On the road…..Finally!
After 18 months of fervent van building and planning I set off from England last week! Pretty much all of my money and time and energy have been put towards this. It’s pretty surreal that it’s finally happening and I feel like it’s going to take a week or so to sink in.
I changed my plan last minute and decided to get the ferry from Portsmouth to Caen instead of from Dover to Calais. This was mainly because it’s September and Northern France, like England, is getting a bit chilly. Not ideal when you’re living in an unheated van. It also meant less driving which was a bonus.
The ferry got in at about 9:30 at night, I was pretty excited and buzzing to finally be on the road so felt like a bit of an adventure. I drove for about an hour and a half down to a small medieval town called Domfront. There was no real reason I chose to drive here apart from I’d looked on a map a few days previous and it looked like quite a green, rural area. I thought it looked pretty good for some wild camping.
When I was about a mile outside the town I took a small turning off the main road and followed it into the countryside. I drove for a few minutes and then took a smaller road. I drove past a barn full of machinery. I then approached what looked like a shuttered farmhouse. Suddenly a dog started barking. It was at this point I realised I had driven into someone’s driveway! I quickly (as quickly as you can manoeuvre a massive van) turned around and drove back the way I had come.
This happened another three times, although thankfully no more dogs. On the fourth attempt I had slightly more success. I followed a small dirt path for a few minutes until it opened into a small clearing. I got out of the van and had a quick scout around with my torch. It looked OK, it was a dead end and didn’t look like I would be blocking anyone so I parked up on the grass, put up my curtains and had a shower. I was nackered but the thrill of finding somewhere to camp and spending my first proper night in the van was not lost.
I woke in the morning to find I’d parked at the junction of a cycle path the led right into the centre of Domfront. I was parked next to a huge field of corn and a river that looked great for swimming. I was pretty chuffed but was mainly relieved that I wasn’t in someone’s garden or in the middle of a golf course!