The Problem With Our “Old” Life
Actually, there was no problem! We had everything we wanted: well paid permanent jobs with benefits, a nice house, cars, friends, mountain biking trails, whitewater rivers, craft beer scene, etc. We’re not attracted by luxury (except for mountain bikes!), so we considered ourselves “rich” in a way that we could afford all the fun we wanted (keeping in mind that we’re reasonable people! are we?).
Life Was Good, But Could It Be Better?
We lived a comfortable life, but when reaching our mid-thirties the years seem to repeat themselves. The idea of repeating the same pattern until our retirement was not really fulfilling… there had to be better?!
Could We Afford It?
One does not simply take a year off or two to travel in a van… we had to prove to ourselves that we could sustain it financially. Before we leave for our trip, we had to save enough money to:
1. Pay for the van
a) Van Cost
Buying a new van allowed us to finance it at low interest rates (2.9%). This way, the money we have to save before the trip is the cashdown and the monthly payment for X months of our trip duration (plus some buffer of course).
b) Conversion Cost
At the time of writing these lines, we’re tracking the complete conversion costs. See our Cost & Labor page: faroutride.com/cost-and-labor/. To make a long story short, for a conversion similar to ours, expect to pay between 12-18k USD$.
2. Cover all the expenses of the trip
This part is hard to predict. Here is our guesstimate at our Monthly Expenses:
- This is total for 2 people.
- “VAN” includes the financing, maintenance, registration, insurance, etc.
- “Others” includes cell phone & internet, restaurants, bars, health insurance, laundry and showers.
3. Have some extra cash to ensure a smooth transition back to a “normal” life after the trip
Yeah yeah that’s fine…
So, how much money are we looking at (for a 12 months trip)?
Basically, the cost of the trip is the predicted monthly expenses x 12 months = 2,600$ x 12 = 31k for two (15 500$ per person). Hey, that’s not more than living a sedentary life! (except that we will have no income…)
Of course, we also have to pay the van cashdown (11k$) and the conversion cost (15k$)… including this, we’re looking at 31k$ + 11k$ + 15k$ = 57k$ for two ( 28 500$ per person).
Saving Up the Cash
So, how many years will it take us to save up 28.5K$ each to cover the cost of the van and the trip? This is where things get interesting! Once we got the van, we spent most of our time working on the conversion. More work + less “fun” = less spending!
The rate at which our saving started to increase was pleasantly surprising. We realized how much beer, restaurants, bike, lift ticket, gas, etc costed us in our sedentary life. We finally met our objective much faster than we anticipated, yay! This could also means that we could maybe extend the trip duration…
From the time we started saving until the beginning of the trip, about 20 months passed. We did NOT saved up 57K in 20 months… we had some saving beforehand and sold a lot of stuff, sold the house, sold the cars, etc, etc.
We’re Taking The Plunge!
We’re young, resourceful and healthy. In the end, what is the worst that could happen? Have our van & stuff stolen? We’re insured. Run out of money? We’ll just go back to our old job, we will most likely get re-hired. Regret our decision and want to go back to a sedentary life? Go back to a sedentary life and have a good laugh at all of this! Enough excuses, WE’RE DOING IT!!
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Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine, a couple dreaming of being on the move and we’re seeking for the ride of our life. We bought a Ford Transit van, converted it to a campervan, sold our house and hit the road full-time to make our dream a reality. We are sharing this in hope of inspiring and helping others to follow their dreams too!