When life gives you lemons…make limoncello of course! What to do when the plan goes wrong?

Life on the road is a very much live by the sword die by the sword existence. We’ve been on the road for 11 months now, 5 of which have been spent living in our motor home, Rosie, whilst we travel round southern Europe. We’ve survived relatively unscathed and had our fair share of good luck. Our friends, La Smalaventure, have suffered mechanical failures, break-ins and a delayed start and they are still smiling.


Our luck ran out in spectacular style when Rosie stopped dead with engine failure half way up a mountain at nearly 11pm and in the pitch dark. Fortunately Issy was asleep and missed the stunned silence and swearing as we looked at the engine and found the remains of either the cambelt or timing belt. To say this was not in the plan is the understatement of the century

Once we’d pushed her back down to a place of relative safety and set up the warning triangles, we did the only thing we could do, Doug put the kettle on and I found the insurance and recovery details. 

As I write this, we are stuck in no-man’s-land waiting to find out what the damage is and how long it will take to fix, listening to Life is a Rollercoaster. Well isn’t that the truth! 

So, what do you do?

When life goes off plan, there is only one thing to do and that is embrace it. Try to think of it as a new opportunity. I’m not pretending it’s easy and those who know me will know that this is not my default setting. Even my own husband was heard to say yesterday would the real Emma please come forward. Fear not, it took until about 5pm then she came out fighting! By this time, I was no longer able to contain my annoyance that we were sat outside in the cold with what we could carry and we still didn’t have a hotel room that slept 3 people.

For us, when we have a bump in the road, Doug is the outwardly calm and collected one. I shout, swear and cry before taking copious amounts of rescue remedy whilst I find my big girl pants. Once I’ve got it out of my system, we get the practicalities done. It doesn’t mean we’re not still annoyed or upset, it just means there’s a job to do so we need to get on with it.

12 hours after we’d reported it we’d been rescued by the lovely Carlo and were tucked up in a hotel room. Was it a stress-free 12 hours? No but we were safe, fed and housed. Nothing else really matters. In a week where 50 people were shot dead in Christchurch, a city Doug and I once thought would be home , and two travelling families’ vans, hopes and dreams lie at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, our little bump in the road is really just that.

Even at our lowest point, we managed to find some positives in our situation; we weren’t hurt, yes we were in a remote location but we were safe and extremely comfortable (more so than we would have been if this had happened on a motorway or god forbid in the middle of city like Naples). We had another motor home pass us and ask if we needed help. The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me. 

Plenty of others have mentioned it, but maybe this was Rosie’s way of saying slow down, don’t miss this opportunity, don’t rush home. Mum, used to say to me “if not this, something better”and when I was made redundant someone told me “nothing bad ever comes out of redundancy, it just takes a little time to see the good.” It’s annoyingly good advice and can be applied in all sorts of situations.

36 hours on, and we’re already starting to see the good. Genoa is probably our favourite city in mainland Italy. It’s clean, motor home friendly and has lots to do. We’ve spent the day exploring the wonderful and family-friendly waterfront with it’s aquarium, biosphere and marina, eating good food and enjoying the pastel-coloured architecture. If everything had gone to plan, we’d have missed all of this, after all our plan was to sleep the night and leave the next day.

So just remember, when the plan goes to pot, laugh ,cry, shout, scream, do what you need to do to get you through, but tomorrow’s a new day and one day we will laugh about this. There’s always plan B and let’s face it, when you say it out loud it’s pretty funny that we got stuck half way up a mountain in Italy in the middle of the night. 

18 Replies to “When life gives you lemons…make limoncello of course! What to do when the plan goes wrong?”

  1. I hope you get it sorted soon. I had borrowed a friends motorbike to get to work. He mentioned it would get 100 miles to the tank, On the way to High Wycombe on a dual carriage way it cut out. No petrol in the tank, my friend had left it on reserve. I was miles from a petrol station and cars passing at 70mph. One guy stopped, gave me petrol, would not take any money or give me his name and address to send him something. So thank full. There are good people everywhere

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