About Us

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Main Posts Background Image

About Us

We're Dan and Esther. Since starting our motorhome adventure in 2014, after a big health scare, we've rediscovered our love for the great outdoors and living a simpler life, visiting many beautiful places on foot or bike and meeting some truly inspirational people along the way.

At the end of 2014 our tagline was "on a journey back to health and happiness....cycling, hiking and learning about ourselves" and that is precisely what our adventures were about for the first year or so. Being outdoors, being active and having fun. However, partway through 2015, focusing only on touring, hiking and cycling didn't feel the same any more. Quite unexpectedly we found ourselves starting to completely reassess what we wanted from life, what we had to offer and what really mattered to us. Since then there have been a lot more changes, many of which we wrote about on this blog as we went along. Especially the addition of a Spanish street dog in early 2017, Leela, who turned out to be pregnant and so very quickly expanded our travelling 'pack'.

Now, in early 2020, we're still 'on the road', except that our adventure has become more to us than a physical journey from place to place. It's also been an inward journey, a chance to slow down and open our minds to entirely new perspectives and appreciate the huge variety the world has to offer.  Which is why, instead of shifting around with a series of 'goals' or lists of things we want to do, we try and be open to the opportunities that arise and let the people we meet and places we visit guide us as we go along. Sometimes going with the flow like this sends us down an occasional 'dead-end', but in hindsight, those apparent dead-ends always turn out to be more adventures in disguise.

What made us quit our jobs and leave our old lives behind to go travelling?
We'd been unhappy for a long time but it took a serious health scare in early 2014 to shock us into realising how fragile our lives are and that we needed a drastic change to discover what made us happy and find a more sustainable way of life. Click here to find out more about why we took a career break.

Why travelling?  Our passion for the outdoors
Interrail touring with 'Tenty'
Since meeting, travel is something that has always bound us together, inspired and rejuvenated us. In 2002, with money saved up from summer jobs, we headed into Central Europe armed with stupidly heavy rucksacks overloaded with clothes, a tent, a lilo to sleep on and an Interrail ticket.  There was just something about living outdoors that connected us with the natural rhythm of each day, going to bed when it's dark and waking when the sun comes up. We found great pleasure in switching the complex problems of home with the simpler, more important ones of seeking food, warmth and shelter.

Click here to see some of our past adventures.  

Norway Cycle Tour 2004
After that first adventure we were hooked and tried to go on another trip every summer, which we managed for the next 4 years or so until life started to get in the way.

Eventually we started to have years without adventures at all and those we managed to get away on were much shorter.  It would take years of building dissatisfaction combined with the events of early 2014 to make us realise how much we needed that simplicity again. Click here to read more.

Our background - the build up and events that made us realise we needed a change.
Both of us have suffered with chronic health problems since birth and this has had a large impact on our personalities.  Dan was born with a defect which left him with bowel incontinence and Esther suffered from severe eczema which covered her entire body.  Discomfort and adversity was something we were both used to living with and had to work hard to overcome.  As children this carried over into our school and sporting lives and we became very determined. In sport, both of us won national titles (at different sports) and Esther even represented Great Britain at U18s rowing.  In study, although no one in our families had gone to university before, we both gained a place to study at Oxford University, which is where we met. In addition to working hard at our studies and continuing with our with sports, it was during these years that we also first developed a shared love of travelling and the outdoors.

We always tried to do the best that we were capable of and, in the modern world, success seemed to be measured by our jobs and how hard we worked. So, after university, we continued our academic studies, moving to Durham where Dan gained his PhD and Esther a Masters. It was during this time that we got our first mortgage.  Neither of us have ever really been particularly driven by material possessions, but we were both savers by nature and so anything spare went into repaying that mortgage. We also worked hard to earn extra where we could and began sacrificing holidays, meals out etc.

Although we took a slightly unconventional route with our careers, we didn't do anything particularly special. Looking back, we think we made it more complicated than it needed to be over the years as we built a collection of incomes (which we juggled), often working our day jobs at the same time as self-employment, as well as starting a social enterprise and small business. Because some projects worked out and others didn't, our financial position wasn't really any different to what we would have expected if we'd taken the conventional route of one full-time day job since university. Alongside work, after many years of denial, Dan finally decided to seek new medical help for his incontinence which involved several surgeries and complications, adding further stress.

Almost 10 years after leaving university, in 2013, we realised we needed a break and change. Esther had a diagnosis of chronic fatigue and Dan's incontinence management combined with his long commute was severely affecting him. So we decided to take a break and started making wedding plans with the intention of taking an extended honeymoon to follow one of Europe's long distance hiking trails. After so long we wanted to try and rediscover the joy we'd felt on our interrailing and cycling tours as students.  Fortunately, having spent 10 years saving, we had reached the point where we could afford the 'small' career break we knew we needed to de-stress and find some balance again.

But in January 2014 everything changed again.  Dan developed an abdominal hernia on one of his old surgery sites over Christmas 2013 which threatened to postpone our honeymoon plans. We thought we were lucky when the consultant offered a last minute cancellation slot for a surgical repair and that our plans were back on track. However, 7 days later Dan was back in the hospital having emergency surgery at 3am to cut out a massive abscess that had developed in the wound. After being prepared for the possibility of intensive care and further surgeries, it was a sharp reminder how fragile our lives were and how all of our years of planning for the future could be wiped out in an instant.

After having to cancel our wedding and spending 10 weeks waiting for the large hole in his abdomen to heal, Dan did get the all clear to travel, but no strenuous hiking. The experience had opened our eyes to the fact that instead of just working and saving hard for our future or for a rainy day, we needed to rediscover how to live in the moment and work out what actually made us happy.  Our honeymoon plans were rapidly modified and fortunately several key factors came together very quickly (like finding a tenant, selling our car, buying a motorhome etc).  We soon became the proud owners of 'Homer' the motorhome and got ready to set off for up to a year.

Read more about our 2014 journey in our post: What a year! From Hospital Bed to Motorhome Adventure.

February 2016: "What Are 2 Oxford Graduates Doing Drifting Around Europe In A Motorhome" - Lessons & Moving Forward 2016

January 2016: Consider A Career Break - We Wish We Did Sooner - Our Life Changing Experience So Far

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