It’s 2016, and after many years of deliberation, we finally did it, we ordered our camper van, a Volkswagen California Ocean in metallic grey. For the uninitiated, it’s basically a van with a bed and a kitchen, and for us, this was the dream.
It was seven long months before we got the call to say that our van was ready for us to collect, and it’s difficult to express just how exciting and nerve-racking a moment this was. All these years of talking about it, the anticipation of its arrival, it’s really quite some build up.
In the back of your mind, you can’t help wondering if you’ve made all the right decisions. Is it the right model? Did we choose wisely with the optional extras? Should we have dug deeper into our (now very empty) pockets, and gone for four wheel drive? What about the colour, should we have picked something bolder? The dialogue was endless, and also pointless, the deed was done, and the day had arrived.
Well, talk about love at first sight. We’d been fretting for nothing, any concerns evaporating as soon as it was in our possession. To us, this camper van represented pure adventure, and we just could not wait to get started.
The first outing
We would have to wait until the weekend before heading out for our first proper camping trip. Unable to contain our excitement, we took him, (yes, he’s a boy,) for his first outing. We drove forty minutes up the road, to a car park at the top of Side End Lane in Kettleshulme. This sounds pretty bleak, but the car park does in fact have lovely countryside views, and it was close enough for us to reach in daylight after our working day. We parked, made a couple of hot drinks, and watched the sun go down. Amazing how such a simple thing could make us feel so content. As we drove back home, we knew this van was going to change our lives.
Since we became camper van owners, we’ve made it our mission to get out in him as much possible. ‘Hansel’, as he is known, has taken us on numerous trips across the UK and continental Europe, in all seasons and for many reasons – hiking, mountain biking, road biking, snowboarding, festivals, and of course, doing the good ol’ tourist thing. Being a camper van owner has given us an amazing way to explore, and we continue to scan the horizon for the next adventure – we hope you’ll join us!