The funniest thing about setting off on our travels is that neither of us had (or still have) any idea what we’re doing. After the outbreak of Covid-19 meant that we were no longer travelling Europe it was still absolutely certain in my mind that we were not going to stay put until the following year. Plan 2. Plan 2 involved begging my dad to let us take one of his precious VW campers on a road trip with Inness as a new driver, having very little knowledge of vintage vehicles and me as a non driver with no knowledge of ANY vehicles whatsoever.
After spending a few weeks learning what a car jack even is (they lift the car up to change a wheel FYI), pretending to know what I’m doing with a Phillips screwdriver, Inness rectifying my wonky screws and Inness driving lots to practice having no power steering, we started to realise that this was actually happening… We really were about to spend the foreseeable future living and working together in a tin can, maybe we’ve lost our minds? Little things weren’t working, you know, non essentials… Like the windscreen wipers which allow us to see in the pouring rain that we’ll definitely have, and the front lights, fog lights(?), full beam(?) I don’t know what they’re called but I’m pretty sure they’re important? According to our expert mechanics, Dad and his mate Ton, it’ll be fine. Cool, sorted. Job done.
In all seriousness though, it really was fine. The Duchess (what we’re calling the van, inspired by the Aristocats in case you were wondering) hadn’t been driven since 2012 so just needed some time to wake up. Little by little things began working. First it was the windscreen wipers, they suddenly made an appearance on a beautifully sunny day, handy, shortly followed by the front lights. We felt a bizarre amount of pride for this inanimate object.
We had to of course, plan the really essential things as well, like buying a hula girl for the dashboard and deciding which cupboard we’d put the coffee in.
It only dawned on us however, when we had set off, after days of farewell drinks and last minute strokes of Daisy (family cat), that we had absolutely no idea where we were going.
We were waving goodbye to my family and had started driving out of Chester when we realised, we had failed to plan where we would stay or even what part of the country we’d be driving to. We knew we wanted to stay on a site for the first night while we found our feet, so, while Inness drove in the general direction of Wales, I began calling around any campsite who would answer (at 8pm) in the North Wales area. One thing became increasingly clear… How had we been so stupid. How could we have not known. Wales was still in lockdown.
This was the series of events that lead us to spending our first night of travelling in a hostel in Llandudno. As we stood eating chips in the pissing rain, less than an hour from home, we thought that this was not exactly the road trip dream we had in mind… But hilarious none the less.
Words & Photo's by Holly Pitt Knowles
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