Our Trip Summary for Winter 2014

Saturday 7th March 2015

Those of you who have been following our blog (War and Peace), will have become accustomed to occasionally seeing my inclusions of ‘song lyrics’, albeit I may, from time to time, have amended the actual original words, so I think that it is only fitting that in this last blog post of this year’s ‘Winter Adventure‘, that I finish with some appropriate ones. The one song that immediately sprang to mind was the classic from ‘Frank Sinatra’, amongst a cast of thousands who also recorded it……………

And now the end is near and we must face the final curtain,

Brown Trouser moments, we’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention,

But through it all, we both stood tall and did it our way

It is still hard to believe that it is over, but we had been on the sunny side of Europe (and Africa) for Five and a half months, or Twenty Three Weeks or One Hundred and Sixty Four days !! We have certainly had an ‘Adventure’ and you cannot have those without a few ‘stressful’ moments, and of course  a few ‘Brown Trouser’ ones !! Thankfully though we came through them all and Big Momma, Snoopy, Dave and Kevin (and us of course) returned to the UK in full perfect working order. But in the main this trip has again been absolutely terrific, we have travelled to, and through, many places in Portugal, Spain and Morocco, stopping occasionally only to look around before moving on, or staying just one night, but often longer. We have met so many truly wonderful people, of all Nationalities, far too many to mention here, but they are all mentioned in the respective blog posts and we look forward to hopefully meeting them again, somewhere on our future mutual travels, thankfully there are only a couple that we hope we don’t !

Even though we had a few ‘indulgences’ (Albufiera family visit, New Years Eve Celebrations and Eleven nights on a Five Star Campsite !!) we managed to stay within our allocated budget, although it could have been better had we not have had the  ‘Moroccan Incident’. Our Diesel consumption could have been less had it not been for our rather irrational and illogical travelling over the last few weeks, but then again isn’t that what fun and adventure is all about, the ‘freedom’ to choose where you go !!

We started out with a simple aim, we would work to our budgets but we were not going to ‘live in poverty’ or by scrimping and scraping, and we achieved that. Of course we could have done this on a lesser budget, and many do, but likewise we could have also have spent a lot more, but I think for what we wanted to do on this trip we got it about right.

So, I have put together a few statistics and to make life easy I have converted all our budgets and costs back to UK Sterling. These costs only apply to the day we entered Spain to the day we departed again.

Route: Northern Spain, Portugal, Southern Spain, Morocco, Southern Spain, Northern Spain.

Trip Duration: 164 days (20th Sep 2014 – 2nd Mar 2015)

Mileage: 4,389 miles (Give or take a few miles that were unaccounted for)

Aires/Sites: Budget £1,640 = £10 per day – Actual spend £1,218 = £7.43 per day

Personal Expenditure: £2,460 = £15 per day – Actual Spend £2,152 = £13.12 per day

Groceries: £1,840 = £80 per week – Actual Spend £1,183 = £50 per week

Laundry: £230 = £10 per week – Actual Spend £65 = £2.77 per week

Diesel: £1,500 = £250 per month – Actual Spend £969 = £161.50 per month

LPG: £240 = £40 per month – Actual Spend £50 = £8.33 per month

Tolls: £100 total for whole trip – Actual Spend £95

Our total Starting Budget was £8,010 and our Actual Spend was £5,732 so we would have been ‘under’ budget by £2,278, however, the ‘Fuel Contamination’ incident in Morocco had a significant impact and the associated costs of that was £1,467 which means that our Actual Overall Spend came to £7,199 leaving us ‘under’ budget by just £811.

I think that the very many of you that have been following our journey may have already had an inclination that I have thoroughly enjoyed writing about all our travel adventures and I have really sincerely appreciated all your feedback and comments. With currently over 94,000 registered views over 86 different Countries, I have been truly flabbergasted at the interest shown in our ‘Adventures and Misadventures’, I really cannot find the words to thank all of you enough. However, as you are already aware, we are now returning to do our second season (8 months !!) on Elf and Elfette duties with the Caravan Club. After last year’s first ‘Winter Trip’, I kept the blog going over our first season, as many of you wanted to read about our experiences working as Assistant Wardens, however, although our next season is at a different location, the duties will be the same and let’s face it, there is only so much that one can write about cleaning toilets or cutting grass !! I have been having constant arguments with myself, this is after all supposed to be a ‘Fulltiming Motorhome Travel’ blog and whilst yes we will still be living in ‘Big Momma’ fulltime, the emphasis should surely be on the word ‘travel‘. Apart from day trips out on our days off, there will be no travels in ‘Big Momma’ over the next eight months, so can I really call this a Motorhome Travel Blog. On the other hand, we are ‘Fulltime living‘ in ‘Big Momma’ and it is a ‘living diary’ of our lives Fulltiming in a Motorhome ? The one thing that I didn’t want to do was to write posts just for the sake of having something to publish, that would be both difficult to write, as I need the base material to work with, but also I think they would end up being pretty boring to read.

I was ready to, somewhat reluctantly, call time on this blog, at least until the next adventure started proper. However, even before I have got around to publishing this post, many of you must have had the inclination of what I was contemplating announcing, and I have genuinely been touched by your extremely kind words and, can I be vain enough to call them pleas, to keep it going. One of my readers has suggested that I continue to write about the ‘Shazza Expeditions’ that she will undoubtedly continue to force me to participate in on our explorations of our new area, so that is an idea I am currently considering, albeit the frequency of any such publications would be much less than they have been. So I still have a decision to make !!

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33 Responses to Our Trip Summary for Winter 2014

  1. Jennifer Jones says:

    We are vaguely interested in thinking about working for something like the CC so it is interesting to read about cleaning toilets honestly 🙂

    • 😄 Thanks Jennifer, you can read about the ‘Assistant Wardens’ stuff from our first season on last year’s blog posts. If I continue with the blog I don’t think there will be too much about the ‘work’ stuff, unless something interesting or funny happens, primarily it will be on the ‘Shazza Expeditions’ 😄 If you need any information please don’t hesitate to contact me via Email 👍

  2. Ivan says:

    I’ve greatly enjoyed your blog and plan following some of your footsteps come May ’16 when I will retire early.
    “Shazza expeditions” in England, while not as relevant to me as Southern Europe, would still make good reading, and the effort of writing them wouldn’t be wasted on me for one.

  3. Baxterbus says:

    You did amazingly well with the budget considering where you have been, if we can do £35 a day by the end of the year will be more than happy. Hope you do keep a Blog going, be good to keep up with you two and how things are going. We don’t do tv so a good Blog is the required reading material after dinner, yours was, without doubt a very good Blog, we have both loved reading it. (y)

    • Thank you Sandra for your very kind words and without it sounding like a ‘mutual admiration Society’ we both love reading your blogs as well 👍 I hadn’t expected ‘my ramblings’ to be as popular as they have been and I have been truly overwhelmed at the responses, even though I hadn’t, until this last blog post, made any mention of stopping 😧 because of poor WiFi coverage and I am now behind on yours, only the last two, so will be playing catch-up over the next few days before travelling up to Berwick next Friday. Keep enjoying your travels and we will keep enjoying reading them 😄

  4. Tracey Thomas says:

    Oh do keep it going. It’s such fun to read and we feel you’re part of the family now! Have a good CC season and look forward to next Autumn’s adventures.

    • Thank you Tracey, I am really genuinely touched at all the very nice comments but to be considered as part of the family, wow !, what an honour, thank you………..as a member of the family can you lend me a tenner 😂😂😂

  5. John Strange says:

    If you stop posting – how do I take the P? We going to see you whilst you are home mare?

  6. Martyn Jacques says:

    Dear Eric,we have followed your blog since day one.You have been a great inspiration to us and have filled us with ideas and confidence to venture out on our motorhome travels.We have recently purchased our first motorhome,an Autotrail Delaware,Big Mommas little sister ,and are now planning our first trip away for a few days to acclimatise ourselves.We hope to call at Berwick in April to say hello in person and thank you.please keep on blogging if you can,it brings much pleasure to so many.
    Warm regards
    Martyn and Carol Jacques.

  7. Jennifer Jones says:

    Hi Eric perhaps if we end up in your part of the world in Suzy I shall come in to the campsite and greet you like an old friend 🙂

  8. Norman says:

    Only £2.77/week on laundry…? I remember reading about a girl on one of the trans-Africa truck trips who turned her underwear inside out & then back to front giving her 4 days per pair but then admitted to “scraping off the crusty bits” to extend the period of use…

    I truly hope that this wasn’t anyone close to you…?

    I fully understand your comments about keeping the blog going but let’s face it, what else would you be doing in the evenings?

    Norman (& Julie, we met at Morvich & may well pester you at your next site).

    • Ha, ha 😄 No such bad habits, there are still standards to be maintained. We used the ‘bucket’ in the shower technique for hand washing of underwear, tee-shirts, socks, shorts etc. Used washing machines for bedding, towels, jeans sort of stuff. You would be amazed at how few clothes you actually wear on the road, well perhaps I should re-phrase that, or perhaps not 😄 But basically, you tend to wear shorts and tee-shirts most of the time and flip-flops.

      As for what else would we do, we are both now learning Spanish and at my age it takes a bit of time trying to remember it !! But, my main concern was that I didn’t want to just write for writings sake, ‘on the road’ there is always something to write about and with my sense of humour, I could always observe things that then gave me something to comment on. The Shazza Expeditions will still do that but as we will only have then on days off the publication of posts will certainly become less frequent. However, I guess from the fantastic feedback I have had, if people still want to read my ramblings……………………

  9. debsk31k31 says:

    Hi Eric & Sharon, thanks for the numbers, excellent info. As you know I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your blog, your experiences and adventures and thank you for the effort you have put into them, the photos were truly inspirational. However Eric, you should not feel under pressure and as much as I and (we) enjoy the blog I also know that CC club days are long and tiring, please do not feel under pressure to continue. However, the big question is will YOU be able to stop, lol xx hopefully catch up with you both soon xx

    • Thanks Debs, as you well know, I cannot stop talking so the blog has come quite naturally. However, I do need the base ‘material’ to be able to write and tell my stories (all are true but with some poetic licence occasionally) so that was my concern. I just didn’t want to try and publish a post just for the sake of it.

  10. Guy Douglas says:

    Hi Eric and Sharon, thank you for the whole journey. You have given us readers a truly personal glimpse of your great adventure. It helped me get into my “interim” motorhome which I am now using in my personal and business trips. Good luck with the season ahead and hope you continue to allow us to follow you on your journey.
    All the best,
    Guy, aka AlaskaGuy, in rural West Somerset, near Exmoor.

    • Thank you Guy, glad you put your forum name as I now know who you are and that we have corresponded before 😉 I tried to keep the ‘personal’ aspect as it helps keep the adventure ‘real’ to the readers, it seems to have worked quite well 😄 I hope you enjoy your ‘adventures’ as much as we have enjoyed ours 👍

  11. Karen Williams says:

    Thank you for your blogging, you have kept me entertained for the last 3 months. I have been very poorly and reading your adventures have made me laugh And worry about you when you went to morrocco. I am hoping to be well enough to enjoy our camper soon and hope to do another 6 weeks in France in July. Keep blogging . Thanks Karen

    • Hello Karen, thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Sorry to hear that you have not been very well, I hope you are on the road to recovery and can enjoy your forthcoming camper van trip to France 👍

  12. carla en cor says:

    Hi you two!! We really enjoyed reading your blog over the last months….you may be in UK now…but don’t stop “blogging”….it’s such a nice way to stay in touch!!
    We’ll be going to Portugal in about a month, so half April I think…..bought another camper a Hymer!!! We are very happy now with this one and we hope to see you in Portugal….so when will you be backkkkkkk?????……….a big hug from the both of us…Carla and Cor

    • Hello you two, Portugal !! April !! sooooooo envious 😪 and a new Hymer 😄 Unfortunately we start our new season working on a Campsite here in the UK on Friday, until November 3rd !!!!!!!! So just make sure you save some of that sunshine for us for later in the year 😄

      • carla en cor says:

        Ah…we wish you good luck working on the campsite…we’re sure this also will be an adventure and we hope to read loads about it!!! Big hug for the both of you and hope to meet you again………

  13. Peter milne says:

    Hi Eric and Shazza,

    Since you made me aware of your blogging, I have looked forward to each new missif! I keep a written account of my travels, usually only where and when and if I am bothered a bit about the place etc. I could not do a continuous blog like you have though.
    Its good to see you looking so well, the life obviously suits, and a good woman alongside helps a great deal.
    You will be up in the northern part of my country, in Berwick, so I might just call in and say hello.
    Take care the pair of you, I am sure the odd ‘Shazzas adventures in Northumberland’ will go down a treat!
    Best wishes for the now pet!

    Pete Milne

    • Nothing Missif about the blogs mate, it’s all as it happens 😄 This life is like everything else in life, it is what you make of it. The Shazza Expeditions help keep us fit and we are seeing some wonderful places that we otherwise probably would never travel to, we also meet some great people, but, it’s not for everybody 👍

  14. Peter says:

    I think that is appropriate. 🙂

  15. nomaggsrush says:

    Being on travel hiatus for a few months (and I’d only just started) I’ve also pondered the value of continuing the blog. Like you I’m still fulltiming (in my case in my daughter’s space in the car park) but R0X1 does get an airing during half terms and holidays. I decided to carry on with a sort of irregular weekly blog as the original reason for starting it was that it’s for me to gloat over, “I did this”, when I’m in Death’s waiting room!!! Hopefully when mine gets too boring at least one of my readers will tell me to shut up.
    Please continue with yours – I like your style 😉

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