Ever thought about selling up and living in your motorhome fulltime? You are not alone- each year more and more people are jumping out of the rat race and forging their own paths.
Today, I'm delighted to share the story of 2 people we admire greatly- Karen and Myles from The Motoroamers. They set off in their motorhome in 2016… and haven't looked back since!
For anyone thinking about full time motorhome living, or even just changing your path in life, this is a must-read.
Hi! Tell us a little about yourselves before you started full time motorhome living
We are Karen and Myles, more lovingly known as The Motoroamers. In March 2016 we sold up, packed in and left England for a gap-year of travel in Scoobie the motorhome.
As a Life Coach and Personal Development consultant I worked within the corporate world helping people maximise their potential, find their inner happiness and flourish in their world. The trouble was, neither of us were applying my philosophies to ourselves. Running 3 businesses and working 14 hours a day whilst we renovated our house on Isle of Man, we knew something had to change.
Our bodies were telling us, our minds were screaming at us and our saturated souls were crying out for it. So before we sank into the ether of the corporate fire pit, we made a couple of big shifts that, over the course of 6 years brought us closer to edge of contentment.
We transitioned into our new life in Somerset, the vision of the iconic Good Life evident in our dreams. I tried to channel my inner Barbara Good as I retrained as a children’s meditation teacher and volunteered at the local Donkey Sanctuary.
Myles worked hard creating passive income streams so we could change our lifestyle long-term and brought his golf handicap down significantly. So we should have been happy right? Although something was missing, something that would have us truly flourish.
What made you decide to start fulltime motorhome living?
For our 25th wedding anniversary we travelled over to New Zealand for a six-week road-trip, hiring a Swift Bolero motorhome. We had always enjoyed caravanning and owned a motorhome 10 years previously, so we knew we would love it. And love it we did – in fact that trip ended up symbolising a massive life-changing event, for which we are forever thankful.
It gave us a sense of freedom, choice and a bizarre transience that I loved. Who would have thought it? The introverted corporate girl with her very public job loved uncertainty, movement and adventure. My spirit was alive. My creativity was alive. I was alive for the first time in a very long time. So we found the missing piece of our jigsaw – travel.
Within 2 weeks of coming back from New Zealand and having got ourselves into a bit of a financial maze, Myles suggested that we buy a motorhome and go travelling for a year. That would give us a chance to release our capital in Isle of Man and buy our ‘forever home’ in UK with our visionary farm-stead finally coming to fruition. Pigs, donkeys and a poly-tunnel. I can see it now.
I battled with my fears, feeling vulnerable at the prospect of having no roots. So many ‘What if’ conversations raised their ugly heads and I reeled from courage to fear on a weekly basis. It was a chat with mum that shifted my thinking in a heart-beat.
She admitted her regrets of not travelling more with dad because of her need for security and four walls. I could see the sadness in her eyes of not being able to rectify that dream. In that moment my fear was pushed aside and courage won the battle. That was August 2015 and from that point The Motoroamers were conceived and Scoobie was birthed.
We gave notice on our barn conversion, what little possessions we had were stored and Project Motoroaming was thrown onto the motorhome stage. Little did we know how the supposed gap-year would morph into forever.
What vehicle did you choose for full-time vanlife?
After months of looking at motorhome layouts and travelling the country searching for our new home, we stumbled upon Scoobie, bizarrely at a dealer right on our doorstep. We walked in and instantly knew the Pilote was for us.
The build quality was great, the European style perfect, the colour just right for us. It was only the day we signed the order form that we decided to alter our choice of layout to the island bed. 6 weeks in a French bed in New Zealand was fine short-term, but could we handle it for a year?
No, the island bed of the 740 was a must. So the deposit was paid without us even seeing the layout physically. It wasn’t until we went to the Birmingham NEC Motorhome & Caravan show that October for an interview with Motorhome Channel TV that we actually saw the version we had ordered. It was a nerve-racking moment, although it has been one of our best decisions.
What did other people in your life think about your full-timing plans?
Our lifestyle choice was met with a mixture of joy, pride and happiness. The people closest to us knew what we had thrown into life and what we had given to others along the way – so they were over the moon for us.
They thought we were crazy, although understood our decision. As we morphed with the ease of well-oiled roasting tin from gap-year to forever, our primary focus was to support my mum. We explored the best ways to keep connected with today’s technology and planned in regular holidays to visit us. Together we worked through her fears, conscious or otherwise.
Observers of our travel adventures often say that we are living the Dream Life. Although we have come to realise over the last 4 years that it is not a dream life, it is real life. This new mantra serves us well as we deal with the challenges of a permanent life on the road. Choosing to be a nomad is no mean feat and should not to be underestimated.
How have you chosen to fund your full time travelling lifestyle?
Thanks to the passive income streams that Myles set up before Scoobie was even a twinkle in his eyes, we have been able to use this as the backbone to our lifestyle. Our share portfolio and rental property provide the mainstay of our monthly expenditure.
In addition, after I extricated myself from the corporate hamster wheel, I threw myself into the nourishing world of creative writing. From the anonymity of my laptop, I drew on my 25 years of leadership training and self-published a book and started writing a series of ebooks with a publishing company.
This gives me a biannual income which supplements my monthly salary. I still keep up with my Life Coaching; which is a devotion to helping people that comes from deep in my soul and has been inspired by my own transformation from the wrath of fear.
Although our new passion, released when we left the Matrix, is our motorhome travel blog. Through my creative eye and writing and Myles’ talent for entertainment and laughter, The Motoroamers came to life. Through it we publish articles for magazines, generate regular Life on the Road blogs and have a YouTube Channel.
Whilst our blogging certainly isn’t an Only Fools and Horses “Next year Rodney we’ll be millionaires”, it does allow us to pay for our website and internet expenses. And who knows where it might lead somewhere down the line.
How long did it take you from the initial crazy idea to setting out on the road?
From the moment Myles said, ‘Why don’t we go travelling for a year’, the birth of our new lifestyle was symbolically a mere 9 months. There were many moments of growing pains and a bit of morning sickness on my part, although when we put our minds to something, we make it happen. We truly believe in Susan Jeffer’s quote, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
What’s been the best thing so far about life on the road?
Life on the road has changed us in so many ways. We’ve definitely hit what we describe as a ‘purple patch’ where, generally speaking, life is good, despite our challenging moments. Travel has connected us with our deep-rooted values around freedom, choice and simplicity.
I don’t think we realised how much our wellbeing was being affected by not aligning to these core values. And so as we liberated ourselves from the chains of society’s expectations we can now finally be who we are meant to be and begin to flourish. We live less dramatic and intense lives which leaves more space for happiness.
What’s been the hardest thing about living in a motorhome full time?
Do you know what, nothing is hard. Oh, except perhaps the thought in year 1 of going back to UK for Christmas. I really didn’t want to return and risk Myles saying that our trip was over. I tried threatening divorce and that seemed to do the trick.
Whilst leaving mum was tricky, I knew she gave us her blessing and we managed the transition well. I could reflect on the brake pads going in Romania, our water tank leaking on the Stelvio Pass in Italy and 2 tyre blow-outs in France. Perhaps even the broken fridge/freezer, a £1000 radiator replacement or travelling from Norway’s Tromsø for a family funeral as hard, although, in reality, they’re not.
They are simply life. We have become more resilient to the tough stuff and work through the issues together and pragmatically. That is our strength.
What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about yourself?
As an introvert in an extrovert world, the biggest thing I have learnt is about being comfortable in my own skin. I still see each day as a ‘School Day’ and I love both my work and living a life that matches my values. I’ve learnt to be less dramatic than my needy, insecure little girl who was trying to find her place in the Matrix world where she never quite belonged.
Now for the first time in my life, I fit, gloriously like a hand in a glove. I am now finally free to apply my coaching philosophies to myself and flourish in the same way as my clients.
Share one tip for surviving in a small space with your partner/ family
Just one? Wow. I think it has to be mutual respect. Learning to appreciate each other’s needs, feelings and perspectives are key to a healthy co-existence in a small space. It’s not about being dependent on each other or even independent. We have to be interdependent.
It’s about learning there are roles that are inter-changeable, boundaries that are flexible and intrinsic needs that drive our behaviours. When you can be mindful of all of those complexities then you have a really great mix. We have our moments – who wouldn’t in such a confined space, although our teamwork has always been an asset during our 30 years of marriage.
Top tips for anyone looking to start full time motorhome living
Our top tips for anyone launching into such a big life-change is to talk. We are unique individuals with our own fears, needs, values and dreams. Talking about those and what life could look life in the future is really important. As they say, ‘Assumptions make an Ass and of U and Me’.
Work through fears together; listen, learn and see things through your partner’s eyes as this primal stage of turning a dream into reality needs teamwork to navigate the journey together. If it becomes just one partner dragging the other along, it will never work and the fabric will fray over time.
Dream big and take steps to make that dream a reality. Life is far too short to be consumed by fear and so make sure you live life to its fullest.
The best quote ever is “Dreams come a size too big so that we can grow into them.” (Josie Bisset)
If you could go back and do it again, what would you change?
I wouldn’t change a thing. I am a firm believer that everything that happens for a reason and that we must grow from it. In our four years on the road touring Europe in a motorhome we have adapted, adjusted and learnt from our mistakes.
At a practical level, I would have slowed down more. Our first year was crazy fast and now we are learning to slow our travel down.
How bizarre; to travel is sometimes to be still.
What are your plans for the future? Do you think you will stop full time travelling?
For now, we can only see travel in our future. To imagine ourselves back in a house simply feels alien. We have adopted the philosophy that we will travel forever, however long that may be. We are mindful that circumstances change and that things out of our control will shape our future. So for now, we enjoy this moment.
We think playfully about tomorrow and carve new adventures in places that are off the beaten track. How those look in reality, only fate knows the answer.
We’re really excited to share Myles & Karen's story. You can follow more of their adventures at:
We wish them all the luck in their upcoming adventures and can't wait to see where they end up!
Want more inspiration? Here you go: