After 40 years of marriage, my divorce left me with low self-esteem and a caravan that I wasn’t confident enough to tow. As a couple, we had been caravanning for seven or eight years, going abroad a lot.
Seeing that I was struggling, my family suggested I try buying a campervan so that I could still get away. My son-in-law had a look around at what might be suitable and came across the Ford Freda, so I went down to Chichester to have a look at it. It was the perfect size.
Once I bought it, my border collie, Meg, and I were off.
We love touring and stopping for a cup of tea to let me read the newspaper wherever we want. While at first I was nervous about touring on my own, but now I’m happy going solo.
Admittedly, I’m not very adventurous, but I enjoy the feeling of simply being in the campervan and the freedom it gives me. Before my first trip in the motorhome I had never even driven on a motorway, so things like that are big achievements – the independence is wonderful.
I like to spend the night at Normans Bay Caravanning and Camping Club site in Pevensey, East Sussex, where I can take my dog for a run on the shingle beach, go to the fortnightly farmers' market or visit Battle and Hastings, since this is '1066 Country', where the Normans landed. There are also several other favourite campsites closer to my home. I have friends who come along as well.
I also spend two fortnight breaks each year in the New Forest, where I enjoy spending time in the campervan, walking the dog through the woods and along the sandy ridges of the Forest and being peaceful.
My grandchildren love the ’van, too, and we often use it for days out or have picnics on the Downs. It’s not just my campervan, but my main vehicle for getting around, so it gets a lot of use. I have found that there’s an art to being a bit tidier in the 'van than I am at home – and ducking at the right moment so that I don’t bump my head on the way in.
Perhaps the best thing about my ’van is that I don’t have to feel sorry for myself at home; I can get out in my campervan and enjoy myself. I can quite happily say I haven’t missed out on anything, because I’m doing what I always thought I would be doing with my husband. In fact, it’s much better now because I can make all my own decisions as to where I go and how long I stay there.
Buying this little campervan has given me so much more confidence, and I love meeting like-minded people when I’m touring and having a chat with them.
I would recommend motorcaravanning to anyone. It’s the best way to get out there and enjoy life.