Episode 5: Life Beyond Bricks Interview

Episode 5: Life Beyond Bricks Interview

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There was some audio issues on my side. A transcript is available below.

Brian: I’m here with Tash and John from life beyond bricks and would you both like to introduce yourselves?

Tash: Hello! Yes, well obviously I’m Tash

John: I’m John

Tash: Were Life Beyond Bricks. So, we live full time in our motorhome with our three cats.

Brian: That’s pretty cool, tell us about yourselves. What made you get into motorhoming full time and the processes behind going full time?

Tash: Yeah! so basically, we got into motorhoming about five years ago didn’t we.

John: Yeah

Tash: We really enjoyed it as a hobby when we realized that we could turn a day trip into a weekend away or turn it into you know a whole holiday but then unfortunately your mum past away didn’t she sort of about two years ago now and we had been talking about wanting to go travelling longer term so rather than just a week or two weeks, well maybe not even two week actually that, that would have been a luxury with work we just thought you know what, life is too short. It sounds cliché but it-

John: A lot of people say that don’t they but don’t actually do anything about it-

Tash: Until something obviously happens, and it make you realize so we said okay lets uh let’s do it so we-

John: We sold out house, quit our jobs

Tash: Absolutely!

Brian: Sounds adventurous. Sounds scary as well actually.

Tash: Yeah!

John: Yeah it was very, the scariest thing we’ve done but we haven’t looked back since we’ve done it

Tash: No

Brian: What were the expectations versus the reality?

Tash: I don’t know really

John: I don’t know what we expected but in reality, I think there are hard times but there’s much more good times you know.

Tash: Like a hard time, so when you can’t find somewhere to park up or the winter has been hard for example because your ringing round campsites or trying to find somewhere to park and everywhere is flooded. There the times where the little stresses creep in or when your running out of water and try to find some or your running out of gas and you can’t find an LPG station, erm a station that sells LPG. But all that stuff doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. I don’t think we gave ourselves time to think about it because we loved the hobby of motorhoming and when we decided to just sell out house and go full time and travel I don’t think we gave ourselves time to actually process it which is probably a good thing because up until the day we sold the house we didn’t really have chance to think about it. It was only when we spent our first night in our motorhome that we sort of went oh my god this is it now, this is it but now a year has flown by and yeah, I wouldn’t change it

John: I mean we’ve bought our own motorhome to do it

Brian: It’s the Adria Sonic isn’t it?

John: That’s it yeah, then we saw a post on Facebook actually from the Erwin Hymer Group for Dethleffs in particular, they were looking for travel bloggers. (Speaking to Tash) you said to me didn’t you aw you know their giving away, well not giving away a van but their going to led people a van for a year but we’ve got our own so I said well we can still apply, it doesn’t matter we’ve got our own you know the van can stay in storage and we can discover another van and another layout as well.

Tash: Yeah as well their previous bloggers never, I think the majority of them have never actually motorhomed before so I also thought why are they going to do it for us because obviously we have done motorhoming and then we applied and then a couple of week later we got the email and then we drove all the way up to Durham to meet them and they were like yeah cool

Brian: It’s the Dethleffs Pulse isn’t it?

Tash: Yes, Dethleffs Pulse A Class, the cats enjoy the big dash, so we have the have an A Class obviously

John: I think as well Rachel knew that we had an a class and the Pulse was new that year as well so they wanted to get it out. It was a brand-new model when we got it

Brian: So apart from your trip up to Durham to pick up the motorhome, what’s been your other favorite road trip?

Tash: Well I think anyone that follows us or knows us knows that we fell in love Wales so we probably ways said our favorite trip was wales. I’d say particularly the North but the West Coast also blew my mind because it was just so beautiful but we have recently just been up to Yorkshire and being proper Southerners like as in right down in the bottom we’ve never been that far before an I was just you know it was amazing wasn’t it you just saw-  particularly because of the historic element, there’s lots of industrial history, railway history and just beautiful landscapes so yeah I think the National Parks we’ve just done really, that’s probably been my favorite so far actually, all the National parks that we’ve done.

Brian: When you go on these road trips what campsites- or do you wild camp? Do you have a preference?

John: We do yeah, we do a mixture of all really, we use- were members of The Caravan Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club. We generally use their CL’s and CS’s which is the smaller sites which are usually farms that have the ability to have like five vans on them and we use a lot of those, we did the occasional park up, we also use Brit Stops. Yeah basically anything and everything we could, we basically joined all of the clubs we could so we would always be in a position that because we don’t like to plan, we prefer to just get in the van and drive then find out where we are and like right okay where’s the site. And because were members of all of them nine times out of ten you always get something.

Brian: They’ve got plenty of camp sites between all of them

Tash: Yeah definitely

Brian: what have your experience wild camping been like? Some people prefer only wild camping, some people prefer just camping on site and which do you prefer to go with and what has the experience been like?

John: I think we probably prefer the security of a site so the CL’s again because their on someone’s property they are sort of out the way and its private property so no owns going to go on there unless their supposed to be there. So I think we prefer the security but it is essentially a lot of them actually are like wild camping because some of the CL’s and CS’s haven’t got electricity, all they’ve got really is the minimum standard is water and toilet and that’s it so that is essentially like wild camping but you’re on private property so it’s a lot safer. We found sometimes that is a bit noisy wild camping depending on where we go, Brit Stops again-

Tash: Were definitely more comfortable wild camping now than we were at the start because you learn about your gut feeling that’s quite a big one isn’t it, and don’t get me wrong we’ve stayed at some beautiful wild camping spots, next to lakes, again that sounds cliché because its not always like that, sometimes it is just a car park and sometimes it is an industrial place or whatever but yeah I guess the certified sites and listings is kind of a mixture of the two so you get that little bit of a campsite mixed with a bit of wild camping and for us it was a good way to park because its cheaper than paying to park in a town so well go and stay at a site, the little CL’s and then we can go off and do what we want and leave the van and be okay with it

John: And we find we get a lot of local knowledge from the farmers, the people on the farms that we go on to, the sort of sites, they know the local are they know the best places to go for certain things. You get a lot of good local knowledge from that and the Brit Stops as well, pubs, vineyards and stuff you can stay on, the local knowledge is second to none. Half the places we’ve got we wouldn’t have know they were there until we actually go to these places and the venders say you need to go to this lake or eat at this restaurant or do whatever so that’s been a big part of travel. We’ve discovered so much just from that.

Brian: Obviously you’ve already mentioned your cats, they are a big part of most peoples lives, their pets, most people travel with their dogs. What’s been the process with the cats? How have they adapted to Motorhome living?

John: They’ve adapted really well; they were house cats I think so we were a little bit ahead than if the cat was like a roaming type cat that was out every day. Our cats do go out they used to go out in the garden, so they still want to go out. Yeah they have adjusted to it really well they know the van is their home so they will come back to it no matter what if their scared you know if they manage to get out and they get scared they will actually run back to the van. Kinda mental if you’re on a site full to a cat I don’t know if a motorhome or caravan looks like, but they seem to know where to run back too, even though they all look the same.

Tash: It will be a scent thing wont it. What we did before we moved into the vans is we took something with their scent on it, something that’s familiar to them put that in the van, same as their litter tray because they recognize all of that. I mean they’ve been in two vans now because we moved into our Sonic to start with before the Pulse was ready so they’ve adjusted really well but we realized they probably have a better life now because they get to go out more rather than being cooped up all day bless them while were at work and also they get to see so many different things. They love is on the dash you know we take them out on leads and we look them for walks and they actually have a- its like a dog, we actually have to walk them twice a day now because they want to go out, once they’ve been out their perfectly happy to come back in and just sleep. So there not cooped up or by any means they actually like it. Yeah, were really lucky aren’t we.

John: Yeah.

Brian: What’s the things you couldn’t live without or perhaps miss about being at home and living and being at home in your motorhome?

Tash: It sounds silly, probably the only thing I miss quite a lot is carpet. It sounds really stupid but you know that feeling when you’re just walking around barefoot on a nice carpet because we don’t put the carpets down because you’re treading through the van all day and it gets messy with the cats and stuff but that and a washing machine like having the ability to wash my own clothes when I want but other than that we have everything else we want don’t we, I don’t know if you feel the same?

John: I think for me probably the only thing is not having a flushing toilet, having to obviously collect your toilet stuff and find somewhere to get rid of it if you are wild camping then obviously you’ve got to find somewhere to go, its either a campsite or you can use some public toilets or stuff like that but yeah that’s probably the only thing that, not worries me but that’s probably the only sort of down side

Tash: You have to plan ahead don’t you, same with your water and gas I suppose, Just the things you take for granted but I suppose you take the toilet for grated more than you realize don’t you, flushing toilets. Yeah so that’s about it really, I think- a big sofa to lounge on at the end of the day, you know like a proper spread out sofa but other than that.

John: We’ve adapted to living in a small space, I think a good thing to adapting to living in a small space is once you’ve lived in a small space for such a period of time you don’t actually need a big amount of space, we actually looked at some of the static homes, we walked into those and even their smallest static home to us felt absolutely massive but other people walking into it go this is tiny we shouldn’t live in this, we couldn’t even spend two weeks on holiday in this and we walk in and go wow this is amazing, its twice the width and this would be perfect for us

Tash: So it’s always a future option.

Brian: For people considering going full time what’s been the biggest struggles and what advice would you give to people thinking of going full time in their motorhome?

Tash: I’d say think about your layout and your living space, think about how you use your space, you know for example in one van like in the Pulse we’ve got lovely bench seats in the front but then when it comes to doing some work I actually miss the dinette a bit, we’ve got a half dinette in the Adria. It’s not a downside of the pulse by any means its just the way we use the van and it just means we can sit and the table together for dinner without having to unfold the other style of table. So yeah id just sort of say think about what you do in your leisure time think about if you need to work, do you need a work space, you know are you a lounger or are you more of an outdoor person. So, I would say think about your layout and perhaps put in a bit of research, you know we’ve been though four vans now and obviously we bought our first one as a toe dip then realized actually it was great but-

Brian: Was that the Sun Living motorhome?

Tash: The one before that actually, the Swift, we had the T4 to start

John: We had the T4 but that was sort of a weekend van

Tash: From there it grew, we wanted to be able to sand up and have a bathroom, then we dipped out toe and bought the Swift, then we realized we wanted a fixed bed and a garage and that’s when the Sun Living came in but of course we wanted to take the cats away so we wanted something bigger, with access to the garage from inside. Every time we have learnt how we use it, so we think now, we think we’ve got it right, hopefully we’ve got it right. Just think about how you use your space.

Brian: You’ve literally gone from panel van to coach built then finally to an A class. You’ve tried them all!

Tash: Yeah basically, we’ve pretty much been through the range, its quite crazy actually how much we’ve learnt in the last sort of six years and because we love it we come to the show every year, even twice a year. Were never get bored do we, we love looking at what’s new, we love- and you always want to make sure you know what is available just incase in the future you need to change or something happens

John: We did actually look at the Dethleffs Globus because if we could get under 3.5 tone then we would, it would be easier for us

Tash: Definitely! Because I still haven’t done my C1, I should have done it like a year ago and I still haven’t got round to doing it so I can’t actually drive our van that we live in, the Pulse and were going to up the Adria again so again I need to really do that

Brian: What about your plans to travel across Europe in a motorhome? Is that on the horizon?

John: Yeah, as soon as the Brexit thing is done then we can work out what we need to do for passports or whatever we need to do for the cats so as soon as that’s done and we can work out sort of a strategy for that I think yeah the potential could be into Europe but also we need to think about money because its basically been a year where we’ve been able to live off savings, that’s pretty much gone now so we need too- we’ve got a plan in place for work whilst we travel and I probably could do that in Europe as well in all farness but it would be a little bit more difficult. It’s going to be more difficult as well after the whole Brexit thing, but it is something that we. We can see all the people we follow and things like that, we see their stuff from Europe, like Southern Europe, whilst were huddled in the minus three and stuff like that whilst their sitting on a beach-

Tash: Having a beer, one winter might be nice abroad. So yeah, its on the cards but we’ll see, were not finished in the UK yet though are we.

John: We’ve spent a while year in the UK we’ve not even scratched the surface, there so many place we need to go.

Tash: We haven’t even done Scotland yet.

Brian: You haven’t done Scotland?

Tash: We never made it.

John: We have done Scotland holidaying before in a motorhome as well, in the Swift actually didn’t we? We got to Scotland in the Swift but yeah we haven’t, we didn’t manage to get there, we’ve been so busy doing Wales and other stuff and again everywhere you go that you haven’t been before you just think oh wow its so beautiful why have we never been here but it’s just too far away for us, living down South it’s actually quite difficult to get from the South, even up to the Midlands is a bit of a mission. It just gives you that freedom I think

Brian: I really appreciate you coming onto the podcast and it’s been fantastic catching up with yourselves and I look forward to seeing you at the next show of course

Tash & John: Yeah definitely, probably be at every show. We probably come to everyone. Thank you for having us, it’s been really nice to meet you as well after chatting and following your stuff for a while

Brian: Thank you and Yourselves. What are your social media accounts? Shoutouts.

Tash: Well were Life Beyond Bricks. Our website is lifebeyondbricks.co.uk we’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and we’ve just started using YouTube, just started dabbling with YouTube. The links to all of those you can get from the website so if you want to go there first you can find us all from there

Brian: As well as under the podcast and the website we’ll be linking to all the accounts. Yeah definitely, I’ve really enjoyed this conversation thank you

Tash: Thank you, so have we.

 

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About The Author

Brian loves all things motorhome, caravan and camping, loves walking and photography.

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