On Saturday, we headed to Busfest at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern. This is the largest VW van festival in the world and as it’s just up the road from us, we decided to go along for some inspiration.
The big travel plan
Both my husband and I travelled quite a lot before getting married, but neither of us did so as children. For me, there were road trips with the school brass band that took us into Europe and one holiday to Crete with my mum. But I never went further afield than that, so when I had the opportunity to travel as an adult, I grasped it with both hands.
That said, despite my yearning to see the world I was nervous about travelling. Neither of my parents travelled much and they both regarded it as a bit dangerous. So when it came to travelling to LA, New Zealand and Australia on my first trip alone, I had to take a deep breath and just get on with it.It wasn’t long before I felt completely comfortable going abroad – whether I was alone or not. But I don’t want my children to have that fear of the unknown. I also feel that they’ll learn a lot more by going places and seeing things than sitting in a classroom. That’s why in about five years time, we intend to educate the children on the road for a year while we travel around Europe.
Much as I’d love to get going before that, I don’t think they’d benefit as much from it until they’re a bit older so we’re putting it off for now. But that doesn’t stop us from planning ahead – or deciding how to travel.
Busfest is a brilliant showcase of VW vans of all shapes and sizes. From the classic split-screen VW campers, to four wheel drives that did some amazing tricks on an obstacle course. And then there were the big Transporters that we were interested in.
We’ve always had a bit of a debate about what sort of van we’ll buy. My husband is a fan of large motor homes. Personally I hate them and I’d rather walk. Much as my heart lies with the old-style VW camper vans, I know they’re not practical with four of us and two dogs. So we’ve compromised on a long wheelbase VW Transporter style van.
We saw some with the perfect layout for us – seats for all of us and four beds. They have pop-up roof beds for the children and space in the back for the dogs to sleep under the main bed. And best of all they’re not too huge to drive but have plenty of space. We’ll also have a drive-away awning like the ones from Vango.
Getting ready for our trip
We’ve both agreed that we’ll buy a van as soon as we’re in a position to do so, instead of waiting until we can travel for a whole year. That way we’ll have a van for a good few years to get used to it and find out what works. It will also allow us to go away for all of the girls’ school holidays which is another brilliant opportunity.
We’ve even started planning the route for our big trip. We’re going to start off by heading North as soon as the girls break up from school in the July. We’ll do Scandinavia during the summer and then head South, making sure we go to certain places along the way including Amsterdam to see the Anne Frank Museum, a visit to the Battlefields of the Somme and some time in the Black Forest to see where my dad’s family originated from.It may be a long way off but we’re all excited already. And with events like Busfest just around the corner, even the planning stage is fun. The girls were particularly delighted to find a roundabout to play on. As far as they’re concerned, the adventure has already begun.