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From Living on a Boat in England, to Touring Europe in a Motorhome – Paul and Cynthia’s Journey

Most people who spend their lives travelling in a motorhome have a similar backstory.

Bored of the city life. Feeling a little unfulfilled in a nine to five office job. Looking to try something new.

So they take to the open road in their own living space, and begin exploring the many wonderful countries Europe has to offer.

But Paul and Cynthia are different.

Paul used to live on a boat. In fact, he did so for seven years before beginning his European adventure.

“I lived on the English waterways in a narrowboat for nearly seven years”, he said. “I loved the lifestyle, but wet winters and towpaths hidden under inches of liquid mud depressed me.

“When I met my now wife, Cynthia, she suggested that we buy a motorhome between us to use for extended touring in southern Europe over the winter.

“Cynthia is American. When we encountered problems with Cynthia’s immigration process, I decided to sell my boat so that we could tour Europe full time.”

And they have done so since September 2016.

The Best Places They’ve Visited

After almost a year, they have already visited some of the best locations Europe has to offer.

A lot of their time has been spent in France, which they love.

When asked about his favourite spot so far, Paul said: “On France’s Mediterranean coast, there’s a wonderful area of saltwater lagoons near Narbonne.

“We spent last winter there, basking in delightfully warm winter sun, enjoying the lagoons’ enormously varied bird life.

“Cormorants, pelicans, flamingos and egrets were our daily companions.”

They’ve also been in Spain, down on the south coast, and in the mountainous regions of Switzerland, amongst many other places.

The Motorhome Itself

Paul and Cynthia have been travelling the continent in a Hymer motorhome, and they couldn’t be happier with it.

“Our Hymer is 8 metres long, including the bike rack”, Paul said. “Driving it, especially reversing, took some getting used to, so I picked up a few scrapes and scratches.

“In hindsight, I would probably have booked myself on a motorhome driving course before we set off on our maiden voyage.”

But things have gone relatively well for them. There have been a few minor incidents (they have racked up over 15,000 miles), but overall, the Hymer has been a worthy purchase.

So, after almost a year on the road, what advice would Paul offer to budding motorhomers?

“Make sure that you and your significant other are comfortable in small spaces, he said.

“Cynthia and I also share our space with two large basset hounds.

“Sometimes I feel claustrophobic in our small space. The solution is simply for me to go for a long walk on vast deserted beaches, endless mountain trails, or through dense forests. I always return a better man.”

What Does the Future Hold?

Will Paul and Cynthia every give up their life on the road, and return to the UK permanently?

Paul says: “No, I don’t think so.

“Our lifestyle is just about perfect. We spend our winters in the motorhome enjoying the sun in southern Europe, and the summers afloat in the Netherlands in a 9.7m Dutch motor cruiser.

“How can you beat that?”

Retired businessman Paul Smith writes about his travels by land and water on his blogs. You can read about his motorhome tours here, and his summer waterway cruises here.

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