Caravanning : More than just freedom?

Posted by on Apr 21, 2019 in Featured, Trips & Adventures | 20 comments

Caravanning : More than just freedom?

Its 17:53 and I’m strutting around the house with a beer and an aura of accomplishment. You see today I’ve been digging up the roots for two Hydrangea in our back garden. Just ridding the garden of these 2 mammoth plants has effectively doubled our garden size. Go me.

Whilst I was swearing, heaving and hoeing in the garden today I found along with an unfortunate ear worm (Laughing gnome by David Bowie) that I was repeating, “I’d rather be in the caravan, I’d rather be in the caravan” and looking on social media this evening, it appears we are the only people in the world that are not away in the wobble box this glorious Easter.

However, it got me thinking. What does caravanning really mean to me? We have just returned from a few glorious days away in Burford. Which even on a bad day could be travelled to in under 30 minutes from our storage yard. But the fact that we were away in the caravan was all that we really needed. Location was genuinely unimportant.

From non-caravanners they ask me this very question and usually have a flippant statement lined up ready for any answer I care to give. Something like this:

“Why tow a box, with your worldly possessions along, clogging our roads, to an area that looks like a compound, park just 6 meters away from someone else who has also ruined the road network. Then struggle to erect an awning, shout at the wife and kids, queue to get water, sleep on terrible beds and poo in a plastic box?…”

That’s genuinely what one of my friends think, they just forgot about mopping out the shower after use.

The truth is for every argument, for every observation I have a carefully constructed retort, but I grow tired of explaining myself to others. I simply reply – “have you tried it recently? Properly not. Just try it…. Then we will chat.“ For something I feel so passionate about and for something that I really care about, it bugs me that so many are closed minded, but instead join the band wagon of hate the caravanner…

Caravanning to me means freedom. Not just in the great outdoors, but the caravan itself. I’m not required to leave my room while housekeeping make my bed, nor have to spend a day in a bar because I have nowhere else to go. The caravan is my own home from home. It is my own space, my mess, my smells and my trinkets.

But something I never really anticipated with caravanning was meeting others from all walks of life. We have made some incredible friends, and we continue to make more friends. Just this week we were socialising with a family who in everyday life we would never have the chance to mingle with. They live far away from us, operate in different social circles and have children of very different ages. But there we were. Drinking wine, laughing and joking about all sorts of topics and genuinely hitting it off.

 

Of course, the undertone of caravanning for us has always been about family. Back when Tom was caravanning with us, we really bonded well as a family. We had a great time enjoying each other’s company, having some much-needed down time and space to reconnect with each other, was and continues to be so very special.

So, does caravanning mean more than freedom? Perhaps it does. If it forms a part of my social life, is the hub of family bonding and it also provides all the family members some much needed freedom. In fact, caravanning is everything.

 

So, to you lovely people who have just endured reading a ramble from my keyboard. What does caravanning mean to you? What is it that you get out of it? Please leave a comment. I would love to hear what you think. I’m off to bask in the glory of Man Vs plant, where today, man won.

20 Comments

  1. Caravanning is an escapism and a way of life. We have met many friends through it including you and Angela and the rest of the gang. I feel that people who hate caravanning is just jealous, they just want our way of life if they want to make remark why not. I don’t care I love what I do and I will carry on. Cheers Oliver

  2. Go Dan, spot on. I have to say as newbies you have been an inspiration and a guru. Without your many extremely helpful tutorials I would not be half as confident about using the “wobble box”, my new phrase. Another thing learned today. Wishing you and the family all the best.

  3. Spot on Dan. My dad bought a van in the 70’s and he updated and painted it. A small 4 berth (make unknown) – we had some great ‘cheap’ getaways and it brought the family closer. In the 80’s I purchased a new
    van for my family (a Quantock) and it was great -some nice breaks but we packed it in when our storage site closed. It wasn’t until I came across your YT channel that my wife and I decided to get another van and we’re now proud owners of a luxurious Swift EB. So you got us back to it and we now go away virtually every week for 4 nights (wife only works 3 days and I’ve managed to take early retirement) – no kids now but two dogs and my wife and I are so content in our home-from-home. Keep up the good work Dan

  4. Cannot argue with that Dan, without the family bit, because of our being retired, only last week at Exebridge Lakeside we were parked next to an ex Major in the Royal Marines, being ex RN we swung the lamp quite a bit, a pleasure for both of us. Only been caravanning 18 months, we both enjoy the freedom the experience affords us.

  5. Hi you said Dan it’s the freedom you have,we are not away at moment just came back from Wareham Forest touring park not off again till end of June then away for a month, can’t wait…

  6. Couldnt agree more dan,just being away in the caravan,or even planning the next outing,takes everyday stresses away.yes we get stressed doing all the setting up but i think thats more to do with anticipating the opening of the 1st beer.one thing that i have actually noticed is the eeally low standard of driving by others since starting out.all the best for the season,looking forward to seeing some new vlogs.cheers

  7. Hi we too managed a few nights away earlier this week and it was a really wonderful relaxing time about 10 miles from home….We could be anywhere. I agree caravanning is freedom with an outdoor feeling. It feels like an escape from the stresses of everyday life. I am envious when I watch the lovely YouTube clips of families enjoying trips as my children never really loved it. But now as one is at uni and the other a levels we now have the chance to use our new to us beloved caravan. We are having a holiday in Greece this year and do t get me wromg we will love it but all I keep dreaming about is a trip to France next year. All that freedom oh and wine

  8. I totally agree Dan. We bought our first caravan last June and have since bought a brand new Xplore 586.
    With the help of your videos we have taken to caravanning like a duck to water, there’s nothing more we enjoy than to get away with the kids for the weekend, even if it is just 30mins up the road.
    People who aren’t in the know think it’s still like Carry on Caravanning.

  9. I totally agree Dan. We bought our first caravan last June and have since bought a brand new Xplore 586.
    With the help of your videos we have taken to caravanning like a duck to water, there’s nothing more we enjoy than to get away with the kids for the weekend, even if it is just 30mins up the road.
    People who aren’t in the know think it’s still like Carry on Camping

  10. Well, as you know Dan, the Caravan is our life. We Just travel so that the view from our caravan changes. We have been to so many different areas and different types of site and they all offer something different.

    I also love meeting and chatting to different people. I have had many enjoyable conversations. Winter or summer it makes little difference. Apart from I do prefer the warmer weather.

  11. It’s all about freedom for us. And more importantly the youngling.
    When we are away in the van no matter where we are it gives her the chance to just be a kid. Bikes. Swings. Slides. Swing ball. Football all get hammered from dawn to dusk. While the grown ups (that’s us) get to grab some genuine downtime. Yes it’s true the hassles are significant upon arrival but mostly because we all want our stuff set up ‘just right’. But once it’s all done it’s only minor jobs daily. The rest of the time we can go off and explore. Or not.
    Can’t beat it. And I say this as someone who once ‘never saw the appeal’ either.

  12. Lovely read dan thank you really enjoyed that xx love to you and family

  13. We agree wholeheartedly Dan! Our lovely caravan allows us the space to switch off from work by going only 20 minutes from home for the weekend! It has also taken us on fabulous french holidays allowing lots of enjoyable family time and providing us with great memories!
    Our girls are 22 & 23 now and yet they have both asked if they can come on our summer caravanning holiday this year, they miss it so much!
    Some of our friends scoff but we are the ones who are laughing
    Keep up the great blogs/ vlogs
    Sally & Rob , Harrogate xx

  14. My husband has aspergers and holidays can be quite stressful for him, the noise, the harsh airport lights, unfamiliar surroundings, the list just goes on. We bought a caravan last year and the peace it has brought to our lives is wonderful. My husband knows where everything is, he can escape to the van for a time out whenever he feels the need, there’s no pressure to be up and dressed for a certain time, its literally home from home for him. I love our caravan, it has brought so much joy to our lives. We usually go to a site 30 mins away from home, sometimes we don’t leave the site, we just chill. We also have great joy looking at YouTube videos and planning our next purchase for the caravan, funnily enough a jockey wheel was our last one .

  15. Caravanning is something you either get or you don’t. there is no middle ground.

  16. Maybe caravaning is something you need to experience before you understand. We are just home from our 2nd caravan holiday and the bug has really got us. The caravan/motor home community are amazing, with just our two outing we have met some amazing and helpful people. (our jockey wheel fell apart on arrival and other caravanners help us sort it) . Also the home from home thing is wonderful. My daughter has anxiety and sensory difficulties so holidays have to be well planned and can be stressful on us all as a family. Our caravan has really opened up our holiday possibilities as my daughter is so much happier in familiar surroundings. We are definitely addicted and wish we had done it earlier.

  17. Its my safe place away from the stress of work, and a tool to get my children away from the PlayStation and in to the real world, and they love it .

  18. Hi Dan, You have been an absolute godsend to us. From New Zealand we have purchased a caravan and car in the U.K. and between the 10th May and the 23rd July we are going to circumnavigate the UK. We are complete newbies so have watched nearly all your YT videos. So if you spot a Compass Rallye 650 and a VW Touareg with an NZ flag flying it will be us. Please say hello, there should be a bottle of NZ Sauvignon Blanc in the fridge to share.

  19. Morning Dan

    Just watched the air con vid, interested in how u got along , I installed a Truma unit in our mohome but on that experience not convinced I’d do it again. Might be my technical incompetence but the thing was a dog to operate on the remote it either worked or more often it would start randomly and at night silent running was err sort of intrusive and when switched off at night would start a flashing strobe kind of light , which was an indication of Low power I think , but it did this even when hooked up .

    Like the idea of the compact Truma as the swift 480 doesn’t need a big unit and it would give comfort when in warmer days.

    Err if it goes on the omni vent can it be reversed so it expels cooking air from the caravan ?

    Don’t know if u have fitted the compact yet but would look forward to follow up video report

    Keep up the good work

  20. Well Mr T can I add anything to your very well detailed blog?. Oh yes I can. I’d like to say well done – great blog! And… thank you yet again, in the first place, for giving us the inspiration I needed when in the hospital to get well enough to start our fantastic journey.
    “Home from Home with Lin and Rich” was also born from your inspiration and has, in turn, gone on to inspire so many on youtube (I only have to look at the comments to know that).
    Your wisdom you share and the lives you touch makes me so emotional. You are such a good man. Getting back to nature in a caravan is an absolute shortcut to a recharging of the soul, it really is. Thanks for continuing on to be not only my Hero but so many more who are just discovering their “New lives” in a caravan. Love to all the family -Lin xx

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