I have a soft spot for leisurely journeys with my caravan, cherishing the unhurried pace of the road. While some may crave the rush of speed, I find solace in a slower rhythm. There's a charm in the gradual progress, soaking in the sights and sounds as I navigate the open road.
I relish a long uphill climb and embrace the challenge of a narrow country lane. The deliberate slowness of the journey enhances my appreciation for the moments of speed as I hit a clear stretch of wider road.
On occasions, I drive so leisurely that my fellow travellers, perhaps accustomed to my usual faster pace of travel, question the speed. Their inquiries prompt me to ask if we're racing toward the destination or enjoying the journey itself. For me, caravanning is a testament to taking life at a more measured pace. Rushing through the experience would only dilute its essence.
By affording myself extra time, I can genuinely engage with my surroundings. The sun-soaked days of summer are perfect for ascending alpine passes and embracing the spirit of exploration. Caravanning and motorhoming are more than just modes of transportation; They are a conduit to adventure. Occasionally, it's crucial to stow away the constraints of schedules and revel in the simple joy of aimless travel.
Here are my suggestions for savouring a leisurely journey. These ideas have resonated with other caravanners and motorhomers who have shared their tales of adventure with me.
Many express a desire to embark on extended journeys but cite a lack of time as a deterrent. As I see it, the remedy lies not solely in acquiring a more efficient vehicle and sticking to the peage or motorway but rather in heading off the beaten track and embracing the art of slow travel.
Nonetheless, you aspire to be a contented traveller. In that case, the best approach is to draft your personal principles for joyful caravanning or motorhoming and strive to abide by them..
Everyone loves a list, so here are my principles for embracing slow caravanning or motorhoming:
Creating Memories at Your Own Pace
1. Swimming - Park by a tranquil river, lake, or the sea and enjoy a refreshing swim whenever feasible.
2. Aromas - When the aroma of freshly cut grass wafts through the air, take a break from the main road, head to a village, park respectfully and recline on a grassy verge; relish a moment of repose.
3. Birdsong - Familiarise yourself with birdsongs. Apps like Merlin can identify avian melodies, allowing you to delve into the world of ornithology.
4. History - Stumbled upon a secluded graveyard or historic war graves? Pause and pay your respects. Study the names and stories etched on the tombstones, connecting with the past.
5. Geology - Engage with the geology around you. During breaks, assess the ground for intriguing pebbles or stones that captivate your imagination.
Savouring the Journey's Every Flavour
6. Food - A sausage roll or scotch egg from the services might sustain, but they lack soul. Food is an essential part of slow travel, so it's worth remembering the following:
a. Repeat after me: "When in France, I'll subsist on cheeses, cold cuts, baguettes, and fresh fruit. I'll quench my thirst with wine or beer."
b. Always halt at roadside stalls for cherries, figs, strawberries, or seasonal mushrooms.
c. Treats are meant for leisure. When you indulge in snacks, do so seated in a picturesque spot.
d. A post-snack nap is an indulgence well worth savouring.
e. Along the route, seek out local markets for artisanal delights. Return home with edible souvenirs from your journey.
Connecting with the World Around You
7. Communications - Postcards offer a touch of nostalgia. Send a handwritten note to a loved one, rekindling the joy of communication.
a. Set limits on digital communication, focusing on the tangible world around you. WhatsApp and Messenger are banned.
b. Use your smartphone only for photography.
8. Preparation - Carry a paper map, a pencil, and a versatile pocket knife. GPS's loose connection, pens run out of ink, and the knife will be helpful for minor repairs or lunch preparation.
9. Greetings - Whenever you pass a fellow caravanner on a narrow lane, offer a greeting. Connection knows no speed limit and helps brighten your day.
10. Environment - Whether on a beach or in the countryside, should you come across discarded rubbish, take a moment to pick it up, leaving the environment in a better state for fellow travellers.
In a world that often glorifies speed and efficiency, the allure of slow caravanning stands as a testament to the beauty of unhurried exploration. It's a journey that unfolds gracefully, where each moment is savoured, and every mile brings a new connection to nature, history, and the roads less travelled. From reclining by tranquil rivers to engaging in mindful communication, these principles offer a roadmap to embrace the gentle cadence of the open road.
As you craft your own narrative of slow caravanning, remember that the destination is not just a place on the map; it's the rich tapestry of experiences woven through moments of leisure, connection, and the pure joy of the journey itself.
Editor - Alan Rogers Guides
Rob has been involved in the leisure industry since completing a BTEC in Travel & Tourism in 1993. Previous roles have included the promotion of tourism in Yorkshire and running a motorcycle touring company in the Australian Outback.
He is the General Manager at Alan Rogers Travel Group, responsible for the ongoing development of the Alan Rogers website and the publication of the Alan Rogers Guides and 'Destinations' magazine.
He regularly travels with his wife and young daughter in their Dethleffs 'Campy' caravan. A keen cycling fan, Rob can often be found in a field in Belgium during the 'Spring Classics' season or riding his Royal Enfield Himalayan motorcycle.
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.