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Retirement on the road

A motorhome, silhouetted against a sunset

“I want to age vibrantly.”

How Siobhan, 63, traded in her home and possessions for a retirement spent travelling across the UK.


A smiling woman in a bobble hat stands next to a motorhome
Siobhan pursuing her dream
A smiling woman in a bobble hat stands next to a motorhome
Siobhan pursuing her dream

In 2019, Siobhan Daniels found herself in the driving seat of a motorhome, about to rev into retirement and a brand new adventure.

“I sold my home and gave away all my possessions to charity shops – my daughter thought I’d gone bonkers!” laughs Siobhan. “But when I turned the key in the lock of that motorhome, I was crying and giggling at the same time. I had no idea where I was going or what I was going to do, other than that I was in search of happiness. Four years later, I’ve become the woman I always should have been.”

Shifting gears

An unconventional retirement wasn’t always on the cards for Siobhan. After working as a nurse for 9 years, in the 1980s she decided to retrain as a journalist after hearing an advert for a trainee reporters’ scheme run by the BBC. This opportunity led to a successful career as a reporter, presenter and producer on various programmes across regional BBC radio and TV.

But from her late 40s onwards, challenges – both personal and professional – began to emerge and Siobhan grew disillusioned. “As I was approaching 50, my daughter went off to university,” says Siobhan. “I’d been a single mum for years, and I started bragging to everyone that it was going to be ‘party time’! But it wasn’t that at all – I was quite miserable.”

Over the next decade, Siobhan lost two siblings to cancer, experienced her own health issues, and faced new difficulties in the workplace. “I really struggled with the menopause,” Siobhan reveals. “I forgot things, my performance was questioned, and I felt increasingly marginalised and voiceless.”

I realised that I needed to find another way to age and live positively. I was getting older and felt lost.


The answer that Siobhan had been searching for came to her as a spark of inspiration one morning: “I just woke up and thought – motorhome! I’d never holidayed in one, never driven one, but it felt like the answer.”

Life on four wheels

Since getting the keys to her new life, Siobhan has made plenty of memories. “There’s no such thing as an average day for me,” she says. “Some days, I don’t even know where I’m staying that night! My plan has always been to have no plan and go with the flow.”

A dark-haired lady smiles at the camera, enjoying a cup of tea next to the sea
Enjoying the views on the Isle of Barra
A dark-haired lady smiles at the camera, enjoying a cup of tea next to the sea
Enjoying the views on the Isle of Barra

Siobhan’s favourite pitstop so far has been the Outer Hebrides, where she was lucky enough to see the northern lights, while the worst has been the five months she spent parked in a field during the pandemic. “At one point I nearly gave up entirely,” admits Siobhan. “I was just sitting in a van, stuck, and I got really despondent.”

But above all, Siobhan’s experiences on the road have taught her new life lessons – and reminded her of some of the older ones. “I do miss catching up with friends, but I don’t get lonely,” she says. “I’ve learned to live in the moment again – taking time to listen to the birds and watch the clouds. That’s something we all do when we’re young, but I hadn’t done it for 40 years.”

“I also wanted to show people that it’s possible to live with far less,” Siobhan adds. “I don’t think anyone expected me to be able to survive in my new lifestyle – I used to be ‘champagne Siobhan’! But I was getting quite disillusioned with the routine of going out to work just to fill my home with more things I didn’t need. Now I get by with living on my pension and make money where I can by writing and giving talks.”

Moving forwards

Front cover of a book called Retirement Rebel
Siobhan has written a book to document her journey
Front cover of a book called Retirement Rebel
Siobhan has written a book to document her journey

Her motorhome travels might be a solo journey, but Siobhan hopes that it will inspire more people to follow their own dreams. She regularly shares updates of her latest trips on her blog, and has recently written a book – Retirement Rebel – to encourage others to pursue adventure in later life.

“Lots of women I’ve spoken to have said that they’d love to do what I’m doing, but that they’re too scared,” says Siobhan. “But I was scared too! Don’t be afraid to ask for help – there will be a tribe of people out there who are feeling the same way.”

The key, Siobhan insists, is to face ageing with a positive attitude. “I’m not saying to be as crazy as me and get rid of all your possessions and your home. But think outside the box and try to age in a way where you’re living, not just existing,” Siobhan advises. “A couple of women I know have made pacts with their daughters to go on an adventure together twice a year, and I thought that was a great idea to bring generations together.”

“I don’t want older people to fade into the background. Keep having adventures and keep pushing yourself. I want to age positively and vibrantly!”

Retirement Rebel is out now via Vertebrate Publishing.

Your next adventure

Read our top tips for travelling and pursuing hobbies in later life.

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Last updated: Apr 27 2023

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