It’s an idea we have all toyed with since the pandemic hit and Ireland went into its first lockdown.
But for one adventurous family, ‘The Buggans’, campervan holidaying is a lifestyle they have been enjoying for over five years now — and they wouldn’t change it for the world.
In fact, they have even made a bit of a business out of it!
Five years after they bought their first campervan, the Buggans family — mum Carrie Budds, her husband Malachy Duggan and their daughter Easkey — are about to release their first book, Camping Soul Food.
The bumper 60-meal cookbook was inspired by the Galway family’s travels around Ireland as well as their love of soul music.
The books aims to help re-stir that sense of adventure through its recipes which are all paired with a song so you can dance along while you cook.
Carrie told our sister title, the Irish Daily Star: “We would have camped with tents before as we’re big into the outdoors. So before we had our daughter we would have camped a lot and gone to beaches and stayed in places with the tent because it was easy then.
“Then we got the campervan about five years ago; we always really liked campervans. A campervan was actually our wedding car too, that’s what we’re into. And we love holidaying around Ireland as well.
“Malachy spotted it where he works around town and we said if we’re not going to do it now we’re never going to so we bought it from a friend of Malachy’s and we haven’t looked back since.”
Most people, especially if they’re travelling with children, need a lot of luggage — but Carrie says that although their campervan is small, they’ve managed to pick up tricks and hacks over the years that help them to pack light.
“It’s a small campervan but it’s perfect for a family of three,” she says. “It would sleep two really comfortably as the two front seats would pull out into a bed.
“But we’ve also bought an awning which is kind of like a standalone tent that is the height of a person so you can stand and it’s kind of compartmentalised — there’s a little patio part and then it’s sectioned off into a bedroom and we have an inflatable mattress for that so between us there’d be one sleeping outside and two inside.
“It’s really comfortable, you’d get a brilliant night’s sleep.”
The best part about owning a campervan, though, says Carrie, is the freedom it gives you.
“You’ve so much freedom with it. In the last 12-18 months, though we haven’t been able to leave Ireland, we have been able to go to lots of places,” she says.
“During the pandemic, when you were only able to travel within your own county, we did day trips around Connemara or within Galway. Then when lockdown lifted we went to loads of different places. We went down to Mountshannon which is in Clare, we went down to Leitrim — we did a big trip for about two weeks which was brilliant.
“We had great weather. There are outdoor heated swimming pools around Ireland that we didn’t even know existed which are brilliant, you could be in Spain.”
And while the pandemic has changed things slightly, Carrie and Malachy are still planning a trip this July.
“Before, we would have been very fly by the seat of your pants but that’s a little different in the pandemic as obviously restrictions impact the campsites so we have to book everything in advance,” she says.
“But we found this place, Lakeside Holiday Park in Mountshannon, that we really fell in love with so we are heading there in July.”
As for their book, which is available to pre-oder now in A5 hardback at Indiegogo, Carrie says their inspiration came from wanting to eat well themselves.
“I’m a personal trainer in my past life so I would be very conscious that we weren’t just eating meat, like burgers, and pastas which we kind of had been doing,” she says.
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“But then we started experimenting with different stuff; you’re always near a shop so you can pick things up, and make things a bit more fun.
“We had said, we should really write all this down and stick it in a book — even all the hacks and little things you pick up as you do this kind of travelling. Over the years you start to pick up little things that you realise, ‘okay, I don’t need to take the kitchen sink with me’.
“So that was the inspiration and then Malachy found songs he loves — we’re into soul — that were perfect for that.”