The highs and lows of our big trip [Rogue Nomads]

This is the final instalment of Dee’s travels through Europe. To read the previous instalment, click here


After reading through all about our six months away, I thought maybe you’d like to know what were our highlights, impressions, and maybe how much it all cost! Well, just about all the historical places were a hit with us, but the Orkneys were just amazing.

We were so glad we took that trip, as we were able to immerse ourselves in Neolithic, ancient history and mysteries. We were not only able to imagine how the ancients lived, but the whole area was mystical, with quite a few unanswered questions.

We loved Scotland. We didn’t love the midges though! But again, Scotland is steeped in history, Roman, Viking, Neolithic, Megalithic, and more recent, with the Scottish clans, the British, the Clearances, the often forced migration to America and Australia due to sheer hardship.

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The west Coast of Scotland: spectacular.

Skye: all we really remember is horizontal rain and gale force winds!

Glen Coe, Ben Nevis, the lochs…stunning.

We loved Shropshire, and the guided walk around Shrewsbury. North Devon was heaven. Cornwall, with the little fishing villages clinging to the hillsides flowing into the sea was awesome. And Ireland. Oh, Ireland. With its motorways so well built, and other roads….not!

The lessons we learnt, not just history, but individual stories as we met the locals. We also learnt that Cromwell was a very nasty megalomaniac and if it wasn’t for him and Henry VIII Ireland wouldn’t have so many ruins of castles, churches, priories, etc.

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So many people died. Not just in Ireland, but it does seem more noticeable there. The British were a thoroughly bad lot in those days. But the people we met were a delight, funny and gregarious. And the scenery (and fishing Greg’s asked me to write), was terrific. Yes, the ancient history was enthralling. But the whole “Irish experience” was, for us, unique. We have vowed to return. And for us, this was what this trip was about: experiences, adventures and meeting new people.

Budget? Yes, we did have a budget believe it or not. See below our expenses for the six months:

Food shopping – this was for both food and Greg’s beer! £2315 (approx £400 a month).

Fuel was £1854 (average £300 per month).

Caravan Park Fees – £1300. We stayed mostly in farmers fields costing around £8-14 a night.

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Ferry fees – £737. Yes, getting to and from the Orkneys and Ireland is pretty expensive when towing a caravan!

Eating out – £757. That was five meals out with friends (ouch), the rest was the odd coffee and cake here and there….we soon learnt not to do that!

General expenses – around £500; things for the car, bits and pieces here and there.

We spent just over £8,000 in the six months we were in the UK. Let’s say, $16,000. Roughly £1400 a month. Less than $3,000 plus the air fares which were $1400 each with Royal Brunei. Don’t forget we did a total of six weeks house sitting, which is free accommodation, and stayed for a total of three weeks with friends and relatives (although that turned out to be quite expensive).

Having saved for a while before we left, we managed this trip using a small amount of savings, plus our pensions. We were fortunate to have relatives in England, and a caravan. This type of trip, there’s no fancy trimmings, no hotels, etc., all simple living, meeting people from all walks of life.

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Would we do it again? Oh yes….we plan to in about three years but next time it’s a trip to Spain so I’ve got out my Spanish books already. In the meantime, we’re heading to FNQ this year, and next year you’ll see us, health permitting, heading North, then West to WA, Perth, the Nullabour, and back!  This time in our little English caravan!

Retirement ROCKS.

Where would you go if you could grey nomad travel anywhere in the world?