Couple swap swanky home with a ballroom for van life


A young professional couple sold their ‘dream’ house and gave up their top jobs – and now make a living travelling around Scotland in a campervan with their dogs.

Victoria MacDonald, 28, and Scott Ross, 32, lived in a swanky three-bed pad which even had a ballroom – but found the pressure of their careers was bringing them down.

The detached home, in Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire, had belonged to the Colman’s mustard dynasty, and they bought it for £100,000 in June 2016.

But knowing they didn’t plan to have kids in the massive 12-room villa, and feeling increasingly dissatisfied professionally, nearly five years ago they started thinking about having a change.

Victoria, who worked as a purchasing administrator in the oil and gas industry, was suffering from depression, and Scott was working in grounds operation at a heliport company before injuring his back in the workplace in June 2016.

Victoria and Scott with their dogs Callie and Colle
Victoria and Scott with their dogs Callie and Colle

In March this year, they put their house on the market – and it sold within three days, for £146,000.

The couple bought a Citroen Relay 2016 campervan for £13,000 but it needed work doing to it – so they moved into a croft in Muir of Ord, Highlands, for two months.

Victoria and Scott's former home in Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire
Victoria and Scott’s former home in Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire

They installed a proper kitchen and a solar-powered shower – a process which Victoria admitted she found “horrible”.

Now they run an online marketing travel company and work remotely from some of the most scenic views in Scotland.

They got a puppy, Colle, who is a border collie/Labrador cross, aged eight months, and their seven-year-old Lab, Callie, also sleeps in the bed with them.

Victoria, from Inverness, has come off anti-depressants after four years, finding the great outdoors makes her high on life, and Scott’s back has improved with more exercise.

Victoria said: “It was a cracker of a house, it was historic. It had 12 rooms in total, including a double-roomed basement, and an old ballroom. It was too big for us though.

“It was a dream house when we bought it, but we never settled. We came up with the idea of moving into a van and taking our work on the road, so that’s exactly what we did.”

Victoria and Scott in their camper van
Victoria and Scott in their camper van

Victoria and Scott, who is from Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, have been together for seven years.

Nearly five years ago, the couple were both signed off from work and decided to start a blog about their enthusiasm for travel. Their hobby turned into a full time occupation, and they now work with VisitScotland to promote tourism – and have never been happier.

Victoria said: “I was ill with depression, so I left my work, and around that same time, Scott injured his back so requested to take leave.

“During our time away from work, we came up with the idea for the website and the blog, and just went for it.

“Our friends were not surprised and our family was the same, no one was massively surprised. We haven’t done the nine to five life for years now.”

The couple have found that putting materialism behind them has given them a new lease of life, and describe their nomadic lifestyle as “freeing”.

In total they spent £23,000 on their mobile home which they fitted out with specifications such as a Swedish oven.

Victoria MacDonald and Scott Ross
Victoria MacDonald and Scott Ross

Victoria said: “We spend £10,000 on the conversion.

“It was horrible. I’ve made no secret of the fact I did not enjoy the conversion process.

“It took a couple of weeks planning, but no matter how much you plan for it, you don’t find out how much is needed to be done until you’re right in the thick of it.”

They now spend their time driving around Scotland, visiting new places and writing reviews.

Victoria said: “One of the best things about it is it’s so freeing. It’s amazing how much stuff you do not need.

“There’s something about being so ingrained into nature. I wake up every day to an unbelievable view out my window.

“I was on antidepressants for four years and now I’ve been off them since we started our new life. Scott’s back is getting stronger, due to the amount of exercise he is getting every day.

“The two dogs are loving it as well, although they are constantly knackered since they are outside all the time.

“We have not missed or regretted selling the house since we got on the road.”

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