THE START OF OUR VAN PROJECT. by Clive Witney

Why are we going to build a motorhome? Where did we start?

Over many years conversations between my wife and and I have resulted in us expressing dreams to do something else with our lives, rather than the five day week 9 to 5 work with a few holidays breaking up the routine. We have discussed living on a barge, making our way along the canals and rivers of the UK. Buying a piece of land and building a house from scratch just the way we wanted it. Working for ourselves is also an asperation, my wife has started this and maybe my photography could be an outlet for myself. We had carried out a fair amount of reasearch on the topics but circumstances, on the whole, held us back from moving forward.

Since the children have left the fold and we have travelled alone, the idea of owning a motorhome has come to the forefront of our discussions, especially during our holidays in the UK when we have stopped at some idilic locations and sat in the car as the world passed us by enjoying the moment, only to have to move on before we really wanted too due to needing a drink or something else you can't do in a car.

The discussions lead us to look at YouTube which is the goto place to find inspiration and like minded individuals to help enhance understanding of the benefits and downsides of your chosen routes. Posts from those travelling and living in vans started to make us think that this is what we wanted to do, life on the open road and so the journey started .

We began to look at ready built motorhomes, based on panel vans, but the cost ruled ready built vans out for us. Second hand would mean having to purchase a older version, not ideal as we wanted to have a new fit out inside and a more modern base van in order to have a more comfortable ride, also being able to identify a layout that would work for us started leading us to the idea of buying a base van and fitting it out ourselves.

The layout of the van would be essential, the idea of opening the side door and having a seat looking out through it was a must have, as was the inclusion of a toilet and shower, as these were the luxuries we could not do without. Many vans have fixed beds but very early on this was ruled out for us considering you only spend eight hours a day in bed the other sixteen would be driving, sitting and living out of it so available space feels more important, so a seat that could be converted to a bed is our preference.

But before the hunt for a van could begin we had to decide on what we will use as the base vehicle. The van had to be tall enough to be able to stand up in and long enough to be able to fit the items on our ‘want’ list. The choices boiled down to Mercedes Sprinter / Volkswagen Crafter (essentially same body) or a Citroen Relay / Peugeot Boxer again same vehicle along with the Fiat Ducato. The Citroen / Peugeot ended up as our starting point mainly due to the shape of the bodywork, being more square and so giving more space at the top when fitting high level cupboards when it comes to it. That was our feeling anyway, so the hunt is on!