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One camera, one camper van, one driver with a deep passion for natural world

Noel Campion takes his motorhome on a photographic tour of Ireland

One of the best things about using a motorhome for me is how self-sufficient I am when I head away for a day, weekend or holiday in Ireland. It’s my tiny home on the move with all the mod-cons of modern life so I don’t feel like I’m roughing it. I have all the creature comforts including the basics like a toilet, a shower and hot water as well as cooking facilities with a gas hob, grill, and oven.

Having a small home on wheels doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the luxuries. My motorhome is over twenty years old but still comes with all the mod-cons including double beds, a separate lounge area, kitchenette, and thanks to solar panels on the roof, electricity.

I am able to charge all my laptops, tablets, phones and electronic devices without having to hook up to the mains electricity.

This means I have the freedom to roam and park anywhere and still have all the conveniences of modern living.

The freedom to explore

You are genuinely your own tour guide when you have your own motorhome. While each voyage may have a time limit, your itinerary is never etched in stone. Do you have a favourite coastal camping spot? Stay a couple of days longer. Do you have a hankering for some interior exploration? Take a road trip away from the coast. It is entirely up to you to make your decision.

While I love being able to go to a hotel or B&B for a treat, I don’t have to book anything when I travel in the motorhome. You can simply head in a direction and stay where you like without too much thought or planning. Sure, some caravan parks need reservations at peak periods, but for the most part, especially while wild camping, you simply pull up to your spot.

A photographer’s dream setup

As an avid photographer, the ability to be able to park up beside a beautiful location where you can step out and capture the sun setting is a dream. It doesn’t stop there because as night falls, you can look upon and amaze at the wondrous stars, assuming you’re in a place that has little light pollution. We are blessed in Ireland to have so many great places to shoot astrophotography and in particular, the Mayo Dark Sky Park as well as the International Dark-Sky reserve on the Iveragh Peninsula. There are so many other amazing locations in Ireland with small amounts of light pollution that make it easier to see constellations, planets and meteor showers in all their glory.

Check out darksky.org to see all the best places.

One of the best feelings is waking up and looking out the windows of your van as the sun rises.

I love these early morning starts and many of my best memories with my camera are when I’m out early before the sun comes up to find the best spots to see the sunrise. It’s so incredibly peaceful and serene. The magic of dawn as nature starts the chorus of birds chirping and singing to herald a new day.

Practicality

While buying a van or motorhome can be expensive, it’s important to understand that it doesn’t end there. Each year, you have to factor in the cost of insurance (€350), TAX (€102), CVRT (€76.86+VAT — retest €35.43+VAT). These are yearly fees to budget for but with older vans, there’s also the chance you’ll have repairs to get it through a test.

Fuel costs are also a consideration since large vans will consume a lot more than your typical family car. My motorhome does about 25 miles per gallon (8.9 kilometres per litre). With the current price of fuel, a 300km round trip from home to Dingle would cost over €60.

While I prefer to park in areas with beautiful scenery and camp wild, there are a lot of great camping sites that offer everything from the basics to more elaborate facilities. There’s a real community spirit in these sites and it’s often an essential opportunity to empty your waste, fill up the water tank and even do things like laundry. Prices range from €15 to €30 per day depending on the facilities, location and time of year.

While the initial cost can be significant, your travel expenses can be as low as you like. A power management and storage system can benefit your money by providing free camping spaces, low-cost parks, and self-sufficiency through solar panels. Let’s face it, nothing beats cooking and dining outside!

I can’t think of a better way to get away from the stresses of life and explore new destinations, beautiful scenery and spending quality time with family creating incredible memories.

Spending time away from home is a great opportunity to detox from social media and tech and spend more time outdoors exploring forests, mountain and coastal cliff walks.

I often travel with bikes on the back of the motorhome, which make it brilliant for exploring the surrounding area. It’s good for the mind, body, and spirit to get some fresh air, see some beautiful scenery, and exercise on a regular basis!