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Monday 5 February 2018

A New Life! Planning My Way Out Of 'The System'!!

Whilst napping on the sofa on Saturday, I suddenly had an brilliant idea to change my situation! I don't like complying to the system that nearly all of us are in, but some people are brave enough or crazy enough (depending which way you view it) to get out of the rat race and do something different. Time is ticking away and I'm not getting any younger! Life is so incredibly short, you simply don't think about this when you are in your 20's.

So here is my dilemma – I purchased my house in 2001 which is now worth far more than what I paid for it, which is obviously brilliant! But, the downsides: I hate living in a town and aside from a few people in my street, I won't miss the rest when I leave! The biggest issue is my house needs re-wiring (desperately) and the boiler is 29 years old and that's just the major work that needs doing. I simply can not afford to maintain this house, without going into every detail. It is incredibly depressing trying to search for a small property/flat in Norfolk, to find that I can't afford to buy another property in a nicer area – certainly not on the coast and not inland either. Even if I did, I take the risk (as we all do) of potentially ending up with noisy or troublesome neighbours and barking dogs.

It seems that in order to survive financially when at the lower end of the wage scale, you have to be in a relationship – well currently I'm not and in any case I don't want to be in the situation where I have be reliant financially on somebody else, so here is my crazy idea!

Sell my house and return car to Skoda garage. Put small amount of belongings into storage and sell/throw rest. Live with my mother temporarily! Buy a new Motorhome, cash (small enough so that I can drive it on normal car licence) and live in it permanently! Put remainder of money made from house sale into savings/premium bonds for 'old age'! I can see far more positives points to this idea than negatives! I could also do what the lady has done in the youtube video below and buy a van and pay someone to design it how I want it, which would be cheaper than buying a new motorhome.

I have thought about the logistics of this already and have spent alot of time researching on the net, watching other motorhome videos etc. So I could spend Monday to Friday parked up close to work (or at work). Book a campsite once/twice a week for electrical hook-up, disposal of 'things'!, long shower so I can wash my hair, do laundry etc. Friday night, drive to wherever I please for the weekend eg park up at my mother's or anywhere along the coast! Return to King's Lynn area on Sunday evening, ready for work on Monday. Autumn 2018: drive to Aberdeen, ferry to Shetland and spend two weeks birding in my new Motorhome!

I certainly wouldn't consider doing this without being able to connect to the internet effectively – not giving up the blog! So I need to do lots of homework on having the maximum internet connection that money can buy. I would keep my bike in the back storage area of the motor home, allowing me to nip to shops when I need small amounts of food shopping. I have read that solar panels on the roof can also boost the batteries for electricity/gas. Obviously I will have to allow for much higher insurance, cost of running the motor home (minimal) and campsite fees a couple of times a week and the cost of fuel. I have tried to find a motorhome that is petrol, but I haven't found one yet, which is obviously a big downside as far as the environment is concerned.

I also need to check about my state pension (if I make 67!) – I'm pretty sure you can still receive this with 'no fixed address', but need to clarify that.

  • Freedom of movement
  • No council tax, no water rates, no gas/electric bills, no mortgage payments, no car payments etc!
  • Aside from fuel costs, freedom to travel anywhere, including very cheap holidays!
  • Never having to pack to go away or on holiday
  • Twitching: arrive on site to see mega and instead of travelling all the way back home, stay there!
  • No problem neighbours
  • Minimal housework!
  • Loads more cash spare each month to add to 'old age' pot!
  • Having to go to a campsite regularly in order to run the motorhome, which will cost and also run the risk of not being able to get into a campsite in the main Norfolk holiday season!
  • Laundry and washing
  • Parking up in a 'safe' place
  • Having to use someone else's address eg relative/friend in order to have a driving licence, motor insurance, passport etc
  • Risk of water tank freezing in extreme cold!
  • Using Diesel
  • Cost of storage rental (if used)
  • Not being able to park up in a tight spot at a mega twitch!
  • Me having to drive slower – actually that's a good thing!

I also found interesting information about Internet access from a motor home here: 

Also lots of reviews here:

I have just discovered that "The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show" is at the NEC, Birmingham on 20th to 25th February – this will give me the perfect opportunity to look at a big range of motorhomes, so I will be going to this – exciting times!

Any advice from any motorhome owners will be very gratefully received!


  1. Hi Penny, that's a huge decision. Why not have a look at old posts by Tim Baggins, such as...
    or @BagginsTim
    Good luck, Jim

  2. I was a motor caravanner for thirty odd years, and must say the idea of full time van living always appealed to me. You'd need to be tidy, otherwise everything crashes around when you're driving! You'd have to be good at de-cluttering! The biggest thing by far though, is that motorcaravans depreciate horribly, and down the line when the lifestyle is perhaps no longer suitable, the re-sale value wouldn't buy an alternative home. You'd have to consider this carefully. Good luck though. It's a brilliant plan,even if in the end it's just a pipe dream.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts on my crazy idea Linda!

  3. Hi, don't know if this comment will get through but have you thought about a narrowboat? My wife and I escaped the rat race in the 90s and lived on for three years before moving to Cornwall and then did another three years starting in 2014. Wonderful experience!

  4. Hi Eddy, yes I have considered a narrowboat (my sister's partner lives in one), but the nearest place to moor up, is too far for me to travel to work in reality. It does sound lovely though, thanks for your input. Best Wishes Penny

    1. Hi, there are moorings on the Fens and around Ely I think but I agree the main system is a bit far from Norfolk, bit like Cornwall really! On the other hand go the whole hog and travel the system, you wouldn't regret it. When we first gave up sensible employment my wife made teddy bears on board and I made mandolins, sang and played at canalside puds and did the festival circuit and even did some industrial cleaning to make ends meet We made lots of friends in a linear community and finished up with a new career in the music business which I wasn't expecting! On top of that you can't get closer to nature and there is great birding on the canals. Whatever you decide to do, do it, when we did all our friends thought we were utterly mad and predicted doom, the madness would have been doing nothing. Regards.

  5. Message to Ken and John – thank you for your emails,I will reply to you in full tomorrow, thank you both very much for your thoughts and advice. Best Wishes Penny

  6. Hi Penny

    I own my own motorhome and have done for quite a few years now (I have emailed you a couple of photos of my latest one. This is the size I think you should consider if you do go through with it).

    You mentioned cost of insurance. I have found that insuring a Motorhome is far cheaper than car insurance, as it is a specialist type of insurance, but I don't know how that would work if you were to use it as your residence. That might be difficult to get insurance on.

    First of all I fully endorse what Linda has said, especially the downside of depreciation with a new van. My van is 23 years old and still going strong and at that age it is now at a point where it isn't depreciating very much each year, in fact there is a chance that it has held for the last couple of years, so why buy a new van when there are some brilliant used Motorhomes on the market. Mine is a diesel and cost me £8500 nearly two years ago. I get between 28 to 32mpg, depending on the terrain I am driving over (motorway or side roads such as the Dales or around many parts of Scotland)

    I never camp up on camp sites, always wild camp, and I have three leisure batteries that are fully charged. I only use one at a time and that one is charged directly by the engine whilst it is running. If you were to have as many leisure batteries as that you could easily last out wild camping for ages and when one of them goes flat change it and when you get the chance drop the flat one off at your mothers to charge up and then pick it up at your leisure.

    Having enough water would be a big problem but I have been cheeky enough to go to garages, shops etc to ask if I can use their tap to fill the many two litre old milk containers that I use.

    Mine has a toilet, shower a cooker, grill and hobs, fridge, small freezer compartment, blow air heating, hot and cold running water and a gas fire as well and has a booster for the TV signal. It has a wardrobe and plenty of cupboard space. Why buy new when you can have all that.

    I personally would buy second hand, try it for a while and if it works out, great, if not sell it, as you wouldn't make a great loss, or if you are enjoying it you can perhaps upgrade to a newer van with more of what you need if any, and revert to plan B, something you must have in place if you are going to try this.

    Remember though as you grow older there will become a time when that lifestyle would become too much and you would be hankering for the comforts that a home can bring. That is something you would have to factor in if you were to go ahead with this idea.

    I am almost 73 now (in two weeks time) and as much as I love being out in the Motorhome I have to say it is great when I get home as well.

    It needs a lot of thinking about and the caravan show will give you ideas but I think a lot more research by you is needed before you make up your mind to go for it.

    Whatever you choose to do good luck Penny.