As we waved to my family outside their house my stomach was a bubble of excitement (or perhaps that was just gas?!). It was finally happening.
Since September, when we first bought our MWB Sprinter van, Minnie, to convert into a camper, we've had to juggle work, learning skills from the ground up, the weather, motivation, frustration, accidents, stress and then a global pandemic. From March until now all I've wondered is if we made the right decision. Rupert left his job. We bundled all of our possessions into storage and moved out of our first little home together 3 days before lockdown was announced. We had ploughed so much money into this dream. Was it ever going to happen?
Even as we were in the queue to board the ferry, even then, I didn't believe we were actually doing it. About to live the next year in Minnie travelling around Europe. The planning, the stress, the 32 Pinterest boards I had created were all finally going to be worth it.
Our passports sat on my lap alongside our tickets, a bottle of hand sanitiser and two face masks we started to drive to the ferry port, a convenient 12 minutes drive from my mum's. Rupert's glee was contagious even managing to push out my anxiety (-"We have to be there two hours early Rupert, just in case.") and finally, for the first time in 6 months, I began to relax. Passports were passed to check-in, tickets checked and we rolled our four-wheeled-tiny-home on board the Armorique.
The ferry was not as busy as it would be normally and even though everyone was clearly thrilled to be going on holiday and certain buzz of nervousness still lingered in between the empty tables that had been cornered off and the 2 meter gaps of hungry diners queueing for a last minute bite to eat. Masks were obligatory and we were encouraged to head as quickly as possible to our cabins.
We trotted off to our cabin ready to settle in for the night. I made a cup of tea (obviously) and we ate crumbly biscuits on the bed, rattling off another long list of things we couldn't wait to do; eat freshly baked buttery croissants in France and gooey pizza in Italy, hiking in Estonia, siestas in Spain - the daydreams of two exhausted but eager travellers.
We had a two-berth inside cabin, so no windows and two bunk beds (£55 additional - there were no options for the £5 chairs and I guess this was because of Covid-19). Pulling down the top bunk I explained to Rupert that there was "absolutely no way I was sleeping up there" as the worlds most unsuccessful sleeper so we pulled the top mattress down on to the floor beside Rupert's bottom bed instead and both settled into a night of rocking and rolling - and not the good kind!
Nous sommes arrivés!
06:45 and what we assume was supposed to be a dreamy, soothing alarm but was actually incredibly annoying was played through the cabin speakers. Grudgingly we both woke up, showered and got dressed, with that odd hangover feeling you sometimes get even when you don't drink any alcohol but sleep on a floor of a ferry that's spent the whole night over-rocking you into a poor sleep. We had packed our own breakfast so instead of joining our fellow passengers jostling for undercooked bacon butties, we wandered up onto the top deck to watch the moment we sailed into Roscoff. It was beautiful, with fresh golden sun sparkling across the water and bright white seagulls swooping across the blue sky. Once our colour was called (they had a colour coded system for returning to vehicles so there wasn't too many people on the stairs at once) we headed back to Minnie, ready to drive off onto French soil.
Driving off the ferry, a final passport control check and we had finally made it. 10 months of endless mammoth tasks and at last we were on French soil, the start of what is set to be the most incredible adventure.