The Last Post

What a year it’s been!

Niki on Pulpit Rock, Norway

We are really sorry that the year has come to a slightly premature end, and that we are going to be missing our much-anticipated Sardinia trip. But let’s not take anything away from a year that was more life-saver than simply holiday. Certainly, at regular intervals, Niki and I had conversations about how we hope this year off will add very positive years to retirement – whenever that arrives again.

Giethoorn traffic jam


We had budgeted €1958 per month for a total of €23,496 for the year, excluding the cost of the van. We’ve ended a few months short – like a lot! But our budget goals have been well met:

Budget for 7 months: €13,708

Spent over 7 months: €11,747

Budget breakdown:

2019-05-24 06.07.35 pm.png

2019-05-24 06.09.03 pm.png

So, big blowout on the cost of diesel, but our two very expensive months (first and last) were really exceptional, and in other circumstances we’d have spread the mad dashes over a couple of months. Regrets? Yes! We should have eaten out more 🙂 However, in Greece we ate almost every day, and a month of this cost €192!! Also, we’ve grown to love 5 litre boxes of wine for €12.

Cycling on the beach, Greece

Some Thoughts:

  1. It’s really important to spend a trip like this with someone who puts up with all your nonsense! Niki has been fantastic at making the van home – she has done this in South Africa, New Zealand, the Philippines, China and Switzerland as we taught around the world, but this was a bit special. She was unfailingly positive about my ordinary driving, worse parking, and absolutely awful sense of direction. The pressure on her to direct us on unknown roads, down crazy narrow tracks, in foreign languages, all while we headed off to unknown destinations was immense. None of this would have worked if not for her!

    Dyros Caves, Greece
  2. Don’t wait! We agonised over anticipated costs, worries about where to go and what to do. We worried about future jobs and how we were going to pay mortgages … and then we simply got on the road. It’s helped to have inspirational friends- The Langston’s took a year off and did this with teenage kids – and all survived! The internet is replete with websites of folks detailing their experiences, including cost breakdowns, mapped routes etc etc. These have been so helpful in proving that this could be done.

    Sunset, Po River, Italy
  3. Friends from all over have been great – Thanks Dave for the help, Lloyd for being such a faithful reader, family and friends from all over sending in comments that were, without exception, helpful and supportive.

    Passing through Austrian villages
  4. We are a little tearful at saying goodbye to the van, and to the end of our year. To counteract this we are quite committed to doing this again in the near future. This time round we’ll buy a second-hand van in the UK, and then ship it over to NZ when we’re done, whenever that might be.
    Not a bad view 🙂 Free camping, Norway

    So, that’s it: We are looking forward to seeing our kids in New Zealand next week, starting a new adventure in Angola in August, and continue to live, rather than exist.

    Smile – ‘cos it makes a difference 🙂


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