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I’m Living the Dream – In a Static Caravan

By Sally Dowling March 05, 2016 Lifestyle

As a 60-something-year-old travel writer, I have been lucky enough to stay in top hotels, cosy B&B’s and, on occasion, beautifully appointed self-catering accommodation. But, camping and caravanning have certainly not been on my agenda.

My husband and I have never stayed in a caravan and I have certainly never been camping – 4 or 5 star hotels are my benchmark.

However, apparently, when you get into your 60s, you throw caution to the wind. I realized this recently when an ordinary walk with our dog ended up with us buying a static caravan.

This Was the Most Expensive Walk of My Life

It was a dreary Saturday in January and we had driven to the windswept, but beautiful, Rye Harbour, East Sussex in the U.K.

On the spur of the moment, we thought it would be interesting to find out what a caravan costs. Beyond the money, it would have to be by the river and overlooking the nature reserve.

So, with time on our hands, we thought it couldn’t hurt to find out if, by any chance, there was one for sale.

Within minutes, we were being shown around a pristine 2-year-old van in exactly the right position. We were smitten! Negotiations began and, before long, my husband was fishing out his credit card for a holding deposit.

Over the next 2 weeks, we spent time buying the necessary bedding and accessories. Still in the midst of winter, we spent out first weekend “in the van” being buffeted about in gale force winds with rain beating down on the roof. But we were warm and comfy with double-glazing and an efficient heating system. If we can enjoy ourselves in a February storm I have great hopes for the summer months.

I Can’t Wait to See Everything that Rye Has to Offer!

The park where we are situated has a lively clubhouse, which opens in the main holiday season. We can’t wait to discover its delights. Rye is a lovely town with good restaurants and interesting shops and a spanking new cinema. A weekly market adds to the charm and, since it is on the coast, fresh fish is readily available from the quay.

The icing on the cake is that the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is right on our doorstep.

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

It is a wonderful haven for migratory birds that are attracted to the saline lagoons and freshwater gravel pits. The reserve is run in conjunction with the Sussex Wildlife Trust, and offers a full calendar of events including guided walks and talks.

Friends who have known us for many years are flabbergasted. They never expected to hear that we had joined the caravanning community. Nor could they predict that we could act so impulsively.

In your 60s, you need to grab these opportunities. As my mother used to say, “Some things are meant to be.” As the year progresses, I hope to post more blogs on our experiences and thoughts on being the “lady in the van.”

If you are tempted to join the caravanning fraternity, Park Holidays run a range of Holiday Parks in the South of England. Here you can find out more about the work of the Sussex Wildlife Trust.

Would you like to live in nature? Could you ever see yourself retiring in a static caravan? What is your perfect idea of a home now? Please join the conversation.

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The Author

Sally Dowling has had a long and exciting career in the travel industry and now enjoys freelance travel writing and guest blogging. She is a regular contributor to, a popular travel and review website for the over 50’s. Sally likes to seek out lesser known areas of popular destinations and to stay in small family run hotels. Please check out Sally's website here

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