Gemma and James Shooter, with their two young children Brodie and Isla, and their rescue pup Ty, have embarked on an adventure of a lifetime. Theyve sold their home, and are campervanning around Europe in search of what wildreally looks like!

It wasnt long before we were heading along the south coast towards Spain. We had to avoid the low-emission zone around Montpellier because we didnt have a sticker. What a mistake – it took a very long time manoeuvring through busy, developed areas. Needless to say, wildlife was somewhat scarce. Mental note: pre-order the €4 sticker next time! On the plus side, we immediately realised how much we valued green spaces. Relief washed over us as we made our way into gnarled forests of olive and pine, our nostrils filled with the intoxicating scent of wild rosemary. The drier landscape and white-wash, clay-roofed houses were an exciting reminder of where we were headed in the morning…

Crossing our much anticipated first EU country border by road, we couldnt believe you just drive through. It was a bizarre anti-climax. Nevertheless, we were so happy to be in España. The next few days were filled with good food and glorious beaches, most of which we had entirely to ourselves, given we were still out of season. An alfresco restaurant dinner with a starling murmuration overhead was a very welcome surprise.

Spain is an incredible country. Its so varied. One minute we were shaded by palm trees watching crashing waves on the coast, the next we were immersed in dense scrubland, then we were weaving through jaw-dropping mountainscapes. Montserrat was one of the more notable examples. Jagged, monstrous and dramatic, it was genuinely difficult to process its magnitude as we approached it.

Trees clung to the rugged rock face, and the towns below were built in its towering shadow. We parked on a steep monastery road, with a panoramic view of the peaks. As night fell, we were alone with the stars and the landscape. It was one of those moments in life where you know there is nowhere else youd rather be. Romantically awoken by the sunrise, the children danced on the clifftop beside the van, with the Spanish horizon glowing amber behind them. We were on top of the world, and it was the moment that truly set the adventure in motion.

Heading further across central Spain, we enjoyed views of more formidable rock formations, expansive plains, and wild forests. Winding roads snaked past herds of ibex, as griffon vultures soared overhead. The Iberian Highlands was Jims next podcast location. With turquoise waters cutting through red sandstone valleys, we couldnt have felt further from our Scottish home. That was, until the rains found us. The following few days were very wet, but allowed for lots of puddle playtime with the children. An impressive thunderstorm with forks of purple lightning cleared the air. In a stark contrast to the day before, we were caked in suncream and seeking shade under every forgiving pine in the Alto Tajo Nature reserve.

We admired basking lizards and tracked animals across sandy, dry hillsides. We were absolutely falling in love with this dynamic and fascinating country, and experiencing the wild side of Spain that we never knew existed. As we travelled closer to the Portuguese border, we were genuinely reluctant to leave. Dragging our heels somewhat, we delayed our progress in the Sierra de Gredos mountain range, hiking up grassy slopes, laden with spring flowers and boasting more spectacular wildlife, including elusive Iberian scorpions. The dog had never been so tired and the children were blossoming into avid little naturalists.

Our final Spanish stop (for now) was in the incredible region of Extremadura. Another unmissable birding spot. Black vultures, Iberian shrikes and red-rumped swallows greeted us as we strolled down deserted farm tracks, and a flock of great bustard burst into view, gliding from one idyllic meadow to another. We stayed an extra day in this tranquil spot, unable to tear ourselves away from the sun-kissed banks of the secluded lake, mesmerised by dancing dragonflies and leaping fish. I spent my birthday eating warm Spanish omelette and watching white storks return to titivate their colossal nest.

Jim and I smiled at the children casting stones and fishing” with sticks, wondering out loud, “How will we ever go back to a traditional lifestyle?”

Follow the family over on their Instagram page: Just Add Wild 

And catch up with The Rewild Podcast here

Products in use


Gemma, James, Brodie and Isla are travelling with the Leica Trinovid 8X32 HD

Gemma says:

”We love our Leica Trinovid binoculars and literally take them everywhere with us. As both keen naturalists and young parents, we quickly realised that our ability to get close to wildlife has changed slightly with small children in tow. Thankfully, these binoculars have more than made up for that and are enabling us to rack up the bird count without causing disturbance. Theyre so clear and lightweight, even our three year old has been able to use them.”


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