It is with great pleasure that I introduce ouRVilla Life to all of you today. In this travel life we meet a lot of cool people living their travel dream. However, it is rare that we get to meet a family scheduled for IATW before their story is published on the website. AvaLar and I (Will was in Boston) were fortunate enough to have ouRVilla pass through our little French village. And hey, we were not going to miss the opportunity to meet up with them. I can report back that they are just as lovely (and even more so) in person as they are on this page.
We feel very thankful. ~ ouRVilla Life
Everyone has a story about why they travel and those are the words I cling to the most when I meet a traveling family in person. It is in those moments that we truly get a chance to understand the core of an individual, what makes them tick, what they are passionate about and why we were meant to meet. And therefore we travel; it is about the people. People we barely know, people we love, people that touch us deeply with their stories and the people we are still waiting to meet.
We have everything we need, we have each other and our scenery changes when we want it to. ~ OuRVilla Life
I am not going to give you all the nuggets before you read it, but lets just say that this family took a leap of faith for a travel dream. They are connecting deeply, doing activities they never had time for before, loving large and stopping to smell the roses. Take a deep breathe and let their words resonate. People are doing this. These are families, just like you and I. So, enough of my chatter.
Grab a cup of coffee, a comfy seat and get ready to be inspired.
Introduce us to the people you live with?
That would be my husband Dean head driver, well the ONLY driver seeing as he’s the only one that can drive ouRVilla! Our home is classed as a HGV – Heavy Goods Vehicle…..so he’s kinda indispensable! He loves having his home on his back like a tortoise (his words) and has more balls than me when it comes to where we should take our home! Up a single track lane, up a mountain, through gaps that we scrape through….we’ve been there lots of times with me stressing next to him. He’s our hero!
Our son Joel, aged 10, lover of technology/gaming, avid reader, and great adventurer. Our fluffy companion Lancelot generally going with the flow and happy as long as he gets fed and plenty of cuddles along the road. And me, I like to think I’m chilled and laid back, but this experience may be proving otherwise!
Where are you in the world and what are you living in?
We are currently in Portugal in our 1989 Foretravel RV, five months in to our adventures around Europe.
Why did you choose to live in your current arrangement?
Probably if we took ourselves back to the very start when I first suggested to Dean that we jack in our jobs, move out of our rented accommodation and take a year out. (A hair brained idea I thought he would say along with many previous day dreaming ideas I’ve had along the way). What made us say yes and go with it and dare to dream? Our life, or lack of. No property to our name, unable to get on the property ladder, no longer enjoying our jobs, and watching life go by us every day and hating that we weren’t living our life, just watching it year in year out playing over the same old tune. Which in our home involved hours and hours of time that we weren’t together as a family due to work and we were just looking forward to the odd Saturday or Sunday we could spend together.
What do you do to personalize your unique (less traditional) living situation?
We bought our home from my dad, he had holidayed in it, lived in it himself and then he moved onto other things; restoring a dutch barge on The Hamble in Southampton. So when we took her on and moved into her in October 2015 she needed a little TLC, damp and rusty from a few years stationary in the New Forest. I gave up my job and started making her into our home, whilst pitched up in a field in Fleet, Hampshire, UK. She is lovely and has mostly all the original 1989 American features and we wouldn’t dream of damaging them…just tweak her. As we both came from the bathroom & tile industry we had to remodel the shower room, we ripped out the mini bath come shower tray and modernized all the fittings. We added a wooden floor with underfloor heating, new curtains…..just generally tidied her up and made her cozy and homey. Friends and family laughed when they saw our usual homey touches of candles and photo frames and plants. Reminding us that one day our home would be moving along bumpy roads! But due to her weight a drive in her is extremely smooth and ‘most’ things stay put so everywhere we stop there is just a few things to put back from being stowed and we’re all set. Candles on, kettle on…..or wine poured!
Tell us your favorite and least favorite room in your space and why?
That is hard to say. I love our big bed at the back that can be sectioned off from the rest of the RV, I enjoy turning our cozy little lamps on (when we have electric!) and curling up to read a book with Lancelot. This part of the RV reminds me of being in a boat cabin. Obviously, we love our shower room as we put the most work in there and it’s the only modern part of the interior with its Hansgrohe chrome shower, hexagon mosaic tiled floor and the woodwork which we painted in a lovely blue Farrow & Ball paint (the only place that we dared touch the original solid walnut interior). It is small but has everything we need 🙂 And then the kitchen surprisingly has more storage than the kitchen in the last property we rented and has two ovens, a wine fridge, trash compactor and full size fridge/freezer!
Sorry went on a bit there, but we really do love our home! And I can’t think of a least favourite aspect…..oh I know, the drivers seat….that is one place I wouldn’t want to be!
What is the biggest misconception you had about your current living situation before you started living in it?
Probably that it would be cheaper than it is. But we no longer have jobs between us so everything seems expensive. But we’ve learned a lot from it, not just Dean and I, but Joel too. As we’ve travelled Europe we have been lucky to find completely free places to park, including people opening their business’s and the grounds of their homes to us. But through much of our travels a parking place comes at a price and if you want electric that is extra, if you have a dog that will be another few euros…some places even charge extra for you to use their shower. We’ve mostly stayed in motorhome aires, carparks, truck stops and avoided campsites. But our other expense is diesel….our RV does 10 miles to the gallon and we’ve done almost 5,000 miles so far, I’ll let you have a guess at the outlay so far. Oh and we’ve passed through approx. 66 road tolls and counting!
All the things we took for granted before are a privilege now….a long hot shower being one of them! We can’t waste water or electricity….we have to physically fill up our water tank so of course we need the water to last as long as possible, not to mention emptying the waste…two things that aren’t remotely considered when you live in a house. We are conscious daily about whether we may need to find a water supply or if our solar panels have had enough charge, do we need to get to an electric hook up.
What is the one household item you carry with you every time you move or the one item you cannot live without?
Internet!!! We have just gone through a period without it, embarrassingly not all that long a period but it was hard! I had to, as Chief Navigator, rely on good old fashioned map reading and camperstop books…I was lost without my PARK4NIGHT app and Google maps. Maneuvering and parking up our beast is not straight forward, sadly we can’t just rock up many places and stay the night. It takes an amount of forward planning.
Also as we’re homeschooling Joel, there are apps that he uses daily for Spanish and Maths as well as his workbooks. In addition, I take far too many photos that are of no use if they can’t be shared!! How would we blog and quickly keep our family, friends and followers updated on where we are without internet!?
What do you miss most about permanent, stationary, traditional living?
Hmmmm well we just had a short stint staying in a villa at the end of summer and I took baths, long hot baths and lots of them, I didn’t realize I had missed that but I guess I do. During that time the boys were hooked to TV. We have a TV on the RV but no TV service so just DVD’s….I don’t miss TV at all and I savor the stops where we don’t have electricity so we go old school and play board games and cards and read by candlelight.
What is the one item your child carries with him to make his unique (less traditional) home more comfortable?
Hard to choose just one! Joel was very good about having to lose a lot of his possessions when we moved into the RV. He now has a small selection of soft toys, legos, books (which we change when we can), his snuggly blankets, but his favourite is his toy cars and lorries.
Do you have a pet joining you in this journey? If so, has this been complicated? Any advice?
We have our small dog Lancelot who acts more like a Cat, he’s 6 years old and is a Maltese Terrier. It’s lovely to have him with us and was strange at first having him with us overseas as he’d never come on holidays with us previously! Obtaining a passport for him in the UK was straight forward. However we have just recently been caught without his passport being up to scratch for traveling to Morocco; the destination that was next on our list. He needed a rabies booster and a blood test which would have cost a couple of hundred euros and a 6 week delay in our trip. We’re not on a timeframe, but as we are at the port with ferry tickets in hand a 6 week wait seemed to be too much and we just decided to get back on the road!
What is your best resource to find items you need for your place?
Now that we’re on the road we have no budget for buying interior bits n bobs….I’m strictly forbidden! But at Christmas, after an emergency stop sent several of my homey touches flying across the floor and into several pieces I was indulged my need for sparkly beautiful things. There is a chain of shops called ‘A Loja do Gato Preto’ here and in Spain which we really love.
If you could only have one of the following in your home which one would it be and why?
(space, natural light, dishwasher or above average internet)
Yikes…..a place without natural light….I dread to think, but hey there is always light in the form of a lamp…..so I go with Internet!
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 copper kettle!! It is all about the copper decor in our home 🙂
How do you keep traditions alive for your family in your unique living situation?
We just make everything smaller! and now make decorations ourselves rather than all store bought. We bake and cook a lot more than we did before as well.
How do you decorate for the holidays in your unique (less traditional) home or do you skip it all together?
NO! we couldn’t skip it. It is December and we’re in sunny Portugal so we’re lacking the usual festive feeling around us, but we’ve covered every surface inside with baubles, paper snowflakes, paper snowmen, homemade paper chains and a wee little tree!
What is your favorite part about this lifestyle choice?
We are free! We have no fixed abode, no bills, no routine.
Many traveling families subscribe to the “house is not a home” theory. What is home to you?
Home is where you park it!
What makes you love the place you live?
We have everything we need, we have each other and our scenery changes when we want it to. We feel very thankful.
Can home be a person, or an idea?
Yes, I suppose it can be for some.
Words of wisdom to anyone considering venturing out into the world of unique, less traditional homes?
Do not hesitate, take that risk as there is no ‘risk’ at all, swim in that sea, climb that mountain, spend the time you have doing what you love with the ones you love and start living!
Anything else you would like offer?
If it doesn’t work out what have you lost? If you don’t try you will never know…..all stereo typical sayings I know. But once you have ‘taken that leap of faith’ you will see all you have been missing and kick yourself for not listening to your heart a long time ago!
What is next for you? Will you continue to live in your current home or try something different?
Our long-term dream is to emigrate to Australia to start a new life rather than return to the UK. We would love to take Ourvilla with us, but whether that is feasible we shall see! She’s an old gal doing us proud, and out on the road as she should be, but I also like the idea of finding a bit of land and building a permanent home/structure round her. She has all the plumbing, electrics and facilities of a home. If we could extend around her and have her somewhere permanent I think that would be great.
Joel would kill me if he knew this was our plan for Our Villa, ever since we bought her Joel has been making plans for the future with her…apparently, they will head to America as soon as he gets his HGV license!
How do you educate your child?
When we set out on this journey that was everyone’s main question. We didn’t know what to expect from home schooling (world schooling) Joel. Dean and I are far from teachers, but we decided that if we were going to do it then it was a good age to take him out of school. And very quickly through learning with him we saw the benefit in what we are doing. He has always struggled with Maths and before we left it to his school to teach him as we didn’t want to confuse by offering another slant on things; there are always different ways of looking into mathematical problems. He can get one on one help from us, something I assume he wasn’t always getting at school. His teacher at the time was lovely and very helpful and couldn’t have been more encouraging of what we were planning.
How do you make a living?
We don’t! We have no income, we quit our jobs, we have no property ‘back home’, we’ve really taken that ‘risk’. We have some “savings” and we’ll live this dream as long as we are able, and when it ends Joel will go back to school, we will go back to working somewhere and we’ll have lived the dream. Alternatively, thousands of people will read this post, like our FB page and follow our blog and it will be so amazingly popular that people will want to advertise on our pages and give us lots of money to carry on this dream 🙂 Right!? That is how it works right…….I’ll keep on dreaming! LOL
Workaway is something that we have used and hope to experience again in the future, although this isn’t for an income. In exchange for work we have been able to ‘park’ at a hosts home/land. We spent four weeks at an Olive Finca in the mountains of Catalunia looking after goats and chickens, building, clearing and working as a small community. It was a wonderful experience that all three of us will treasure forever….Lancelot is still undecided on the matter!
Quote to ponder:
But once you have ‘taken that leap of faith’ you will see all you have been missing and kick yourself for not listening to your heart a long time ago!
Inspired? Yes! I love their traveling home! And what I can tell you is that it is even cuter in person. It is warm, welcoming and feels like a home full of love. Home can be wherever you want to make it. Anything is possible.
Avalon and Largo are still talking about their adventure with Joel, playing in the rain and riding home with soaked feet. We hope to meet up with ouRVilla (Down Under) one day. Thank you for sharing your story, home and hospitality.
And THIS is why we created WorldTowning! We know there are more of you out there who want to take off on a grand adventure. What is holding you back? The logistics? The fear? We can help. WorldTowning is here to plan your 3, 6 or 12 month adventure in a far off land. Check out our packages to determine which one best meets your needs. Let’s make your travel dream a reality, today!
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.