We’re still here, we are still living on the Hook in our camper van enjoying the sunniest of summers in Ireland. Last week, I spoke to Orla Rapple at Beat fm radio and you can catch the podcast here, our chat starts about 10 minutes in.
It’s been a crazy few weeks but we managed to get the house finished and ready on time to welcome our first air bnb guests at the end of June. We managed to do this under pretty crazy circumstances, both of us still working, up until all hours doing our own construction and decorating work on the house, homeschooling the kids and during the last few months I had to deal with a couple of health issues which took up a lot of our energy and time visiting doctors and hospitals which left me feeling uninspired and drained. Honestly, it’s something I’m not ready to talk about because I am finally moving on and am so relieved that I got the all clear.
Looking back over the last few weeks and months, I really can’t believe we did all that work under the circumstances. Without the help of our families especially both our Dads who spent so many hours helping and supporting us in the massive amount of work we had to do. We are so lucky to have them and we definitely could not have done it without them.
We moved out of our house on June 21st, the longest day of the year into our camper van and we camped at our house first for a few days just until we moved all our stuff into it while we emptied & cleaned out the house. The move to the camper was such a relief! The kids were so good, so excited and they had no trouble picking out just a small selection of their favorite toys and books and packing away the clothes that they will be bringing. Buckie (the dog) was just as excited as the kids. I packed away the rest and we headed off, said goodbye to our house and drove to the nearby village of Fethard-on-Sea where I grew up and parked up the camper van at my parents house. We’re still here! I’m really happy to let my kids experience life and make memories living in Fethard village in summertime before we go and honestly we really needed a few weeks to wind down, recover and figure out the next steps. With the house, life and the health issues, we really had little time to plan and research our trip.
I’m no longer working but Liam is. He is flat out actually finishing jobs at two lighthouses before we go. We’ve been tagging along with him some days to see what he gets up to, it’s so good for the kids to see that before he hands back the keys to Irish Lights. Liam will work up until August so we can pay our building bills and save as much money as possible.
I listed the house on air bnb and booking.com. These platforms are so handy, air bnb seems to be more popular and the house got booked out with back to back bookings and mostly same day changeovers for all of July and August. It will be a nice little income while we are away too even if it at least covers a few bills. I decided to do the changeovers at the house and that is not an easy job….especially when you hate cleaning. Domestic goddess, I am not. Don’t get me started on ironing! I dusted off the iron which hasn’t seen the light of day since our wedding in 2012 and here I am now ironing sheets and pillowcases. I don’t know how anybody actually enjoys doing that, I would rather stick pins in my eyes. Maybe i’ll be better off handing it over to the woman who will actually be looking after and cleaning the house while we’re gone. We have had three family groups stay in the house now and they’ve all been lovely and really kept the place nice and tidy. The thing with air bnb that I really like is you as a host have to rate the guests as well as them rating you so everybody is on their best behaviour really.
Now we actually only a few weeks left in Ireland before we hit the ferry to France in August so we’re finally tidying up all our loose ends. We’ve to sort out our bank accounts, check their charges and sort out our loan payments. We’ve to get health and travel insurance & make sure it covers us for all the countries we will be visiting. We have to sort out our phones and how to access internet abroad cheaply.
We are doing a few checks and writing our list for the camper van. We really need to buy a solar panel for the camper and a camping set of chairs with folding table as well as fixing up a few other bits and pieces on the camper like lights, security etc.
We have to check all our European health cards, passports are all in date, Buckie has his own passport & we will have to stock up on his medication and his flea & worm doses for the trip.
We must get the car ready to sell soon as we’re hardly using it at all now. My driving licence will be out of date soon too so that has to be renewed before we go as I’ll be doing some of the driving of the camper even if that thought stresses the hell out of Liam!
We have been signing up to and joining some of the European camping groups and websites. We have been chatting to and getting tips from lots of campers at Hook Lighthouse. Here’s a list of some of the sites we have signed up to and apps we have downloaded;
france-passion for free stopovers across the French countryside and stays off the beaten track at vinyards and farms
motorhomewifi.com to grab wifi from free wifi areas such as shops & cafe’s.
Apps: Park4Night, Camperstop
Any other suggestions for blogs, websites or apps? We would love to know so please get in touch via social or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are planning our next camper van trip and next week we will be heading to Ballycotton lighthouse in Cork but will stop at An Rinn and the lovely town of Ardmore along the way. Let’s hope this weather doesn’t break!