Travelling by motorhome has opened up so many amazing possibilities as a family. Some we expected, but one that we didn’t anticipate was the amount of incredible people we would meet along the way.
When we do meet new people, we’ve noticed a similar pattern in the questions we get asked when they discover that we’re a full-time vanlife family. So, here they are, the top questions we get asked about our lifestyle. We hope this gives you some insight into what vanlife is really like.
1) Are you Rich?
One of the first questions people always ask, they hear about the travel and naturally want to know how on earth we afford it. The short answer is, absolutely not!
We did have a small amount of money saved from our house sale as a fallback, but that disappeared pretty quickly at the start of our travel. By the time we collected our Motorhome we were back to living payday-to-payday.
I will note here that generally vanlife is cheaper than living in a home, (blog coming soon) we have less traditional outgoings and other expenses than in our 9-5 lifestyle. But no, certainly not rich.
‘We’re Rich, But Not In Terms Of Money!’
We're not rich in terms of money, only love!
We work really hard to make sure we can spend quality time with each other, can travel and explore, but still earn money to live and travel with.
2) How do you Cope in Such a Small Space?
Moving 4 people and 2 dogs into a motorhome has definitely had its challenges, the initial adjustment period was pretty tricky – learning to live in the space, starting the travel, working out where to put everything… We did have a couple of meltdowns in the adjustment period, it was intense, especially when dealing with a chaotic toddler!
But after a while it just works. For us it was around the 4-week mark that all the frustrations melted away and we truly started to enjoy the space together. It really helps that we have enough sections in our 196 motorhome that we can get a bit of space from each other if we need to. That’s not to say we don’t still have our issues – we still bang our heads on cupboards at any available opportunity and it’s still infuriating – why haven’t we learnt where they are yet?!
We did have a couple of meltdowns in the adjustment period, but overall, the layout really works for us!
3) What do you do About School?
We home school! Something a lot of people have experience with since our first COVID-19 lockdown...
We were lucky enough to ease into it and the year prior to travel we already flexi-schooled Rufus, an arrangement we made with his school to part home educate, part regular school. We like our kids to learn through experiences and travel really allows them to experience a lot, we can focus on skills that we want our children to learn such as language and communication, first-hand experience of different cultures, and more.
If there’s something they’re really enjoying; we’ll focus on that and plan projects around that...
Many people wrongly believe that when you home educate, you have to sit down, lesson plan and force them to learn as they would at school but it’s not like that at all. There are so many approaches to home education, road schooling, unschooling, etc but we mostly just go with the flow.
We plan lessons and projects using a range of materials and keep up to date with core subjects, we do some online classes to keep up with the classroom interaction side of things, we have 1-2-1 online lessons too. We mostly let Rufus and Riley guide us and if there’s something they’re really enjoying; we’ll focus on that and plan projects around that. We’re just starting our second year and it’s working well so far.
4) Don’t you argue all the time?
We do get grumpy with each other from time-to-time, but not as much as you might think!…
The kids bicker at times, just as they would in a house and yes, it drives us mad! But we’ve always been the best team, we need to be. Not only do we spend every moment in each other’s company, but we plan continuous travel, schooling, vanlife logistics, we run a business together and we’re starting various other projects too.
We’ve always enjoyed spending time together which really helps and we love it.
5) What do you do for Money?
We’re the type of people that always have to be doing something. Prior to travelling we set up our marketing agency, Marmalade Tree, we’re an experienced partner agency that works with brands and start-ups to develop and strengthen their business proposition. We offer a huge range of services including strategy building, customer experience development, social media marketing, ad management, website design & development, branding and design, content and copywriting and sound design.
We’re incredibly lucky to be able to run our business remotely and we work with a dispersed team of talented individuals all over the UK & Europe.
Scott also co-owns music production company, Bobcat Sound, who write and produce sound for TV, Film and brands. And we have several other new, exciting projects in the pipeline (Watch this space).
We work incredibly hard for ourselves, our clients, and our children to ensure we’re still earning and contributing without compromising family-time. We often find it pretty amazing that we’ve created this lifestyle for ourselves and that so far, it’s working.
6) Where’s the Best Place you’ve Been?
We’ve been to so many great places that it’s really hard to pick a favourite – it’s a tough one…
For Scott, his favourite is Malta, he doesn’t know why, but everything about it was brilliant – we all agree it was fabulous and we can’t wait to go back there.
For Rufus, Switzerland. He loves the snow the mountains and the possibility that we saw wolf tracks! He also really loved Ireland.
And me? (Mel) Switzerland has long been one of my favourite places, I adore it there, everything about it delivers.
Best day out? We’ve had so many good ones but we agree the top three are Kristallwelten, Austria – Unbelievable in every sense of the word! Just a really special day out.
Rheinfall, Switzerland – A mesmerising waterfall and Rufus liked that there was a shipwreck (or so we pretended).
Esplora, Malta – fantastic little science museum with the most unbelievable view and the best caramel Latte!
So, there we have it, the top questions we get asked about full-time family vanlife! There’s plenty more too, the people we meet have been so supportive, and kind and we get so many lovely compliments about our Compass Avantgarde motorhome.
But, the thing that we love the most about meeting people on our travels is hearing their stories! We’ve learnt so much from others that are in such a range of situations, some live in their van and stay in one place, some, like us enjoy vanlife and the travel full-time, some are travelling for a month or two, some are just having a break from the norm and others are in their van, between lifestyles.