Packing progress 

.. And interior photos for Chris… 

I’ve been packing the motorhome as you can imagine and my previous experience with caravaning, where I’ve learned you do not need all the stuff you bring with, came in handy. I’ve been ruthless in how little I pack but even so, the garage is now getting full, whilst inside I still have plenty of empty cupboards. 

I’ve transferred what I wanted to take from my (ex) wardrobe – already gone to someone who needed it – and the wardrobe in the motorhome is surprisingly spacious (wine rack and all). 

Those are the only clothes I’m taking. A warm coat (for work travel when required) is in there somewhere. 

I’ve also sorted out my TV and 4g router. I’m quite keen to test the 4g antenna on the roof as well. 

More photos of the interior below. I’m getting there! 

Riaan 

Moving an apartment into a motorhome

The drive down from England to the apartment just outside Barcelona gave me great confidence in the motorhome. There are a few small items I’ll have to get a local garage to take a look at (wiper blades, a few external light bulbs, topping up the air-con and some dust on the suspension) but nothing major. She drives really well and it took no time to get used to the new size!

I found a perfect spot RIGHT outside the apartment’s loading gate, could not be more perfect, and instantly had a few of the neighbours over for a nose-about 🙂 All of them very excited and envious!

So the rather daunting task of making sure I pack in her ONLY what I really need, starts. I have local furniture storage arranged and I’ll have to be ruthless – you don’t want to overload and I’m trying to follow my own rules when I pack for traveling, which is to unpack whatever you’ve packed and then only take half of that….we’ll see how it goes.

I still have to pinch myself to think the motorhome is here, she’s mine and we’re (almost) ready to go!

Target date for moving out of the apartment is 26 May, with the first trip being the McArdles coming to visit and we’ll go to a campsite in Tarragona. I also have the small issue of a company team retreat in Lisbon to engage with … we can’t make this too easy now, can we?! I’m back from that trip 18 May, then the serious packing and moving starts.

 

Now I’m a motorhome owner! 

It’s hard to believe but finally, I have the motorhome! Picked it up in Leeds and had a very lengthy hand over, with everything being explained in detail. 

I just had to get the classic “hand over” pic taken… 

Then I drove down to Suffolk where I’ll be for the weekend (picking up a few packages that arrived!) and heading over to Spain to continue packing  up, on Monday. 

Had a brilliantly comfortable first night in it.. And speaking of, I’m still looking for a name for the motorhome. Not sure if tasking  Edd’s boys with it was the best idea but let’s see..  😊

I’ll pick up the motorhome next week!

The banker’s draft from the car sale cleared, then I saved myself a whopping €941 in dodgy bank rates and fees by using TransferWise (can’t recommend them enough) and suddenly my UK account is looking quite healthy.

That will obviously be short-lived as I still have to pay for the motorhome. Pick-up is next week Friday, I’m very excited.

Whilst I’m technicaly scaling down, I bought a lot of stuff…..not limited to:

  • A portable / small clothes washer and spinner

I have no idea what this splash of water is about, sorry!

I’ve learned from my camping to date that the washing machine token at campsites for the communial washing machine tends to be expensive, and you don’t know when it will be available, you have to remember to take your stuff out soonest it’s done (or others will) etc etc. Having this one with me means I can wash the odd underwear/t-shirt/shorts very easily and then perhaps do my larger items at the laundrette. It already arrived and it’s really cool. Very lightweight and does the job just fine.

  • A new mattress. The motorhome has the standard Hobby split mattress in there which, although good, is 10 years old and the split mattress is not that great for me. I got the same one I got for my caravan, a nice memory foam mattress that I know will be super.
  • Lots and lots of 12v items. Won’t bore you with the details but will do a post on that for my techie friends. Let’s just say I’ll be wired!
  • A new pedal bike with electric assistant motor built-in, very cool.

Hard to believe it’s an electric bike. The battery is built into the frame. I’m opting for a combination of the bike and this:

And yes, that’s for Olli, when I go longer distances, but it’s also for groceries, and especially heavy items like water. So hence the electric addition to the bike to help me 🙂

  • Two pop-up tents. I have very good blow up mattresses and these tents will instantly give me two “guest rooms” when people come visit. You are welcome.
  • A range of new camping goodies, including a new set of pegs, a trolley to move things about etc.

My caravan, which went to Hungary this week, got a bit of an emotional sendoff from me (she was really good to me!)  but I’m happy I sold it to a friend there. I pretty much only kept the very good ground sail I had hence the new set of camping goodies.

The plan is to fly Barcelona – Leeds/Bradford next week (Jet2, low cost, eek!), stay the night and have the Friday morning with the dealer doing the hand-over, then I can spend the weekend in Suffolk, before heading out back to Spain! And the first trip is already booked! The May/June term break in Terragona with the McArdles…but this also means I have to be out of my apartment by 27 May, and I have a Lisbon trip 14-17 May to work in as well.

Why make it easy, right?

 

First few days without a car

The car sale eventually happened on Friday. I had a few panicky moments where at the Gestor, raising eyebrows and rapid discussions over items in the contract made me think it won’t happen, but it’s just a Spanish thing it seems, they were just discussing some rather minor detail whilst making it sound like the contract was dead in the water.

Then I discovered a Banker’s Draft in Spain takes 3 days to clear…as there is still a manual check in place. Interesting! But at least it’s all good and the money is in.

To get about town, I got a (manual) adult scooter.

IMG_20170421_172035.jpg

I’m so impressed with this, the order for the electric one (AirBike Ali5 V2) has been placed! It’s pretty good getting about town with these.

I thought I’d miss the car and sure, I will, it’s a nice car etc but wow, seeing the money it was effectively sitting on and what I can do with it, I’m not missing it that much anymore.

I’m investing in a good 4g / WiFi antenna for the motorhome which the guys are installing, and I’m also going for the electric bike + bike trailer option …. and I’m learning a lot about off-grid power, solar, 12v circuits etc. Fun times, but I have to be able to be online almost all the time, with enough power to keep things charged etc so it’s pretty vital I get that part right.

So waiting for the monies to clear, and then I can pay the dealer, and go fetch the motorhome! In the meantime, I clear items from the house every day…ideally by end May I’ll be done.

The car is going, going …

A short update. After an endless viewing of my car which included a rather long lunch at the beach, the guy (and his wife) offered me a rather good price, shook my hand and then the paperwork fun started.

But we’ve progressed quite well and I received a deposit today, cancelled the online ad and preparing for the handover (after a few signatories on a few pieces of paper no doubt) of my beloved car.

So we’re getting there! I’ll celebrate when I’ve transferred funds to the dealer in Leeds to pay for the new motorhome.

By the way, should I give her a name?!

 

Found my motorhome!!

So I did the journey to Leeds, and went to see a really friendly, 75-year old (“been doing this for 59 years!”) guy called Stephen, to look at a motorhome that was advertised on a trade site, and looked really good.

I spent 3 hours there in the end, most of it just sitting in the motorhome and thinking about working in it, living in it, touring with it etc, going through all the various issues I faced doing that in the summer months with the caravan.

The number one conclusion I came to is that I can do it, but I will have to be absolutely lethal with my minimalist approach and what I take with me (very little) and what I get rid of in my flat (almost everything). There is not much space, and I also don’t want to load her too heavy.

But that’s a good thing!

I ended up paying a (non-refundable) deposit, requesting a few small fixes/wiring changes etc and now I have one major mission: sell my car! I’ve now gone for the private advertising option on a local Spanish car site and have a very interested buyer coming tomorrow. If all goes well, we can do the deal on Tuesday (after Easter) and I’ve appointed a local “Gestor”, a type of administrative service supplier, to do the deal. This is Spain after all, there’s a wee bit of paperwork to be dealt with. At least this way I know all will get done.

So fingers crossed the buyer falls in love with my car tomorrow. Then I can pay for the motorhome, find a Smartcar + Trailer, and co-ordinate the entire move of motorhome, Smartcar, Trailer etc back to Spain into the parking slot of my caravan, which should be moved end of April to a buyer in Hungary.

And then there’s the small matter of me clearing out my apartment as well. Wow, it’s going to be a buys few months, most of it, if all goes well, without my car. I guess I can use the Smartcar here but it’s not much of a transporter of goods 🙂

Here she is….it’s a 2007 Hobby 650 (same make as my current caravan, so I know the quality of the build) and I’ll have to get used to mostly 12v (as opposed to caravan which was mostly 220V plugged into “shore” power). You can obviously plug in the motorhome but internally most things still run off 12V.

sdrShe’s in great shape. Some small wear and tear but no signs of rust, major damage or things like that, and great to drive (6 speed manual). No cruise control which I’ll have to get used to!

Big queen size fixed bed at the back above the garage, shower, toiler, basin, kitchen with gas hobs, gas cooker, full size fridge/freezer, and a nice table / seating area. I spent ages working out where my big wide screen will go, but it will fit! I also worked out where my tech stuff (4g router/IP phone etc) will go. It should all fit.

On the flight home I drank a glass of champagne to celebrate this first step, and the gods must have approved since it gave me an amazing sunset on approach into Barcelona.

sdr

So it looks like I’m on the right track. #DigitalNomad – step 1, check.

 

All roads lead to England

In conversation with someone today about how complicated it is here with registering a motorhome + small car + trailer, and going through the yearly updates on those, and not having a fixed address in Spain, and paying tax on absolutely everything, the answer became clear:

Buy a (left hand drive) motorhome, Smart car and small trailer in the UK!

It’s entirely possible, and sooooo much less hassle. I won’t be asked to move those to Spanish or other plates, as I will never be more than 6 months in a given spot.

Genius. It’s quite a relieve to think I won’t have to deal with the Spanish paperwork no more. And as it happens I spotted a great motorhome in Leeds, fully kitted and ready to go, with everything I need, at *just* over my budget (always is, isn’t it?). Seeing that I am in the UK this weekend, I think I can work in a stop in Leeds. Done, flights changed. (And I never knew I could fly Leeds Bradford Airport to Heathrow, to get my Barcelona flight.)

To ensure I remain entirely sane, I’m hiring a local lawyer to assist with the private sale of my car (now advertised online locally and attracting some attention).

Yes, it’s that complicated.

 

A slight delay. Really, in Spain?

I went through the motions of trying to sell my car with a local “we buy any car.com” company. I know, I get less money, but in theory, they take care of all the paperwork and make it easy, right?

Hmm. It turns out I’m missing *1* piece of paper, which is not really required, as without it, I could not get the other papers I have, but they insist. Why? Because that’s what it says on their forms. And then I got so annoyed with them insisting on this, and telling to go to the traffic ministry to get it, that I told them to cancel the sale.

Upon which they said they can’t, of course. Well, I can.

I also took the motorhome I had my eye on for a test drive. It’s a lot noisier than my car! But that’s to be expected. It’s a nice drive, but I’m concerned about the van’s age and plenty of signs of rust on the exhaust, undercarriage and supporting legs. I’m not sure now about this van.

Also, I need to consider if I’m putting this in my brother’s name, or transfering my local NIE registration to a friend’s address (as I won’t technically have an address) and all that jazz.

So yes, June is looming but now that I’ve made the decision to not rush into the motorhome, and pushing my car for a quick sale, I feel much better. With the help of my friend Ruben here in Castelldefels we’re going to list the car online and I’ve also contacted a UK company that specialises in buying Spanish cars. At the very least I’ll get a couple of grand extra, which can go towards the motorhome costs.

Two steps forward, one step back!

The Decision Has Been Made

I’m going to get rid of all the stuff in my apartment life and move into a motorhome, and see how long I enjoy that before I crave for my own place again. The plan is to tour Europe, and work from the motorhome and enjoy the freedom of movement I’m unsure I’ll get post Brexit.

A combination of factors drove me to this decision but it’s mainly something I’ve always wanted to do, and really, why postpone!

From a business perspective, it’s obvious that a Spanish business is not the way to go. So I’m looking at the more innovative Eastern European countries and I’m likely to make Plodiv, in Bulgaria, my official base. It’s tax friendly, easy to create a business there and in closer proximity to our developers who are based in Serbia. So Bulgaria it is.

The car is being sold. I have it till tomorrow only. I thought I’d really be sad about it, and it’s a super car etc, but hey, it’s only a car. If I miss it too much, I’ll get another! For now, it’s an assett turned to cash that I can use to finance the motorhome.

I’m trying to get a Spanish registered motorhome and small car, as I have local papers but wow, paperwork. I won’t moan too much but I’ll celeberate when it’s all in place.

The one I have my eye one is great, albeit a bit on the old side, but it’s sort of a perfect size/space/layout combination for me, and of course, Olli. He’s in, already, as you can see.

sdr

The plan is to set off mid- June. I have a lot of stuff to get rid of, and a ton of things to sort out. I’ll keep you posted here.