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Home Travel StoriesSouth Wales 2017

Epilogue - South Wales 2017

By Ren Withnell

It's time to pack up and go home. 

Once upon a time I would be more than ready to go home. I am not a natural traveller in fact I'm rather a home boy. So why do I travel? I guess I started out when I was younger to prove what a big man I was. To be able to say "Yeah, I've been there and there and here and there." That slowly changed into an appreciation that there are some wonderful sights and sounds and smells and experiences in the world. Even so I would miss the comfort of my own bed and the convenience of my own toilet and knowing where everything is.

A stand up or squat toilet in France
I mean what's not to like about some of the toilets found on tour?

Finally, after much practice and experience I am slowly slowly slowly actually starting to get comfortable just being on the road. I would of course like to have a massive motorhome driven by Jeeves to our next destination while Sharon and I explore on two wheels. Upon arrival in the evening tea would be ready and our bed would be warm, dry and luxurious. Regrettably I'm having way too much fun to be earning the kind of money required to fund that kind of travel.

I am now a comfortable camper, not necessarily a happy camper but I am at ease with the tent and the far away shared toilets and shower. I am much more relaxed and chilled, I no longer require a strict itinerary, a rigid plan to cope with the unfamiliar surroundings. I am not a natural traveller but practice is helping me to become better at it.

Ren grins at the camera against the backdrop of the cast sands and ocean at Rhossili
Look! I even broke into a smile at one point.

The only real issue with becoming a better traveller is I no longer want to go home.

The road from Llandovery toward home is the A483. What looks like a regular main road on the map turns out to be a noteworthy pleasure. On this early Sunday morning without the hindrance of traffic we are treated to open sweeping curves set against a rolling agricultural backdrop. I was not expecting this at all which makes this involving road all the more joyous. 

All good things shall pass and soon enough as the rest of the world wakes up the traffic returns. Our progress slows to an average pace as we get closer to home. Another ordinary Morrisons in Newtown serves up fuel and food and the last item of significance on this trip. 

Sharon is smiling this time as they stop at Morrisons for a bite to eat and a rest
Morrisons - nothing special but just the job for a snack and a rest.

So what about South Wales then? Was it worth the effort? A resounding yes. I had expected to find a few nice places and the odd points of interest but generally I was prepared to find "allright". 

St Davids is a city but in reality it is a small town at best, perhaps a well appointed village. This makes it a very rare thing - a city I would jump at the chance to return to. It has character and is surrounded by a coastline filled with beaches and bays and rocks and sand and villages and intriguing hidden hidey-holes. 

Tenby is not quite as I had been hyped up to believe but once inside the old town or by the sea it is charming. Again the surrounding areas have many quiet nooks and crannies to explore. 

While Llandovery lacks the sea (which I love) I found it to be a happy town in the hills. There's everything here for the passing visitor yet it feels rural, unhurried and calm.

I somehow thought with Cardiff and Swansea that the majority of South Wales would be like being home in the densely populated parts of North West England. We found a lot of space and even more coastline, mostly empty coastline too. I supposed during the school holidays things get quite hectic here but for us mid September I'd say it was spot on. Quiet, but not deserted.

A collage of Ren's images taken on the trip around South Wales
We'll be back I reckon. 


Today we go home. As usual the time has flown by and the fun has come to an end too soon. The only reason I want to call back home is to check my girls and kitten are all ok. Work is not a welcome thought. I like my job but changes in hours and management means it is not the job it once was. 

Maybe this is why we should all retire at 50. We get set in our ways. We hark back to days gone by when everything was so much better. The speed of technology moving on baffles us. New procedures in work do not excite us any more, they bemuse us and bore us.

Really it would be better for everyone if we could just retire at 50. We could make way for the young folks with their fresh ideas and enthusiasm. I could let my tired body have a bit more rest and not force it reluctantly out of bed each morning. The very idea of working until I am 67 just makes me want to cry so I just refuse to even think about it. 

I want the luxury of not having to limit these times of pleasure because work forces a set return date. However like many of us I cannot afford not to work so plod on Sharon, plod on.

One thing I will not miss about this trip is our present campsite. It was functional, close to town but that was about it. 

A vivid red-brown-purple bush brings colour to the otherwise ordinary campsite
This was the only nice thing I could find to take a photo of on this campsite.

What I will miss however is the glorious South Wales coast line. For someone who is not a beach or coast person I adored the beaches that South Wales had to offer. I do not know if it was the time of the year we went but to find them so quiet was a total surprise to me. To get the chance to be the only person stood alone on a pebbled bay or to be one of only a half dozen others on a huge expanse of beach was truly awesome. 

Maybe it is not so much that I do not like beaches maybe it is just I associate them with crowds of people. So give me space like I have enjoyed in South Wales and with that I can find a new love and appreciation of what our coastline has to offer. 

So many beaches and coves on this trip captured my heart and made me want to return to them one day. But my all time favourite has to be Three Cliffs Bay. I could see myself strolling along here each morning quite happily. The ascent back up would keep me fit that is for sure. 

Yes I would happily return here, I would be happy to return to any of our destinations on this trip. Why has it taken us so long to finally discover the delights that South Wales has to offer? Ahh well as they always say better late than never. Now we know what we have been missing we will return for sure. 

Money wise Ren and I are not wealthy. Luxury for us was a couple of nights spoiling ourselves in a Pod. However as the Greek philosopher Epicurus said

"Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance" - Epicurus

And what joy and abundance we had on this small but perfectly formed adventure. 

A collage of Sharon's motorcycle in various rural landscapes in Pembrokeshire
Another collage of scenes from the adventure in South Wales

Got a motorcycle friendly place? If you'd like to sponsor Sharon and Ren for a visit drop Ren a line via 

Not Even Wales! With a storm set to cause havoc across the UK is this day the best day to set out on a camping holiday? Maybe not.
Into Tywyn Finally Sharon and Ren get themselves out of the house and onto the road. They've set out, but have they got everything?
Exploring Around Tywyn Mid Wales provides an engaging, gorgeous and sometimes challenging landscape to explore. With all the sea, hills, mountains, valleys and single track lanes that go nowhere, our explorers are exploring.
Bracing Winds And Wobbly Hobbits Between the rain and the beauty Sharon's riding is creating mixed emotions for her and Ren is getting giddy over a TV programme.
Exploring St Davids - On Foot It is time to leave the bikes for just one day and set out on foot to explore the tiny city of St Davids. The city is small and pleasant, the cathedral is just sheer delight.
Exploring Around St Davids In the land of a thousand coves Sharon and Ren are looking into a handful of them. There's a chance Ren's 500 might not be getting out of one of them though.
Is Tenby Really Utopia? Tenby has been much lauded to both Sharon and Ren but now it's time to see if the reality will live up to the hype. Will Tenby be amazing or an amazing flop?
Exploring Around Tenby Between the endless cute coves, splendid coastal resorts and curiosities there's time for some field repairs. The big worry now is the forthcoming weather.
Spoiled Rotten In Gower Sharon is for once actually preying for rain and Ren is wondering if Sharon is going to kill him. What on earth is going on?
Exploring The Gower Peninsula Considering the day was supposed to be a washout Sharon and Ren get to look around the Gower Peninsula in good conditions. There's only one problem with Sharon's perfect beach - the walk back.
New Friends And Llandovery While the weather is very much against them Sharon and Ren enjoy the day with new friends and a lot of hot tea. They're heading a little North in South Wales.
Exploring The Brecon Beacons After yesterday's deluge will the soggy campers get chance to dry out and actually see The Brecon Beacons? Sharon is bleating out some awful sheep puns too.
Epilogue - South Wales 2017 Once again another trip comes to an end and it is time to return to the reality of everyday life. Neither Sharon or Ren are ready for it to be over.

Reader's Comments

Keith m said :-
Sharon I'm with you. Retire at 50 sounds fantastic. I've been at work since the mid 80's and I'm bored of it now. Don't hate my work it's just I've got better things to do with my life than go to work.
10/12/2017 11:27:41 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Keith M - don't encourage her!!! I want her to further her career and become a big earner - so I can retire and do the things I want to do. I'm 46 and well past retirement age now.
10/12/2017 6:33:48 PM UTC
Bob said :-
I'll be putting my feet up in 7 or 8 years and planning to live in North Wales. South Wales is beautiful, but Snowdonia is breathtaking.
It's often said we live our lives backwards, or that youth is wasted on the young.
Very true, I'm just hoping that I'm not too knackered to enjoy my trail riding when I finally make the move.
13/12/2017 9:27:31 AM UTC

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