Travel at a Natural Pace; Enjoy the Journey

On the Road, Eakring, Nottinghamshire

Travelling as a Free Spirit

Wild Rover is a new blog on The Winding Way that encapsulates the ideal of slow or natural travel. It is about the freedom of the open road, the byways and finding quiet or interesting places for overnight stops. In between stops it is about getting to know a place, its food and, as far as possible, some of its people.

Wild Rover is an idea that was born out of a less than ideal trip through central England trying to rely on bed and breakfast. It seemed almost impossible to find bed and breakfast whilst on the road. There no longer seemed to be signs advertising vacancies; public houses had boards advertising all-day breakfasts, sports tv, quiz nights or music but almost never bedrooms. After getting turned away from one bed and breakfast, it only provided accommodation for minimum of three pre-booked nights, we cut our trip short, used hotels which were more expensive. It seemed our plans for following The Winding Way were unaffordable.

Since then we have been rethinking our approach and have now bought a small campervan. It is a 1994 Autosleeper Trooper conversion of a Volkswagen T4 van. It is an (almost) modern successor to the original VW Microbus based campervans so popular with hippies, and those who aspired to the lifestyle. It has done nearly 200,000 miles but people who know tell us that mileage on the 2.4litre five-cylinder diesel engine is barely run in; apparently they are good for 400,000 miles or even much more. Certainly it seems sound and does not smoke even when starting from cold.

Some may see it as a way of forlorn attempt to recapture the spirit of the 60’s but times have changed and so have we; both are less innocent. Therefore this blog will try to reconcile the current desire to escape the complexity of modern life and work, with the realities of crowded roads and more rules about how we live.

While we get the accommodation in the van back to a good state and feel our way with the campervan lifestyle our trips will be short and fairly local. The aim is to avoid camp sites as much as possible so we have a van that is totally self-contained. When we leave our overnight stops there will be no evidence of our stay; it may even be tidier than when we arrived. The Wild Rover blog will be about sharing our faltering steps, any lessons we learn and the ups and downs of the modern free-spirited traveller ; all very much in the spirit of The Winding Way.

This introduction was written in the campervan while parked by the River Trent, near my home. Despite it being late April it was pouring with rain. Fortunately the campervan has a gas heater that works and I had to use it to stay warm enough to type. I just need to find somewhere, probably a coffee shop, that will give me an Internet connection so I can upload it.

The Wild Rover blog will be about using a campervan to follow the winding way, to enjoy travel, naturally. The travels of Wild Rover will also provide much more content that will appear on The Winding Way during 2012. We hope you enjoy it and will share it with like-minded friends.

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