This post “Motoroaming – Slow Travel is the Name of the Game”, has been contributed by Karen and Myles of Motoroaming.
Who are the Motoroamers?
We are Karen and Myles, lovingly known as The Motoroamers; a couple who in their early 50s are set on loving life and exploring this precious world. We are from the UK, although after five years on the road, we see wherever our wheels stop as our home. Our path to freedom may sound familiar; lives coloured by stress, overwork and poor health.
We both ran our own businesses on the Isle of Man nestled between Northern Ireland and England’s north west coast; Myles in the home automation industry and me in the leadership development arena. If that wasn’t enough, we also ran self-catering apartments with a house that needed serious renovation in our spare time.
The insatiable hours took their toll on our bodies as we sold our souls to the corporate devil. Tired and ill, we decided to make some serious changes to our lifestyle. We downsized our property, developed passive income streams and moved to a rural part of England, ready to commit to some wholesome living.
For a while we were comfortable in our newly designed stress less life. Whilst I retained my favourite corporate clients, I also retrained in teaching children meditation and Myles worked on our share portfolio and played plenty of golf. Superficially, we were living the dream, although there was something missing.
Inspired by a six-week trip around New Zealand in a motorhome, Myles floored me with a life-changing proposal, “Why don’t we go travelling for a year whilst we sell our Isle of Man property, then we can settle down.”
I experienced so much resistance to Myles’ gap-year suggestion, driven by fear. After all, it was so deeply embedded into my psyche that it felt impossible to alter. Given my profession was about inspiring personal change, I really needed to practice what I preached – and so my personal journey began in parallel with our physical one.
In fact it was my dear old mum who gave me the strength to push beyond my fear. She admitted that she wished she had had more courage to travel for longer whilst my dad was alive, although her fears and need for security held her back.
Gap Year Plan
From that moment our gap-year plan was hatched. Within 10 months we had found our perfect ‘motor’ home, I shut my business down, we handed in our notice on our rental and we packed our stuff up into storage. March 2016 was the moment that changed our lives forever.
I often hear people say, “I wish I had done it earlier,” although I am a great believer that things come into our lives when we are most ready or when we most need it. I look back and know that we were neither financially ready to make such a big commitment nor mentally strong enough to follow this path. Our step into the unknown, albeit initially as a gap-year, was definitely a leap of faith and to be attuned in mind, body and spirit feels really important – for us at least.
Going full-time was never a dream, we morphed into it organically. I’m not sure when or how my need to settle down was replaced by a hunger to explore. I realise now that the intensity of my stress had simply masked my passion for travel and exploration.
I felt as though the missing piece of my jigsaw had finally slotted into place; I felt whole, soulful and at peace. I had spent so many of my corporate years coaching people to find their purpose, core values and happiness, that when I glided into a space where travel became our daily rhythm, I realised that I was living out my own advice – we were totally aligned to our values. We flourish with the simplicity that life on the road brings us.
A New Realisation
No bling, no fuss and no stuff, just purely what we need, no more no less. The choices that we are gifted with bring a real sense of pleasure. We can change our view each day if we wish and that sense of ownership in our own path is immense. Freedom; spiritually to be myself and release the mask I wore for too many years, and practically being able to move where and when we want is so liberating. We had let go of the Matrix’s restrictions and control, and by choosing the red pill have manifested a life that enriches us beyond words.
“Travel as far as you can, for as long as you can, however you can – just travel.”
Six weeks into our gap-year, I realised that this is what I wanted to do forever. And as a girl who needed four walls to feel rooted, there was no one more surprised than me. Life is now about exploration, learning about this magnificent world we live in and making the most of every single day. Tomorrow is not guaranteed and after years of stress and hard work, we allow ourselves the pleasure of this lifestyle and we will continue for as long as we are able.
As each week passed a little bit more of us healed. The protective layers of our onion peeled away and slowly we fell into a space that felt authentic. Even my desire to plan every single element of our lives soon dissolved into a flexibility that had me so laid back I was almost horizontal.
Our first year we travelled conservatively as with most new things, we needed to build our confidence. We had every intention of touring Spain for the spring and then heading up to Scandinavia for the summer. Yet we soon realised that vision was as far from reality as the moon. Our pace of travel was not conducive to a healthy life and very early on we learnt that slow travel was the name of the game.
Slow Travel is the Name of the Game
In year two we began to stretch our comfort zone and began journeys into corners of Europe that were completely alien to us. The eastern countries called us and we threw ourselves into the cultures of Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Poland and Slovakia. These experiences touched our souls profoundly and we surrendered to the sponge-like learning they provoked.
We rarely had a plan; we might know that we wanted to visit say Denmark, although there was no strict timetable or itinerary except perhaps the sun, the snow or the school holidays. Morocco and Norway have been the only anomalies to this rule. We have learnt over the years that it’s the tree that bends with the wind that does not snap. And that philosophy has set us in good stead throughout our nomadic lives.
Working on the Road
And Myles, with release from his employment chains, he was free to produce fun and informative videos, focusing on the practicalities of our nomad lives. Aside of that, he runs our finances ensuring that our share portfolio and rental properties are all running smoothly, providing the roots from which we can flourish.
We adore our blogging work although it has become very overwhelming. I think we – well perhaps I, have a propensity to people-please so even though my corporate work is just a mere shadow now, my need to add value is very much still in my blood. So finding a balance between travelling because it is our passion and having content that we can shape into valuable resources is key. Otherwise I simply replace one stressful context with another.
The Realities of Fulltime Slow Travel
The Motoroamers have developed a reputation for informing, inspiring and showing all sides to travel’s character. Let’s face it, travel is not all candy floss and unicorns. It can be hard work, tiring and tear jerking sometimes. Instagram is great with all its beautiful and often romantic van images although it rarely shows the reality of life on the road. So we present all faces of our nomad life, warts and all.
And believe me, there have been plenty of warts to share. From our fridge freezer dying, our water tank leaking causing water damage, two wheels blowing within 24hrs, a new engine after only 56,000 miles and our bikes being stolen in Italy. Even as I write this we are living through breakdown four in a month.
We have shed many tears although through each drama we have developed resilience and a belief that this is simply preparing us for something more epic. We are giving thought to the longevity of our motorhome – given all the mechanical issues, although the one thing that remains constant for us is travel. The how’s will work themselves out.
There’s nothing like life on the road to cement a philosophical attitude. Whilst each breakdown hurts, and 2021 has seen its fair share of eye watering mechanical bills, we pick ourselves up and carry on, because there is no going back. And the truth is that life in whatever guise we choose to live it, has its colourful moments and crises – being a nomad is really no different.
Lessons Learnt Along the Way
We have learnt, and Covid has reinforced that in order to be a nomad you must bend with the wind, otherwise you will break. And this is how we face our lives on the road. For now with restrictions in place, we explore England – and what a beautiful country it is. Europe isn’t going anywhere.
In July 2020 we bought a Covid renovation house so we could support my mum and have somewhere safe to live with campsites widely closed. And as a result, a project like this will feature in our future map, using these four walls a base from which we can slow travel further afield.
Canada is calling, the Silk Route hails us and South America draws us. Travel is in our blood and however we do it, do it we must. It is what we were born for and what everything, up until this point has been preparing us for.
Words of Wisdom from Our Experiences
If we were to leave you with some words of wisdom based on our experiences; if you yearn for something different in your life do it. Don’t give too much airspace to your fears. Listen to them for sure although don’t be driven by them. Life is just too short to be fearful. After all what is the worst thing that can happen? Give yourself permission to create an alternative life, to be unique and to see things differently. Being part of the Matrix is just an illusion.
Although go into your life-change with open eyes and heart. Know that the nomadic path is full of lay-bys, pot holes and roundabouts, although it is also full of the most indescribable joy, peace and harmony. Be driven by your dreams, your values and your desires – whether that is travel or another passion that flows through your veins. We get one shot at this life – make it a good one.
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