The decision of a lifetime
Sitting at home one cold winter evening on my family farm in Saskatchewan March 2015, one might say I got inspired reading an article about Daniel Norris, a professional Toronto Blue Jays ball player living in an old 78 VW campervan. I thought to myself, if this guy Norris is choosing to live in an old van when he can obviously afford something “more confortable”, there must be something more to it.
I was planning on returning tree planting in northern Alberta and purchasing a van seemed like a brilliant idea! I began to search "used van" on Kijiji, and there she was, an 82 Dodge Ram Get-Away Van. I grabbed my buddy (who is a little more mechanically inclined then I am), hopped in my car and headed to the tiny town of Fisk, SK. I fell in love. After the test drive home my buddy gave me the green light as far as mechanics go.
"I’ll never forget the day I left"
For the next month I packed everything I needed in the van for a full summer away from home, everything from my mountain bike and golf clubs to my tools and camping gear. Home is usually where all your stuff is so I suppose the day I left with my van filled with my stuff was the day my home was coming with me. I’ll never forget the day I left. There’s something about being on the road and having everything you’ll ever need with you. It’s a very comforting and freeing feeling. Driving out to the bush in northern Alberta was the van’s big test and it didn’t disappoint. That season of tree planting was made easy having a dry cozy home to come back to everyday.
Following my season of tree planting was a week long trip in BC in the van with a friend. We went canoeing and fly fishing at Murtle Lake in Wells Gray Provincial Park and some downhill biking in Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, and Golden before heading back to the farm in Saskatchewan to help out my father and brothers with harvest. Sitting in a tractor all day, I found myself daydreaming of being at all these cool place with my van. I just had to do another road trip, a big one this time. That’s all I could think about.
In September that year, myself and a buddy took off on a 41 day and 13,059 km adventure through 3 provinces and 11 states. We had very little knowledge of where we would go or for how long we were going to be gone. Which was a very euphoric feeling. I had a friends wedding I had hoped to attend in the lower mainland of BC, and we both were game to chase the summer down to California. What an incredible trip this turned out to be!
After this experience I realized how I could live comfortably in a small space for long periods of time, and have the ability and freedom to explore and experience adventures in the outdoors.
I'll take it in the mountains during winter and hit the slopes. Tour around, check out some little ski towns, and follow the fresh snow so I can hit powder everyday. I’ve outfitted the van with a wood burning stove to keep me warm during the night in the cold parking lots. I have custom built the stove out of an old BBQ propane tank. The entire stove is removable so I can store it away during the summer.
I’m so happy to have come across this community of van dwellers and look forward to reading others experiences and share my RamVan adventures. I have come to realize there is so much more to Vanlife then just actually living in a van.
Keep your stick on the ice,