VanLifeDiaries: First nights in the new van/home!

I apologize for not posting in a very long time! Our laptop is completely stuffed and typing great posts is extremely hard on your phone. However I’ll do my best until our lappy is fixed!

It’s already been 1 week since we bought our new van/home! We’ve lovingly named her Esméralda, after the gypsy girl in the Disney movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame, one of my brothers favourite movies 🙂

We love her!

It is a bit of a gypsy life and so far we are loving it! This week we’ve had freedom from expensive public transport and the freedom you get from having your own vehicle and going precisely where you want to. We’ve been lucky so far to be catching up with family and friends and therefore having a house to hang out in instead of solely relying on Esméralda. So I don’t count those nights as our “first night” in the van. We’ve had help so far! Whether it be a lovely dinner, shower or toilet to use we’ve been living a bit of a luxury van life this week!

Our first proper English roast dinner! (with pork chops as we were last minute guests) Thank you again Claire!

We had however been sleeping in the van and omg…she has one of the comfiest beds we’ve slept in while traveling. Which also has a downside because it makes it so hard to get up in the morning. We literally could sleep the day away because the curtains block out all sources of light. We love our stealth camper van!

So today was our first big journey north from Oxford, England up to Edinburgh, Scotland! With 3 stops along the way it took us 8 hours. Too easy for Australian drivers, it was basically the same as driving from Adelaide to Melbourne, if not quicker. Same same, but different. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking. Stunning rolling green hills with so much farmland and once across to Scotland we drove through a few really cute old towns.

Driving in a new country is always daunting at first but it makes it a lot easier as in the UK they drive on the left just like Australia. A few different things we’ve noticed so far is waaaay more round-a-bouts, like think round-a-bouts on steroids, and NO ONE INDICATES. Like even on the motorways where everyone is going 70mph (113kph) they still don’t indicate, even trucks (lorries as they say in the UK, forever translating between English-English and Australian-English).

We cooked our first dinner in Esme via stealth mode. While wild camping is legal (some popular areas do have bye laws though) in Scotland pulling up in the city next to people’s homes and cooking out your van may be frowned upon. We made chicken tikka masala curry with rice and it was delicious. Even though it became a bit hot inside the van having the doors shut we managed just fine. Definitely looking forward to an open air dinner next time though hopefully with a view!!

Sam preparing dinner in stealth mode!

The reason we raced up to Scotland was to make it in time for the end of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival! Being Adelaidians how could we not test out Edinburgh’s famous fringe to compare to our own? I have a feeling it’s going to be a walk over. Our first show is Jason Byrne’s Propped Up tomorrow at the Assembly Hall! Can’t wait 🙂

Sam, Kirsten and Esméralda x

A full post about buying Esmerelda, her features and photos will be published at a later date, stay tuned!

Special mentions to all the wonderful family and friends who took us in this week and caught up with us; thank you Bels and Chris, Aunty Sue, Chris and fam, Clare for the roast dinner! Emily and fam, cheers mum Mumma Bunyan for the traditional English lunch spread! Alex and Holly for all your hospitality and well wishes on our new adventure! Xxxx


4 thoughts on “VanLifeDiaries: First nights in the new van/home!

  1. Hi guys, congratulations on your indefinite nomadic life. Whilst you’re in UK on what will be an amazing tour, here are our must sees. Whilst you are up in that neck of the woods, the North of UK is stunning. So the Lake District is essential – especially in the autumn – it will be beautiful there with the mists and mellow fruitfulness. Also whilst that side, drop down to Fleetwood, just south of Blackpool and hop on a ferry to Isle of Man. Home of the famous TT Motorbike race, this place is stunning. Home for us for 18 years, we would highly recommend it and they are motorhome friendly. You could easily while away a month here. Coast, mountain, glens, steam trains, horse trams, electric railways, seafood, basking sharks – you name it they’ve got it. It’s an independent country with the oldest Government in the world, dating back to Vikings – so well worth a visit, in our opinion. Back in UK head down to the Cotswolds, which is all very beautiful, checking out villages like Buford, Chipping Camden, Lower Slaughter, Bourton on the Water, Stow on the Wold and Broadway. Then down the M5 to the south west – you could spend forever here going around the coast. Special sights are Porlock on the north Devon coast, Lynton and Lynmouth and Croyde. Clovelley is also a beautiful protected national trust village worth seeing in north Cornwall. Exmoor is a must – especially Dulverton and Tarr Steps. Then on the south coast you have Totnes which is a very eclectic town of alternative therapies and new age shops – amazing. Then follow that coast around to Kingsbridge, Salcombe and Burgh Island. Further round in Cornwall you have the lovely fishing villages of Mevagissy and Fowey. Dartmoor is a lovely place too, which is so different from Exmoor. Loads to see.

    We too have gone full time in our motorhome and have set up a website over at We’ve got loads of adventures, vlogs and freebies, if you wanted to check us out on FB and

    All the best guys, you’ll have a blast in UK if you keep clear of the political potholes over there right now!!!

    Happy travels, Karen and Myles, the Motoroamers.


    1. Wow Thank you so much Karen. This is a great list and one I’m sure to refer back to! Thanks for taking the time to read our first entry, make sure you give our blog a follow too! Any support we get we appreciate it so much and always follow blogs back 🙂
      Thank you Motoroamers! All the best.


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