Barnsley couple travel to Europe, Africa, Asia and America in a Ford Kuga and caravan

Ashley and Megan Lawrence married in Gretna Green and have started a caravan journey around the world. They tell John Blow why the trip couldn’t wait.

Plenty of people have reassessed their life plans over the past two years as long periods indoors have led to self-reflection.

Some will have decided to get married, others may have planned to travel the world when things seem more normal.

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Barnsley newlyweds Megan and Ashley Lawrence are doing both – only they have decided to embark on their global adventures in a caravan.

Ashley and Megan Lawrence on their wedding day. Picture by Brian Konstantinou: www.bkphotography.co.uk.

And they aren’t waiting.

After tying the knot in Greta Green in June, the pair are now touring England and hoping to go on to mainland Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Some acquaintances aren’t convinced about the plan, but the couple are taking it on the chin.

“When we tell a lot of people, they’ve told us how stupid it is,” says Megan, frankly.

The Barnsley newlyweds with their caravan.

“A lot of family members have said that we’re idiots doing it – and we know we are – but we don’t know anyone that’s done this. We want to see the world. Why not?”

She adds: “If it doesn’t work we’ll just go home, there’s nothing stopping us from turning around and coming back to Barnsley. I think we’ll both still be happy at the fact that we’ve tried. If we don’t succeed, we don’t, but I think we’ll hate ourselves for never trying.”

Megan, 25, says her parents were all all for it, too, but it was husband Ashley’s dream to go travelling initially. Megan’s instinct was to settle down and get a house but came around to the idea after the couple had enjoyed other holidays together in Spain, Portugal and Amsterdam.

But why have they decided to do it in a caravan?

Well, the couple have actually been living in the caravan for more than a year, spending part of the pandemic at the Broadlands Farm site in Wakefield and, from March to October, in the garden at Megan’s parents’ house.

But the decision to travel that way is ultimately about cost.

“Honestly, it seems like the only option to go travelling but to be able to do it within a budget,” she says. They looked at alternatives such as converting a campervan, which was too pricey and time-consuming between work, but say “this was the only option to make it happen”.

Their caravan – a Swift Challenger X 850, which is hitched up to their Ford Kuga ST Line – has three separate rooms: bedroom, small bathroom and a living room/kitchen.

“It’s like living in a little flat but just a really, really, really small one,” says Megan.

“That’s why we decided that we wanted the three separate rooms, so if we got on each other’s nerves one of us can be in the bedroom and the other one in the living room.”

Their plan is full of small sacrifices, though, and the couple decided on a low-key wedding. They had stopped off at Gretna Green last year during the North Coast 500 – a route of 500 miles round the coastline of Scotland – and loved it, so made plans to return for their nuptials.

“We eloped,” says Megan. “We did just us two, both sets of parents and our sisters.”

She adds: “It seemed daft having this huge wedding when our real dream was to go travelling. But there was never an engagement about it, it was just ‘Shall we get married before we go travelling?’.

“We’ve been together quite a long time and it seemed daft to wait until we got back. We knew we loved each other, obviously, so it just seemed like a good idea – and we just went for it.”

After setting off in October, the newlyweds visited Peak District beauty spots such as Bakewell, Buxton, Matlock and Ashbourne. When they spoke to The Yorkshire Post in late November, they were in Bath.

Their plan is to spend Christmas in the south of England before heading to France, where they have secured work from March, in the new year.

They will be doing maintenance work on a château, which suits the skillset of Ashley, 25, who is a welder and fabricator.

Megan works in web design and marketing, so can earn money remotely as they travel in between any jobs they find.

After France, they plan to visit Belgium, then Scandinavia, taking in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway.

Megan and Ashley then plan to work their way back down to Germany, Hungary, Italy and surrounding nations.

In 2023 they’re hopeful to be joining an escorted caravan tour of Africa, but don’t know yet which countries they will visit.

Then it’s on to Asia, visiting places such as Singapore and Thailand.

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“I think anywhere we go it is just going to be an adventure,” says Megan.

“You can find happiness in the smallest of places these days. I mean, we both wake up and we have our morning coffee and we sit outside if we’re on a farm or in a city and we just think how grateful we are.

“Every day we’re travelling, we’re going to find happiness in it.”

She admits to being nervous over border closures related to Covid-19 and Brexit complications, but that’s not deterring them.

“I feel like if we don’t do it now, eventually borders will close and restrictions will be in place and we’d never get the chance to. So in some respect, I am pretty petrified about going, but now is the time to try and give it our best shot at making it.”

Visit www.instagram.com/coveringthecontinents to keep track of their adventures.

Their wedding photo was taken by Brian Konstantinou: www.bkphotography.co.uk.