1 week ago I became homeless... Here's why.
Since before I arrived in Canada (over a year ago now) I have had an urge for travel, new places, new things and constantly pushing myself. While moving to Canada was the first massive step in my plan there was more to the bucket list that I wanted to tick off. Being in Canada has been absolutely fantastic, but after starting my full time job and moving back into a share house (as opposed to staff accommodation at the Icefield) life became "normal" again. Don't get me wrong, "normal" here is not normal for me back home. Here I get to wake up every single day and be greeted by the Canadian Rockies, towering high over my town and surrounding it. However, the systematic motion of waking up in a house, getting ready, having breakfast, walking to work, working for the day, walking home, socialising/gym, eating dinner, showering, then sleeping became all too boring too fast. I wanted something different in my life, something new and something that would force me back into that uncomfortable life state of not knowing what will happen next, how do deal with issues I've never come across before and having problems to solve. Now yes, I could have done something like pick up a new hobby, or walk a different way to work, but that's not really my cup of tea. I like to do things a little differently, so I decided around 3 months ago that I would sell my car in an attempt to save some money, then purchase a van to live in full time. Selling my car was easy, it was a fantastic car, super reliable and economic on fuel. The complication in doing this was, not owning a car for almost 3 months during some of the coldest days of the year. For those 3 months I was walking everywhere, even on the days that it was -35°C I would still have to walk to work or the shops or anywhere else I needed to go. Those 3 months were also spent tirelessly looking, constantly scrolling and researching vans to buy, arranging inspections, looking into build styles, designs and how I would build mine to live in. There were a couple of close calls that slipped through my fingers because they sold before I had a chance to put in an offer, however it all worked out in the end. Fast forward to March, I ended up purchasing a van that wasn't even listed for sale online. I'd been looking at vans as far as a town called Edmonton, (for my non Canadian friends, that's a 4hr drive away). Turns out the van for me was 10 minutes from my house, owned by a friend of a colleague - it's funny how the world works sometimes. The next month was spent in demolition, building, cleaning, organising packing and working on the van. Then, I moved in. She's not finished just yet but she's finished enough for me to live in. If you haven't seen my story highlight on Instagram of the van build, go check it out if you want to see the behind-the-scenes. (CLICK HERE). If you haven't been following my life and keeping up to date on Instagram, meet "Dora"!
Dora is a 2008 Dodge Sprinter. Now I know what you might be thinking, Dora...The Explorer? Yes, that's the one, and yes, Dora The Explorer is small, Spanish and cute, which is basically the complete opposite to my van. But 1) I like the name and the exploring element, and 2) I was cleaning the van and removing trash and unwanted elements from her I found a sticker of Dora The Explorer attached to a rock (left behind by the previous owners kids). So as of April 31 2019 this is my full time home. I am living the van life. Quite a few people have been wondering why I would move out of a perfectly functional, warm, comfortable home to live in a vehicle full time, and my reasons are exactly what I said at the beginning of this blog. I wanted to change up my life, do something different that I have no idea about, something new and abnormal, something uncomfortable, something that pushes me and something that I will learn from. Living in a van is a strange feeling, but so far I am really enjoying it. After being in the van for only a week I'm already getting a good taste for what #VanLife is really like... I've had a flat battery once, couldn't start the van another time, I've also exploded my water pump (all over the floor inside), then had issues with my electrics inside and been unable to use my lights, new water pump that I bought and installed (after the first one exploded) or use my heater, but that's all part of the journey. This is what I wanted, a challenge and that is exactly what I am getting. The idea of waking up every day and not knowing what's going to happen what's going to break or if you going to be able to move is half the fun. I'm excited for what the future holds, what adventures I go on and what other shenanigans Dora and I get up to! (If you'd like to know more about the build, with images and more detail on what I've done, let me know!)