I've got a story to share that's been a long time coming. It's about stepping out of my comfort zone, dealing with uncertainties, and taking on a challenge I've been putting off. Yep, at 64, I finally hopped into my motorhome, named Dora the Explora, and crossed the Channel to explore France.
Facing Fears and Embracing the Unknown
The fear of driving on the "wrong" side of the road had kept me from making this trip. But as someone who encourages others to break barriers, it was time I walked the talk. So, with a mix of determination and nerves, off I went.
For the last four years, I've been roaming around the UK and Ireland, encouraging women to face their fears and create their own adventures. Now, it was my turn to show that age is just a number when it comes to pursuing dreams.
Making it happen
Usually, I'm all about winging it, but a bit of planning was in order for this trip. The Caravan and Motorhome Club was a big help – they sorted out my ferry bookings from Dover to Calais, and I also got insurance and breakdown cover through them.
I planned to ease into it with a ten-day trip to Normandy. I used the Alan Rogers Campsite Guides, an excellent resource for campsite info. They even have a QR code to scan for even more details about the campsites.
Guines - Pas-de-Calais
First up, Camping la Bien-Assise near Guines. It was close to Calais, making it a good starting point. I booked two nights to get my bearings and one night for the return leg.
Next, I found Camping Le Champ Neuf in Saint Quentin-en-Tourmont in Picardy. It looked quiet and was pretty close to my last stop. I stayed there for three nights, exploring the Baie de Somme on my bike.
Before hitting the road, I ensured I had all the essentials for the European adventure. Alan Rogers had great tips for a first-time visit to France, so I got a UK sticker for my van, spare headlight bulbs, headlight refractors, and the essentials like a high-vis jacket and warning triangle. Because I have a bike rack, I ordered a square panel with red and white diagonal reflective stripes to fix onto the bike rack cover, another legal requirement on the continent.
I also had my travel documents in order – passport, driving license, motorhome ownership papers, and insurance. I also got a Crit'Air sticker even though I was not going to any low-emission Zones; I thought that just in case I got lost and drove through one by mistake, I would get one to pop in my windscreen.
Last minute nerves
As I picked up my Euros, the excitement and nerves hit me. The guy at the post office asked where I was off to, and I proudly said, "Taking my motorhome to France for ten days on my own!" The anticipation was real, and I was eager to hit French soil.
In my next post, I'll give you the real deal on how things went – the good, the not-so-good, and everything in between. Stay tuned for my solo motorhome adventure across the Channel!
Siobhan is a spirited and unapologetically rebellious pro-age campaigner turned author whose story and impact have captivated readers worldwide.
At the age of 60, Siobhan embarked on a journey transcending retirement's conventional boundaries. Her groundbreaking book, Retirement Rebel, is a manifesto for embracing age as a badge of honour.
Ah, the allure of the open road, the scent of adventure hanging in the air! As I stood on the cusp of a journey that would take me across the English Channel to the enchanting landscapes of France, I couldn't help but feel a mix of excitement and trepidation.
If you have a couple of weeks to spare and don't fancy the long trek to Provence, the Dordogne or the Côte d’Azur, why not take a motorhome holiday and explore Northern France? With your own wheels, you can see the sights at your own pace, stopping for a roadside pique-nique of baguette and fromage, whenever you like.