Six months in and we’re still living the dream!

In some ways it really doesn’t seem like six months since we packed up our worldly belongings – mainly into the attic of our house – and set off down the M1 for an adventure of a lifetime. But, then sometimes our old lives of being stressed and working silly hours seem a lifetime away.  But today is the official six months of our time on the road.

To mark the occasion I’ve pulled together some stats for you and J has mused on how his life and viewpoint has changed in half a year.

In six months we’ve:

Travelled – 12,547 km (7796 miles)
Visited – France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco
Achieved – published our first book, met some great friends and inspirational people, survived each others company, made it to the Sahara, still in one piece, faced some fears, learnt a few foreign words, gone minimalist – use limited resources, we no longer know what day it is!
Spent – €8761.64 (£7,447 – based on £1 = €0.85)

Here’s a breakdown of what we’ve spent that money on.  We thought it would mainly be diesel, but it seems we eat way more than we burn!!

Supermarket shopping 1,961.00 €
Eating and drinking out 1,442.01 €
Diesel 1,378.40 €
Repairs to Dave 1,031.91 €
Campsites 674.80 €
Supplies – not motoring or food related 368.13 €
Tours – entry fees etc 357.84 €
Contact with home – phones, wifi, post 329.48 €
Clothes and laundry 313.35 €
Travel Other – ie bus, taxi, ferry 308.18 €
Overnight stops (other than campsites) 214.20 €
Road tolls 93.56 €
LPG 90.99 €
Charlie – food and jabs 72.78 €
Souvenirs 67.66 €
Other – presents and not covered elsewhere 41.31 €
Parking 16.04 €


J’s Top 10 Observations – Six Months In

  1. Everyone has a choice in life between pessimism and optimism. Optimists are mistrusted, and pessimism is fashionable. None of the finest achievements we have seen represented by art, architecture and engineering would have been possible without resilient optimism. I am determined to be the eternal optimist for the rest of my life.
  2. An economic downturn looks very different on the ground in a country to the way it’s portrayed by the media. Spain and Portugal both look, from an outsider traveller’s perspective, as though nothing unusual is happening, some places look poor, others opulent. I will take everything the media tells me with a pinch of salt.
  3. Motorhome travel is far more popular in Europe than we could have imagined. Clearly there is an entire roaming population of retirees. I see this as a wonderful way to enjoy retirement, and an even better way to broaden your mind mid life.
  4. We don’t need stuff. iPhone, iPad, plasma TV, hot tub, BBQ, you name it. None of this stuff means a thing. We need friends, we need mentors, we need family, we need support, we need the strength to try new things, we need courage to face our fears, no matter how minor.
  5. Age is no excuse for not learning. I believe my capacity to learn doesn’t diminish. Old dogs are perfectly capable of learning new tricks.
  6. Self help and personal development used to make me cringe. Now I cringe at the thought of not developing myself. I read ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ on this trip. Why am I only learning this stuff after 20 years of my career?
  7. Fail to plan, plan to fail? I no longer believe this. Our lack of planning has produced, for me, great success on this trip. We work it out as we go along, which enables us to change focus as we discover more information.
  8. Information is invaluable. With this right info, we stay for free, spend our money more wisely, buy from the best restaurants at reasonable prices, avoid the highest fuel costs, see the greatest views and buy euros at the best rates. Getting at all of this information remains a fascinating challenge, which is why I see my career continuing in IT.
  9. Given the option of working to 65 or later and hoping pensions don’t collapse, or retiring early with a reasonably stable residual income from investments, I know which I prefer. Significant effort is needed to advance our financial education.
  10. I was unsure this trip was the right thing to do when we left. In retrospect, I would have slapped the both of us on the back when we took the decision to do it. It is for sure a holiday, an adventure, a break from the daily grind, but more importantly it has given us time to reflect, to read, to look around us and to learn from the people we meet. We will take this with us for the rest of our lives.

Thanks for sharing the adventure with us.

Julie, J, Charlie & Dave x



  1. A total inspiration at a time when I’m questioning how long I can keep the faith with the rat race, and am starting to explore other options. A brilliantly thought provoking post. Thanks.

  2. Great milestone reached, well done all three of you. Would love to hear what Charlie has learned in the six months … :)

    • Hi Joanne

      I haven’t done a full update for a while – I figured people might have lost interest on what we’ve spent. When we reached our one year on the road I included the following in my post for that day:

      It’s been quite a year –

      16 Countries
      25302 Kilometres
      15722 Miles
      €18,538 Spent (oops, better not let Jay see that or my ice creams will be rationed!)
      204 Trips to the supermarket
      55 Diesel fill ups
      11 LPG fill ups (with one needed right now!)
      110 Nights on campsites
      52 Nights paying to stop in a car park or Aire/Stellplatz
      82 Nights for free in Aires/Stellplatz
      95 Nights free camping in car parks/lay-bys/beaches/patches of ground or anywhere Dave will fit
      24 Nights on friends drives
      3 Nights in a hotel (while Dave was in the garage in France!)

      I’ve also been adding cost breakdowns for each country when I get chance, and there is also a cost comparison for all countries we visited in our first year – they’re all in the guides and reviews section under country guides. Hope that helps a bit. If there is any specific you want to know, please just drop it on an email. As of a few days ago we’d just spent our 25,000th Euro!! Not bad for over 500 days though!


      • Thanks Julie, found the costings by country. Lots of details and very helpful in our planning. Thanks for sharing and keep going as long as you can!

        • So much invaluable information Julie. Still reading through all your costings, so I can build up our budget for our trip. Thank you so much for sharing the information

  3. Hi, your website first caught my eye when, searching for info on long motorhome trips, I noticed your van is called Dave – so is ours!!! It’s a lwb Vauxhall Movano that we’ve had converted. This is an excellent collection of topics here, useful and inspiring, and I especially like J’s list of observations above. I’m 61 and my partner’s 64, so no time to lose, hopefully next year a planned 6 month trip to Northern Europe will be made all the better by your helpful advice. Good luck to you both and thank you.

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