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March

2018

Inside a Traveler’s Walls Motorhoming family: The Motoroamers

INSIDE A TRAVELER'S WALLS, TRAVEL
Here we go again! Inside a Traveler’s Walls is back with another amazing motorhoming family. It gives me great pleasure to introduce Motoroamers.

This has seriously morphed into ‘forever’ – however long that might be for us!

There is so much goodness here it was hard to pick the key quotes. Can I confess something? I had tears coming down my face in the first paragraph. When you find what works and feel the freedom it is beautiful. Karen writes like a poet, her words are magical and their story authentic. You all know how I love it when traveler’s are honest about this journey.

… yet it has been the distance of the inner journey that has been so profound for us. The personal growth and insights have enriched our lives beyond belief. The personal growth and insights have enriched our lives beyond belief.

In our WorldTowning University we spend a whole weekly session talking about fear. Fear (and money) are the two biggest obstacles that cripple those who want to travel full-time. Karen tackled this one head on, jumped in and guess what? She survived! You rock lady! May her words be a fabulous source of inspiration for all of you. Change is scary, but possible and it can produce amazing results.
What’s not to love about a chariot that can transport you into a world of real life experiences, authentic culture and natural history to blow your mind?
Grab a cup of coffee, a comfy seat and get ready to be inspired.

Motorhoming Family

Introduce us to the people you live with?

“Travel when you can, however you can, for as long as you can, just travel.” ~ Karen
Myles (just turned 51) and me (Karen, hanging desperately onto 49) are lovingly known as The Motoroamers; a nickname adopted when we bucked the trend by packing in our lives in England for a gap-year touring around Europe in our camper… And we fell in love with our travelling lifestyle hook, line and sinker – so much so that it took just six weeks for us to decide that this would be so much more than a year-out. This has seriously morphed into ‘forever’ – however long that might be for us! During the last two years, we have visited 16 countries and covered 26,000 miles – mind-blowing statistics perhaps, yet it has been the distance of the inner journey that has been so profound for us. The personal growth and insights have enriched our lives beyond belief. Looking back it is strange to see the scared woman who was so paralysed by fear and ‘what ifs’ that it put our vision in jeopardy. Yet armed with a heap load of courage, I adopted Susan Jeffers ‘Face the fear and do it anyway’ philosophy and consequently have blossomed from an obsessive organiser and compliant, insecure ‘home bird’ who craved security – to a carefree, creative and chilled-out chick who has taken to life on the road like a ‘duck to water’.
Myles on the other hand, dealt with our vision so much more ease-fully. He was brought up with change as a Forces’ child. Yet after a relocation from Isle of Man to Somerset in search of the Good Life, it became obvious that something was missing for Myles. He felt unfulfilled! Even after years of stress and near-nervous breakdowns, early retirement and getting his golf handicap down to 12 still wasn’t doing it for him. He needed something more – we just didn’t know what IT was. So his idea of buying a camper and travelling was poetry in motion. The purposefulness that coursed through his veins, the sparkle in his eyes and the focus that drove his action plan was something I hadn’t seen in him for years. And from that moment on we swapped stress for happiness. Beneath the surface our secret wanderlust had been waiting for this moment – this was the IT that was missing from our lives. I am now free to do what my heart loves and be in a space where my introvert can thrive. With time to reflect, vistas to massage my love for photography and the experiences we are having of this incredible, amazing and beautiful world just bring my writing alive – I have found the ME I’ve been searching for all my life. As for Myles, he is flourishing from the values that he has been trying to create all of his life. A way of living that allows us freedom, choice and happiness, all of which we have given birth to in our nomadic lives. Our camper provides us with a sanctuary that can either move or be still, allowing us to choose where we want to watch the sunrise. Enriched by a profound simplicity where less really is more, this tiny space gives us everything we could ever wish for, even though we physically own less than we ever have.

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

Scoobie is our chariot, a 7.5m Pilote p740 which we sometimes rest up whilst we do a bit of housesitting. A perfect combination that allows us both the freedom to move and the chance to stand still within the walls of bricks and mortar for a week or two. We are currently in south of France, on a housesit, looking after a very handsome Pyrenean Mountain dog whilst Scoobie rests his sore feet!

Why did you choose to live in your current arrangement?

We had 18 years calling the Isle of Man home, where we threw ourselves into the corporate Matrix. We were running three businesses that sucked us dry, physically, mentally and emotionally – we were living life on the very edge. We knew something had to change and that this was not our definition of happiness. So over the course of a couple of years, we made the shift we needed; hard decisions were made, behaviours were changed and a transition to a new life undertaken. It’s amazing to think back and notice how much we allowed life to strip away our joy – we were puppets and we gave it permission to be this way. We could of course make all the excuses in the world about the mortgage that needed paying and the income we needed to generate. Although the basic fact remains – we had created it all and we were the only ones who could change it. Somerset filled us with hope for the life we desired; a chance to destress, get back our health and well-being and find the earthiness we strived for. Yet despite renting a wonderful house on a farm, having a poly tunnel and doing things that we loved, something else was yearning in our hearts. We hired a camper for six weeks in New Zealand to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary and it triggered a series of events that set our travelling ball in motion. To Myles’ surprise, I found the whole experience amazing, in spite of the lack of space and I loved how transient the whole thing was. Moving on and not standing still seemed to work for me despite thinking I was a ‘rooted’ girl. Who would have thought? Back in our very comfortable lives in Somerset, Myles’ introvert brain was working overtime. We had rental property in Isle of Man that needed selling and whilst we did, it would dent our monthly income for a time. So the grand idea was to sell up, pack everything into storage, give up jobs and buy a camper that we could travel in for a year. It would reduce our expenses enough that on our return we would could buy our dream house and live the Good Life. Well that was the plan! I finally closed down my consultancy, left my job at the Donkey Sanctuary in Devon and handed my notice in at the school where I did some work as a meditation teacher. Gave our notice, stored our furniture and said our goodbyes. A European sunrise was waiting for us. Little did we know that that tiny seed planted somewhere in North Island would grow into such an incredible abundant orchard of opportunity.

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

Simplicity is at the heart of life now – so there is really very little personalising going on. I used to move things around and have all sorts of decorations in my houses back then. Although now I’ve realised it’s more about how a place makes you feel and Scoobie just feels like a warm, fluffy blanket that envelopes us, so the personalising just doesn’t seem so important. I do see some amazing decorations in other’s vans, although I have little pull to do much more in ours. This is partly because the furniture is all static so there is no rearranging to be done. And secondly he already feels like home. I do have cushions and a throw on the bed which makes it feel cosy although that’s more a practicality as Myles gets so cold at night so it acts as a second layer. I have insisted on bringing my 49 year old bear with me, who is looking a bit sorry for himself. We have a cartoon picture on the wall that makes me smile every time I look at it and I’ve picked out lime green accessories in the main living area. Apart from that I like a couple of candles burning to give it a homely vibe and nice smell and that is really about it.

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

I love this question. We really don’t have any rooms, it’s either indoors or outdoors. So on that basis my least favourite space is outdoors when it’s wet and cold. Although that said I do have a cupboard that I hate and even after two years I can’t quite organise it well enough to work for us. So that is a work in progress. Otherwise every other inch of our home I love. I love that our seats in the cab turn around so we can be comfortable of an evening watching films. I also love that our dining room table will push down and make up a single bed for when my mum comes over or friends visit. And best of all, I absolutely love my bedroom. The style of bed was really important to us given that we would be living in it permanently. And when we placed our order for Scoobie back in August 2015, we changed the configuration at the 11th hour to an ‘Island Bed’ because a good night’s sleep is key – in our book at least. I love going to bed early and just being cosy in this sumptuous space .

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

I’ve grown up with caravans and motorhomes, so the typical view of ‘it’s an old person’s vehicle’ didn’t come into my psyche at all. And in fact I think that there are so many people now interested in travelling and motorhoming specifically that this stereotype is being blasted into the ether. Although for me I think the biggest stereotype bugbear I held onto was about being seen as a gypsy and how I would feel about not having a go to ‘home’. Would I feel homeless, lost and without identity? I always needed roots as a girl, yet now I see so clearly how this was just a mask of insecurity and not my reality. When I dealt with the neediness that drove my desire for a house with four walls and a garden, I was soon able to remove this issue and let the wind caress my face. One of the biggest lessons we’ve learnt is that you don’t need to be in a house to be at home. You don’t need to live in one place to feel whole and connected. You don’t need a front door to enter a space of comfort. Scoobie is home and wherever he takes us and parks us up for the night, we consider to be home – whether for one night or more. The minute I felt safe within, the need for a secure place to ‘go back’ to was removed. I love the fact that we now live in Europe as opposed to a post code address. I love it when people ask where home is and I simply point to Scoobie with pride and excitement.

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

When we started to declutter and downsize from a three bedroomed house to a 7.5m van, we had to seriously prioritise what we needed to pack. Weight is always an issue in motorhomes as you have a limit that you are not allowed to exceed – so we had to seriously move beyond WANT to NEED. One of my non-negotiables is my juicer and NutriBullet. These have been such a big part of my well-being in the past ten years that to be without these was not an option. So they have their place strategically in the wardrobe and always make an appearance at our housesits too. For Myles he can’t live without velcro! Some of the roads we’ve driven on leave a little to be desired, so having items in his ‘garage’ stuck securely preventing any form of movement, is imperative for our peace of mind and the longevity of said items! Oh how you appreciate the little things that make your life so much easier!

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

I have to be honest – I miss absolutely nothing. In the last five months we have introduced housesitting into our lifestyle and whilst we really appreciate having a bath, perhaps the benefit of a jacuzzi or just a larger kitchen – we both really relish being back in Scoobs. He is compact and bijou in every way and yet we are always ready to get back in him and hit the road. Houses are lovely and I often find myself looking at some of the homes around Europe and wonder what it would be like to live in it – although this never lasts for long. They simply just don’t float my boat right now and at this point, I can’t picture myself being back in a house for any significant length of time. I can’t quite believe I’m saying this, although that’s how it feels in my heart. Some people say they miss the community that living in a house offers, although we get that through the travellers we meet along the way, so we have all our needs met perfectly – for now at least.

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

No dogs for now! Just us! We miss having a dog in our lives, I’ll be honest, although for us having a dog doesn’t feel right. So we get our fix from our housesits and the pets that come under our care. That’s a true joy and we can hand them back too.

 

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

Having a home that is truly mobile does present some challenges when it goes wrong or cracks at the seams – which is inevitable at some stage of the journey. For us, Amazon is a great resource for fixing our Scoobs or, if his needs are of a more technical nature, then we use our Dealers in the UK to order us the parts we need. We simply find a campsite that we can hook up for a period of time so they can ship out to us or, if the timing is right, we ask permission of our housesitting owners to use their address. So we are always covered one way or another. We have had some interesting challenges along the way with more serious issues like brake pads going in the middle of Romania. Although nothing that Google Search and Translate can’t help fix, together with a nice smile and a credit card.

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
Ooh that’s tricky to answer! Except for the dishwasher – seriously don’t need one of those. Space we can get from being outside – Mother Nature offers all we need on that score and natural light does feel important, 11although again our outside environment really gives us plenty. So I guess, if I’m truly honest it would have to be above average Internet. As we work digitally whilst on the road, with our travel writing, my virtual life coaching and our property management back in the UK, internet is really important to us. When we don’t have a signal it feels strangely paralysing and for a while, we feel a bit cut off from the world. Whilst we’ve chosen to exit the System, we still need to keep a presence there – albeit a bit more transactionally than we have in the past. So yes! Internet would be my number 1 resource.

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

This has been the hardest question yet to answer! Our home is minimalist, tidy, and deliciously homely. So if I think about an appliance that meets those criteria, it would have to be a pretty Kitchen Caddy – Every tool stored in it has its role and it is organised, clean and practical. Sums our home up perfectly.

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

I think over the last ten years since we lost my dad to cancer, our views on family traditions have altered. We’re a lot less precious about those events and their significance. I think death and loss have a funny way of changing your perceptions and can seriously alter how you experience life from that moment on. So Christmas is a low-key event for us. We’re not what you would call religious and for us Christmas has become far too commercial for our liking and the traditional values have got lost amongst the gift buying and consumerism. So we do get together with my mum because it’s a good excuse to gather as a family – not just because it’s Christmas. The same goes for Birthdays. Perhaps because I’m getting old, or may be our new lifestyle has just altered my mindset, Birthday’s just hold less importance to us now. I feel like there is so much expectation about having a special day, being spoilt and celebrating, that disappointment can all too often be your unwanted gift. We have everything we could possibly wish for and as long as we are blessed with health then there is nothing else we can buy for each other to improve how we experience life. Every day is a gift. We cherish times with my mum and friends when we come together to celebrate although it is rarely driven by whether there is a traditional label to it.

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

We pretty much skip it. Although I’m a sucker for fairy lights – I just think they look so beautiful, so we salvaged a 1m set of lights from a skip and had those up over the festivities.

What is your favorite part about this lifestyle choice?

There’s so many favourites to choose from…. Apart from the core values of freedom, choice and happiness that have completely enriched our lives, my favourite thing is being able to explore, learn and discover. We love nothing more than going to a new country and learning about their traditions and, armed with some key words that enable us to hold a basic conversation, we really immerse ourselves in their way of life. It’s so easy to get locked into a world of chaos in the System that we lose sight of others around us in the wider, global community. So visiting Romania and seeing how they work the land with their hands and not farm machinery, how the horse and cart outnumbers the petrol-heads and how their values are embedded in their way of life was humbling. To see Cretan’s crowding underneath a bridge to shelter from the hailstorm because they didn’t feel safe driving in those conditions was amusing. And Spain’s love for a fiesta, with passion and tradition sparks excitement. There is so much more to learn about life, people and the communities that are beyond our back garden and this has been revolutionary for me. To be part of these countries; not as a tourist, as a traveller, who has more time to explore and not just pass through. This has really given me a whole new depth of awareness and appreciation.

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

We often use the phrase, ‘Home is where our tyres stop’ and this really captures the spirit of our nomadic lifestyle. Whether that happens to be a campsite where we can connect with the travel community or in an isolated spot in the mountains surrounded only Mother Nature’s children. Although when I think beyond this, I’ve come to learn that home is where my heart is too. You can have the biggest and grandest house and yet not feel at home, if inside you don’t feel at ease. My self-esteem has blossomed so much thanks to travel’s classroom, that I have acquired a new home – the one on the inside where I feel comfortable – in my own skin.

What makes you love the place you live?

What’s not to love about a chariot that can transport you into a world of real life experiences, authentic culture and natural history to blow your mind? A space that allows me to finally fulfil my potential and be the person I was always meant to be; revelling gloriously in my introverted creativity like a hippopotamus in a mud bath. I realise though that how I feel about my physical home is a direct reflection of my inner home and I wonder in awe about how the two so effortlessly fuse, now that I have, quite literally ‘come home’.

Can home be a person, or an idea?

Well certainly for me, home is most definitely a person – home is within. We are conditioned to believe that home must be a house with walls and windows, decorated in a way that somehow represents and expresses our identity. This helps it feel like an extension of us and lures into a false sense of security. Yet when we find that inner sanctuary, it matters less what the dressing is like and we can travel to the moon and back and still feel like we are truly home.

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

Life can be consumed by our insatiable desire to find that illusive state of happiness and we strive to find it in the perfect job, in the car or the perfect post code. Even pursuing a less traditional life can sometimes be about hoping to find something or someone along the way. Yet this is the greatest illusion of life. Venturing out on an alternative path is not about wanting to escape life or even finding happiness – IT IS about not allowing this very short and precious life to escape us and to commit to living up to our potential. Give yourself permission to listen to your heart and not be ruled by the happiness myth that is painted for us. Make courageous decisions, take that leap of faith and know that anything is possible if you set your heart to it. And above all, don’t be ruled by that inner voice of fear that is intent on holding you captive. Fear is just a series of irrational thoughts that we feed and they paralyse our hopes and dreams because we give them too much power. See fear for what it is and then look beyond it to the possibilities that await each and every one of us. Make choices that take your life beyond the norm and believe in yourself and your potential. There is always another way and happiness is sat dormant within you waiting for you to wake it up. Do it soon, do it now; life is too short not to.

Anything else you would like to offer?

Travel is a privilege, yet it is not set aside just for the privileged. Living life alternatively and fulfilling your dreams are completely possible; it just needs a shake of reflection, a pinch of courage, combined with a spoonful of resilience to create the greatest recipe for life. Although let’s also add a dash of realism. Alternative living is no Utopia, things still go wrong. There are ups and downs although choosing this life has made us stronger, more relaxed and stress a distance memory. We are so much more capable of dealing with our challenges thanks to the freedom we have created in our lives. One step, one decision, one choice – one life. Take it.

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

We have committed to travelling and exploring for forever – however long that may last. Of course something may well crop up that we don’t expect, although we’ll deal with that when it happens. We live in the moment and for now we choose to live a nomadic life in Scoobie, travelling around this amazing world, uncovering its secrets one mile at a time. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring and we’ll face that when the new day dawns. Until then The Motoroamers are happy living their lives beyond fear and we are inspired to help others do the same.

How do you make a living?

We are insatiable workers and love nothing more than being active and productive. So taking the decision to travel required us to think about what we would do with ourselves. Sitting still really wasn’t an option. So whilst we had said goodbye to our old lives and our jobs, we searched our hearts to find more authentic and rewarding work that would make the most of our interests, passions and talents. This produced a three-tiered approach. The first tier is the foundation of our lifestyle that pays for our day-to-day expenses and creates our pension fund. This is Myles’ domain and is centred around investments. So he has set up ISAs for us both, has created a Share Portfolio which pays out regular dividends and bought rental property, which gives us our monthly income. The rentals are managed by agents so we limit the amount of noise that this could create if we tried to manage it remotely. The second tier is my passion, which in fact is something I have chosen to carry over from my ‘old life’. I ran my training consultancy, specialising in Leadership and Personal Development and I always loved my role as a coach. So these days you will find me coaching my clients over Skype or telephone as I support them on their Pathway to Happiness. Happiness has been a key focus in my life in the last five years and so I have turned my attention to this, through my coaching, my Facebook Group and book writing. My latest book, which I’m currently giving birth to, intends to inspire the reader as they embark on their own happiness journeys. The third tier is our travel focus. Before we left UK, we built a website and Social Media channels and set about generating a following through our authentic and quirky travel observations. Through a combination of Myles’ wacky videos and my travel writing, we have created a seriously entertaining travel channel that is gaining some fabulous momentum. We have set up affiliate partnerships that earn us enough money through the year to support our website fees and are now beginning to earn money from the articles that I write for magazines. So whilst this isn’t going to make us millionaires as it takes time to generate credibility amongst your peer group, it is work we totally love and our audience seem to love it too. There’s nothing nicer than to hear people reporting back on how our content has inspired them to take a trip, book a ferry or do a walk that we’ve recommended in one of our blogs and tell us how much they’ve enjoyed it. It keeps us wanting to create more and that’s exactly what we intend to do. The Motoroamers are alive and well!

Quote to ponder

And from that moment on we swapped stress for happiness.

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How many of you laughed out loud with the velcro comment. I know I did, velcro is our best friend as well. They simplified, fought fears, went against convention and they survived! You can too!

We look forward to crossing paths with Motoroamers in Europe! We will bring the velcro.

WorldTowning’s services can help make this travel dream ‘your reality’ and we can do it all stress free. We will be there with you every step of the way.

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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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