In December 2002 we purchased a CI Riviera 181. We threw what we thought we needed into the van and drove to the Costa Brava in Spain. When we got there we visited a tourist information office who told us that Camping International was open all year round at San Antonio de Calonge, near Palamos. When we arrived there we stayed a month, unpacked and worked out how everything functioned in the motorhome.
During our stay on the campsite I received an email from friends who were concerned as to our whereabouts. As a result of this I wrote my first group email letter in January 2003 to let people know we were ok.
In February 2003 we left the campsite and decided to try wildcamping out for the first time. Wildcamping is a word used by full time motorhomers to describe what they mean when parking off a campsite. It is also known as free camping, or boondocking in the States. This is a great way to experience a motorhome but you have to be very discreet and not look as though you are camping, as neither the authorities or locals residents take too kindly to motorhomes parking outside their houses, or using up all the spaces on their beach car park. However, having said that there are places where it is tolerated.
During the remainder of 2003 we travelled through France, Spain, Italy and the Greek Island of Corfu. While we were there we made the decision to ship our motorhome to the USA. This was a bit of a leap of faith but we managed it and spent 12 months touring the USA, Canada and Mexico, returning to the UK in November 2004.