A roving retirement in a motorhome

Posted on 1 February 2012

For the Anastagis, the most important item to take on their travels was their custom-built 4×4. Built on the body of a Mercedes-Benz fire engine and moulded into shape by experts in Italy, their motorhome was a veritable travelling palace. It was packed with winter and summer clothes, bicycles, skis, walking boots, golf clubs and kitted with all the essential home comforts. It’s taken them on adventures spanning continents and uncountable roads, all of which means that, for many years, home for the Anastagis was literally where their wanderlust lay.


What made you decide to pack and go?

Roberto decided to follow his dream and started to travel in 1990. He sold nearly all he had and went to India, where he stayed for two years. He then went by road all the way from Rome to India, through Greece, Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan to India.

I met him in South Africa at the end of July 1997, and left with him for South America in the December of that year. We came back in July of 1998 to get married, and travelled full time until December 2006.

We’re now based in a small Italian village called Farnese in the region of Lazio. We have been travelling through Europe and Italy since we settled there. We have also visited Malta, England and Australia, but not with our motorhome.


How do people react to your travelling palace?

We attracted the most attention in the United States, possibly because it’s a country where many people opt to travel by motorhome when they retire. In Europe, the French were the most intrigued with our way of life and in South America people were very much in awe of what we were doing.

Have you been in any difficult, dangerous or funny situations?

We had a funny experience in Brazil. We were waiting for a ferry over the San Francisco River and as there was a long queue of vehicles we decided to overnight at a little church on a hill. In the middle of the night we woke up to strange noises outside. Suddenly a booming voice said (in Portuguese): ‘Exit the vehicle with your hands on your heads.’ It was the police, who thought we were bandits.

Tell us about Bahia and the retirement house you’ve built there.

While travelling through Bahia, one of the states of Brazil, we met some Italians in a small fishing village called Porto de Sauipi and were impressed by their home on the beach. We started to travel north and visited every little beach from there. In Sitio do Conde, we asked an estate agent to show us some properties. He showed us a plot of land, and we fell in love: it was on a dune, with a deserted beach in front of it and an uninterrupted view of the sea. We built the house and continued our travels in South America, going back every six months for a rest.


Are you enjoying your time in South Africa?

We love our time in South Africa and we’re scouting the possibility of coming to live here.


Where to next?

Our travels are over and it’s with sadness that we’re selling our ‘home’. My husband is 77 and this way of life has become too difficult. Now he would like to play golf and relax.

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