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 Bürstner Lyseo t 744 review – 1 - The 2017 Bürstner Lyseo t 744 is 7.49m (24
The Practical Motorhome Moto-Trek X-Cite EB review – 1 - The slide-out takes the X-Cite EB's overall width to 2.7 metres and it is operated easily by just flicking the switch above the settee (© Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Chausson Welcome 611 Travel Line review – 1 - This Fiat Ducato-based four-berth packs a lot into its 6.96m length (© Lizzie Pope/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Shire Phoenix ML Black Edition review – 1 - This 3500kg MTPLM ’van lives up to its name, but Shire Conversions can do it in other colours (© Nick Harding/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Bailey Autograph 79-4 review – 1 - The 7.79m-long Autograph 79-4 is the only model in this line-up of Bailey motorhomes with an island-bed layout (© Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Elddis Accordo 120 review – 1 - The Peugeot Boxer-based Elddis Accordo 120 has an MTPLM of 3300kg (© Niall Hampton/Practical Motorhome)