Following a serious illness, John Capel discovered that a motorhome was just what the doctor ordered, as he set off on his journey back to health

This is a date I shall always remember: September 24, 2010. A date when my life changed forever in the blink of an eye. What I thought were just the usual signs of indigestion, was in fact a full-blown heart attack. Luckily, it all happened very close to my GP’s surgery, so I was able to get myself there unaided fairly easily. 

Had I been elsewhere and not close to my doctor's surgery, I would have shrugged the heart attack off and not done anything about it at all. Like most men, I only ever visit the doctor reluctantly, and only if I consider that I might have a really serious ailment. In this case, I really did not think that I had anything major, especially as I was only in my late fifties.   

To cut a long story short, after no fewer than seven heart procedures, performed by a fantastic medical team, I feel as good as new. Now that my heart is playing host to nine metal stents, I’m probably worth quite a bit as scrap!

So what has this medical story got to do with motorcaravanning I hear you ask? Well the point is that when you have a life-threatening illness, it makes you re-evaluate your life, and your priorities change.

Time becomes far more valuable than money; experience worth much more than any material things. You never know what’s around the corner, so you have to make the most of every second. Now, my motto is: “Live every day as though it’s your last - because one day it will be.”

Why wait for retirement?

Originally, my wife Sandra and I planned to buy a motorhome when we retired. But after what had transpired, we decided to retire early, spend our savings and buy one sooner rather than later.

After a quick trip to our local motorhome dealership a new Autocruise Accent motorhome was soon sitting on our driveway. In between my heart operations, we were out and about touring most weekends. With no time schedules to adhere to, we love the magnificent freedom that a motorhome affords you.

The shock of the sudden illness kick-started our dream, and that was how we discovered motorhome touring can change your life.

We have had great fun visiting locations that we certainly would not have seen had we not had the ’van. A recent month-long trip to the Alps has whetted our appetite for further European adventures. Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Italy – this world is full of beautiful places to visit that suddenly seem a lot more appealing and accessible when you buy a motorhome

So what I have I learnt from this illness? I have learnt that life is precious and that we take it for granted. We think that we have years ahead of us, but sadly there is no guarantee. So my advice is: if you are thinking of buying a motorhome, do it now – while you can! 

Share with friends

Follow us on

Most recent motorhome reviews

The Practical Motorhome Chausson Flash 530 – 1 - You can get the 2017 Chausson Flash 530 on the Ford Transit (as tested) or on the Fiat Ducato (© Alf Alderson/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome 2017 Elddis Autoquest 195 review – 1 - The 2017 Elddis Autoquest 195 has a licence-friendly MTPLM of 3500kg (© Peter Baber/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome La Strada Regent L review – 1 - The German van converter with an Italian name is back in the UK after many years – and the Regent L is one of La Strada's flagship models (© Peter Baber/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Wingamm Micros-Plus review – 1 - The slick GRP bodyshell sits well with the Volkswagen T6 base vehicle – the Micros-Plus is priced from £62,000 OTR (© Andy Jenkinson/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Autocruise Select 184 review – 1 - The Autocruise Select 184 is priced from £39,885 OTR, however our test ’van had a price tag of £44,570 (© Phil Russell/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Hymer B-Class DynamicLine 588 review – 1 - This four-berth Hymer motorhome costs from £73,500 OTR, £85,128 as tested (© Nick Harding/Practical Motorhome)