Friday, 23 March 2012

The plan - for now!

I have made a page that can be accessed at the top of the blog with details of our plan, but I guess I might change this page quite a lot, so I think it would be nice to post it here and I can look back on it.  So...

The plan is very loose at the moment as we need to save up for the whole 6 months beforehand.  Everything will depend on the final amount we can raise.  As we rent our house at the moment it means we have no capital to fall back on, no house to rent out or sell, but it does mean we're free to up and leave whenever we like and aren't relying on outside influences to get going.  Silver lining and all that!  We need to buy a campervan and we're also hoping to raise about £6000 to travel with.  This equates to about £30 a day on the road.  This may or may not be completely adequate for our plans (I am really not good at estimating costs!) but time will tell.

Ideally we'd like to spend 6 months in a campervan travelling around 3 distinct areas of the British Isles.  We'd like to explore Cornwall and the south west, travel over to Ireland and N. Ireland and then end up in Scotland.  Ireland might be dependent on if we can raise enough money as it will most likely be the most expensive area.

We'll spend our days on the beaches (I wonder if we'll ever get sick of beaches??) and we'll have RSPB, English Heritage and National Trust memberships so we can have free days out and be able to learn about the country.

I think we'd spend most of the time trying to wild camp or using camp sites but we'd also like to try WWOOF'ing a little bit which some friends of ours did very successfully last year.  Funnily enough it was always on my plan when I was wanting to work my way round the world when I first left home!  This would hopefully enable us to slow down and see some areas from a different perspective, help us stretch our budget and also give us skills we might need for the future (I'd love to one day have a house in the country with land we could use to grow food).  We're thinking to try and have one wwoof host for each area at least - again this will depend on our finances and how much we need our budget to stretch!
Another option we'd like to explore is house sitting, but not sure if this would work due to us being a family.  Certainly worth thinking about though.

One thing I always fancied doing, which I am not sure will still work out, is to spend a week volunteering for the RSPB somewhere.  This would mean that James would need to find a campsite nearby and be with the kids while I did it, but it would be a great opportunity for me since I am thinking I might like to work in the sector.  I had thought to try and go to Scotland for the ospreys as they do week long placements, but the timings might not work out for this.  We'll see.

All in all, it will be 6 months of budget travel, we'll explore the history and nature of our country and the country of J's ancestors (Ireland).

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

How are we doing?

I think we're doing quite well actually.  We're getting very close to having our first £1000 saved up (not quite there, but I can see it in the near future!) which is really quite a landmark for us as we're not really big savers at all.  I've been doing lots of number crunching of our finances and I'm pretty certain we can do a trip of some sort next year.  If I know we can save for a basic budget trip without accounting for overtime and extra income from selling stuff in the house then I know we can do it so that is a great feeling.

We've started talking about the plan with some friends, all of whom (I think) seem to think it's a good idea (phew!).  I'm sure we'll come across people who don't though.  The kids are very excited, which is a double edged sword really.  I want them to be excited, but there is always that worry I am building them up for a fall.  A is constantly asking what toys she can take with her and talking about how she'll get a camper when she's older and travel as well.

Another thing that is ramping up the excitement is that we went to a local campervan dealer at the weekend to look round some bigger vans and to see how the configuration I liked looks like in real life.  There were some ginormous vans there and all really out of our price range but we did see two that had the design we want with a double cab over the driver for M, a double in the middle for J and I, and a single at the back for A.  They are really getting too old to ask them to share and they do want their own space.  I hope we can eventually find a van like this, but I know it might be one of the areas we'll need to compromise on.  I guess it will depend on what is available at the time.