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Expert Explorers: Travelin' Tortuga

June 27, 2014

This week, the team at Pegasus Finance were lucky enough to interview Rick Howe, one half of the Travelin’ Tortuga expert travel blog. The site documents Rick and Kathy’s motorhome travel across more than fifty countries, complete with unique anecdotes and motorhoming knowledge acquired on the road with their Tiger truck – and we couldn’t wait to find out more about these expert explorers. We’ve tapped into Rick and Kathy’s wealth of travel experience to find their essential travel tips, and what they’ve learned along the way. Let’s get down to it.

Expert Explorers: Travelin' Tortuga - Rick & Kathy

How and why did you decide on a motorhome as your chosen form of transport?

We like to move around a lot, staying in one place for only a few days at a time. Travel like this is so much easier in a motorhome than a caravan (trailer to us US folks). We feel that the more frequently you like to move your home on wheels, the more the advantages of a motorhome outweigh those of a caravan. We’ve traveled in four motorhomes during our 12-1/2 years on the road and would never consider changing. However, there are many considerations and everyone’s individual situation is different. We have no trouble understanding why someone with different priorities or needs might be better served by a caravan.

What’s it like living on the road, full time?

We just love our life on the road! The total freedom to go where we want, when we want is a wonderful gift. We literally can wake up in the morning and decide what to do that day; move on, stay where we are, leave one country to go to another… just about anything we can think of is possible for us. We have taken our motorhome to more than fifty countries on five continents and more are around the corner. Not only could we not afford seeing this much of the world traveling any other way, it just isn’t as good any other way. Not choosing to maintain a fixed residence somewhere is one of the main reasons why we can afford to travel as we do. It is also a very freeing experience to not be worried about what is happening ‘back home’ when we are out traveling.

There are many considerations and many things people must think about before embarking on a journey like ours and full time life on the road, with no fixed home anywhere, is not for everyone. When you add in all the same normal dynamics of two people living together anywhere, it can be a challenge. We have met many couples on the road, both in the US and here in Europe, where one or the other person would love to travel more, but their spouse or partner wants to return ‘home’ more frequently. The reasons vary, but children or grandchildren are high on the list, along with parents needing care, gardening, hobbies or just the feeling of being rooted somewhere that most people like.

Where’s your favourite destination you’ve visited in your motorhome?

We love finding out-of-the-way places that are not on the tourist map, so to speak. We love being surprised by places we go to and learning from what we find when we get there. As a result, our list of favorite places is likely to be different than someone else’s; but here goes.

  1. Turkey, a marvelous country to travel in that combines everything you could ever hope for in one location – physical beauty, variety of landscape, extraordinary history and the sites and museums that let you really experience it, and the most friendly, welcoming people we have ever encountered.
  2. Colombia, South America, an amazing country with an undeserved and long out-of-date reputation for being dangerous. Its strengths are extraordinary natural beauty and the second most (a very close second) friendly and welcoming people we have met anywhere. Added points for being such a wonderful surprise to us. I must also add that neighboring Ecuador and Peru are not far behind on the favorites list.
  3. We could actually list many places in North America on this shortlist, but must place Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Canada at the top. Once again, great physical beauty and friendly people top the reasons for our feeling the way we do. Great sweeping landscapes and seascapes are high on the list of attractions in both places.

Expert Explorers: Travelin' Tortuga

As ‘on the road’ experts, what are your top tips for people new to motorhoming?

Our advice to people starting out in motorhoming is two-fold. First and foremost, think long and hard about the kinds of places you want to go and then do lots of research on the type of vehicle that will best take you there. Front wheel or rear wheel drive, four wheel drive, ground clearance, solar power, battery capacity – all are important factors to consider. Do you want to always park in campgrounds with electricity and water close at hand, or do you want to go further afield and be able to stay on your own wherever you want to be? It’s all possible – you just want to try to decide what you want to do before you lock yourself into a choice of vehicle that may be less suitable than you’d like. All motorhomes are a series of compromises. You just want to try to match up what you think you need or want with a vehicle that offers those particular features.

Second, select the smallest possible vehicle that you think you can be happy in and then buy the next model smaller. Most motorhomes on the road are larger than they need to be. This is true both in the US, where the motorhomes tend to be very large, and here in Europe where they are much smaller – but then, so is everything else: roads, parking lots, camp sites, etc. Driving a motorhome anywhere can be a tiring, worrisome experience for anyone; the larger it is, the more true this becomes and the more you end up limiting your choices of destination. Don’t think only about comfort when you are camped, but also about ease of driving, parking, turning around when you make a mistake or change your mind; all these things are important.

 

If you fancy becoming a motorhome explorer in your own right, Pegasus Finance can help. We’re specialists in motorhome finance, and we work with lenders to find you the best deal around. Already got a price in mind? Not a problem – try out our handy motorhome loan calculator to see how much you could save.

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