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 as a freelance travel writer for MMM and more recently Campervan Magazine and I write this blog. The first two activities are paid work that contribute to the ups and downs of life on a small fixed income and help spread out the savings. I am a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild. 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. I wrote my thoughts on the Dream vs Reality of full-timing and our travels were 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. In 2019 we made a big move from our Salford flat to a small bungalow near the seaside in Morecambe. This is a quiet but beautiful corner of the north-west where we can enjoy views across Morecambe Bay to Cumbria.

It would be marvellous if you decide to follow my blog. Leave your email to get regular notifications of new posts [usually one a week]. Alternatively you can click on the Facebook icon and like my Carol Kubicki Travel Writer page, where my blog posts are automatically published. I am a regular Twitter user and enjoy sharing ideas with fellow travellers through that medium if you want to join me. You can also follow my Pinterest profile if you want something less interactive.

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! I also have no links on the blog that earn me money.

20 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


  3. Hi Carol
    I’ve just finished your article in Campervan mag about your trip to Croatia. If I had to do a tick sheet of things I’d like on a Campervan holiday your trip ticked 90% of the boxes. Beautifully written ,me and my wife have been to Croatia twice a lovely country. We bought a New Malibu Campervan last October and we’ve only been out in it twice before this awful pandemic started but we’re looking forward to using it when things begin to open . I was going to ask for more information about the above trip but I see there is same blogs on it here we’re new to Campervan holidays your blog looks just what we need
    Thanks Alan Cole

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Alan
      Thank you for your lovely comments. Croatia was wonderful and there is lots I don’t manage to fit in the articles or on the blog so do ask if you have a question about somewhere we went to. The list of places we stayed is on the blog, along with the places there and back. I do keep recommending that everyone explores inland Croatia. Even though we now live in Morecambe and I love the sea, the coast is always so different from inland. What a shame that you haven’t been able to get out and about much in your new campervan. We are hoping to get away soon too, we’ve missed being in our campervan so much. Can I pass your comments about my article on to the Editor, Geneve, at Campervan Mag? This whole virus thing has made life difficult for them at the magazine too and she might like being cheered up by positive comments from a reader.
      Thanks again Carol

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Carol,
    Just a quick thank you for your current and previous blogs – they have been inspiring and very useful to us in our 8 years of motorhoming. Like you, we have found the last year or so incredibly frustrating,(and have commented on it in our blog), but remain optimistic for 2021.
    All the best for your travels this year

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you John. I do hope you manage to get out and about eventually in 2021. I have just checked out your blog again and see you have been adding up your nights away over the years. 2020 wasn’t what any of us planned was it! But then, as you say life can throw anything at you at anytime. I have just started some serious planning, rather than dreaming, for May and June this year. Fingers crossed it all happens and maybe we will bump into you somewhere. Good wishes and take care.


  5. Greetings from Sri Lanka.
    I just came across your blog and it’s a dream come true to travel in a small campervan and also own a tiny house by the sea. I know I will be hooked on your blog. Thanks for sharing your life stories 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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