I can see the M25 and A10 which are gridlocked, I listen to the radio and the reports of the M27 junction 9 being slow or closed due to an accident and I truly feel very lucky that we have decided to change how we live life. Although we have seven months of ‘work’ ahead of us, mowing the grass on a tractor in shorts and t’ shirt in the sun , helping people on to their pitch or booking a weeks stay for a holiday maker over the phone isn’t actually work is it?

I am acutely aware that not everyone is as fortunate as we are to be able to make a huge change like this but I am also conscious that we nearly didn’t because it is/ was a risk we are aware that there are many many people who absolutely could do something similar but are not brave enough to do so. If you are one of those who may be reading this ….

LIFE IS NOT ABOUT THE NUMBER OF BREATHS THAT YOU TAKE IT IS ABOUT THE NUMBER OF TIMES THAT YOUR BREATH IS TAKEN AWAY.

GO CONFIDENTLY IN THE DIRECTION OF YOUR DREAMS. LIVE THE LIFE YOU HAVE IMAGINED!

The easiest decision to make is to not make a decision!

Would we go back? – NO – 100% NO. 

Would we encourage others to do something similar if they could and willing to take the gamble ?  100% YES!

We have so many photos and memories but here are just a few that give a snap shot of our last six months.

As for the next seven months? Well if our first 10 days of work returning to the site are anything to go on we are going to love it. It is so relaxed, we wake with the sun and if we are on five days of lates have a leisurely breakfast in the awning or in our garden as we don’t start till 12.30 and finish at 6pm with an hour for lunch. We remain on duty till 8pm but from the enjoyable surroundings of our sunny garden with a cup of tea in hand.The next week is five days of Earlies with a quick toilet check at 7am and then effectively 9- 4.30 with an hour for lunch. We have Wednesday and Thursdays off each week.

We move a few vans, mow some grass, do a bit of office work and if on earlies a toilet clean, chat to the guests and generally do our best to make the site as pleasant and friendly as possible –  job Done!

As this blog is to follow our travels and how we have been able to change our lives – (definitely for the better! ) there will not be too much to post over the next seven months so there will be very few posts.  We never can tell however, so if you wish to follow us without needing to keep checking our blog click on the ‘follow us’ tab at the bottom of this page and you will be e-mailed every time we do a post ( which may not be till October). But for now we will be signing off and we hope to catch up with you all again as we escape the cold of the British winter to see another small slice of Europe. If you wish to contact us then you can do by leaving a comment or e-mailing us direct.

Have a great summer everyone

Gids & Angie

Bank balance much lighter!

Well we are in the Kingsbury Water Park and a visit to the Caravan and Motorhome show at the NEC is in order.

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We had a hit list of things that we needed to look at and buy whilst at the show and within an hour of arriving we had purchased an awning and all of the extras we wanted  and with the savings we made on the “deal” we were able to get a new telly too so no more complaints from other campers on the site due to the noise from our inbuilt speakers. The telly is up and running and a brilliant addition to the van. We look forward to collecting the awning in 2 weeks time and testing it out at carefree nurseries for the first time. It is a whopper at 8m long and 3m wide and although designed for caravans it will fit our motorhome nicely and give us an enormous amount of space and it still goes up in 20mins with the air pump.

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What a huge show and it was really interesting to look at some of the other vans and motorhomes there ( and also re-enforces how much we like our motorhome) as well as everything that any outdoor enthusiast could possibly want. We spent a small fortune and walked 5 miles!

Windy but lovely canal side walk yesterday with a rainbow at the end.

Having braved Storm Doris and survived her wrath unscathed we are now off to the Cotswolds for a week and it’s sunny today.

Job offer & Back we come!

 

img_0306Having just settled in and not even had the time to enjoy some sun yet we find ourselves planning our return trip back to the U.K three months earlier than expected.

We received an e-mail today offering us a Four week contract with the camping and Caravaning Club from 5th January and if we were able to take it then we would also be given the summer contract from 1st April on the same site. The site is one of the ones we had put down on our wish list (not that we get a choice in the first few years) and it’s also just north of London so not too far either.

So a bit of scratching of heads and we have decided to turn tail and head back North and back to Blighty. As if on a huge Bungee we can’t seem to escape the uk for any length of time.

It is however a great opportunity and one that we did not want to give up by not giving up our 3 months away. Spain France Italy and everywhere else will still be here next year and for many years to come but the great job offer may not….. so it’s back we come.

We still have 10 days to play with before we need to think about packing up and heading home and the sun is due to make an appearance tomorrow. Stocking up on the ridiculously cheap wine and gin will be on the agenda as well as soaking up some rays if we get time. We had to move pitch on the 30th December so that makes a sensible date to pack up and go and will give us five days to transverse Spain and France once again back to the ferry or train (yet to be investigated)

We will be sad to not be able to visit some of the friends we had hoped to but we are sure they will understand.

BUT HAPPY DAYS WE HAVE A JOB HOOO HAAR!

We’re off again!

Sunday 11th December 2016

We came back to the UK for an induction day with the camping and Caravanning Club which we think went well, although we still have to wait to see if we have a job for next year and where that will take us.
We aimed to be back for a week to ten days and then head back to a sunny climate again however that has turned into three weeks as we had people to see and a little car to fall in love with (unexpectedly we hasten to say) so much so that we could not bear to leave her back n the UK whist we were in Spain. A 12 hour round trip to Lincoln, a deep breath as we paid for the amazing fully braked ‘A’ frame to be fitted and she can now be towed with us allowing us to really explore Spain’s hidden gems. We have been warned that some Spanish police will not allow you to tow a car but will allow you to tow a trailer with a car on it which is far more unstable on two wheels rather than four so can snake and sway and with the substandard breaking that trailers have it seems crazy. We decided to take the gamble and if we get pulled over Angie will just have to follow me if it keeps happening we spend our money in another country. So “Sunny” the smart car is coming to Spain with us. She tows like a dream and if I didn’t have the rear view camera on the back of Catori I would forget that she was right on our toes. Having always hated the smart car I am now a devotee. They are dinky but inside they feel big, they are quieter than any other small car that I have driven or been in and she is comfortable. Molly loves it in the back and especially when the roof is fully down. They turn on a sixpence park anywhere £20 road tax a year and seem to never need filling up with petrol. For the two of us and a dog she is perfect.

We have decided to sail to France this time as its is the same price for a motor home and smart car as it is to take the train and it saves a whole load of miles getting to Folkestone and then from Calais. Portsmouth it is then and what a fab day to sail warm (I was in a t shirt) and so far the sea is flat and calm. We aim to stay in Caen over night as we don’t get in till about 9.30 and then head for Spain ‘tut suite’ so we can get to a campsite to settle in for Christmas and perhaps the New Year. Aiming to then go free ‘Airing’ then on. As always time will tell as we are beginning to realise that we change our plans as quickly as we make them.

Moving day Friday

Its been a whirlwind 5 months from conception and the thought of being able to live the dream on April 5th  to it actually happening September 1st – Quite exhausted! One last push on Friday and Saturday to move everything out into storage and then officially  non home owners! Hopefully me + best bud Steve + our son Ryan + 7.5 ton tailgate truck = a 1 day move even thought its going to 5 different places.

When we collect imagesCatori it will be a quick visit to the Verwood site where we did our work experience for two nights, on to Oxford for a couple of nights and then the North Norfolk coast for a week or so – time to relax unwind and start thinking of where to go in Europe if we are not required to work for the Camping and caravanning club for a month or two first.

Under offer X2

S0 the Bike has gone and there is a big whole in my garage where she used to be. The money from her is in the bank in readiness to pay a deposit on a motorhome and the possible house buyer became a real house buyer. They offered a lot less than we were hoping for but we can still do it with a decent amount to go into the bank . I have always been a believer that life is about “life” and not about material wealth or money for moneys sake therefore we have decided to take the offer bag the money and get on with it. Thanks to the “Brexiteers” we are now coming out of Europe so the whole buying in France thing will have to have a serious re-think and with the possibility of a difficult time ahead on the housing market, taking an offer now rather than holding out for the possibility of a better price in the future seemed the better bet. Went to Southdowns and took my first ever drive of a 30ft Motorhome expecting it to handle like an under powered unyielding lumbering beast of a thing I was absolutely amazed on how spiritedly she accelerated away and how neatly she went round quite tight corners within her allotted side of the road. OK she is no sports car and was empty of stuff, but incredibly drives like a car and doesn’t feel as much like a van as lots of smaller vans and mini buses that I have driven. I forgot I had a further 30ft of motorhome behind me.

Test drive over – out with the debit card – deposit paid – date agreed to collect – early September -Once again if fate looks favorably upon us. so with luck here she is…IMG_2123– need to confirm a name yet but we feel a Comanche Indian name would be fitting and something to do with freedom or free spirit!

and a few photos of her from taken by Southdown’s professional photographer. They had about 30 but I dont think you want to see pictures of drawers and air-con units etc   – we think she is a beaut!

By the way my early mornings have been getting an hour earlier every time. When I Started this blog 5.30 was the norm then 4.30, 3.30, 2.30, its now 2.16 am and I have been up with my mug of tea since 1.30. If it gets any earlier I will be getting up before I go to bed!

Its Getting Real

Yeh so thinking and planning is a bit different to actually doing! – House is on market as of 5pm last night – Yikes!- We already have two viewers for Saturday morning – double Yikes!! and that is with us winging it on the price because every extra £500 we get will give us another 2-3 weeks away in Europe. Scary stuff and I’m in the business too, so think what non estate agents must go through. Its a lot to give up -we love our garden and we love our home in which we have entertained so many so often but we now look forward to seeing Europe and making new friends from every country and, language barrier aside, folks that share the same outlook as we do. We hope to share experiences and destinations and become proficient in as many languages as we can – time will tell and we may be dreamers but we love the mix of different cultures countries and backgrounds. We aim to search out foreign vans and their occupants and not restrict our social activity to a “Brits only” mentality although I am sure the sound of the mother tongue will be as enticing as honey to a bee. Big week next week – work experience at Verwood!

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Entertainers delight
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Our Home – PRESENTLY

Our First “Eureka” Moment & How it all started.

Hi. We are Gideon (Gid’s) and Angie. We are a couple in our very early 50’s New to blogging and just about to start a new adventure as life is too short to wait.

This is how we have got to where we are so far.

Tuesday 26th April 2016 – “NO ONE HAS A CRYSTAL BALL”

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Its 5.58 in the morning and about the fifth day of waking at 5 – 5.30 am. Not sure if its excitement, sheer blown fear, but one thing is for certain our minds are in overtime at the moment with the thought of our whole future changing. We thought that an account of our planning, challenges and the ups and downs of selling and changing our lives (hopefully for the better) spending many months away each year in a motorhome may be of interest to some folks.
So about 3 weeks ago we were fed up – really fed up. We had always wanted to do something different in retirement which we thought was  in 10-12 years time anyway. We would need to sell our home and go smaller to clear the mortgage by then. We had previously dismissed being able to do anything until we were into our mid 60’s but we decided to look in to options. A plan came to light and the more we prodded and poked at it to find the flaw, the less we were able to find one. It wont be easy and we will be taking a gamble but we think it is do-able and life is for living not for regretting..
“ Life is not about the number of breaths that you take, it is
about the number of times that your breath is taken away”
We are not rich. Like many people, we have scraped through just about paying the mortgage and bills each month and going out a bit. We had the attitude of “live for today as you don’t know what tomorrow brings”. At the same time we had the responsibility of bringing up our son and the security we needed to do that. We now have a house with a good amount of  equity in it, and two fairly well paid, full time and secure jobs. Most of our income pays the bills and we could bumble along like this until we reach retirement age OR potentially do something brave exciting and scary 15 years earlier and LIVE OUR LIVES in semi retirement NOW.
We don’t want to fully retire for two reasons
1) We like the idea of the months away being viewed as a long holiday rather than just another day in our life in a Motor-home and we think that we could become travel board or weary with no fixed agenda just wandering around Europe month after month year after year, so having to come back to a Job for 5 or 6 months each year resolves that.
2) We have not been as financially astute as many and having children is a very expensive but rewarding (at times) experience. We just could not do it without some form of income to keep us going so a seasonal job seems the way forward.
We are concerned that by stepping off of the U.K property ladder we will never be able to get back on it and it is something I have always advised against doing in my 30 years career as an estate agent ( please don’t hold that against me – *are you still reading? ) but on this occasion I am going to ignore my own advice.
We aim to work for 6 months or so each year and travel the rest and not worry about getting back on  the U.K property ladder but instead perhaps look to buy in Europe, (probably France) unless of course we have a windfall. Scary I know but read on…
We have done the maths and we think that If we work at least 30-40 hours a week for 20-28 weeks a year with both of us earning the living wage of £7.20 per hour between us we can just about earn enough to cover all our costs of living for 12 months including our travel time abroad. If we cant quite cover our costs then a dip into the savings will be needed. This is on the basis that we can find work on a camp site or similar with free pitch and electric hook up. We will have nice lump to pop in the bank after paying off the mortgage and buying the motorhome which we hope can stay there as a safety net until we need it or until we decide where to buy in Europe .
So what about future security?

If after a few years of doing this we love it and decide we wish to buy again, France Spain or another Euro destination could provide the answer. £60,000 should get us a detached farmhouse or similar in fair condition that we can call home in France. This may even provide  further holiday rental income if we were happy to rent it out whilst we work for a few months or travel.

Q; would we prefer to sup French wine, cheese and baguette in a warm relaxed laid back country with great weather whilst living in a detached farmhouse with land and views or live in a terrace house or flat in a cold wet and depressed area of the U.K for the same price if we are lucky and with the sky high living costs we have to contend with in the U.K –

 

A; Hmm’ let me think about that for a nano second.
So this is the aim – sell up pay off the mortgage, buy a motorhome get a seasonal job for 4-8 months to pay for a European adventure for the remaining time. Stick the rest of the proceeds in the bank or investment fund and go from there.
A great 5 or 6 year old motorhome can be purchased for £45,000 and this would do us well to live in for all 12 months of the year. All we need to do now is get a seasonal job.
UPDATE ; Applied to the Caravan and Camping club today fingers crossed mt we get a positive reply back.
Oh by the way if you are thinking of doing something similar check out this web/ blog site http://www.ourtour.co.uk it is amazing, inspirational, gives loads of info and costings that have helped us decide that it IS do-able (if that is a word)and shows how it can be done if you have been a little more financially savvy than we are. It also has links to many other like minded individuals blogs and how they have done a similar thing their way .
April 29th 2016 -“E-BAY VIRGINS”
Clearing has started – First item on to e-bay today a Pair of hardly worn Cuban Heals Dancing shoes (Yes Gid’s is a Cuban Salsa addict but the 1 1/2″  heals were a step too far excuse the pun)  – having never sold anything on e-bay before it is our test item to just see how it works. With 30 years of togetherness there is a lot of accumulation to dispose of either by e-bay, gifting to others, storage or trips to the Dump. Even though we do not have a seasonal post yet, or even a Motor-home come to think of that  we are determined that we will not let little things like no job and no where to live get in the way of  our progress.
E-bay may be interesting to see the accumulated wealth or lack of it that we have in the home and loft – Oh good grief! we had forgotten about the loft.
May 3rd 2016 -“TELL TAIL & MOTORHOMES”.
A weekend of telling the family and close friends of what we intend to do – expecting much “You must be Mad” and ” Have you lost your senses”  what we actually got was nothing but “That sounds amazing – DO IT! , I wish we could do the same, and I am so jealous etc” WOW – what a reaction  and if anything it has added to our sheer determination to do it.
Still not heard anything from the camping and caravanning club a week on – will start applying for other similar jobs The Caravan Club, Haven Holidays, Individual sites etc. We have even thought about just selling, getting the Motor-home and then winging it doing a mini U.K tour and asking everywhere we stop if the need assistants in the future to give us a call.
Now for the fun bit – The Motor-homes. We have done our figures and research and we are working on a purchase budget of circa £45,000 – this may sound a lot and it IS but we think that as this will be our only home for a good few years it needs to be right. We need something that is large enough to be comfortable in and small enough to tour, reliable and taking into consideration fuel and certain must haves as follows ( these are our preferences  based on our needs.
* Fixed double bed – Many think that this is a waste of space which it is however the ability to be able to go to bed when we want at different times and stay in bed if un-well plus not having to make the bed every morning and evening is a draw. We DO NOT want to have to climb over each other so French bed and transverse beds are out.
* British lounge at the front, swivel seats and two parallel sofas – We want to be comfortable and snug in the evening – we feel the European lounge area is just a bit too small for putting your feet upwith a glass of something at the end of the day .
*Decent Kitchen with large fridge and a freezer compartment 4 ring cooker (1 electric plate to save on gas) oven grill and perhaps microwave although we rarely use this at home  – we will be cooking from here most of the time.
*Bathroom with separate shower cubicle we don’t want a wet bottom after needing a shower.
* Garage if possible  – the bigger the better for Storage chairs fire-pits surf boards even bikes perhaps if large enough.
*No above cabin beds – a waste of space for us on our own and we do not do ladders
* Decent wardrobe space
* Diesel.
Two days of internet searching and a few visits to the local dealers has created a shortlist of possibilities from smaller Brand new entry level models  to larger better spec older ones. We have been really taken by
2012 AUTO-TRAIL DELAWARE island bed £43,995 27 ft

2011 AUTO-TRAIL FRONTIER COMANCHE island bed £46,000 nearly 30 ft

cropped-comanchie.jpg
The Comanche
delaware
The Delaware
 time money market forces and availability will dictate
May 8th 2016 – “ITS NOW OR NEVER”
Whilst walking and playing 18 holes on a superb Hampshire golf course in amazing spring weather with my ‘most grounded’ and inspirational bud Steve talking about nothing, apart from everything that is really important in life it came to me (via him actually) that everything that we are dreaming of doing is not a year or two away, but it is as long away as we want it to be. There is nothing stopping us doing what we want to except us and our reservation on what we are giving up. “Name one negative about what you are doing” he said in his van on the way home . It took me a while to come up with it and it was a real struggle to find the negative but after a while i said what if one of us died? – “Life is for living and ‘what ifs’ make no sense when the ‘what ifs’ did not happen” he said “and all you have done is give your self the excuse to not live life to the full”. I came home and spoke to Angie who was happily watching something on he telly. She has been an absolute rock in this whole process and when talking about this possibility once again she said quite positively “well we will just have to get a Motor-home I can drive too” We realized that there is no negative that can not be overcome.
So I sit here tapping away at 22.48 with a single malt over ice in a cut glass crystal tumbler after an amazing day with my best mate realising that we need to do something sooner rather than later. Sure there are things to organise – a quick flick round the house to make it spick and span to sell, and then clearing and selling our non needed possessions but we feel that within a month or two we are ready to take the plunge and sell our home for a better future and lifestyle.  We have already therapeutically cleared the shed and Garage – it is amazing the different attitude you have to “stuff” when you realize that you will not be needing it going forward. The good news is that little luxuries like single malt and crystal glasses can fit in a Motor-home too. The ice may be an issue in the space limited freezer  but I have always been in two minds if single Malt is better straight up or on the rocks anyway.
The draw of the open road and the fact that we could live for a year or two with no job if needed has rallied us in our determination to make it happen.
May 11th 2016 – “ANOTHER EUREKA DAY”
Well it certainly was a Eureka day today. I woke this morning at 5.38 am again as I have been doing for the last few weeks and suddenly had a thought – What if we just sold the house brought a motorhome and carried on working in the same jobs we are doing until we had a firm job offer  -We could invest all our hard earned wages into a ‘future adventure fund’ with 3/4 of our monthly earnings going into savings rather than just paying the bills. Interesting note -If we did this for 10 years we would have £500,000 in savings (we are not going to do that obviously but it does put a different perspective on things).
With this in mind there is nothing to stop us getting on with it – Why didn’t we think of this before? Its a bit like the guy I spoke to a few years ago that used to rush to get to the w.c in a motorway service station not realising that he was pulling one along behind him in his Caravan and had been doing so for 5 years. We can now sell and buy a motorhome secure in the knowledge that we don’t have to take a massive gamble and leap of faith. We could carry on working if we want to (or do it for a few years and then go back to work in fact) live from the motorhome in a £10 -£14 per night 5 van site (which is where we intend to live full time anyway the only difference is we still have to go to work) and still earning two  full wages. We can then apply for any immediate start posts as they come up. Decision made – house goes on to the market in 2 weeks once we have done a few tarting up bits to make sure we get best price
As if to solidify the ability to move things forward – We got a phone call this afternoon from The Camping and caravanning club asking us to come in for an interview – early days I know but perhaps it all just meant to be. Interview is Thursday 19th May – its a two hour drive there and a two hour drive back but at least we show willing.Fingers crossed.
Thursday 19th MAY 2016 
Lovely day today in the Cotswold’s Lunch at a gorgeous pub interview with the regional support Manager of the Camping and Caravaning club Steve and his lovely wife. Passed the interview and now just need to do a work experience weekend in June, apparently as long as we don’t totally mess it up we will be given a job offer for 2017 season. A trip to Europe in the early Winter may be on the cards then. –
So here we are bang up to date on OUR whirlwind 3 – 4 weeks – Talk about making a decision and going for it!

ALL FUTURE PROGRESS WILL BE POSTED AS THEY HAPPEN.