JEAN (75) and GERALD (80)
Number of winters living abroad: 19
Jean’s Story: Nowadays, we spend up to five months a year traveling and camping, the rest of the time we stay in our house back in the UK. Gerald worked all his life in the energy industry that has secured him a great pension, which allows us the freedom to live our life this way. We have five children, and they are very proud of us and admire our way of life. Caravan lifestyle benefits of being able to travel and spend so much time abroad.
Recently, Gerald fell ill and had to undergo five complicated operations. One sunny Spanish morning we woke up at the camp as usual. I opened the window to enjoy the sunshine, went to take a shower, and while I stepped out Gerald had a heart attack. That time we went back to Britain following that heart attack he had to have heart surgery. He feels it’s a miracle he is alive.
We are very excited to have the strength to travel again. I feel if we had to sit around at home, we would have gotten sick and might no longer have been alive.
The first time we spent a winter in a campervan we were fifty-seven. Back then, we thought we were too young for this. But we found many like-minded people and have come to love this lifestyle. Whenever we come to La Manga, we feel like we’re returning to school after a long summer vacation and meeting our old friends again. Some, unfortunately, are no longer with us. One of our close friends died last year.
Robin, Jean and Gerald’s neighbor, gets involved in the conversation. Robin recently returned from Australia. He has been living in a campervan for the last twelve years. Each year he spends three months in Spain, other time in the UK and in Australia, because this is the country his son and grandchildren live in.
“Our neighbors back home do not visit us so often,” says Robin. “And when we live in a campsite, we visit each other every day. By the way, this place is a good place to die because everyone knows how to take care of you or help support your partner once you are gone. When someone passes away, all of us go to the crematorium together and then organize a tribute meeting at the pool bar. These stories are rare. Nowadays the camping staff also have a defibrillator, so they can administer first aid if needed, and hey - they're walking again. Such stories do not frighten us at our age, that’s just life.