Me & Kates Lazy days camper experience

Me and Kate in front of our camper van

I wrote about the amazing holiday Kate set up for me as part of the listening project.

I shared some of my photos with Lazy Days Campers and they blogged about me and Kates holiday. Its funny to see someone blog about me and Kates holiday and I thank Sue for dong so…

Kate’s plan was to take blogger Ian on an unplugged weekend camping over St. Patrick’s day in Ireland. Ian had no idea what was in store and we loved the look of surprise on his face when they rolled into Lazy Days to collect their camper…

Sue also asks the question…

Here at Lazy Days we can’t wait to hear the next chapter of this great story… where will Ian take Kate “out of her comfort zone”…???

Very good question but it certainly involves going to the far east for a culture shock like Kates never felt before. It won’t include a camper van but if I could, I would… Can’t beat Lazy days campers however… Maybe a capsule hotel would be as close as it gets?

A different kind of holiday, thanks Kate

Holiday with Kate in Ireland

Almost 2 years ago me and Kate took part in the BBC listening project and part of our recording was broadcasted on BBC Manchester and BBC Radio 4.

We’ve been thinking about how to take each other out of our comfort zones for a while and Kate finally pulled the trigger first. So everything was set, Kate had sent her list of things I should bring without telling me where we were going or what we were doing. Some said it was exciting, some said I was crazy…  What ever it was, I did so and without falling to the temptation to find out exactly where by peeking into my parents email (my parents insistented on knowing, just incase. I may have disappeared without telling them a few times in the past).

Anyway Friday with one last blog warning people that I’ll be offline and not to worry. Kate and myself drove off to Holyhead. She told me a few hours earlier that we were going to Dublin, Ireland on St Patricks day (perfect planning Kate). Once on the ferry and remembering how seasick I get, especially on such stormy waters (so stormy irish ferries cancelled the ferry we origianally were booked on due to the stormy waters), Kate outlined some of the things for the day. Mainly go to the hotel, drop our luggage, grab a nap, then head out and enjoy St Patricks day in Dublin.

That night was pretty hectic and although I remember most of the evening and night, it certainly included a 3am walk through temple bar, finding irish people and convincing strangers that the word estrogen was more sexy that pecs (long story, ask Kate).

The next morning after a lovely breakfast, we hit the road again. I had no idea where but we were going south. It wasn’t till Kate asked to use google maps on my phone to look up a place called Lazydays, google described it as a VW Camper hire site. It didn’t sink in till we got there and we were introduced to our own VW Camper called Daker.

VW camper DAKARI honestly thought we were just going to ride some horses and then head to a another hotel, b&b or guest house. But this blew my mind.

Daker had bedding, electricity, a fridge, gas hobs, 2 spaces for seperate beds, moveable seats, a cold water sink, etc etc. It was full of lots of mod cons. I worried it would get cold while sleeping, oh was I wrong!

I made a joke a few times it was like the cover of layer cake, bright yellow and frankly it attracted a lot of people where ever we went. You could see peoples heads turn as we drive by…

We took to the open road and headed to south Ireland. We stopped a few places to eat, pick up some cheese, wine and supplies; then headed to Hook head lighthouse in Wexford. I learned from Sue (Lazydays) and Kate’s conversation, you can pretty much camp anywhere in Ireland aka we were wildcamping, a concept I certainly wasn’t aware, never would imagine of or ever tried.

Holiday with Kate in Ireland
Look how close we parked to the cliff edge!

I got the full effect of wildcamping when Kate parked up between the rough sea and the lighthouse which was already in full action. That night we had maybe too much wine and cheese from Vine restaurant in Wexford; but more importantly the howling wind shaking the van and there was this fear the top which pops up, would blow away in the middle of the night. On top of this, having no where to actually use the toilet in the middle of the night was just too weird! That night, I tracked a total of 4 hours sleep and only 2.5 hours of deep sleep! On top of that I woke up 9 times and my sleep cycle was a joke.

I certainly was out of my comfort zone….! I have no problem with admitting that!

Holiday with Kate in Ireland

Wildcamping certainly isn’t for me, I thought as I sat opposite Kate in the oldest lighthouse in the world and had breakfast. It was challenging waking up and doing the tour of the lighthouse, but I didn’t see the point of leaving before checking out the place we had camped under last night. Afterwards it was a long journey around the River Barrow to Waterford. Yes there is a little ferry but frankly me and Kate agreed it was best not to take the ferry with the rough waters and the journey around would be more fun.

Once we found the camper site, Dunmore East and I could finally have a hot shower, things got better again. There was even sunshine as we walked up and down the small waterfront.

That night I slept far better with 8hrs 20mins of total sleep and about 5.5hrours of deep sleep nicely split up into even sleep cycles. I appreciated being only 10 meters from the toilet block, no stormy winds and there being no chance of the roof blowing away.

Now this is a type of camping just outside my comfort zone but I could cope for a day or so.

Holiday with Kate in Ireland

Lots of things happened over those 3 nights/4 days including losing to Kate twice while playing pool, teaching kate how to play texas holdem no limit poker, talking frankly about dyslexia, writing postcards, ordering off the menu cocktails, etc, etc… We squeezed a lot into those days. But although I’m very very happy to be at home in the warm and with hot showers. It was certainly an adventure which I won’t forget.

I was honestly blown away by the camper van and thankful for the night in Dublin. I know Kate spent a lot of time driving and pretty much arranged everything way in advance. I also know she could have picked some really crazy stuff for me but decided not to. She was a great partner in crime to have on our shenanig-tour

Ireland also surprised me, I was expecting some weird looks but generally it was fine and I didn’t ever feel in-danger from people or the environment. Ok the ferries did make me feel sick and that first night of wildcamping was plenty but otherwise I was pretty cool with things.

Holiday with Kate in Ireland

Of course its now my time to take Kate our of her comfort zone on a holiday away. The concluding half may not happen till next year now, as I think a massive eastern metropolis is required. New York & Vegas was an option but it won’t have the same impact I don’t feel. Nope its got to be Tokyo. I mean I’ve always wanted to go back, so this might be the perfect excuse.

As Kates pillow says… Adventure awaits!

Adventure awaits
Kates pillow she slept on throughout the holiday

Massive thanks again to Kate and all the people I met along the way including Sue from Lazydays, the people in Hook Lighthouse, the people we messed with in Dublin, etc, etc… But biggest thanks goes to Kate for making the effort and planning everything out but giving enough slack to allow for flexibility around my own concerns. Thank you again Kate and look forward to raising the bar soon…

Es…tro…gen!

Kate Country Girl, Ian City Boy

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I was talking to my parents and told them to keep an ear out for the listening project conversation me and Kate did last year. We were told it would be on BBC Radio 4 on Friday night and Sunday Omnibus. But it was so funny seeing the programme information page for it with our smiley faces. Country Girl and City Boy is a fun title of course, and I can imagine which part of the conversation they might be playing, I assume a similar part to BBC Manchester

Why Kate needs a little Culture Shock

The BBC Radio 4 Listening project

Been thinking hard about where I need to take Kate

I’m struggling a bit as she is very adaptable so everything bar a weekend in Tokyo or New York will put her out of her comfort zone.

I happen to come across this piece from thought catalog, 8 Reasons Why ‘Culture Shock’ Can Change Your Life For The Better.

We’ve all experienced ‘culture shock’ at one point in our lives. When we travel to a new country or study abroad or move for work. While the early stages of culture shock can be very irritating and slightly depressing, once you get past the initial shock and adjust to the new culture, you will realize that culture shock actually made you grow more as a person and changed your life for the better.

The key points for me are…

  • It makes you a stronger person
  • It makes you more confident
  • You meet a lot of new people
  • It evokes inspiration
  • It gives you free education
  • You will eventually know who you are and what you want

This is when I started thinking its not about scaring the living day lights out of her, but rather inducing a level of culture shock and that doesn’t have to be just for her. It can be a shared “culture shock” experience.

So with this in mind, I started thinking about places I’m planning on going this year… I still dread to think what Kate has planned for me, but shes been taunting me over direct message Twitter…

Time to up my game…

Me and Kate’s holiday thoughts on BBC Radio Manchester

I knew nothing  till Elizabeth tweeted me with a slightly cryptic message. I only guessed from the holiday reference, that it must be the listening project audio conversation me and Kate had.

The BBC Radio 4 Listening project

I was starting to wondering if they were going to use the audio ever (I even eluded to it), but just like that, it pops up in the middle of nowhere. Early morning breakfast, can’t even imagine what the listeners must have thought…

So you may want to hear the audio? Well you can listen on BBC radio iplayer, its about 1hour 55mins in to the programme (only on iplayer for another 28days). Or you can catch my clipped version on archive.org with additional comments from Alison and Phil (BBC Radio Manchester presenters)

I won’t spoil it but if you enjoyed that small clip, wait till you hear the rest. There’s some classic stuff in there, can’t even imagine what generations to come will think of it.

Kate strikes a pose

Massive thanks Kate for being such a great audio partner in crime for the listening project. Now I just need to find somewhere to scare the living daylights out of her… Any ideas send them to me.

Me & Kate in the national archive?

Kate strikes a pose

So remember when I said I loved the idea of the BBC listening room?

Well after a little tweeting and a couple of emails, myself and good friend Kate have secured a spot on the listening project site and in history. Yes at some point in the near future you can listen to the discussion of us two as we talk about something (undefined as of yet) for a short while. Goodness knows what people will make of it in decades to come.

Some of you might wonder how did this happen? Heck if you read the blog before, you may say why Ian oh why?

I would direct you to the secret of luck or the richness of life.