Excitement and nervousness dealt in equal measure.
The ArchieVan project started with ambitious long term goals.
An extended trip that would involve a complete life change.
Leaving jobs, selling the business, leaving our home.
18 months ago the idea felt daunting, but easy to put to the back of our minds.
Today it is 100% real and occupies most of my thinking time.
In just over a week the lovely Sam and Hollie of Smart Surf School in Sennen will up sticks from the Cove and move into Archavon. Hollie will manage ArchavonStudio alongside their successful surf school (and building her coffee scrub business too).
And Amanda and I will fill ArchieVan with fuel, then wave goodbye to our much loved St Just, and west Cornwall, probably for a very long time.
ArchieVan’s conversion has not been straightforward.
If you want easy buy a Transporter, the converters are used to them.
If you want easy with space, consider a motorhome.
But if you want space in your own bespoke style then look at high tops and brace yourself for a lengthy conversion. Unless you’re over six foot tall you could get away with a medium wheelbase and sleep across it.
On the first big trip many of ArchieVan’s conveniences weren’t working, but it was still brilliant.
Now we have cooking, heating, a loo, and showers (inside and out). There’s a gas point for the barbecue, there’s storage for most things, and our biggest challenge will be finding stuff we know we have packed somewhere.
He has sexy alloy wheels. I was nervous of them when I saw them first, they’re way too flash for my liking, but now they’re dirty I feel better about them. They certainly lift his appearance.
He has a reversing camera too, but I have to admit I’m now so used to using the mirrors and sensors that I forget to look at it. I’ll be glad of his digital radio though.
What do you take?
We have been reducing possessions for a long time. Bringing anything new into the house has long meant donating or giving away whatever it was replacing.
Books, CDs, vinyl, even some pictures have all been given away.
And items you just have to keep have been secreted into mother’s loft (thanks mum).
Clothing has been reduced, but I’m sure we still have far too much. Neither of us intend turning up at an office for some considerable time, yet I couldn’t shed all those collared shirts that I like so much.
A few sensible items have been purchased – a breathable ground sheet, rubber mallet, collapsible hose, lots of toilet fluid and super degradable loo roll!
And over the next couple of days I intend to fit it all into the van.
For now just getting it in will be enough. We can sort it all out as we go along, and I’m sure charity shops along the route will benefit as we edit our possessions further.
Room for a law?
I’m sure there needs to be a law regarding space which states that people (in general) will expand their possessions to fill the space available. It must apply to vans too – if we had a big motorhome I suspect we’d take extra tables, chairs, clothes and more that we won’t need. Yet I’m sure we’ll cope without.
Physical preparation is the easy bit.
Although I have climbed the stairs hundreds of times a day for the last week or so as I move items from here, to there, to over there, the physical part is easy.
Leaving St Just will be hard.
I love this place we call home.
Every dog walk is poignant as I notice the world about me with new eyes.
Sitting in The Star drinking bloody St Austell beer (I won’t miss the beer) and listening to the characters tell their tales makes we consider that even if I meet such folk en route I won’t understand them.
And talking about telling tales. The Cape Singers. The singing is only half the fun, listening to the old boys is hilarious. Some have travelled the world, some have barely left West Penwith, but they all have a story or ten.
I might even miss the interminable queue in the Co-operative that annoys the hell out of visitors, but is a vital part of the town’s social canon.
We must remember to have fish and chips upstairs at Jeremy’s before we go – it’s always an experience. Grab a bottle of something from the Co-operative and sit over dinner with the best view of the comings and goings of home/Trumpton.
Leaving mum and not seeing her for a long while. That’ll certainly be hard, I hope she’ll fly out to join us somewhere.
Leaving friends is somehow less of a concern. Many we’ll meet along the way as we plan destinations to coincide with others’ holidays.
Then there’s boring stuff like bank accounts. We’ll trial both Starling and Revolut. The two are app based banking services with no transaction fees abroad, and each promises excellent exchange rates.
While my head is full of contradicting emotions now, I know that on Wednesday 2nd May when we climb up into the cab we’ll be grinning ear to ear.
The last supper.
We have the good fortune to live in the far west. We have a choice of fantastic restaurants including Ben’s Cornish Kitchen, The Shore, The Tolcarne, Fore Street Mousehole and more, all within ten miles.
So where do we go for our last meal out?
The Trewellard Meadery of course!
For those not familiar with the concept – Meaderies spread across the far west in the late 70s, and most are still in business. Often in former churches, chicken in the rough is served with the best chips, and lethal blackberry mead. In years gone by the serving wenches were rather more bawdry than today, but it’s still good fun.
Trewellard is a 3 mile walk from home. A lubricating pint in the Queen’s and then the Trewellard Arms means that much laughter is had, and the walk home is precarious but fun.
First stop on the road?
Well the first stop won’t be far away.
When we first hired a van we went to The Meadows at Pentewan, near St Austell.
We booked to go there in June last year, but the van wasn’t ready.
So it was a natural choice to head to next week, we’ll stay two nights before starting a route linking friends up through the country before a tour of Scotland, loosely following the NC500.
Sharing our story.
It’s my intention to post a blog roughly every week.
Minty will keep the route up to date in the Our Travels section.
And we’ll post photos along the way on Instagram – search for and follow ArchieVanCornwall.
On Facebook we’re @thecornishwanderer.
We’ll be delighted to receive comments from everyone back home and new folk waving at ArchieVan on the road.
Anyone fancy a box of once really expensive ties that haven’t been worn for a bit?