Does everyone keep a journal in their campervan? We started doing this early on in our campervan career and I am often glad we have a simple record of our camping life. We didn’t keep a journal for our first ‘van; we were newbies and it didn’t cross our mind … but once we got in the swing of being campervan owners we wanted a record of where we had stayed. I grabbed a spare exercise book [no expensive notebooks for two frugal travellers] drew in some columns and started our first journal.
In each journal I write the date, the name of the campsite and place, the overnight cost, the number of nights we are staying and a brief description and review of the site. I also use the journal to note things that we often forget such as when we last emptied the loo! These journals started when we bought our Devon Sundowner in 2007 and have continued ever since.
We are now on our third campervan journal. The notebooks all live in the ‘van and we refer to them regularly. We often arrive on a site we have been on before and wonder how long ago it was since we were last there [it is usually longer than we think]. At other times we might want to remind ourselves what we thought of a particular site while planning a trip to help us consider if it is worth returning to. Sometimes we just browse the journals for some misty-eyed reminiscing.
Although there is no journal from our holidays in our T4 we do know how many nights we spent in it thanks to photographs and diary jottings. On the front of the journals I keep a tally of the number of nights we have been away during the year and in a particular campervan as well as a total of our nights under a tin roof. Last summer we passed the milestone of 1,000 nights sleeping in a campervan in the eleven years we have been practising this van life.
We passed this 1,000 night’s milestone while we were camping in northern Italy. We were staying near Arsiè and although neither of us were getting flashes of déjà-vu I was looking through the journals because we were both pretty sure we had stayed nearby back in 2009. Flicking through the book to check where we had stayed we found we had been on the same site! We were flabbergasted! Where had the large sweet-smelling walnut tree we are sure we camped under gone? Where was the green gently-sloping field down to the lake? Either our combined memories were seriously faulty or they had re-developed the site beyond all recognition. We would certainly never have known we had been there before without the journals.
These notebooks are packed with happy and vivid memories that I don’t want to let go of. If you don’t keep a campervan journal then I suggest you start now.