Whitby Abbey Ruins
Blogging, Campervan Writer, Travel, Vampires, Writing, Young Adult

Embracing Van Life and Seeking out Dracula in Whitby, North Yorkshire #CampervanWriter #Travel

I’ve returned to my campsite after a bracing walk from Sandsend to Whitby. The wind has picked up again, and the sky is darkening by the second. The joy of hunkering down in my VW camper to watch through the window as the sea churns and swells can’t be expressed in words.

It’s safe to say I love van life! I smile as I walk toward him (yes, my camper is a ‘him’ and he’s called Snoopy), and I grin from ear to ear when I drive him. If you’ve got a camper of your own you’ll understand.

Arriving at Sandfield House Farm campsite on Saturday was an experience. The wind and rain battered the North Yorkshire coastline so much that I was advised to leave my pop-top securely closed. Not a problem, unless you’re 5 foot 10 inches tall and keep banging your head on the ceiling every time you make a cuppa! The high winds meant no awning either. Luckily, I travel light, and with a bit of rearranging, I used the cab area as storage for the unused awning and other bits and bobs. Two days of rough weather and then the sun broke through, and the sky was a blanket of blue.

The start of a beautiful relationship

I picked Snoopy up on the 6th August, and so far I’ve camped for a couple of nights in the C&CC site in Kingsbury, Staffordshire, spent a weekend in Somerset, driven to Bamburgh and then on to Edinburgh, and now I’m camped up for a week in Whitby. It’s safe to say I’m planning on getting my money’s worth! With the recent pandemic, it meant choosing campsites that are safe and sticking to places that are quiet and organised within the government guidelines. So far, everywhere has been perfect. The campsites are on the ball when it comes to the safety of their staff and guests.

Being a solo traveller doesn’t bother me. I’m used to my own company, and I love exploring new places, researching for my books, and finding inspiration. My three children are all adults now and have their own adventures to embrace, so they don’t want to join me on my travels – they also prefer warm hotels with room service and plumbing! Weirdos!

The hunt for vampires

Deciding to come to Whitby was more than just putting a pin in the map and heading off. The YA book series I’m currently writing is based here. The lure of Dracula and all things supernatural made it the perfect setting for my novel. Blood Born (book 1) is in the editing stages, and I’m using my holiday as a way to fill my creative well and do a spot of research for book two.

So far I’ve climbed the 199 steps to St Mary’s Church and Whitby Abbey twice in as many days; once in the wind and rain and then again on a beautiful sunny day. Both visits were advantageous. Seeing a signed first edition of Dracula by Bram Stoker in the museum was worth the leg burn and lack of oxygen! On my second visit, I found the pirate gravestone and my creative mind went into overdrive.

There’s a strong possibility I might have to venture back up once more before I leave (I should be able to run up those blessed stairs by the time I go home!), but I’ll see where the writing takes me.

The town is reasonably busy, although I’m sure the business owners would disagree. There are one way systems in place where possible and all the shops, restaurants, and coffee shops I’ve visited are ensuring face masks are used, sanitiser is readily available, and everyone is safe. I stopped at a gorgeous little bookshop with coffee shop yesterday for a scone with cream and jam (well, I am on my holiday and I had just scaled the 199 steps!). The Little Fox Coffee & Bookshop is well worth a visit.

Although a few smaller coffee shops are still closed most of the town is open, and the boat trips are running (when the weather is decent). The beauty of visiting Whitby is the ability to isolate yourself on a clifftop away from other people and soak in the atmosphere.

Being by the sea is always inspirational for me, and I find myself feeling deeply content when I can see the ocean. Writing always comes easier when I’m out and about. For now, I’m snuggled in Snoopy with my whistling kettle on and a packet of chocolate biscuits (thanks to the gift shop at Whitby Abbey). Let’s hope the creative streak continues, and the sunshine makes another appearance before I head home on Saturday.

Walk this way

I worried that having Snoopy meant I would be driving (sitting) more, but I was wrong. So far this week I’ve walked my not so little legs off:

Saturday = 10,534 steps

Sunday = 11,692 steps

Monday = 19,503 steps

Tuesday = 14,603 steps

Today = only managed 8692 steps. I’m slacking! I’ve even invested in proper walking boots, a waterproof jacket, and a hat! I was never a slave to fashion, haha.

Writing on the go was always the dream, and I’m thrilled to have been able to make that dream a reality. It’s a pity it took a global pandemic for me to realise what was important!

Have a great week!

16 thoughts on “Embracing Van Life and Seeking out Dracula in Whitby, North Yorkshire #CampervanWriter #Travel”

  1. This looks wonderful, Shelley – and I bet Whitby was much better like this. I went one Easter and it was murder – all those lovely little cobbled streets were so jam-packed you could hardly move!

    Liked by 1 person

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