The romantic motorhome road trip…picture it!
The love of your life beside you in a motorhome and an open road ahead! Miles and miles of stunning scenery with everything you need to live comfortably tagging along behind…perfect!
Closeted away from life’s distractions and irritations. No-one else on your minds but each other. Your smiles lighting up the darkening sky as you pull into a parking spot and settle down for the evening in the motorhome – so romantic!
Do you open the wine and light the candles?
The driver must remain sober – you may be asked to move on. And, if like us you only have one driver, they may be tired and overwhelmed by keeping a bulky vehicle safe along those gorgeous little side roads.
A romantic motorhome meal prepared and served by a sympathetic partner should calm their nerves!
But what if they’re sick of basic cuisine? And what if an equally tired navigator is sick of cooking in a restricted space? Do you give up the off-site camping spot and seek out a takeaway – or try to sound enthusiastic about motorhome kitchen food?
Yes, why not soup again?
You can share the cooking of course. And then the clearing up too. If you’re not on a site, don’t leave that until the morning! You may need to move on in a hurry during the night – pots and pans flying off the worktops equals more stress!
Except sharing a motorhome kitchen can lead to ribs getting elbowed and feet getting trod on.
That’s not the sort of cuddling up either of you had in mind! In an already tight and tired atmosphere, a misplaced limb can lead to a sigh or tut, which inflames matters further.
There are no “other rooms” where one of you can sit for a few minutes. Taking a walk round the block may not be a good idea if you don’t know the terrain. So, there you are, in a confined space feeling irritated and tired.
When the road has been a difficult one, the miles have been measured in hours due to traffic or wrong turns, it is hard to remain upbeat, let alone romantic. If the “wrong turn” was a navigational error or a misheard direction then blame, guilt or self-defence can all add to the tension.
Romance flies out of the window faster than a downhill motorhome!
One word can be the spark that blows the whole thing up! Even a well-meant word can be taken the wrong way if the tone is not perfect.
Once a row has started, it is so difficult not to get caught up in it! Defending yourself, justifying your position, trying to be heard.
But you’re both tired, so how about bed? Now that’s romantic! Snuggling up under blankets in your motorised gypsy wagon.
Your romantic resting place must be pulled out and made up if you don’t have a fixed bed. Or the fixed bed cleared of all the stuff that wouldn’t fit into the cupboards –
” Why did you bring this?” “Couldn’t you have left those at home?”
More work! More tripping over each other! By the time you get into bed, you’re tense and barely speaking.
And “barely speaking” is so much better than a row! Words can cut to the quick and “sorry” will not repair the damage. Who wants to cuddle up to someone whose comments have hurt them?
The sexy nightie suddenly seems like excess baggage!
If, like us, you have an over-cab bed to use, then that cuts out some of the preparation. But believe me, getting up that steep ladder and rolling into the bed without putting a hole in the ceiling is one of the least sexy moves ever!
Romantic it is not!
So how does time in the motorhome remain romantic – or at least civil – when practicalities get in the way?
The limited space is the biggest trigger.
You can hear someone rolling their eyes!
If a row is brewing, one of you has to step out of the argument. Someone must make the first move! Don’t spend the whole road trip in a sullen silence. Be that person – it takes two to argue after all! Although someone who refuses to engage in a discussion is equally aggravating!
If the atmosphere has become heated, the adult thing to do is to acknowledge each other’s standpoint and perhaps find the “no-man’s land”. Not easy, but you’re going to be sharing this small space for a while.
Keeping your tongue under control is an art but erasing words spoken in anger is impossible!
Now is not the time to open your Pandora’s box of complaints. Best leave that little time bomb sealed!
Summon the courage to say “I’m tired, I’m getting wound up”. “How about we agree to park this”?
Just Get Out!
Getting out for an hour or two during the day may help. Walking amongst the greenery of mother nature can calm the nerves and soothe the troubles of the journey.
If it’s too dark to walk in unfamiliar territory, try star gazing. Listening for wild creatures – the bark of a deer or fox, the snuffle of a hedgehog or badger – will stop the cycle of snapping at each other.
Can you agree on which radio station to tune in to? Do you have a shared favourite music album with you? Or could you simply enjoy silence without it being a sulk?
If the small space starts to crush you, treat yourselves to a night in a B/B, have a meal out, go see a film, find an attraction to visit, climb a mountain – anything to remind you that there is a huge world outside the motorhome
Taking turns with the housework or having set jobs rather than sharing a tiny kitchen can help the wheels turn so much easier. Gav is the driver, usually toilet emptier and often the bed-maker – I tend to wash up and do most of the cooking but not all of it. We’re happy with those roles – the stereotypical male/female split but it’s how we work.
Remember why you’re on this journey with this person, look forward to tomorrow’s adventures. Make an effort to understand each other. Accept each other’s right to be tired, grumpy, or irritating occasionally.
And the most romantic thing you can do in a motorhome is listen! Give your partner the gift of hearing their story. Don’t listen with the intention of tripping them up or point scoring. Don’t listen purely to formulate your own response. Hear what they are saying and try to empathise. And expect them to listen to you in return. But that means not shouting them down or interrupting. Don’t expect to always be in agreement – you are individuals. Be prepared to compromise or at least tolerate!
So easy isn’t it!?
Do we get it right all the time?
We have our moments despite both being fairly easy-going. Not often, but it happens.
My trigger is when the van shows signs of breaking down…I have a highly imaginative mind and can picture the worst of trouble. An odd noise, a squeak, a shudder – they all sound or feel expensive and dangerous. Oddly when it does break down, I am fairly calm. I am the practical one who would arrange extra cat sitting cover and think things through. It is the unknown element before the event that my imagination plays with. And saying “don’t worry” never works! It kind of annoys me!
A romantic motorhome is filled with gratitude!
I try to defuse my spiraling thoughts by fixing my attention on the surroundings. Stopping the “what-if-it-breaks?-wasn’t-my-fault!-don’t-take-it-out-on-me!-I-didn’t-mean-that!-why-did-I-say-that?-what-an-idiot-I-am!” whirlwind by appreciating the countryside or making words (rude ones maybe) out of number plates.
Gratitude is a gentle slap if I start to feel anxious or cross…I remember how fortunate we are to have a motorhome to break down! It took hard work to buy her – that money did not come easily. And I am grateful to be where I am with who I’m with.
After all, times spent in the motorhome counts as some of our most romantic. The mountains unfolding in front of us. Stopping to enjoy a brew (tea not Tennant’s lager!) beside a beautiful lake, a whispering forest, on a windy cliff top…darn it, even Tesco’s car park…can remind us of why we are together.
We particularly enjoy sitting with the door open on a warm evening watching the sun dip into the sea. Or looking at mountains disappearing into the darkness. Wrapped up outside the van, heads tipped back, looking at the Milky Way from a dark parking spot – mug of hot chocolate and a biscuit. Or waking up to the sound of the sea…or rain on the metal roof.
You know, driving along the M5 in the motorhome…or sitting in traffic on the M5…can be equally romantic! We’re together and out in the old van.
Now…if you really need advice…
Obviously the therapist did not write this blog post – if you need help, try visiting Hobo Gav’s hypnotherapy site.
Our most romantic motorhome road trips include:
Loch Lomond to Glencoe – it has to rank highest as this was part of our wedding honeymoon road trip!
The Horseshoe Pass, Wales – we simply love the Welsh scenery and the slower pace of life in the mountains.
The Elan Valley – stunning!
The West Coast of Wales, LLyn Peninsula and Snowdon
Loch Ness to the Cairngorms…in a vehicle which hates hills??
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