The real nomad journey has begun !
Three weeks with Gus the Bus
Normal people may drive 1200km in two days, but Gus and I did it in… three weeks. It was such a rush that I didn’t give myself any time to write a blog post until now ! I kid you not. Let me show you, here is how a regular day unfolded for us.
7h30 wake up, put the coffee on, prepare fresh cheese and bread (take three slices out the day before and keep the rest in the freezer, otherwise one whole bread will go hard in three days and be wasted)
8h00 video call with Jo to keep up with each other’s happenings while having coffee and breakfast
8h30 do the dishes, tidy up and get dressed.
9h00 surf Park4Night, France Passion and Home Camper for my next destination.
9h30 If the area is quiet, I’ll do my day’s voice-over recordings, otherwise admin and prepare Instagram post or catch up with social media and marketing.
12h00 Close everything up (rooves, windows, doors, gas), stow away loose items, open window blinds, check tyres and bicycle, plug in Google Maps, and off I go. I would drive anything from three hours at the beginning to half an hour nearer the end, and stop at a picnic spot somewhere to make myself some lunch. So wonderful to have my kitchen with me everywhere I go!
16h00 latest arrive at destination, if earlier, there’s time for a visit of the town or special attraction. I’ll find time during the day too for grocery shopping, laundry, diesel fill-up, and the all-necessary home services (by which I mean emptying grey and black waters, and filling up with fresh water). Try not to forget to turn on the gas when I arrive or my fridge will not be happy.
19h00 shower, prepare dinner, watch Netflix
22h00 lights out!
I just don’t know how I keep up with myself. On the second weekend I actually burned out, and decided to stay two nights and spent the entire rainy Saturday reading my book on my sofa. Yes, yes, I hear you laughing at me - what do you mean burned out ??? It sounds like a fabulous holiday, you can’t be stressed on holiday ? Theoretically.
Firstly, Google Maps doesn’t ask you how large your vehicle is. As I mentioned before. And when I started this journey, I opted out of high speed roads, which I soon learned was a mistake, because, as pretty as the back-country roads may be, they are often not much wider than Gus himself. And I’ve already told you about crossing tractors. And when your itinerary says one and half hours, calculated on 80km/h roads, I read three hours, because: 50-60km/h max. Especially when the roads are very bendy or steep.
And I absolutely loooove those roads, there’s a smile from ear to ear on this face of mine here, but the amount of concentration it takes to keep this machine on the road, you can just imagine. So, tired at the end of the day. Good tired !
On day two, I found one of my overhead cupboard doors was tough to open, so I checked the hinge and there was a little metal thing stuck in it, so I pulled it out - and then the hinge wouldn’t close at all. So the door remains open to this day. I did manage to buy a new hinge, but the screws in the existing one just won’t come out. Tough luck. My jumpers aren’t sliding out, so no matter.
The first Friday night, five days in, I decided to stop at an Aire de Camping-Car (which is especially meant for motorhomes to park and do the services) so that I can do the deeds and fill up with water. That’s when I discovered I don’t have a hosepipe ! and I really believed I did. So I had to wait until Monday to find the right town with a hardware shop to buy a hosepipe, which means wash with a facecloth and wipe the dirty dishes and don’t flush the loo…
How about the time when the toilet cassette overflowed and for two hours of driving to the next Aire, I felt like I was in one of those plastic festival toilets, the fumes overwhelming to say the least…
Am I giving you the impression that Iam not enjoying myself and that I regret taking this on ? Gooood. I wouldn’t want you to be envious.
Now I’m going to make you envious.
Every day, my windscreen turns into a giant cinema screen on which a travel show called “On the road in France” plays out for several hours. Rolling fields as far as the eyes can see, a church steeple peeping over a hill, or sometimes a row of wind turbines. Cows peacefully munching away, lying about in groups, brown, beige or black and white. And then a village. Narrow streets lined with colourful window shutters and flower boxes. Picturesque church squares and town halls. In the north, those tudor-like walls and low slung rooves. In the south, earth-coloured buildings with convoluted iron balustrades at every window. One day it’s a forest, dark and fresh and magical. Another it’s green hills and ploughed fields or a scraggy stony escarpment, vineyards or olive groves. Sometimes a dirty old abandoned town. Or an industrial zone, traffic rushing along. A huge quarry with piles of stones and dust everywhere. And, the last few days, salt lakes with sleepy flamingos on one side, and a little harbour lined with boats on the other.
When the movie is not playing on the big screen, I’m living it in 4D. Walking along the ramparts of a medieval town, meditating in a majestic cathedral, visiting an exhibition of ancient coins, a magical day spent in a historical chateau. An evening watching snails grow. A morning underground in a prehistoric cave. Listening to wolves howl at night in a forest reserve. Or tasting wines at a vineyard, cheese at a sheep farm, olive tapenade on an olive… farm. And even foie gras and all sorts of other delectable french pâtés, except for anything made with tripes... (OK, small dampener, I bought those in tins at the farm only to find I didn’t have a tin opener so they will sit until I find the perfect one).
I’ll leave you with those pictures for now. And I’m going to pull down my bed, climb the ladder and let Gus feed me with some more lovely dreams ! Until next time ! Sooner, I promise.
I have managed to do an Instagram post every couple of days with photos of all the lovely places I stopped at. So, please, do follow me there if you can :) you’ll find us on @gaelle.and.gus.the.bus and I do post more about my voice-over life on @gaellegosselinvo
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