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About Us

Barry and Margaret Williamson

July 2016

On 25 March 2015, we celebrated being On the Road for Twenty Years

We now have a new website mainly for pictures from our travels - from crossing the USA by bicycle in the summer of 1992 right up to the present day:

www,magbazpictures

Meanwhile this website continues by and for long-term, long-distance travellers by motorhome and/or bicycle. 

Thanks to Rebecca Watts (seen below left with Kevin), who built this website, we now have a place for the images, logs and published articles generated by over 27 years of travel including three round-the-world journeys. We first met Rebecca and Kevin in Alexandroupoli, near the Greek/Turkish border. Taking time out from their home in Australia to tour Europe in a VW Kombi, they had travelled east through Bulgaria anOz_(490).JPGd were about to head west through Greece. We were motorhoming into Turkey for a 2-month tour. We've met them twice since then, visiting their house-on-stilts high in the tropical rain forest above Cairns in northern Queensland.

Our own traveGreek_Wedding_(11).jpgls together started in 1987 whilst we were both teaching in higher education in West Yorkshire. See also Barry's review of the recent book celebrating 60 years of the College at which Barry spent most of his teaching life. Margaret's background is in modern languages, archaeology and business administration. Barry graduated in physics, chemistry, education (see our other website about Barry's College) and business management, but always preferred riding his bike, rock climbing and just being out and about, exploring. The photo right shows us on our wedding day in Methoni in the Greek Peloponnese.

For 8 years whilst still at work, we spent time travelling as and when we could. We cycled in the Yorkshire Wolds, Moors and Dales at weekends, or in the 26_Climbing_the_Logan_Pass.jpgLake District, Ireland, Scotland and Wales for short breaks. For longer holidays we rode out into mainland Europe to see how far we could get before catching a last-minute flight back to the UK for the start of another term. We cycled across the USA one summer (image on the left); we rode north through Scandinavia as far as Tromso (returning by ferry); three times in 1990 we took a truckload of aid to Romanian orphanages, crossing the Carpathians to Moldavia; one Christmas and New Year was spent circling India by train; another summer we drove to and from the Black Sea. Work was an interlude between journeys! 

After early retirement in 1995, we let our house to tenants and beganMotorhome_in_Sahara_small.jpg long-term travel throughout Europe in a 27 ft Four Winds motorhome (see right). We always carry our 2 touring bicycles, but also use walking boots, motorbike, bus, train, truck, ferry, plane and hire car. In fact, anything that moves!

We have written about 20 illustrated travel articles for the MMM (Motorhome Motorcaravan Monthly). The text of these articles is reproduced in this website. For many years we acted as the MMM's honorary Travel Consultants in the following areas: Long-term Motorhoming in Mainland Europe; Albania; Bulgaria; Croatia; Hungary; Romania; Slovenia and Balkan Routes to Greece. However, we resigned from this voluntary task in April 2011 following an abrupt and insulting rejection of an article we had written: Halcyon Days. This was the proverbial final straw and led to our Divorce from the MMM in protest at the magazine's increasing  commercialisation and its sexist and racist attitudes.

Since the year 2000, we have also made three 12-month round-the-world journeys, while the motorhomeOz_(322).JPG languished in a farmer's barn. The first (to Singapore, across Australia, all round New Zealand, Fiji, then across the USA) was 12,000 miles, entirely by bicycle. The second took in South Africa, a complete circuit of Australia, New Zealand, California and New York, by car, train, motorhome and bicycle. The third itinerary, in 2005, included India, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Hong Kong and Singapore, followed by motorhoming across Australia (see image on left), around New Zealand's North Island and through 7 of the USA's western states.

The summer of 2007 saw the replacement of both our touring bicHewitt_Tourer_(30).JPGycles and our motorhome. Paul Hewitt in Leyland, Lancashire built 2 splendid new bicycles (right) to our specification under his expert guidance. They replaced machines that had given us 20 years of excellent service, carrying us (and up to 5 pannier bags each) over the roads and tracks of 5 continents.

Motorhome Medics ofFlair1_(97).JPG Cheltenham found us a great replacement for our beloved Four Winds. Specially imported into the UK by Darren, who selected it on one of his visits to the USA, the 26 ft Fleetwood Flair (left) could not have been better designed and suited to its purpose and use.

Re-equipped and reinvigorated for travels (aware that it can have none but the most permanent of ends), we left for another Winter in Greece. Since then, the Flair has taken us on a complete tour of Turkey. Returning through Eastern Europe we found a splendid base in south-eastern Bulgaria at Sakar Hills Camping. Many new Bulgarian friends helped us establish the Bulgarian Woolly Project to help the poorest of children survive the severe winterH_(31).JPGs.

In 2009, following another winter in Greece and a second visit to Bulgaria's Sakar Hills, we had a wonderful summer in Sweden and above the Arctic Circle in Finland (seen right). After the Baltic Republics, we reached a turning point in Budapest in November. South to Greece or west to England, to find an alternative mode of transport giving greater flexibility?

Choosing the latter, we madSprinter_Small.jpge a swift return by motorway for a Norfolk Line ferry to Dover. Motorhome Medics in Cheltenham had once again found exactly what we wanted - a Mercedes Sprinter van (seen left).

We used this van and inexpensive rooms to tour Sicily, Malta and UK_2011_(19).JPGTunisia in the winter of 2009/10, returning to the UK via Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, etc. For the summer and autumn of 2011, the van was loaded with 2 bicycles while it pulled a small caravan, a 5-metre Compass Rallye (see right and also supplied by Motorhome Medics) for 5 months and about 6,500 miles through Norway and Sweden. For the winter of 2011/12, we return to the comfort of the Flair motorhome.

2012 and 2013 Bailey_(12).JPGsaw a flurry of activity as we completely changed our means of travel and the nature of the journeys we wanted to make. The Compass Rallye caravan was exchanged Quasar1_(24).JPGfor a slightly larger, slightly newer and slightly better 2-berth Bailey Ranger 450/2 caravan (see left). This we took to Scotland, France, Spain and Portugal for the winter of 2012/13. In May of 2013, the Bailey was exchanged for a greatly improved caravan: a Lunar Quasar 534 (see right), which gave us a summer of cycling in Holland, Germany, Austria and Slovenia.

Meanwhile the Crafter_(11).JPGFleetwood Flair (by then 16 years old) was sold via Motorhome Medics and the ailing Sprinter exchanged for the larger, newer and more powerful VW Crafter (see left).

For the long winter of 2013/14, the new combination of Quasar and Crafter has taken us slowly through France and Italy (see below right) to Sicily; with Greece waiting over the Adriatic Sea.

Well into our Quasar1_(27).JPG19th year of post-retirement travel, we have no regrets and can imagine no other way of living. Open-ended travel provides intellectual, physical and psychological stimulation and satisfaction. After all, a level of stress commensurate with a constant stream of interesting and solvable problems is how we are meant to live. A traveller has no destination, an idea reinforced by the recent reading of  'The Art of Wandering' by Leon Wieseltier.

In June of 2014 weCarado_(10).JPG returned to England from Greece in time for a lengthy battle with Marquis Motorhomes over a motorhome they sold us which we could not drive! Emerging eventually with our money returned and the month of July wasted, we bought a Carado T337 motorhome (see left) from the excellent Brownhills Motorhomes of Newark. Fully equipped, by the end of August we were in the Netherlands and then Germany riding their splendid cycle paths. And then onward and eastward to Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary . . . and so into Greece for the winter.

 In 2015, the Carado motorhome enabled us to make a 14,722 miles (23550 km) clockwise circuit of Europe staying in 142 places. 2,075 of those miles (3320 km) and 23 of those places were within the Arctic Circle. During that year we were also able to make two journeys by car accompanied by Australians Bec and Kev, the initial developers of this website's structure: A 2-week Tour of Northern England and A 2-week Tour of the Greek Peloponnese.

Barry and Margaret Williamson