Ideas for Tonke’s Real Yachts on Wheels (17)

“So far, we really like this feeling – when you don’t have to return to a certain point”

Alexey and Tatyana Mikhailovs have been traveling in a motorhome with three children, a cat and a dog since June 2021. They talk about their lives on Instagram @dom.radugi

I have long dreamed of traveling – I wanted to find myself and rediscover the world. But with small children, it was not particularly possible to go on a long trip. For two years, I periodically studied motorhomes on the Internet, monitored the market and watched various reviews on YouTube. In Russia, caravanning is not developed, so most often people shoot about how they assemble motor homes with their own hands. I decided that this was definitely not my option: I wanted to take a ready-made camper to go somewhere right away, and not spend half my life on assembling and altering the car.

We decided to travel after Tanya lost her mother and was in a deep depression. She did not want to live, and traveling for her was a breath of fresh air and a chance to start life anew, radically changing everything. We sold an apartment in Yekaterinburg to buy a motorhome

Now we still have a plot in Degtyarsk, where we have lived for the last 5 years. We will eventually sell it too in order to buy a house in the south, but for now I want to travel.

Our motorhome cost 2 million 840 thousand, we managed to bargain up to 2 and a half million. It already has everything you need: refrigerator, shower, beds, toilet, stove. On average, our nomadic lifestyle costs 80-100 thousand rubles a month. Previously, I worked as an auto mechanic, a foreman. And now we are developing remote. My wife is a content manager, and I help her write posts, we also develop our social networks. We wanted to film our travels for YouTube, but we don’t have time yet, because in addition to work, we need to pay attention to children and solve everyday issues that take more time than in an ordinary apartment. Also, at first we had savings that have already ended, but we receive child benefits as a large family.

Like all small children, ours do not like to go somewhere for a long time. But we are far from being on the road every day and may well stay in one place for a couple of weeks or months. They walk a lot, and the elder is engaged in the school curriculum. He is in our family school – in May he will need to come to the school to which he is attached and pass the exam in the first grade program.

To date, we have traveled through the entire Caucasus, visited St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, and now we are in Sochi – many caravaners come here to spend the winter.

One of the most memorable places is Dagestan, but when we talked about our intention to go there, most people said: “What are you talking about, it’s scary there!” — and marveled at how we dared. But in fact, it’s probably one of the friendliest places we’ve been to.

If there are entire gangs in Europe that specialize in robbing motorhomes, there is no such thing in Russia, it is quite safe to travel here. Because we have many times fewer campers, and most of them, as a rule, are from the economy segment. And many more are remodeling minibuses or buses, and sometimes you can’t even understand from the outside that this is a motor home. Plus, there are a lot of good parking lots – this also provides additional security. But we spent the night on the highway, and in the yards, and on the seashore, and in a mountain valley – and nothing like that. Only in Adygea there was a rather unpleasant incident, when two men in a car stood next to our motorhome and first drank, and then arranged a shootout. But this is rather an exception.

Until May, we will still travel, then we will return to Degtyarsk so that our son can pass the exam. And then, most likely, we will go to the Caucasus again. We still have not decided on the region where we would like to eventually settle, so we will take a closer look at travels, which suits us best. But for now, we really like this feeling – when you do not need to return to a certain point. After all, how does a person’s life usually go: he lives, say, on Lenin Street, and works on Gagarin Street. And every day he is tied to these two points. He may go somewhere for the weekend, but his entire vacation is limited by the kilometers that he can overcome in order to be back before Monday and go to work. It happens that my wife and I sit in a motorhome almost without getting out for a whole week and work. But even on such days, we can take a little time to walk somewhere near the sea. And on the weekend we can go to some waterfalls or drive 100 km without haste and stop in a completely new place. And also when you visit some sights on weekdays, there are no crowds of people, like on weekends or holidays.

And yet I would advise you to think ten times, pre

And yet I would advise ten times to think before repeating our experience. Our subscribers, having seen photos from picturesque places, write that they would also like to move to a motor home. But what remains behind the scenes is how we walk for two hours to these beauties – and how difficult it can be with small children. In the blog, we are also trying to talk about the difficulties so that people are not deceived by a beautiful picture, but you can’t convey everything. This life is definitely not for everyone. If a person is inspired by a romantic idea, it will break into harsh realities.

Life in a motorhome is sometimes difficult and routine with troubles in everyday life.

For example, a certain supply of water and fuel is always needed. If at home you paid for a communal apartment and don’t take a steam bath, then here all the resources need to be extracted and calculated so that they are enough

Sometimes it’s not easy to be in such a small space when children start screaming, throwing things around, but in general it was the same in the apartment.

People are most often inspired by such stories when they are not satisfied with the situation and life in which they are. And they think that their life will change with the change of place. We kind of thought so too. But in any case, we understood that at first it would be hard to get used to. Perhaps we are still adapting to the new way of life. Now, for example, we have a lot of work and most of the time we spend at home – and in this regard, we are trying to find some kind of balance. Any such trip is also a bunch of difficulties that need to be solved.


From Tyumen to Italy

“Our van has a great big bathroom, a chic living room that can fit eight people, a self-sufficient kitchen and a bed that can sleep four. The only inconvenience is that the bed has to be dismantled, ”the traveler and blogger Alena Semushkina.

For many years, Alena and her husband traveled like everyone else, getting to the place of rest by plane or train. At the same time, she never liked the fuss with booking tickets and hotels – it seemed easier to get in a car and get where you want. In 2019, they rented a motorhome for the first time and traveled to Estonia for a Metallica concert.

You can live in a motorhome with all the amenities Photo: courtesy of Alena Semushkina

“I didn’t understand much what a camper is, how to live in it, take a shower and cook,” Alena recalls. So I prepared food for three days with me. But it turned out that the kitchen has the same stove and sink. Nothing new. In addition, after the concert, we immediately went to sleep in a soft bed, while the rest of the fans went home, cities and countries. And in the morning we went to Tallinn and lived near the Old City for three days.”

Since then, Alena and her husband have traveled almost all of our country and a piece of Europe, riding motorhomes from Karelia to the Caucasus and from Tyumen to Italy. During the pandemic, the couple took a kastenvagen and left for the forest – Alena still remembers how she woke up in the car in the morning, opened the window, and the air was amazingly fresh, and birds sang around. This spring, in a large alcove motorhome, they visited Dagestan – we even got to the main attraction, the dune Sarykum. “The day before it had rained, and the sandy road was washed away so that we literally wade through it. But the motorhome survived – it only got a little dirty.

“There is no such thing that we get tired of the road”

Margarita and Alexander Palgovichi from St. Petersburg have been traveling in a PAZ motorhome for a year now – this is their main and only home. Travel stories on tiktok and instagram

We have been traveling for two and a half years now. Before that, I worked as a manicurist, we even opened our own beauty salon – and now it seems like it was all in a past life. First, we traveled for a year in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia on our own with suitcases. But this is quite difficult, and for further travels we chose a motor home.

Ready-made campers are terrible. There is very little space, they are all the same type, and the interiors there are boring. And since we planned to live in a motorhome permanently, two main criteria were important for us: four-wheel drive and a lot of space inside. With such characteristics, there are only 2 types of machines – PAZ and KAVZ, we chose the first option.

We do not have a place where we would have to return – our home is with us constantly

We stay in one place for a maximum of 10 days, then it just gets boring. Therefore, it does not happen that we get tired of the road: if we are tired of driving, we are standing, tired of standing, we are going. We have been living in a motor home for more than a year, we have traveled 17,000 km. We have nowhere to hurry, we live and travel for our own pleasure. During this time, they visited the Krasnodar Territory, Crimea, the North Caucasus, the Urals and Georgia.

However, there are two major downsides to traveling.

However, there are two major downsides to traveling. The first is when you try some goodies and new dishes in different places, which then you can’t try anywhere else, you start to miss them. The second is when after some place especially warm memories remain and you want to return again. But you understand that this makes no sense, because every other place will bring the same amount of impressions.

There are various groups and chats dedicated to motorhomes – but we are not supporters of such communities. Most often, couch experts gather there, who criticize other people’s ideas without any experience. So, probably, the main life hack before traveling in a motor home is not to join such chats, because, most likely, they will give false information there. It is better to ask advice from those who have been living in a motor home for a long time and have been traveling for a long time. Personally, we plan to create a community of travelers – regardless of the mode of transportation – where people would support each other and help.