Lady Penelope and Parker – A Life of International Mystery

Who is Lady Penelope? A lady possessing great intellect, quick-wit, and impeccable character with a distinct disdain for the mediocre. Her personal mission: to venture forth where few have gone before; to explore the little known off-the-beaten-track locations; and to chronicle her global adventures to inspire others to do the same. She is resolute in her quest. Thriving in the face of adversity, she rises with gusto to any challenge.

And Parker? Always at Lady Penelope’s side, accompanying her on each and every mission, is her trusted and loyal driver, Parker. Committed to a life of service, Parker shadows Lady Penelope; anticipating her needs, diligently following her instructions and maintaining all in a high state of readiness. Pledged to a life of international travel, Parker must follow where ‘M‘Lady‘ goes.

Let me give some context.

Thunderbird Characters? How did this come to be?

Well, it fell into place of its own accord in the very early days of our year-long campervan trip in Europe. We were transitioning into right-hand lane driving (we’re from Australia) and at the same time trying to hone the driver/navigator skill set. We needed to function together like a smoothly oiled machine. Although the theory was sound, the practical application was a different story.

When we were both in the vehicle and there was a heightened degree of tension between us, caused by either the driver taking unnecessary risks or the co-driver not fully communicating road navigational instructions, then we defaulted to using Thunderbird personas. I take on the persona of Parker, and Shelley that of Lady Penelope or simply Lady P.

For example,  I (Lars) may be driving too fast for Shelley’s liking, making her feel uncomfortable. Now us guys really don’t want to be told driving tips from the ladies. However, with Shelley taking on the voice of Lady Penelope, she deftly delivers her instruction, ‘Parker .. drop your speed please’, in her most aristocratic British accent. I, Parker, respond with a compliant ‘Yes, m’Lady’ and proceed to drop my speed.

Yes, it’s classic Thunderbirds oratory. Of course, we do the accents to give it authenticity!

Lady Penelope and Parker Swap Some Small Talk

The accents are brilliant!

Lady Penelope and Parker Thunderbird Characters Work. Why?

It takes the ‘personal side’ out of the situation. Neither party has to feel as if they can’t speak up and there is no direct perceived fault. It’s focussed on non-confrontation and it works perfectly for us! This ensures that a perfect equilibrium is maintained and if the situation needs to be re-visited, then it can be done knowing that it will be taken on board with a degree of humour.

Don’t know about The Thunderbird characters? These puppet-like characters form an international rescue team who basically do battle against evil. A whole TV series was built on this concept. Even an action film followed. It sounds a bit of a corny concept and it is, but it’s super funny to watch.

Of course, none of this is binding unless the agreement is set in stone until it is agreed and signed. Soon after, Lady Penelope and Parker sat down and drafted Parker’s Code of Conduct.

Lady Penelope and Parker inside the car

Lady Penelope and Parker in character

(Thunderbirds photo used with permission from

Do you have any funny stories to share? How is the driver/navigator dynamic managed by yourselves?

We’d love to hear from you. 

You may also Like to check out these road trips where we often use Lady Penelope and Parker as our Driving Personas! 

Campervanning in Switzerland: Your Ultimate Guide

CAMPERVANNING IN SWITZERLAND Are you thinking of campervanning in Switzerland? If so, magnificent mountains, perfect Alpine pastures and over 1500 sparkling lakes lay in wait for you. Reading Johanna Spyri’s Heidi, when I was young, and watching...

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Useful Travel Planning Resources (inc. Special Offers)

Book Your Accommodation

We use as we can find a variety of cheap and budget accommodation such as local guesthouses and cheap hotels.

We also use Airbnb – Get up to €34 credit for your first Airbnb stay when you use our Airbnb link 

Travel Gear and Accessories

We’ve been on the road for almost three years now and have added useful items to  our Lifejourney4two page on Amazon  

Car Hire

We use to find the best car rental deals.

Motorhome/Van Rentals

if you are looking for a motorhome or van rental – we highly recommend the Motorhome Republic who can find the best deals worldwide.

Flexible Accommodation Options/ Or Finding someone to look after your pets

We often use house/petsitting as it really makes our travels much more affordable – as accommodation is FREE

Get 25% off  Trusted House Sitters by using our link here: Join Trusted House Sitters either as a house sitter or if you want to find a house sitter.