Our Story

Our Story

Portrait-FarOutRide-Isabelle-Antoine-Van

Table Of Content

... 2015
2015 - 2017
2017 - 2020
2020 - 2021
2021...

1- The Normal Life

Life before Vanlife

The Problem With Our "Previous" Life.

Actually, there was no problem! We had pretty much everything we wanted: well-paying, permanent jobs with benefits (we were both engineers), a cute house, and friends to go on adventure with. We didn’t buy a lot of stuff (except for sport gear!), 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-Before-Vanlife
Life before vanlife.

2- Redefining Normality

Change is in the air

Life was good, but could it be better?

We lived a comfortable life, but when we reached our mid-thirties, the years seem to repeat themselves. The idea of working full time and taking short (and expensive) vacations each year until our old days was not really fulfilling… Mountain biking and backcountry snowboarding is what we love the most in this life, so we asked ourselves: how can we create a lifestyle where we can enjoy these activities to the fullest while we’re still young and healthy?

Road Gap Van Island
This won't happen in my old days.
Getting deep into the backcountry requires knowledge, but also good knees...

Creating A Sustainable Lifestyle

Play more, work less… Fewer expenses, less income. It’s all about balance. Can we turn that daydream into reality?

Fewer Expenses

Easier said than done. How much does building a van and living in it actually cost? At the time, we couldn’t find any data about that, so it motivated us to track our van build cost and vanlife cost. Hopefully this would help others following our footsteps!

Van Build Cost

We tracked down the total cost and labor it took us to convert the van. It is organized by category/task, so it doesn’t get any more comprehensive than that! Hope that helps!

Vanlife Cost

We publish our monthly travel expenses. There are over 2 years of data in there, organized by categories. You can use this as a baseline to plan your own trip (don’t forget to adjust the numbers to your own lifestyle).

Less Income

Pro tip: Quit your day job = less income!

You’re welcome.

We’ll be fully transparent here, we initially didn’t plan on becoming “true” full time vanlifers; who does that? So our initial plan was to travel about a year (from our savings) and settle somewhere on the west coast. 

So here’s the crazy part of the story. We decided to build this website; far out something. The idea was to keep us busy during the rainy days in the van (to share our travel pictures, stories, etc.), that’s all. We’re not exactly sure how and why, but it finally turned into this massive how-we-built-our-van reference website. This might be one of our best ideas ever because while our day jobs enabled vanlife, FarOutRide.com turned it into a full time gig. We can’t say it enough: -THANK YOU- for using the affiliate links (e.g. Amazon) from our Build Journal, for downloading the diagrams from our store, or for becoming a Patron. Without YOU, we couldn’t keep this going. It’s as simple as that! 🙂

Thinking about starting your website too? Here’s everything to get you started:

How To Start A Website (and Make Money)

From House to Van

The months before moving into our van were absolute madness! There was so much to be done in so little time…

3- Living The Dream

Life On The Road

4- Keeping The Dream Alive

when life throws you a curveball

So we've been exploring Mexico for the past two months, and here comes 2020...

With travel restrictions in place and many public services shut down, Vanlife doesn’t get any easier. To respect the local communities, follow public advices, and because the van seems smaller than ever before, we’ll spend a few months in apartments between Squamish and Revelstoke during that period. 

We-got-a-new-van-2021-heading
We Got A New Van!

We’ve been going back-and-forth about this for a little while, but we finally did it! We bought a brand new van to convert! It’s a Ford Transit 2021, AWD, 3.5L Ecoboost, same size as our previous van (high roof, extended length).

5- Redefining The Dream

The Eternal Search For Happiness

The Eternal Search For Happiness

Life is all about finding balance. We went from a life focused on work, to a life focused on travel and riding. We shifted the balance from an extreme to another, and it’s been absolutely incredible! But in the long term, too-much-of-anything is rarely sustainable… 

Any good story always involves a quest, so that characters can evolve in it. We can’t keep living the same dream for the rest of our life. We want our story to be filled with many different chapters. We can’t evolve if we don’t have new goals, new projects, new dreams. It doesn’t mean turning our life around again, it means making small adjustments.

Because of the pandemic, we had to settle down for a few months. This made us realize that it’s actually nice to have a place we can call home. A place we can go to whenever a pandemic hit the world, or if one of us get sick, or simply just if the van starts to feel too small and we feel like having more space and more independence.

To live in a van is a lot of compromises; we had to let go of many other passions that shaped and defined us as human beings. We still want our life to revolve around mountain biking and skiing, but it’s time to expose our brain and body to new activities. Learn new things, be beginners at something again. Reclaim a little bit of complexity and all-aroundness that used to define us.

At this moment in time, our ultimate life balance would be to travel 6-8 months per year and enjoy activities at home the remaining of the year. That’s pretty high expectations, but if we made our #Vanlife dream come true a few years ago, maybe we can make our new #LifeBalance dream come true as well? Let’s see…

A New Base Camp

So we bought a house!

As we’re slowly settling in, memories from the past years keep on coming back in our head: dreaming and discussing about living in a van, putting the house for sale, the day we moved into the van, the first time we filled our water tank, crossing the border to Mexico, etc, etc. Sometimes I catch myself thinking that buying a new house is like going back to square one, but really it’s not. Moving to the West Coast has been a dream of mine for a LONG time, and that just happened. That’s the start of a new chapter, and it’s very exciting! We have a new playground to discover and a much better life balance. And it’s not the end of #VanLife for us, we still want to travel 6-8 months per year and rent the house during that time, hopefully.

A New Van

So we bought a van! 

We’re the proud new owners of a Ford Transit 2021 AWD! We will build it over the next year or so (no rush!), and hopefully ship it to Europe to explore new horizons. We’ll update our Build Journal as we progress.

We-got-a-new-van-2021-heading
Ship-Van-To-Europe-From-North-America

But if there's one thing we learned, it's that plans are made to be changed! So stay tuned 🙂

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About us


NICE TO MEET YOU.

About-Us-Narrow

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017, we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers, and moved into our self-built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then, and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams, and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

22 thoughts on “Our Story”

  1. Hi Isabelle and Antoine,
    Thanks for the great web site. Quick question, what are you using for a map plotter (going to hit the road and would like the map graphic you show).

    Reply
  2. Hi there! Do you have any tips on selling all your stuff? I have two storage units full of stuff and I want to get rid of all of it as quickly as possible.

    Reply
    • We used marketplace (craigslist, Facebook marketplace, etc); garage sale is probably a good idea as well. I’d recommend starting with stuff with the highest price, because at some point for the cheapest stuff it’s not worth the hassle. We ended up giving a lot of stuff to charity.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  3. What an amazing story and a wealth of resources.
    I’m thinking of building out a van to do short trips, anything from a weekend to a month or more.
    Luckily I can balance my work and life around that…just need the right van and a little bit of courage.
    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and your journey.
    Cheers from Australia.

    Reply
  4. Hi Isabelle and Antoine
    very nice of you to share this inspiring story
    but i have a question, now since you quite your jobs and started traveling around, if it won’t be nosy can you tell me how do you guys fund yourself

    Reply
  5. Isabelle and Antoine,

    We love your site!! We are river kayakers and struggling with the problem of carrying boats (2 for us and 4-5 for shuttles). We prefer the rack to be at the back of the van. Do you have any recommendations? Looks like you were river boaters in your ‘previous’ lives : ) we’d love to hear from you.

    Reply
  6. Antoinne et Isabelle! Magnifique travail! Que c’est raffraichissant et informatif! Ca rend le reve un peu plus proche de la realite! Nous devrons attendre pour nos vieux jours car avec 7 enfants c’est un peu chaud! Mais ca nous donne de bonnes idees! En attendant nous continurons nos camping trips accross the US en famille! Bon courage et on vous souhaite plein de bonnes aventures!

    Reply
  7. Antoine, the photo of you flying through the air on your bike, 3 metres off the ground sums it up perfectly and you’re right, you won’t be doing that in your old days! I recently caught some air on my skiis and my legs couldn’t take the landing and gave out. What an eye opener! Getting old isn’t for sissies! My wife and I met in my ’72 Westy, I proposed in my ’87 Westy and we just did a little road trip celebrating our 25th anniversay in our ’97 Eurovan camper but it may be time to move up to a Transit or something with a bed big enough that we don’t feel like pretzels waking up. Now if I could only convince my wife to quit her job… Carry on in all directions!

    Reply
  8. Hi,
    A couple of comments. I like the vision you have for your site and the quality of your content. It shows the respect you have for your audience.

    The other comment is about your lifestyle. I can tell you with high confidence that you will come to appreciate the wisdom of your choice to live a good life. It’s a gift not to be wasted. We’re a few cycles farther down the road from you. And quite a bit older now. My wife and I (Nurse and Engineer) quit our jobs on our early 30’s a bought a sailboat and took 5 years to sail around the world. Kid’s were never in our plan but somewhere alone the trip we decided not to skip the experience. When we got back we had a 2 yr old and my wife was 7 months pregnant with our second. We went back to work for a 7 years and enjoyed and appreciated it. Then we left again on a bigger boat when the kids were 7 and 9 and did a 4 year trip around the Pacific. West Coast to NZ to Japan then to Alaska and back to the West Coast. Never burned any bridges when we left so went back to work with folks we know. Got the kids through high school, bought a nice piece of land in the country and worked till I was 61. Retired and built and really nice small house on the property. Have a 32 foot diesel trawler we plan to spend summers on up in Alaska and now my wife retires in 3 more weeks so we just bought a 2021 AWD Transit cargo and going to set it up for land travel. I’ll be checking out your site a lot. All the boat stuff I’ve done translates over pretty well so have some head start on the system stuff. I shared all that just so you could see one example of how this could play out for you in the long term. The key is to have a dream turn into a plan and a commitment. And a little luck.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your story, I enjoyed that a lot.
      We’re 3 years into this Vanlife thing, so of course we’re wandering what’s next. Ship the van to Europe? Buy a house and stay in it 6 months/travel 6 months? Build a new van? Many decisions and options on the table! We’re having a hard time deciding what’s the right choice. Can’t complain though, we’re in a good position.

      Good luck with your future projects,
      Antoine

      Reply
  9. Your website and story are true gems. I appreciate the detail and intelligence with which you write/develop content. My wife and I are in the planning stages of a van build (and retirement!), and I’m sure that we will reference and share your site extensively.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights.

    Reply
  10. I’m 55 with three kids (2 in college) and an Optometry Office. Arggggghhhhhhh….I wan go van(ning) NOW…. Really, as I tell our kids, 21, 18 and 17 (yes, that’s a year difference 🙂 ) do it now. You’re welcome.

    Reply
  11. Greetings, I am new to the van conversion life, still in the planning stage, on your website I feel like I struck gold, with unmatched details about any and everything I need to do this right, can’t thank you enough for the well designed and delivered information, links, ideas, reviews, diagrams and illustrations. Thank you !

    Reply
  12. Saludos desde Argentina, sinceramente estoy parado aplaudiendo lo que han hecho, yo siempre lo soñe aunque lo veo lejos y los años pasan, tengo un hijo, poco presupuesto pero siempre manteniendo el eje.
    Soy tecnico de Shimano y trabajo de ello hace muchos años, los saludo desde la distancia.

    Reply
  13. Hello dreamers!

    Glad to see you’re living your dream! I am a bit envious actually! Working on my dream which is similar to yours. Love the detail and the analytical view, I’m sure that comes from the engineering background! I have a technical background as a master certified automobile tech and will be looking to complete a build-in 2020. I enjoy seeing what you have accomplished and that you have done it without being a video content provider! Great job on the site and enjoy the journey! I hope to cross paths someday.

    Reply
  14. Hi Isabelle and Antoine:

    I appreciate your detailed description of your shower system, and ways to improve on the set up.

    Reply

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