Our new VW campervan

Why we’re changing the way we travel

So after a long old year with no travel whatsoever, I have a little bit of exciting news to share. We bought a campervan!

One of the things I have always loved about running The Grown Up Gap Year is that I feel that it has grown and evolved along with me. I started this blog when I was single and about to head off on a nine month career break, doing 30 things around the world before I turned 30. Then I met Mr A and we began our travels as a couple, having the opportunity to do some amazing trips like our travels in South Africa, a road trip along Route 66 in America and our honeymoon in Japan. Three years ago our little adventurer joined the team and we have loved exploring the world with her and seeing new places through her eyes.

I’ve always hoped that wherever my readers are in their life journey that The Grown Up Gap Year helps to show that it is possible to travel in one way or another. Whether that’s through a longer sabbatical or career break, or simply making the most of weekends away and microadventures.

Yes, it initially started out as a blog about grown up gap years, but over the years it has also come to represent living a life that has travel as one of its main priorities. Whether you’re single, in a couple or a family looking to travel, I hope you will find something helpful here.   

Changing travel plans

Of course, living through a global pandemic means that none of us have been travelling much lately. The events of the last year and the birth and subsequent illness of our second little adventurer have really made us think about how we’d like to travel in the future. I wrote this post a while ago about how I thought our travel style would change.

Previously we had been saving for a big family trip before the little adventurer starts school next year. We had visions of us spending six weeks swanning around New Zealand. But with the uncertainties surrounding international travel at the moment, we’re no longer sure whether that will be able to happen.

So, after talking about it for a while, we came to the conclusion that a campervan would best suit our travel style for the next few years. On trips we love to see as much as possible and often move between different towns and cities. On our roadtrip through Spain for example, we stayed in four different places in 10 days. While this was really fun and a great way to see a lot of different things in a short space of time, it was also tiring with a toddler. Plus, we wasted time checking in and out of accommodation. 

But a campervan would enable us to enjoy the freedom of moving around on our trips, without the hassle of constant packing and unpacking. It would also allow us to enjoy weekend getaways around work. We’re lucky that both of our children absolutely love being outdoors and camping has always been a hobby of ours. So the thought of being able to upgrade to have a roof over our heads was impossible to resist!

The search is on for a campervan

So, decision made, and the next step of our plan was to actually find a suitable campervan. Easier said than done when Covid has made the option to have your own private space more appealing than ever.

Having looked at many different options we decided pretty quickly that a VW California T5.1 would be the best option for us (more of this in a later post). Mr A then spent months and months searching online for the right one. Seriously, I think he could currently write a dissertation on the subject and I must admit, I’m pretty relieved not to have to look at any more van ads!

Being in lockdown obviously didn’t help with our search and the ‘stay at home’ rule here in the UK meant that we missed out on a couple we had our eye on.

Then, just as we were starting to think that maybe it wasn’t going to be possible this year, the perfect van popped up online last Saturday evening. As soon as we saw it, we knew it had everything we were looking for and were desperate to view it.

The next morning we spent a couple of hours trying to work out what was a socially acceptable time to call someone who doesn’t have small children on Easter day. But finally Mr A made the call, arranged a viewing and we crossed our fingers hoping that it would be the one.

And it was! So we’re very excited to introduce the newest member of The Grown Up Gap Year…

First cup of tea in the VW campervan
Enjoying the all important first cup of tea in the van!

The van has everything we were looking for and we loved that it had been used for so many family adventures by its previous owners. We hope that we can continue the tradition!

A VW campervan driving away
Our campervan driving off to her new home (Copyright: J. Lord)

She has yet to be named, but we are all so excited to get out on the road and start having adventures. We already have lots of plans in the pipeline, so watch this space…