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June

2018

Inside a Traveler’s Walls: The RV Family of Hannah and Chris

England, INSIDE A TRAVELER'S WALLS, Spain, TRAVEL

This week I am pleased to introduce you to the RV family of Hannah Jones and her partner Chris!

The WorldTowning life comes with its challenges – but would you WorldTown and then upgrade to a larger RV? Hannah and Chris did just that! By balancing a straightforward view of what it means to live an unconventional life and embracing the uncomfortable (a small space!) and fun (connecting with other travelers) they have so many insights into how to make an RV life work! As Hannah, says:

Go for it!! Nothing ventured means nothing gained. Be prepared for some hard time and be prepared for people telling you what they think is best for you.

Ok, enough of my chatting, grab your coffee and get comfortable. It’s time to be inspired by this RV family.

RV Family

Introduce us to the people you live with?

I live with my partner of 6 years Chris in our motorhome. Chris is lively and loud you would generally hear him before you see him. Under the loud exterior though he is thoughtful and kind and always willing to help others. He has the patience of a saint and amazingly has never lost his temper in the 6 years we have been together. He is a young 56 years of age with the mindset that age is just a number and he still acts as if he is a teenager sometimes. He can be stubborn and can hold a grudge for a long time.

I am 27 years old and I am the quieter one of the two of us. However just because I am quiet doesn’t mean I am to be underestimated. I am easily the more temperamental one, I think before I speak but do not like to be pushed around. Chris often calls me a dragon but my heart is in the right place. I am easily contented and from my parents have always been more interested in travelling than partying or drinking.

Finally, we have Charlie our 8-year-old West Highland White Terrier who is a very cheeky chappie. He knows he is very cute and plays up to this massively to the extent that when we are out he will sit in front of other people until they make a fuss of him. He still looks like a puppy and acts like one too and does his own version of “twerking” when he knows he is going out for a walk.

We have lived in this motorhome for the last few months and had a previous one for the last 4 years which was smaller than this present one. We are currently touring Europe in it and generally both enjoy this way of life. Neither of us are overly materialistic and when living in a motorhome there is little room for unnecessary clutter. Chris finds it hardest when the weather is bad as it means generally being stuck inside if we are not off exploring somewhere.

For myself, the hardest thing is not having individual space as I enjoy reading – this can be difficult when I have Chris talking to me. However, to us they are small compromises for what we can achieve at the moment by living in it. We love the freedom our motorhome offers us by being able to move from place to place without worrying about where we are going to stay. Our little home on wheels has all the comforts that we need and we wake up to some spectacular views. Our community of fellow motorhomers are generally a friendly lot that will offer help and advice. Most of us motorhomers will wave to each other should we pass on the road and someone can always recommend somewhere to visit that isn’t a major tourist trap allowing you to mingle and meet the local people. For us our motorhome offers us everything we wish for, even if our friends and family think we are a little crazy!

Where are you in the world and what are you living in?

We are as I am writing this currently in Seville, Spain and we are living in our motorhome.

The RV Family of Hannah and Chris

Why did you choose to live in your current arrangement?

The motorhome gives us freedom both financially and travel wise. We bought the motorhome outright and decided to leave the current rat race behind. It seemed the majority of people go through the same steps of working to pay the rent or mortgage off and instead we realised that by living in the motorhome the only outgoings was our insurance, the upkeep of the motorhome and general groceries.

The rest of the money that we earnt could be easily saved in order to allow us to travel Europe for the year. We both enjoy travelling and whilst away on a 2 week break thought about the possibility of doing am extended time abroad. Europe seemed the straightforward decision as an easy ferry crossing from the UK would take us straight into France and from there we could choose almost any direction to head in.

What do you do to personalize your unique (less traditional) living situation?

Whilst we have limited space we collect fridge magnets as a memento of where we have been to so far. Most of our personal belongings are in storage with my parents but we still collect them as we have been touring. We also have started collecting country stickers for the back of the motorhome so we can keep track of how many countries we will visit in the year we are away for.

Tell us your favorite and least favorite room in your space and why?

My favourite area of the motorhome is our outside awning section. Regardless of the weather we can enjoy brilliant sunshine whilst reclining in our chairs or we can sit under the awning if its raining and watch the world go by. It is like having an extra space and a garden sometimes plus the views from where we stop are breathtaking.

My least favourite part of the motorhome is the bathroom simply down to the size. You can do everything necessary in it but it doesn’t mean we would want to spend any extra time in it!

The RV Family of Hannah and Chris

The RV Family of Hannah and Chris

What is the biggest misconception you had about your current living situation before you started living in it?

We originally believed we would struggle with the space inside but it’s amazing how quickly you can adapt. We have come to understand each others routine and again most objects have a spot in the motorhome where they belong.

What is the one household item you carry with you every time you move or the one item you cannot live without?

Chris would respond the corkscrew as he is a big fan of red wine. Personally, mine is our little 12-volt fan as the temperatures start rising it really helps to keep us cool.

What do you miss most about permanent, stationary, traditional living?

I always enjoy collecting traditional token pieces from places I have traveled such as Sri Lanka we bought a wooden table. Whilst not materialistic I enjoy buying different pieces from other countries and whilst we can collect smaller pieces somehow tables and larger items may take up too much room. When you see cushions or even plant pots and think that would look nice it’s just not practical. But it doesn’t mean I can’t keep a record of where to find those objects should I want to go back and buy them at a later date.

Do you have a pet joining you in this journey? If so, has this been complicated? Any advice?

Charlie the westie is with us. He has had to have a pet passport which was easy enough to sort out with our vet. Our main concern has been finding ways of keeping him cool. We invested in a pair of clippers so we can shave him to keep him cool along with buying a cool mat and cool coat. There are some nastier critters to be more aware of as the ticks carry nastier diseases than what we are used to back in the UK.

Snakes have caused issues too as after I had been bitten by one in Croatia a few years ago I have been incredibly worried about Charlie getting bitten. Thankfully touch wood there have been no incidents yet.

When visiting cities he struggles with the amount of people so we try to make it up to him by a few days out at the seaside or in the mountains where he can enjoy his walks.

The RV Family of Hannah and Chris

RV Family of Hannah and Chris

What is your best resource to find items you need for your place?

Whilst we don’t need anything for inside the motorhome we use a couple of apps called park4night and camperstop to help us find places to stop for the night.

If you could only have one of the following in your home which one would it be and why?

Above average Internet, dishwasher, natural light

Above average internet as its one of the main things we look for. We enjoy being able to plan certain trips ahead and research areas we are visiting too.

If you were to compare your unique (less traditional) home decorating style to a kitchen appliance or gadget what would it be and why?

A stylish kettle?? So the kettle can give you hot water whether you use that for washing, cleaning, preparing food, cooking or drinking. In the same way our home can be just a place to rest, a mode of transport, somewhere to wash, store food and sleep. Whilst it is just one object it has the ability to perform multiple tasks. Plus Ifan (the motorhome) is stylish inside and out!

The RV Family of Hannah and Chris

The RV Family of Hannah and Chris

How do you keep traditions alive for your family in your unique living situation?

At Christmas time we have fairy lights and a mini Christmas tree goes up in our dining area. We cook a roast dinner in the motorhome and last year celebrated with other motorhomers around an open fire with marshmallows singing Christmas songs and carols.

How do you decorate for the holidays in your unique (less traditional) home or do you skip it all together?

As before Christmas is easily celebrated in the motorhome but also we take the time to visit family which is easier to do especially around the holidays. We don’t have to intrude into peoples homes as long as we can park somewhere we come with all the facilities. But yes a small (table top) Christmas tree goes up, tinsel and we give each other a stocking containing smaller gifts rather than buying large presents for each other.

What is your favorite part about this lifestyle choice?

Freedom to move and to explore. Even when we are working we are able to get away on days off to explore the local area. We work on campsites and will explore local areas in the same way as guests coming to stay would so can offer practical advice such as where to park, attractions to visit and places to eat. At the end of a season we have time to explore the UK and areas closer to home as well as not having the stress of finding somewhere to stay in between work.

RV Family of Hannah and Chris

RV Family of Hannah and Chris

Many traveling families subscribe to the “house is not a home” theory. What is home to you?

Home is where my family are. Whether that is Chris and Charlie in our motorhome and home ends up being on 4 wheels and moveable or whether it’s visiting my parents in their home in Wales. It is people who make places special not houses.

What makes you love the place you live?

The ability to move it plays a part in why I love it as does the people in it. The places, people, sites and scenes that travelling in Ifan allow us to experience allows us to learn and broaden our horizons. Every day can be a school day learning about other countries and cultures.

Can home be a person, or an idea?

Yes. As said before home can be either with Chris and Charlie or at my parents in Wales or even the motorhome. Wales is another home to me being welsh, not one particular place but the whole country. From that when I find mountains it makes me feel close to home reminding me of Wales. Home to me doesn’t have to be one place. There could be several places or people who are home not just brick walls.

The RV Family of Hannah and Chris

RV Family of Hannah and Chris

Words of wisdom to anyone considering venturing out into the world of unique, less traditional homes?

Go for it!! Nothing ventured means nothing gained. Be prepared for some hard time and be prepared for people telling you what they think is best for you. Do your research and learn what you can before hand. Find people who have done similar to what you want to do and read blogs or watch videos. But have faith in the reasons why you want to do it.

What is next for you? Will you continue to live in your current home or try something different?

We will stay put for maybe another 2 years or so. We would be keen to try something else in the future but as to what we haven’t decided yet. Chris has toyed with the idea of maybe living on a boat but somehow I can’t see that one taking off as I have a fear of open ocean even though I used to be a lifeguard, I prefer ground for extended periods of time not the sea! Somewhere tropical would be lovely to experience for an extended period. Of course another option could be to ship the motorhome over to the USA as that could open up a good few years of touring potentially Canada, North America, Central America and South America but it may be a little ambitious and I don’t know how we would get insurance either. See that’s the problem when you look at the future, the possibilities just keep on coming.

RV Family of Hannah and Chris

If you have children what are your plans for education?

We have no children but that’s not to say there may be in the future. For myself I have always thought the prospect of homeschooling to be a good option. My parents were always involved in my education and whilst in the UK parents can be fined for taking children out of school during term time, my parents would take me away with them. I was never left with family whilst they went away. They thought it was important to take me to different countries, learn about their culture, learn a little of their language, try the strange foods and learn to be that more open-minded and less judgemental on others.

I would love to see them forging friendships and practical learning. Children learn best when their environment is fun and hands on not necessarily infront of a whiteboard. The combination of homeschool allows a way of combining the two.

How do you make a living?

We work on campsites generally as wardens but have taken other jobs such as lifeguards and are both qualified swimming teachers. We don’t earn any money now whilst we are away so we are reliant on savings and keeping an eye on the budget! Our job works well for us as we have the accomodation and so our monthly outgoings when we are working are quite low allowing us to save well and therefore do what we are doing now. Find work that you love!!

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Don’t you love that description of their Christmas spent around an open fire with other travelers? It showcases what makes this big lovely world so amazing and gets to the core of WorldTowning.

I’ll leave you will this great quote from Hannah on revisiting your WHY:

Find people who have done similar to what you want to do and read blogs or watch videos. But have faith in the reasons why you want to do it.

Go Adventure,
Jessica

Inside A Traveler’s Walls is where we feature families living in less traditional and unique homes (tents, boats, camper vans, yurts, flats, etc). If you think you might be one of those families and are interested in being profiled, please contact us for details.

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