RETIREMENT hasn’t slowed down engineer John Dickinson as he prepares for a year-long adventure travelling the world in his motorhome.

John Dickinson, from Ulverston, spent a career in engineering. He spent the last 16 years working in various roles at Gilkes in Kendal.

He took early retirement in October 2017 and then worked part time at Booths, Milnthorpe, for a year or so.

Then it struck him that he had been working for 48 years, surely there was something else in life? So he retired again and renewed his love of travelling. Now he and his partner Wendy are planning a year-long trip overseas... in their motorhome.

Here’s what he had to say.

“Almost immediately after I decided to retire for good, I booked a trip to Northern India, then a year later one to Southern India with a visit to Berlin in between.

“I found volunteering as a driver at Age UK very rewarding too but my lust for travel had been rekindled. As soon as I passed my driving test when I was 18 I was planning driving tours of France, Switzerland and further afield.

“Aged 22 years I resigned from my job, spent £400 on a battered Transit van and, along with a friend, spent three months and just £450 driving to Greece and back.

“Fast forward 44 years and I met Wendy. We had so much in common including travel. Wendy had already visited Mexico, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Australia (twice!).

“We bought a very small, 22-year-old motorhome just before the first lockdown and enjoyed a scenic two week drive in the Scottish Highlands.

“Just three weeks after our return home we bought a slightly larger vehicle with its own ‘facilities’ and managed a six-week trip to Italy in-between lockdowns. The travel bug had truly bitten again and the freedom and security of our own ‘bubble’ on wheels was the driver for planning a new future together.

“So in autumn 2020 we prepared and planned for a year-long trip which involved putting our belongings in storage and moving into a much bigger motorhome for our adventure. Of course Brexit caused some disruption but there are still many beautiful non-Schengen countries to visit when Europe reopens, hopefully in the summer of 2021.

“Various routes were planned but the uncertainty of Covid delayed a final decision except that we want to be somewhere warmer, probably Greece and Turkey, for the winter months. We read many blogs of other people who had travelled extensively and determined that, once the motorhome was purchased, our budget would be the sum of our state pensions and not a penny more!

“We will have to give up our lovely flat as no landlord wants an absentee tenant. Equally, if you own your home, the insurance company are unlikely to offer cover for a home that lies empty for more than three months. What about prescriptions!?

“Legally you are allowed a maximum of three months at one time and, if you are away for more than three months, you are automatically taken off the doctor’s list. We would also need to have dental and eye check-ups. Can we get vehicle insurance, breakdown insurance and personal travel insurance for a potential 365-day trip? Where will we stay, empty the WC, eat, get diesel and LPG. More importantly, what will it all cost!?

“We’ve spent hours, days, weeks and months searching the internet, reading books and blogs and there is plenty of information out there - but often conflicting. Like many others before us we are writing a blog so that friends, relatives etc. can follow our travels and (mis) adventures but also to record the issues and costs of the trip. We would love to enthuse other travel maniacs and pensioners that it IS possible on a state pension and at our joint ages of 136!”

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