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The start of our van life journey

I can't remember how or when I first heard about van life, but I know for sure I was hooked by that first photo I saw on Instagram. Converting a vehicle into a tiny home on wheels sounded like the best possible lifestyle. So I followed everyone I could find online who lived in a van. We kept sending awesome rig photos to each other and dreaming about living in a van one day.

However, that was right after we moved to Canada on a 1-year working visa. We had some savings, but we used them to settle in in the new country. As temporary residents, we weren't eligible for a loan and worked minimum-wage jobs. We were broke and far away from the van life dream.

Fast forward to January 2020. For the first time, they extended our visa for two years instead of one. The opportunity finally came, and we took it. We still had no savings and were not able to get a loan. But we found a dealer in Toronto that let us finance the van. By March, we had a Promaster parked in our backyard. 

As soon as we got the van, we terminated our lease. We had five weeks to convert the van into a home on wheels. In the first 10 days, we finished the floor and insulation. Then the pandemic hit, and we went into lockdown on March 17th. We couldn't go to the stores anymore to buy materials. Everything had to be ordered online, and it took days for delivery. 

April 30th was the deadline. We ran out of time. The build wasn't finished yet, but we had no other choice. We packed all our things, filled up the van and a car we still owned, and drove to the nearest park where we slept that first night.

 

In the past three and a half years of living in a van, we finished the build, found mold, tore everything out, and built it again. We got stuck on the road 4 times and paid over 10k in repairs. So far, our van life journey has been far from cheap or easy, but we love it and can't imagine returning to a 'stationary' home anytime soon.

 

We left Ontario for good in August 2023 and traveled for two months across the USA and Canada. The final destination was Tofino! Our dream of moving to the West Coast has been partially fulfilled, the moving part is done. We now get to live in our Promaster on Vancouver Island and explore this beautiful part of the world.

Lara (and Gasper) xo

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