Day Twenty-three – Homeward Bound

After quite a late night, we both woke with sore heads and a dampened spirit. It was finally time to return home. Not that the thought completely fills me with dread. I am looking forward to seeing my zoo, catching up with the neighbours over french wine and enjoying the vegetables from our garden. As I have said previously, our main goal for Ruby, is to ship her over to America and live in her for a year. This trip has been one big road test in preparation for the trip.

  • Can Ruby survive a warmer climate? (Barely. We have plans to change the radiator , and locate it underneath the van.)
  • If she breaks, can we fix her and keep going? (Luckily, she provided us with many mechanical failures, and even though they aren’t all resolved, we made it through the entire journey.)
  • Living in a small space can be frustrating. Would we be able to manage with the constant reshuffle of our living space and not end up killing each other after the first week? (During the start of mine and Willow’s relationship, we spent a year sharing a room in Willow’s halls of residence. This gave us an early idea that we could tolerate each others company in small spaces. I am relieved to say that after three weeks of sharing an incredibly small space together, there has never been any friction between us two. Only towards the van.)
  • Is the living the lifestyle actually as enjoyable as the idea? (Again, reflecting back on our trip, I have enjoyed all of the joys and sorrows of the journey.

This journey, although a summer holiday, has taken us both out of our comfort zones. It has tested us more times than I would have liked, but at the same time was necessary for us to be able to confidently up route our lives and spend a year living in a forty year old van. Every morning we were rewarded with a new sight and a unique experience.

I really don’t want this to sound to flakey, or wishy-washy; but living in Ruby has given experiences that I never would have experienced if I was staying in a holiday cottage or hotel. In 3 weeks, I have been able to see more of France than I have seen in 31 years.

I have met new people, seen unbelievable landscapes, seen the joy in people’s faces as our loud, unexpected van has driven through their tiny villages.

Currently, as much as I enjoy teaching, the thought of spending the next year not travelling in the van is greatly saddening. I am really looking forward to making the bold step of buying a freightship for Ruby and our plane tickets to welcome her in America.

We still have a long list of repairs or modifications that we need to make before our next adventure. However, that just means that there will be many more opportunities to test Ruby in preparation for the end game.

To anyone reading this. I hope you have enjoyed the posts. I am sorry for all of the errors. It’s not easy writing a blog in a bouncy VW, on a phone that constantly changes what you actually wanted to say. I really hope that our experiences may have tempted you to try the van life. Our journey all started by renting a VW in Wales and then travelling the south coast.

You should definitely, at some point in your life –

Visit the Pyrenées.

You should definitely visit Saint Andiol and enjoy their strange homage to America (plus all of the free fries and wine!)

You should visit Gordes, and pay €3 for and afternoon of free wine and food, in a picturesque french village on top of a cliff.

You should never feel defeated by problems that life throws at you. They are just another step for you take conquer on your journey.

Au revoir France. Thnks fr th mmrs.

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