IS THERE A PERFECT ADVENTURE WAGON / HOME ON WHEELS?

One of the FAQs (Frequently Asked Question) we get is:

 “Why did you choose Trudy to go on this difficult challenge, surely a 4×4 van or Overland vehicle would have been better???”

And they are right !!  Well maybe……..

**But I start with a disclaimer to explain that hunting for a vehicle is a truly personal thing and everyone has their perfect layout and idea of what is good for them… so bare with me!

Choosing your home on wheels is really difficult, and just some of the things you have to consider are:

  1. Your budget? 
  2. Where do you plan to travel with this new purchase?
  3. Are two or four (or more)?
  4. Will you need storage / garage space for kit (such as bikes / surfboards)? 
  5. Are you planning to be a Weekend warrior / or Full time / Seasonal / Off Road?
  6. Off Grid or Campsite?
  7. Fixed bed or Fold Away?

These are just some of the most important things you should consider when purchasing a van or moho (motorhome). This might be the best advice anyone will ever give you when you decide to GO FOR IT – let’s face it, with prices soaring, this might be the 2nd biggest purchase you have after your bricks and mortar!

Our journey into this lifestyle started with some experience of camping, we would regularly go camping in Somerset with the kids, and as they grew up and no longer wanted to ‘sleep’ in the tent with mum and dad, they would turn up in their own cars and bring their ‘festival pop up tents’ and join us on weekends away.  Our family tent became affectionately known as the ‘Mothership’ and we still laugh about those days now.

But our transition from house to nomadic lifestyle began in 2017 when we started selling our ‘stuff’, and our journey to work out what our home on wheels options were began!!  We originally had the idea of just moving into our car with a 2 man tent and our camping gear, and then we switched to a huge motorhome (6 berths – just in case the kids wanted to join us).  And then all the way back down to a van…… 

Chris’ parents live in Somerset, so on a visit to see them we passed a few Leisure vehicle dealerships and got the idea to start the hunt.  We saw a mass of new and used Motorhomes, vans, and caravans will all different layouts, accessories, shiny bits, blingy bits to temp us in, huge garages under the bed, ladders on the back, some even had snorkels which looked really cool!  But our budget was a maximum of £17,000 and although we could find some quite nice looking vans, I was beginning to be drawn towards a Motorhome, I soon realised I was trying to replace my brick house with a house on wheels, and was struggling to give up the ‘stuff’ and hadn’t fully embraced the nomadic, minimalist lifestyle that we were actually craving.

We also had the consideration that although Chris had held his Motorbike licence since he was 17, he took his car licence 6 months after me, so I have the older driving licence, which allows me to drive larger vehicles and Chris is limited to 3.5T, this meant that we had to decide whether we wanted to risk getting a vehicle which if I were to break my leg or get sick Chris would not be able to legally drive.


Realising that we had to understand what we were looking for, Dad had told me that a fixed bed was a must, my step mum was like me and liked lazy mornings, and Chris is like my Dad and gets up early to start his day – so a fixed bed went to the top of our list.

We wanted 4 seatbelts as we planned for family to come and visit and to pick up hitchhikers.  I also wanted to have a separate room with a sit down toilet and shower – because for me the idea of someone accidentally opening the side door when you are sitting on a toilet or having a bucket shower was not great (for everyone) !! 

I also wanted something with low fuel consumption as we did plan to do a lot of Europe and to see as many places as we could …….

And this is where the dream began!!

But WHY on earth would we choose a 2WD Fiat Ducato Adria Twin?

Well that is very simple!!  My Dad who has had a plethora of vans, motorhomes, bikes, cars and boats, who has overlanded and sailed most of the world, told us that it would be the only vehicle that Chris could sleep in width ways ….  He knew this as he had owned the same model as Trudy for years and loved it – yes my Dad had cracked the Matrix for our happy life on wheels – Thanks Dad !! 

We also chose Trudy because:

  1. Fixed Bed
  2. She is fuel efficient.
  3. Has 4 seatbelts
  4.  Less than 6m long, easy to park in most (if not all) UK / European spots. 
  5.  Has a separate shower / toilet – with a door 
  6.  Swivel front seats
  7.  Dining area which seats 4 comfortably
  8.  2 gas rings
  9.  Fridge
  10.  Loads of storage
  11.  Because we couldn’t live full time in an overland car.
  12.  LPG heating, hot water, fridge and cooking.

We googled a 2005 Fiat Ducato Adria Twin and there was only one, which was at a Motorhome dealership about one hour’s drive away.  So we phoned them and asked if they would stay open a little later, as we didn’t finish work until 5 and they closed at 5.30. It was love at first sight and we realised that she was the one for us.

Trudy was a part exchange for a new Motorhome and although I haggled, I could not get the price down, but instead we negotiated to get a full MOT (All advisories had to be addressed), a reversing camera, a full tank of fuel and 6 months road tax. But she was still £18,500 and we only had £17,000 – so we asked them to hold her for 24 hours, and then we would let them know our decision. 

After a short chat with my Dad, he wrote a cheque for £1,500 and told us to stop messing around as we might lose her!!

As they prepared Trudy ready for her to be collected …. I got the call to go to the hospital…

I made my way to Guys Hospital to donate my left kidney, as I was on the paired living kidney donor list for my friend Kate who was very poorly. So Chris had the joy of bringing our girl home, and we were now the proud owners of TRUDY the TREAD van …….  (If you want to know more about the kidney donation or why Trudy is called Trudy – then let me know and I will write a blog post about it).

But why didn’t we choose a typical off-road, overland, 4×4, truck camper or other adventure vehicle?   Well if we are honest, we had never dreamt of driving Trudy outside of Europe.  Or maybe we might have even considered going as far as Morocco?!

But this idea came up at our friend’s wedding in 2018 (Cat and Dee from Donegal in Ireland), when the Guinness was flowing and our friends asked how far we had gotten?! We knew we had to come up with something big, so – AROUND THE WORLD came out of our mouths and that was the birth of this idea.

But should we have got a 4×4 ‘rough’ and ‘rugged’ off road expedition ready vehicle to tackle this enormous world drive? Well we still say … Hell no!!  Driving Trudy (the most famous ice cream looking truck ever!) around the world (by whatever means) has been the biggest privilege and most wonderful adventure ever! And a baptism of FIRE!!

And although neither of us were experts before we set off, and even after countless borders (each one different), we take joy in the experiences that we face each day, and we are hopefully showing that if 2 hapless and hopeful travellers with their home on wheels CAN find adventure then anyone can!  As now as fully fledged members of this overland community, we feel able to say “GO BIG OR GO HOME”

And of course if you haven’t got the off road 4×4 capacity – then don’t go off the road!! Although we forgot to tell Trudy that, and she still thinks that she is 4×4, and regularly goes off road and this is just one of the reasons we love her and this challenge even more, because this whole project challenges the difference between off road and what overland adventure really is ……. 

It is THE Journey that is important, but it is also the destination too….

We hope this has given you something to think about if you are planning a ‘big’ purchase, but hopefully, this has also given you some insight of why we love to share the journey, its challenges, and how we overcome them to inspire others to try, or to be taken with us as we travel in Trudy together on these incredible and fabulous adventures!!

Thank you for taking the time to read this Blog post. As this community grows we are excited to see more comments, messages and read your ideas for future posts – So please do take a minute to join in, message us and grow the TREAD COMMUNITY.


MARIANNE AND CHRIS

Written 5th March in Kuala Lumpur as Trudy is being shipped to Kolkata in India!!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. @snamb2995@gmail.com

    Great to read this faq blog post! Wondered how it all got started etc. We await Sundays eagerly to watch your next video- keep on keeping on! Cheers! (writing this while in india/mumbai).

  2. @Mister P

    Trudy is an absolute rock star!!! 🤘😝🤘 Plus, she has two humans that live her more than anyone else on the planet. ❤️❤️😎👍xx

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