We are the BETTS family, a British family that gave up the Italian dream, to live a life somewhat less ordinary. We used to think that we were a fairly ‘normal’ family, that mostly did fairly normal things… But we turned out to be a family that woke up one day, in the beautiful Apennine Mountains of Italy, and collectively decided that we wanted to live VERY different lives…. before it was just too late!
“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain
So, in the spring of 2021, we sold pretty much everything that wouldn’t fit into a Defender 130, and began this latest chapter of our lives, as a family of permanent vehicle dependent overlanders, living full-time in a 1998 Land Rover Defender 130 affectionately called ‘Mandy’.
Yes, you did read that correctly, permanent – it’s an important distinction to make, as we’re not going camping in a car, and this is not a gap year. We are living permanently in a Land Rover, and plan on doing it for as long as we possibly can. No fall back, no house being rented out… truly independent world travellers.
During the Covid-19 Pandemic, Mandy the Landy underwent a tortuous transformation from slightly knackered German utility truck, to the bulletproof overland powerhouse that she is today. Well, maybe not entirely bulletproof, it’s a Land Rover after all… You can see the complete, warts and all preparation story right here.
“For those that ask ‘why?’, it is as well that there are those that feel the answer, and never need to ask the question.” – unknown.
The life that we dreamt of, was a life without geographic boundaries, without the suffocating structures and strictures of time, space and the normal adult responsibilities of modern life – NO MORE work, eat, sleep, repeat! We now live for the moment, pushing round the next corner and not knowing what we will find there – always meeting interesting and inspiring people and, most of all, enjoying ALL the wonderful experiences that this beautiful old ball of rock has to offer us!
We sincerely hope that, through our social media feeds, you will join us for the ride and, just maybe, take some small inspiration from our haphazard meanderings and plot your own epic adventures!
“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that god-damn mountain.” – Jack Kerouac
Finally, we have a very simple philosophy – we try to leave everywhere a tiny bit better than how we found it. With that in mind, we are very proud to support and promote the distinguished principles of the Tread Lightly campaign.
Meet the Betts Family
Nigel – a fifty-something, unlikely Buddhist. An Orangutan of a man, who is far too easily led by a glass of red wine and, who will perform tricks in exchange for any wheat based comestible that you could mention. Fancies himself as Bear Grylls but more likely to be mistaken for a grey bearded Oliver Hardy impersonator… Also believes that he’s in charge of the whole affair… but sadly this is simply yet another symptom of his borderline delusional state.
Linda – the 4′ 11 3/4″ blond powerhouse of the family. Powered by a cocktail of the purest form of raw female energy, salted caramel ice cream and bottles of Sangiovese… She is able to solve any problem simply by shouting it into submission before reverting, chameleon like, to a ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ lady…! Has the recorded capability to produce 600 cupcakes in 48 hours, should the situation demand it. Trigger phrase is ‘Calm down’ (stand back and prepare to run…).
Oliver – the ‘yoof’ of the family. Possesses all the sloth like gumption of the average modern western teenager. Exercise is mostly thumb based – PlayStation 4 that is (I worry about your minds!) and walking to the refrigerator and back to check if the food pixies have magically refilled it in the night. Recently set his heart on a stellar career in international bed testing and, by all accounts, it is going better than he could ever have dreamed of!