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This old van made me smile the very first time I met her. I was at that moment in my life, trying to make a decision between school or traveling and I decided to give myself the most amazing gift I could get. Buying this old rig and explore the western parts of America by myself, with my precious partner Dubby.

Fred was this guy I was always looking at in high school. We started talking to each other more and more during that same summer I bought my Chevy van and we both fell in love with each other. Summer was about to end and it was time for me to start the trip I always longed for and deserved to do. I had traveled once alone for two months, where I learned a lot about myself before deciding to spend two more traveling months with Fred. We spent the very first serious month of our relationship in a tiny space surrounded by weird human smells, baby wipes and several Walmart parking lots. It was rough, but it brought us closer and made us stronger in a way that I never imagined.

We realised we had fallen in love with this simple lifestyle when we came back home to our regular lives, after spending these last four months of pure liberty. So, we decided to remodel the van from scratch and refurbish it according to our needs. It was important for us to add good insulation for the rougher Quebec winters and to have more living space inside. After several nights scrolling on Pinterest, looking for a new design for our van, we were finally ready to build it with all our love. We bought a used high top unit for $200 and that alone took us two weeks to achieve the perfect fit. I remember back then, the two of us were so determined that we were telling everyone that the van would be ready after our two weeks vacation at our jobs, but little did we know at the time what sort of project we had gotten ourselves into! So the `` two weeks`` van project became… a three month project that turned into a six month project…only to end up spending an entire year on the whole thing, making the best of every occasion and available time, night times and weekends included. After a lot of personal investment and learning so much on the go, we finally achieved our little dream surrounding.

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And here we are, living in our old 1986 Chevy van converted from our very own hands, with a dog and a cat, traveling across Canada and the USA. We left Quebec with no definite return date and a bunch of amazing places to visit.

For me, sharing this life with my little four-paw critters makes me very proud. They are an integral part of the travel. Both are stray animals, as Dubby the dog was recovered from an abandoned industrial park four years ago and Luce the cat was left on a farm at a very young age. Of course, traveling with these guys comes with a lot of responsibilities but that is nothing compared to all the love that they give in return and for everything we can learn from them. I’ll forever be grateful that life put these amazing rescued animals on my path. Thank you so much for reading our ‘Vanlife Diaries’ story. Check out more photos of our van converions and adventures below and follow along our journies with our social media too.
Alysson Tremblay-Girard