An Okanagan couple hopes to shine a light on the ups and downs of van life and the adventures you can have.
Lyndsay Fillier and Braden Taylor led comfortable lives in their downtown Ottawa apartment. Both avid explorers and travellers, they knew they could go to more places for a more affordable price if they lived a mobile life.
So, they bought a van, sold all their things and started living on the road.
They have been at it for four years and now, they’ve decided to share the first year of their adventure in a new ebook.
The couple was inspired to transition into van life when Taylor’s older brother and his girlfriend bought a van, building and customizing the inside so they could live in it and take it on their travels, but the costs initially put them off the idea.
But once they found the right van at the right price in May 2017, they jumped in.
“The first year, we drove across Canada in the summer (from Ontario). When it started getting cold in November, we crossed the border and drove down the west coast down to Florida,” Taylor said.
They said the first year of full-time van living felt amazing, so they decided to keep at it. Since then, they have travelled all the way down to Central America through the U.S. and Mexico, staying in different towns along the way.
Fillier and Taylor said the goal of their book is not to offer tips on how to customize your van to make it suitable for living in or even how to live the van life, but rather to offer inspiration for others who may want to live a similar life or who crave an adventure like theirs.
“It’s like ripping off a bandaid: the hardest part is just actually doing it. Getting rid of your stuff, at first, that seems really scary because it almost feels like you’re tossing away memories, but you’re not; you still have those memories and you’re just going to make more memories,” Fillier said.
“It’s all just junk anyway,” Taylor echoed.
They said the biggest hurdle many people face before making the leap is giving up material possessions.
“It was shocking when we moved out our apartment in Ottawa, how much stuff we had to get rid of and moving into (the van),” Taylor said.
”It seems like we equate happiness with the things we have, but you can also find happiness in experiences you have and memories you make,” Fillier said.
“We see people with nice houses and nice things, but it doesn’t mean they’re happier. They just have those things.”