Back in 2008 I loved my job as a finance director. But the workload, stress and long hours were taking their toll.
Evenings, weekends and holidays were filled with emails, phone calls and paperwork, and it was hard to switch off at night.
One day at work, everyone aged over 40 was offered a health assessment, and I found out my blood pressure was very high and required medication.
I was also overweight, unfit, drinking too much alcohol and heading for serious illness.
Something had to change
My husband, Alan, suggested that we look into buying a motorhome as a means of escaping at weekends, with my phone and laptop left at home.
I wasn’t sure – I was used to nice hotels and lavish meals on holiday.
Alan scoured the internet and eventually we bought a 1993 Autohome Highlander.
It was old and worn out in places, but the mileage was low and Alan felt it was good enough for us to try out.
We invested in new upholstery, cooking utensils and camping essentials, then embarked on our maiden voyage to Dorset.
The great outdoors
That first night in the ’van felt strange, but the bed was comfy and I could not believe how good it felt to wake up in the morning listening to nothing but birdsong.
Even better was opening the door and feeling the grass under my bare feet.
On that first trip we learnt how to work the fridge, cooker and boiler.
We went for long walks (and got lost), ate healthier meals, talked a lot and slept much better.
At the end of the five days I noticed I had not thought about work at all. I could not believe how much more relaxed I felt.
The freedom to roam
Almost 10 years later, my lifestyle is completely different.
I lost weight and no longer take medication for high blood pressure.
Alan and I now work on a self-employed basis, so we can take six weeks or so away from work each year to travel in Europe.
Buying a motorhome has changed our outlook on life, improved our health and enriched our understanding of the world in ways we could never have imagined.
We have travelled to some amazing places.
We have watched sunsets over remote lakes and stayed on top of a mountain, which I doubt would have been possible had we not bought our motorhome.
We have become more adventurous, confident and able to cope with any challenge.