From Brisbane to Bristol

I have committed the cardinal sin of blogging. I haven’t, well… blogged.

Since February.

As a copywriter who regularly advises clients of the benefits of frequent blogging, this is probably not a good thing.

In my defence, after my last post when we had just sold our beloved campervan, we then left our jobs, sold our house and cars, said goodbye to everyone we knew, panic-bought a few souvenir fridge magnets to remind us of 9 years in Brisbane and packed up our entire antipodean life into 101 boxes and a 40-ft shipping container.

Campervan Converts - Sydney Harbour Fireworks
Our last night in Australia with a better than average view.

Oh, we then emigrated (or re-migrated?) 10,000 miles to the UK, found a job, found a house, started a business, and emptied those 101 boxes in a completely new part of the country.

I know, I know. It’s a weak excuse. Especially because we’ve actually only opened 80 of the boxes.

But we’ve made it, and are now living in a little village near Bristol. Despite having a similar name, Bristol is – unsurprisingly – not like Brisbane. I won’t dwell on the differences (it does rain quite a bit) but on the plus side, it is a similar distance from some excellent campervanning country.

Campervan Converts - Croyde Bay, North Devon

Croyde Bay, North Devon, UK

Campervan Converts - Baggy Point, North Devon

Baggy Point, North Devon

Just as Brisbane has the wonderful Sunshine Coast on its doorstep, Bristol is less than two hours from the rugged North Devon coastline and its long, sandy surfing beaches. It’s a place we know and love, having spent the first part of our honeymoon there. Okay so you swap warm summer evenings lazing next to a beach barbeque for bracing afternoons huddled behind a stripy windbreak, and Queensland’s spectacular pelicans have been replaced by absolutely ginormous seagulls. But it’s all okay. The fish and chips are good. There’s always the tinkle of an ice-cream van in the distance.

Campervan Converts - windswept on Croyde Beach

Raincoat and wellies instead of togs and flip-flops?

And amid the chaos of the last few months (loosely interpreted as a career break for CV purposes) we’ve managed to escape to both Devon and Dorset for a few long weekends for a proper medicinal dose of sea air. It’s been great. It would be amazing in a campervan.

I must admit when we arrived back in the UK it was tempting to replicate our to-do list from 2010, which went something like:

  • Buy minibus
  • Convert into fabulous campervan
  • Have lots of holidays
  • Write a blog

But our recently acquired status as Sensible Adults suggested that providing a new home for our toddler was probably a priority, so finding accommodation and employment were pushed higher up the list. For the time being, we are campervan-less.

So what’s the best way to explore counties such as Devon, Dorset and Cornwall if not in a campervan? The obvious answer is, of course, to find a gorgeous little whitewashed B&B hideaway perched on a remote cliff-top with a roaring open fire and fresh pastries delivered every morning… but while the AUD/GBP exchange rate remains resolutely in the doldrums, we were looking for something a little more modest.

Camping was the rational option, but with the three of us still very much in the acclimatisation stage (even in a centrally heated, double-glazed house), sleeping under canvas seemed like a step too far. So we eased ourselves into the northern hemisphere’s climate with a more comfortable combination of hotels and lodges. One of our favourite places in the country deserves its own post, so I’ll review where we stayed in the next blog.

Campervan Converts - Croyde Bay, North Devon

It’s sunny!

In the meantime, if any non-Queensland readers need convincing that it’s one of the best places in the WORLD to travel in a campervan, check out the summer edition of the UK’s excellent Campervan magazine for some familiar photos. Or take a look at the Surf n Turf article here.


2 thoughts on “From Brisbane to Bristol

  1. Hi guys. Annoyingly only just found your blog, and now you’re ‘back ‘ome’! We have done a similar thing – emigrated to Oz, built a van in 2011, lived in it for 3 years, sold it and bought another house and become grown up. I haven’t updated my site since February either ( Uncanny. Miss my van, and can’t wait to do another. Anyway, just wanted to say hi, and thank you for taking the time to blog. Always like reading about other’s adventures. Cheers!

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