Clare Kelly

See other Blog articles filed in ‘Travel and touring’ written by Clare Kelly
Practical Motorhome's Features Editor Clare Kelly shares her love of life on the road and the freedom it brings – we're quite sure she is not alone!

It’s a Friday night and my colleagues are in the pub. That’s fine, of course, and I’m all for a glass of wine after a long week, but I’d rather be driving somewhere for the weekend.

I recently spent some time with a Volkswagen California I borrowed. We had a weekend fling if you like, before she was driven off to meet someone new. It wasn’t me she said. It was her. She’s too exciting for her own good.

On the Friday morning I’d been looking into going to West Wittering in Sussex for the weekend; it’s less than two hours drive from London. By the Friday evening, I was pitched and able to witness that first glorious sunset. It’s a sunset I’ll never see again. If you think of it like that, I assure you, you’ll be packing up your 'van whenever you can.

Such joy can be found on short and spontaneous breaks – new discoveries are just waiting to be made. We stayed at Nunnington Farm Camping Site in West Wittering, just a hop, skip and a jump from the award-winning Blue Flag sandy beach. Should you wish to take your 'van to the beach for the day, there’s ample day parking, so pack a picnic and windbreak, and set up on the sands. 

Arriving in the evening, we had just a short window in which to chase the sun – and we did. It’s something I try to do every time I go somewhere new. The little 'van was comfortable and perfect for two with a pull out awning, plus the table and chairs concealed in a very ingenious place. Easy to set up, we were very soon ready to get cooking – super simple! A short break allows for spur of the moment cooking using whatever you can find in the local shop, which throws up all sorts of exciting possibilities. And if you’re in the heart of the countryside, it won’t be hard to find a local cider to sip.

Spontaneous trips motivate you to see more, to listen more, to feel more. Sleeping in the roof of the campervan was an adventure in itself – I awoke to the sound of birds in the fields, the occasional snoring canvas camper and the sun in its orange glory. Perfection.

There was no time to delay and who would see me in my pyjamas? Did I care? No. Throwing a blanket around my shoulders and my stepping into wellies, I flung open the door of the motorhome and stepped out into the dew.

Seeing I’d got the morning to myself delighted me and I followed my feet moving quicker and quicker, as if pulled towards the sun like a flower. I revelled in the stillness before people started clanging pots and pans or boiling kettles. I saw white doves in a perfect row on a pylon, a farm cat, a bleary-eyed couple who cheerfully shouted hello out of their cottage window before shutting their curtains giggling. It made me smile. You don't have to spend much (or anything) for a rich camping experience.

The wonder of a mini mini break is something to explore at the drop of a hat. Planning is perfect for some but me, well, I’ll always follow the sun.

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