Gary and Ann Burfield-Wallis wanted to tour with their dogs, so buying a motorhome was the answer – to far more than they realised

It was late summer in 2013 and we were taking a long weekend trip to Ireland when, in the early stages of our journey, my wife Ann said: “Wouldn’t it be an idea to buy a campervan? Then we wouldn’t have to kennel the dogs; they could come with us?”

Our two Huskies, Ellie and Sasha, would love travelling around with us and exploring new places.

I may not have appeared to be giving any thought to such a query, but in a dark corner of my brain the idea was being processed.

By the time we reached our hotel in Waterford the suggestion had developed and grown to a size that had pushed it from sub-conscious into conscious thought and I was giving it very serious consideration.

While in Ireland we were told about a very beautiful waterfall we should see. This involved a drive up into the mountains, which was absolutely lovely despite the low cloud. This only reinforced the campervan idea as we both agreed the dogs would love it up here. 

I had spent many years camping in the mountains of England and Wales and had forgotten how much I loved it. During this tour of Ireland the yearning returned and owning a campervan would make that possible.

Buying and running a motorhome could be an expensive business. How could we possibly finance this purchase? I researched the idea, and soon it began to grow into something bigger as I read about ‘full timers’, who had moved out of their houses to live permanently in their motorhomes. 

A chance remark during a meeting at the bank revealed that I could borrow £25,000 if I wanted to. The repayments were sky-high, but if we weren't living in a house, we'd have no rent, council tax, water rates, gas, electricity, landline, satellite TV subscription and other bills to pay.

We'd have so much spare money that it would be ridiculous. Admittedly, we would have to pay some campsite fees, buy gas bottle refills and fill up the 'van with diesel, but we'd still be saving lots of money. What a life we could live!

I'm lucky enough to work as an Internet Programmer, so I can work anywhere in the world, as long as I have an internet connection. 

I looked for negatives but could find none, so we talked to our friends and family. I expected to get comments and advice on why this was a stupid idea and why we would be mad to do it. But all our friends encouraged us. They said it was a great idea and that we should go for it.

Weirdly, having no reason not to do it rang alarm bells in my head. Surely there must be a catch to this? I searched desperately for at least one problem. Then I realised my wife Ann had never set foot inside any kind of motorhome and when she did, she was unlikely to be so keen. But when she saw inside a Swift Kon-Tiki, she loved it. There was even an oven, so she could carry on baking.

I'd always wanted to travel and explore the world – and now it looked as if it was going to happen!

We took delivery of a Compass Rambler 180 just two months after that casual comment on the way to our holiday in Ireland. Buying a motorhome was an event in our lives that was simply meant to be. I've been writing regular blogs about our full-time motorhome lifestyle on the road. So if you are wondering whether to take the plunge, all I can say is that we haven’t looked back since, not once.

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