There and back again
A 5,000 km road-trip from Lithuania to Ireland and back in 10 days is pretty tough going. Especially when you’re living, eating and sleeping in a Ford Galaxy. But it was necessary. Having left Ireland in May with just summer clothes and the bear minimum of possessions, we needed a trip home to collect some winter woollies and other belongings.
When we packed the camper van back in May and stored away most of our stuff I wondered how I would survive with such few items. To be honest, I hadn’t really missed anything all that much. While we were on the road we definitely had all that we needed. But now that we’re were back on terra firma I was really starting to miss my kitchen equipment and my cookbooks. I was also getting a bit chilly in my shorts!
We debated whether to drive home in the camper van or in the car. Both had advantages – the camper is much larger and would fit more stuff. It would also be more comfortable for eating and sleeping along the way. The car would be much more economical to run, would cost less on the ferry and could go faster as it was smaller and lighter.
In the end we opted for the economical option – even though the car is smaller we reckoned it would still accommodate all that we needed. As a people-carrier the Galaxy has a high back and all the seats come out, so it’s actually quite a large space. We could sleep comfortably lying in the back on the way over, but we’d have to sleep upright, aeroplane style, on the way back as the boot would be packed tight.
The trip home was pretty uneventful. It was exciting to be back on the road again, eating simple picnic fare, listening to music and seeing new places. We arrived in Ireland to a glorious day – 20 degrees during the summer is rare, but in early October it’s unheard of! After a quick catch-up with family and friends it was off up to the attic to start on the packing.
The hardest part of the trip by far was deciding what to bring and, more so, what not to bring. We needed winter clothes, we both missed our books and I was longing for some of my kitchen equipment. We rarely watch TV but we enjoy movies, so we reckoned we’d bring the TV and DVD player. After that, there was little more we needed for now as the house we’re living in is fully furnished and equipped. However, there was a huge amount of stuff left.
Much of it we would need at a later point when our house was ready – soft furnishings, lamps and ornaments, bedding, towels and such like. But there also seemed to be a lot of “clutter”. I’m a girl who always has a spare of everything in stock and never passes a three-for-two offer, so there was a full box of shampoos, conditioners, cotton balls and other grooming items. There were the items of make-up and perfume that I had elected not to bring in my initial “capsule” vanity bag. If I had survived 5 months without this stuff, did I need it at all?
Then there were all the memorabilia items – boxes upon boxes of photos, medals won when I was a kid, my mother’s hand knit jumpers and the guitar that was once an extension of my arm but that hadn’t been out of the bag in years. These were items that I didn’t want to get rid off, but I didn’t need to bring them – not for now, at least.
The first half-day in the attic was spent agonising over what to bring, what to continue to store and what to purge. Then, as time got short, we finally got cracking on packing boxes and stacking them into the car. The Galaxy had far more capacity than we anticipated and we managed to squeeze in some items of furniture along with all clothes, books, electricals, crockery, cutlery, training equipment and various sundries. The boot was literally packed to the rafters!
The ferry crossing back to France was unpleasant due to bad weather and I suffered travel sickness for the first time in many, many years. When we rolled off into a rainy France I was still feeling peaky and was praying that we would not get stopped by customs. We didn’t have any contraband, but it would have taken hours to unpack and open all the boxes to prove that this was the case. Thankfully, we passed through without incident. We decided to push for the France-Belgium border before sleeping and thought we were doing well until we realised that I had set the SatNav (GPS) incorrectly and we’d actually been heading south and not east for a few hours. Arūnas didn’t speak for quite some time!
Sleeping in the front seats wasn’t much fun, especially as the boot was so packed we couldn’t roll the seats back more than a few inches, but we did manage to get some sleep. Our hearts sank when we got stopped on a rainy back road in Poland by a Policeman looking for smuggled cigarettes. Whatever about unpacking the car in the ferry port customs area, unpacking in the black of night and in the lashing rain at the side of the road in Poland was not going to be fun. Thankfully, the guy took one look and the collection of stuff jammed every which way in the boot and let us go on our way.
Arriving back in Lithuania we both felt like we were home again. The leaves were turning brown, the sun was beaming nd the countryside looked phenomenal. We were back to our simple, uncluttered life (with a bit more clutter in tow!) and, now equipped for the cold winter to come, we were perfectly content.