This is how grief feels...

When a middle-aged unmarried woman experiences the death of her parents, she embarks on a journey in a camper van – with her cat – through Australia’s changing landscape and the bewildering culture shock that is the grief experience. Learning to navigate the Van, the land and the grief, she discovers resilience and self-compassion. This travel memoir is a quietly joyful affirmation of life, offering hope for those experiencing adult parental loss.

"Author Victoria Clayton, a year after losing her parents, embarks on a painful drive-about to regain some semblance of herself in Grief in the Van: An Adult Orphan, A Cat and A Tiny Home-On-Wheels. In the spirit of Steinbeck, Clayton takes readers on a journey of self-reflection, discovery, and recovery – a love letter to the land, to adventure, and to the healing power of solitude. Throughout the narrative are raw accounts of personal grief in all its unpredictability and severity – authentically told and affecting. This deeply nostalgic and visceral memoir reveals a challenging path toward progress, and may provide comfort and guidance for anyone wrestling with this unifying human emotion." Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★


"In Grief in the Van, Victoria Clayton takes her readers on a journey through the trailer parks of Australia and the “raw grief” that wracked her after her parents died within a short time of one another. Accompanied by her cat Dougal, the author sets out to find a way to live on when the pain of her loss seems too much to bear.

The parents Clayton has lost are very much alive in her heart and memory, and when describing them she does a fine job of capturing the little idiosyncrasies that endear our loved ones to us.

Clayton is a lively, kinetic writer whose occasionally hurtling prose style is a good match for a road trip book." BookLife Prize

What Readers Are Saying: 

Grief in the Van: An Adult Orphan, A Cat and a Tiny Home-On-Wheels is a delightful read. As the author roams about the countryside with her precious cat Dougal, she discovers the freedom of being able to re-live her memories and express her grief, ultimately enabling her to maneuver her way through the pain of loss, bringing deep healing and a readiness to embrace the future with great heart”.  

“As a part-time ‘grey nomad’ and a widower I found this book extremely helpful in dealing with grief after losing a loved one. I could relate, and sometime laugh, to the trials and tribulations of being on the road full time. Dealing with grief is a personal thing and the author has done a marvellous job describing how she is dealing with grief. This book has definitely helped my journey”. 

"The reader understands her grief and follows her journey of questioning and acceptance, mixed with day to day life in a van with a cat and the humorous side of it all. I would thoroughly recommend the book on many levels". 


About Victoria Clayton

I was born in the UK of a Scottish mother and an Australian father and grew up in Melbourne. I have been a field archaeologist, excavating in Syria, Turkey, Jordan and Australia and an English teacher in Melbourne and China, among a ridiculous number of other occupations.  I love travel, reading, museums, libraries and things found in holes in the ground, particularly ancient figurines. I never thought I would, but I also know a bit about dementia, loss and grief and being an adult orphan. Now I live in a van somewhere in Australia with Dougal, the cat, and I write about all of it.  

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