It’s all about the journey.
One great aspect about making that journey in a camper van such as the Sun Living V60SP, or in a motorhome, or even towing a caravan, is that you have everything with you should you need it: Your kitchen, your bed, and, crucially, your bathroom. Suddenly you are no longer dependent on finding a cafe that serves the food you like, or a comfortable hotel that you can afford, or a clean public convenience. Isn’t ‘clean public convenience’ an oxymoron, anyway? All you need to do is find somewhere safe and legal to park up. The smaller your rig, the easier that will be.
Free of such restrictions, you can avoid all the trappings of a fixed schedule. You make up your own timetable, and create your journey in the way that you want to make it, not in a way dictated by hotel reservations or restaurant opening times.
Setting off on my Scottish Winter Adventure, I figured that leaving the crowded South East of England for Scotland on 27th December would be the logical thing to do. Unfortunately, it seemed that everybody else in the entire country had exactly the same idea.
Very quickly, all the major motorways up and down the UK became congested, clogged, or simply blocked for hours on end. Desperate folk reported spending over an hour trying to get into a service area, another hour waiting for a parking space, an hour getting food, then another hour trying to rejoin the traffic jam on the motorway.
By the wonder of technology, I could see these hold-ups on my mobile phone. As much as I wanted to get to Scotland that same day, it seemed pretty pointless to sit on a motorway for hours on end with the engine idling and my blood pressure rising. There seemed little point in my adding to the problem.
Instead of sitting in traffic, I went to the camera shop to buy the camera I’d been researching for weeks but had never made the time to go and buy. I cooked and ate a delicious lunch of sausage, peas, carrots, and mash made just the way I like it and perfectly adjusted to my dietary sensibilities. I found a stunningly beautiful part of the Surrey Hills and took Dougal on a bracing walk, working off our energy and drinking in the relaxing and beautiful surroundings. I even took myself off to bed for an hour for a relaxing nap.
It was 6pm before we set off for Scotland, but the road was clear all the way. The only stops we made were the ones we chose to make.
It was 1.30 in the morning when we eventually crossed the border into Scotland, and 2am before parking up for the night. Granted, we had arrived probably two hours later than we would have done had we stuck it out and sat in traffic. But we had enjoyed the day and enjoyed the journey, and had spent eight hours on the road, not 14 hours as some poor folks had done.
‘When we arrived home in Scotland after 14 hours in traffic, I just wanted to cry!’ one of my commentators told me after her travel ordeal that fateful day. I imagine most people who travelled on that day did want to cry. That is, those people who didn’t travel in a camper van.