Well, I’ll get straight to the point about where. Newport, Wales. Nice enough place, but this one isn’t so much about the location but about the lodgings. Here’s a sentence I thought I’d never type: I spent the night locked in a truck yard aboard a rock n roll RV camper. For the sake of my reputation, I’ll clarify that there were no truckers or rock n roll stars involved. So, what did I get us all into this time?
Let’s rewind a little bit. I’m going to go a bit off topic but stick with me, it’s going somewhere. I’ve been following the lovely Jo and Jon over at JWalking for a while. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed reading about is the different Airbnb places they stay at. However, despite having done a fair bit of travelling I’ve never stayed in one myself. Intrigued by some of the places they have stayed and how well it all seems to work, I got inspired. So, sat in the garden with the husband, I fired up my laptop for, ‘just a look’.
Long story short. Something caught my eye and ‘just looking’ escalated into ‘just booking’. Encouraged by Mr THL who loved the look of what I found and promptly devised two day trips to fit either side of our sleep over, I booked our first Airbnb experience. The company or ‘host’ I booked with actually specialises in moving bands, motor sports teams and the like around Europe, but with Covid killing off that trade they’ve taken the decision to diversify by renting out some of their units.
The most unusual thing about this stay was probably the location. The fleet of tour buses and RV vehicles live in a secure, gated yard on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Newport. Most scenic location? Not really. But secure and actually quite handy for the local amenities with a shopping and leisure complex just down the road and Cardiff not much further out. If location, location, location is your thing maybe this wouldn’t be the one for you. Me, I quite like staying somewhere a bit different. Places that make people say, ” you stayed where? ” when you tell them. This was definitely different.
Access outside working hours when the yard is manned is via a code for the main gates. Quite exciting hopping out the car to open the massive security gates and step into this little world of homes on wheels. It’s the kind of place we’d drive past and I’d think I’d like a nose, but also think only people in the industry get to do it. For one night only, I got to be on the inside.
And once onboard, what to expect? Plenty of space and everything you’d need, in a nutshell. A full size double bed at one end and tour bus style bunks at the other, complete with their own curtains to create a little privacy. A main living area with place to sit, a separate area to eat and a fully equipped kitchen. A small but well equipped bathroom and the option to use a shower cabin across the yard. Hats off to our host, he’d really thought of everything in terms of comfort and practicality.
We were pretty shattered by the time we rocked up at our RV. We’d spent the day exploring Cardiff. A nice enough city, although I think our timing could have been better ; we hit it on a Saturday and on the first weekend of the pubs being open. We saw some sights, I’ll say that. So for us it wasn’t too rock and roll at all. Showers, into comfy stuff and relax. A bit of TV, few games of cards. The kids taught me a card game called ‘shed’ (which I think has a more colourful name in other circles ) and I won. Brilliant, because I didn’t understand the game at all and had no idea what was happening most of the time.
I’ve called our RV our rock n roll tour bus. That’s a bit of fun, but also there’s a bit of an idea behind that. Partly because that’s exactly what these vehicles do in normal times; move musicians about. I hope they can get back to doing that again soon. The events and performance industry has been battered by the past year and under supported to get through it. Mini rant, done.
Also, I have my own rock star in the making in the my ten-year-old son a.k.a The Little Dude. He’s been diligently learning to play the guitar for a year now. He’s sticking at it, and he’s getting there. He’s started listening to different styles of rock music from Oasis through to a bit of Buddy Holly. He loves the idea of being an old school, gigging performer. So we packed his guitar and gave him a night on a tour bus… or as close as we could get. Told him to stick with it, he’ll be off round Europe in one of these with his own band one day. I’m a firm believer that making their little dreams come true when they are small gives them the courage to chase down the bigger dreams when they get older.
Our night away was a real boost. So nice to be, finally, doing things again… albeit in a limited capacity with the utmost caution. A wildcard destination and sleeping somewhere a little different was a lot of fun and I think I’ve finally cracked in my resistance to the whole Airbnb concept. This kind of thing might be the way we travel for the rest of this year. I’m not sure about heading abroad and standard UK holidays seem to have shot up to prices I’m not prepared to pay. So we’ll get creative and do what we can , when we can. I don’t mind. I quite like winging it and I’m lucky to have a family who are up for trying all the things.
We had the experience and got to support a UK based business who themselves are getting creative to ride out rough times. Some of their buses and motorhomes are to be seen to be believed. If you fancy a peek at the company and what they do, check out Jumbocruiser.com. The testimonials page is fascinating , these guys have moved some hardworking and popular acts about. A broad range too… from One Direction to Megadeth, The Saturdays to Moby. Quite the eclectic mix. And now they can add a sound seal of approval from Things Helen Loves blog. Bet they’re thrilled.
By the time I hit publish on this post, we’ll be in the next stages of restrictions lifting. I’d love to know what you’ve been up to and what you have planned, lets chat in the comments. Honestly, every comment makes my day.