Going Home to Africa
In the beginning there was Monty
The job of updating my own websites always falls to the bottom of the list but as I was limited to working in front of a wood burner (because it was freezing cold everywhere else) I thought it was an ideal time to do what was long overdue.
As I found myself reading through the pages and updating them, I realised that some time ago I mentioned Monty on my About me page and promised to blog about him... but then never followed through on that so I thought this was a good time to do so.
In 2008, when having decided to leave the UK, without really knowing what we wanted to do next my ex-husband and I bought an old RV to do some travelling around Europe and get to know some new places and people.
Monty was 8m long, 2.5m wide and 3m high an automatic Ford V8 (that roared like a lion), cruise control and he was a beast. He ran on Petrol (I know gasp!) but was also endowed with 2 LPG tanks which would take up to 300 litres. Thankfully the LPG was really cheap so that saved us a lot but the consumption was pitiful.
He was a home on wheels, with a dining seating area for 4, two swivel armchairs; a kitchenette with double sinks, gas oven, microwave, hob and the best fridge ever. A shower and separate toilet with basin which could be closed off from the living area so you could dress in the rear bedroom with privacy. The sleeping arrangements was a double bed over the cab (which we used for extra storage) and in the rear twin single beds separated by a cabinet ... not ideal but super comfortable.
Our two dogs, Jessie (Parsons Jack Russel) and Molly (Terrier x Border Collie) accompanied us and loved all the many and varied places they got to explore from mountains to beaches and everything inbetween.
We travelled from the UK, through Belgium, Netherlands, France, Spain and Portugal and found ourselves settling in the latter. In total we lived 2 years in the van and I did a further 9 months when my ex went to work elsewhere.
It required some adjustment and, dare I say, I loved it a lot. I loved the freedom, the smaller space and restrictions meant I became more conscious of stuff (as a friend along the way said "you can want it but do you need it and if you buy it what has to go out?" . No longer having water and electricity just at the press of a button or rather having limited amount of it meant becoming more conscious of their usage. It is a different lifestyle and it is not for everyone.
When we left Portugal, it wasn't practical to take him with us and we eventually had to sell Monty and he returned to the UK and I hope he will be as loved as I loved him. The disadvantages were his fuel consumption and his size. Being so large meant that there were plenty of places we just couldn't go or access.
However, I did start a business and worked very successfully from the van, although I did learn that computers don't like irregular electricity or too much heat !
Hence, when it came to choosing a van just for myself it was an obvious choice that it had to be smaller, give me better consumption and be easier to manouvre.
So below are a couple of extra pics of Monty so you'll get a better idea of our home on wheels.
© Dot Bekker