About me

Van in Greece
In Greece

Along with the wonderful Mr BOTRA, we are two owners of a blue campervan [Devon Tempest] who managed to save for early retirement in March 2017.  Mr BOTRA [BackOnTheRoadAgain] was then 59 and I [Ms BOTRA] was a child of 57.

Although now ‘retired’, for me this is actually just from a nine to five job.  I continue to work at being a motorhome travel writer for MMM and more recently Campervan Magazine and I write this blog.  The first two activities are paid work that help us ride the ups and downs of life on a fixed income and help spread out the savings.  In 2018 I was honoured to win the Douglas King Award for written journalism from the Caravan Writers Guild.  The judges found my article on the west coast of Scotland published in MMM in January 2018 to be a ‘beautifully descriptive feature.’

To reach this point of early retirement, our way of living has been to enjoy today while having an eye on the future; this means that we try and find a balance between living frugally and saving to the max while still doing stuff we like.  Consequently, we do things you might not consider frugal, such as have lots of time away in our ‘van and going to rock concerts, comedy gigs and even eating out every now and then. Our own version of a frugal lifestyle continues in to our retirement and this post gives the details of our budget that prioritises travels in our campervan.

We have been working towards retirement since 2006, after we bought our first campervan, got hooked on the lifestyle and hatched a plan to escape the nine to five.  Fitting in with our live-in-the-moment philosophy we had a gap year travelling around southern Europe in our ‘van in 2009/2010.  These travels are chronicled in this blog.

I gave more detail of how we funded the gap year on a post in our previous blog but in summary it involved downsizing to a small flat, selling our ‘stuff’ on Ebay and working as many jobs as we could to maximise our income.

Travelling for a year in the campervan made us even more determined to retire as soon as we could but as the Government put state pensions further out of reach, changed our public sector pensions and made a pay rise a thing of the past, retirement started to look further away than ever.  And yet, as others looking for financial independence know, you won’t get there without starting the savings plan and so little by little we were building up a retirement pot.  An unexpected inheritance in 2014 enabled us to bring our retirement date forward by quite a few years and we really appreciate how lucky we were to receive this.

You can read my travel articles published in MMM and Campervan Magazine

My posts about Salford are here

My travel-related blog posts organised by country are here

I occasionally review products on the blog.  When I do these are never products I have been given by companies and asked to review, we have always bought them with our own cash.




4 thoughts on “About me”

  1. My wife and I have been infatuated with van life and alternative lifestyles. What kind of van do you have? Do you live in it full-time or use it to travel to your destinations? This is awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello. Good to hear from you. We love our van:-) we don’t live in it full time these days although we did for a year. We spend about half the year traveling and otherwise live in a small flat. Our van is a Renault 5.4 metres long and has a kitchen and tiny bathroom. We were able to buy the van when we downsized our house and have never regretted it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, just wanted to say hello to you both 🙂 I found your blog a week or so ago and have spent many happy hours perusing it since then. So many things in it strike a chord with me and I look forward to reading more about your early retired life. Like you we love the freedom a van brings and can’t imagine being without one. Happy travels! Jane

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Jane. It’s lovely to hear from like-minded folk. Certainty when we had our enforced separation from our ‘van last year for a couple of months we were bereft and other types of holiday didn’t quite match up. Thank you for getting in touch. Carol


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