Summer Camper Trip – Playa de Aquilar, Spain.

After four nights in the Picos de Europa and a day of hiking it felt like time to move. When we first started camper vanning the ‘how long should we stay?’ was always a question … slowly we found our groove. And, as we let go of the feeling that unless we were exploring or moving we were wasting the opportunity we found our own pace. Slow days, hanging around the campsite are just what we need sometimes. Just like pajama weekends! Now we move when the call to move comes. Of course on this trip we don’t know our destination and nothing is booked so we have the freedom to.

After a few days for the kids to potter and play as Greg and I hiked solo hikes today was a (very) slow day for me. We started the day heading out to walk into the Cares Gorge but I didn’t even make it out of the village! A stumble on an uneven piece of road and I was in all sorts of agony. Deep down I knew it. The fall in the mountains had done some damage. I’d need to sit a few days out, maybe even see a Dr – except of course I’m stubborn. While I’d have loved to see the gorge, I have been to King’s canyon in NT and I know I’ll see other amazing sights in my life. Heck! I sat out my slow day amongst the mountains whilst I read it away.

I have a stash of books on board courtesy of my friend Lix. Last year after camper vanning in Europe she left her stash with me … and some beach towels, shopping bags and linen which we also have on board. It feels pretty cool to be sharing gear! Funny story … I met Lix and co on IG while we were both traveling and they ended up staying with us (in The Netherlands) at the end of their adventure. Our two families got on like we’d know each other forever. They’ve become life long Tassie mates and Lix is one of my greatest confidants. Meh to the nay sayers who think being ‘online’ ain’t the real deal. Plenty of deep friendships start in the online space.

Although in saying that I must admit I’m feeling the need to make a shift in my online presence as I begin to think through how I want life beyond this adventure to look. You know that feeling when it’s time to move on or change things. To honour what’s needed or to commit deeply to something new, I find letting go of something else is always necessary. Particularly those situations, thoughts, things, stories or people that aren’t serving our growth – towards what is moving us towards our future selves. I notice myself getting annoyed rather inspired on IG of late. Why so many ads and sponsored posts?! Of course I know (business and Facebook) but I never seem to see the accounts I want to see. And I don’t subscribe to ads. I have taken to going in purposefully and catching up on where people have been.

It’s the same place I found myself at after last year’s travel adventure. The way life is ‘sold’ and the fakery that comes with it. I get it. Of course IG is a business for many. And I absolutely applaud the ability to create something. But I’ve already bought the idea of life and travel and I want to live it not be ‘sold’ it. I want to see every day life. Actual candid hiking and walking, friends, groups, meals, books, art, thoughts, homes, gardens. You know – Life! Walking, traveling, challenging the norm and adventuring in every day life. And yes I know it’s my issue. It’s not how others use SM but how I use it so the adjusting (movement) needs to come from my end. I’m not the same person that needed to find a way to connect with the world, when I started my own adventure into opening myself up with an IG account. I like/need the way IG connects me with people I don’t find in every day life.

And how I do love my index cards (the little squares), my photo album of these last few years of my life. Behind each photo there’s a story, memory, emotion, growth … I can tell you exactly where I was or how I felt on each day in each moment. My personal journal that unexpectedly brought so many wonderful people into my life. What a ride it has taken me on this coming out of shyness in a public space. And the discovery of my need for creativity, a need I didn’t know existed or more to the heart of it one I’d forgotten to honour. And let’s face it keeping albums, journals, meeting interesting people, keeping up with friends and being creative – it’s kind of a precious (easy) way of fitting it into one space. It sure has been one mammoth adventure. But perhaps I want a deeper way or is it that where I want to share depth has shifted? I’m pondering my intention as I guess we all do from time to time.

Obviously I’ve had a lot of think time here while I sit out this back injury and begin manifesting where to for me. It’s a place that feels like the end of one life phase and the beginning of another. There’s a lushness in creating think space with time out. I’m enjoying opening my mind to some deep thinking about what I feel whilst I’m planted in amongst the trees and the birds. And the dreaming that comes from reading books – both what’s nice and what’s confronting. It’s one of the gifts of travel and time out … the chance to re-evaluate. Better to feel a transition and understand it rather than miss it, in my experience it’ll bite later if ignored.

It’s not all thinky think! That friends would get exhausting. It’s also about opening these thoughts and desires and throwing them to the wind so they can find their way home. Home in the form of a lesson, story, person or coincidence that makes sense to me – that show me which direction to travel forward in.

After their 15 km hike into the gorge my little (big) family arrived back tired and proud with stories to share. My little adventurers had been to a theme park today and they got there on their own little legs, together. In my day of pondering I had tidied the van ready for our next adventure. After a big rehydration drink and a snack we decided to hit the road … to get the mountain driving done tonight.

During our night of story telling with the kiwi travellers we learnt that they had free camped right across Spain. They shared a new free camping ap with us and with our preference for this style of campering we left without a destination. We knew Foz was our next longer stop but we would drive tonight until it was time to stop and camp.

At around 9pm (after a stop for dinner on the road) we chose a beach car park and plugged it into the GPS. Arriving at the car park was all kinds of adventure cosy. There were a few other campers parked for the night. The sky was illuminated by the stars but wandering outside the van was pitch black with a refreshingly cool on shore breeze. It struck me in that moment how precious this time is. This time where I can still tuck my children in and take them off the grid and away from the pressures and influences of modern life. It’s so much more valuable than the big car I used to drive or the investment property we once aspired to own. All that worry I had before we left about what I should do about a career seemed so pointlessly insignificant. In fact, worry almost always is. Something that has smacked me in the face all year. It would work it self out with action, time and trust – not worry.

I cosy’ed myself in bed with my newest (second hand) book Travelling with Ghosts. It was then I heard it. The siren call of the ocean that would be lull me to sleep, her soothing, crashing waves. Spoiler – this book will become a catalyst in helping me unravel how different I have become since living in Europe and why I appreciate it. Something that has been circling in my consciousness for a while.

I had scary dreams during this night, ones that I had to wake myself up from. But I also awoke to the most spectacular surprise, the ocean that lulled me to sleep. Yin and yang. Dark and light. Negative and positive. Seemingly opposite but actually complimentary. There was a time I tried to sit in the middle of my extremes but today in this brief moment on the Northern Spanish Coastline I realised that was never the right path for me. I’ll never sit in the middle but I do know peace exists floating between them. And perhaps I need to examine at which end of the all or nothing is right for the time.

Now, onto Foz.

Buen Camino dear readers, a long one for a 15 hour stop over!

Fran xx

Camper tips:

I’ve mentioned before the camper contact ap we use but this new gem in park 4 night. Seriously will open the wild camp world for you.

4 thoughts on “Summer Camper Trip – Playa de Aquilar, Spain.”

  1. Hi Fran !
    That’s a beautiful and honest post. I hope your back is okay…. rest up. Enjoy those books.
    I just saw your new post come up in my email so thought I’d love to know where you were at. I’ve taken a big break from reading browsing Instagram, something I needed to do and focus on my own things for a bit. It was funny that I tuned in to you to see your feeling the same way! But I’ll catch up on your blogs , I love them. I’m so happy you’re having such a beautiful camper trip with your treasures. We are off to falls for some skiing and snow next weekend

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Howdy dear Sue! Yep coming and going, shifting focus I understand that. It’s such a beautiful way to document a journey and hopefully reach out to others. In fact I think that is the bit I find hard to let go of … it always has been a means of moving forward. Of hooking up and being inspired by people doing interesting things. Along the way I love the journal I’ve created. It’s not a time thing I don’t spend a load of time online but I wonder if I should try and park my creativity elsewhere … try something new. Oh and the trip – amazing!


  2. Nice blog Fran !! Hope your leg is okay and not too serious … INSTA – where would we be without it Fran? – I love my Insta life – I am a bushwalker – fashionista – cook – gardener – stylist, shaman and a wildwitch – follow them all and love them all … I love my Insta fantasy life …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Getting there! Ha ha you’re kind and one of the wonderful connections I’ve made along the way. I love it too … truly. Just thinking I need a reshuffle. F x


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