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
We had to guess how much travelling would cost, but fortunately you won’t have to do that. We’re keeping track and publishing all of our travel expenses here: faroutride.com/vanlife-actual-cost/. Hope that helps!
3. Have some extra cash to ensure a smooth transition back to a “normal” life after the trip
Yeah yeah that’s fine…
Saving Up the Cash
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…
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!!
There is honestly not much excitement about downsizing… to make a long story short, the downsizing is the process of getting rid of stuff. This means spend days on craigslist and having to deal with people that want everything free and delivered to their door. Downsizing is also about selling our house, which means have to clean to whole house each time we have a visit. We MUCH rather spend time on the van conversion…
That being said, let’s have a look at our downsizing timeline:
We mentioned that we’re not attracted by things & luxury, so we should have just a few things right? Let’s make a list:
Note: Strike through items have to get out of our life!
Mountain Biking Stuff
Urban Bikes (2)
- Enduro Bikes (2)
Downhill Bike (1) Fatbikes (2)
- Enduro Gear & Spare Parts
Downhill Gear & Spare Parts
- Tools & Misc
Bike Repair Stand
Playboats (2) Creek Boat (1) Paddles, Skirts, Helmets, Dry-Suits, Dry-Bags, Life Jackets, Car Rack, etc, etc Clothing
- Splitboards (2)
- Snowboards (2)
- Avalanche Gear
Beer Making Stuff
Mash-Tun Hot Liquor Tank SS Kettle Fermenters Grain Mill Thermometers, Refractometer, PH meter, etc, etc, etc, etc Kegerator (5 drafts system)
VW Jetta TDI (210 000 km): Dieselgate buyback! Toyota Corolla (320 000km)
Tent Sleeping Bags Mats Cooking Gear
Sofas (2) TV Table & Chairs Kitchen Appliances, dishes, Espresso Machine, etc Plants Books Computers & Printers Basement Furniture Bedroom Furniture (2) BBQ
Washroom Furniture Office Furniture Board Games iRobot Roomba Sound System Souvenirs Guitars & Amps Gardening Stuff Patio Furniture
… and at last, our
two cats 🙁
It’s difficult to put in words the amount of stuff the we have! That list doesn’t really do justice.
Things are just… things. But kayaking equipment, beer making equipment, DH bike, etc. define who we are. Who we were. There are souvenirs, friends, epic moments, bad & good experiences attached to these things. We got really emotional watching these things go, but it’s for the best!
Downsizing Journal (One Month to VanLife!)
July 17th 2017
Here I am, first #unemployed_monday! That euphoria feeling is still not kicking-in; not having to work for the next year or so should get me all excited, but instead I’m focusing on the fact that we need the van & the house finished for April 15th. Will we make it?
Every day starts by: having a coffee, then writing down the To-Do list of the day. There’s nothing like striking an item in a To-Do list! Enough blabla, let’s get to work!!
To Do List, July 17th 2017
Get the new laptop ( Buy on Amazon) ready for the trip! Transfer everything from desktop to laptop, install software. Flush, dump and fill the Spa with fresh water (so the new owners of the house don’t have to do it for a while) Get new biking shorts (since they all tore in the last two weeks ?!) If rain stops, install Air Lift System to the van ( ) Buy Air Lift Spring Kit on Amazon & Buy Air Lift Wireless Air Leveling Compressor on Amazon Call credit card to add Isabelle as account co-owner.
To Do List, July 18th 2017
Continue Air Lift System installation ( ) Buy Air Lift Spring Kit on Amazon & Buy Air Lift Wireless Air Leveling Compressor on Amazon Order 4″ In-Line Seaflo fan for ventilation intake
- Hey, we still have a house and it’s getting messy! Do household chores!
To Do List, July 19th 2017
Pick-up WPT-1408 electrical harness at Ford dealer (missing part to finish Air Lift installation) Return Attwood in-line fan
To Do List, July 24th 2017
- Address Change (
Hydro, Cell phones, Work, SQCA, Credit Cards, Banks, Arvixe, ) Shop for Health Insurance (SecuriGlobe)
- Post stuff on craigslist (
BBQ, Patio Set, Living Room DIY shelf, Manfrotto Tripod, Nikon 18-85mm lens, Telescoping Ladder, 25′ hose, RV table, Bike Repair Stand, Wood Furniture Kitchen, Thermostats) Make 3D Layout of the slide-out storage & Snowboard Rack & Under-bed Storage
To Do List, July 25th 2017
Snowboard’s Rack Build(to be continued) Prepare the van for Mosquito Screen installation scheduled on July 26th Buy cedar wood & 120V Outlet Ride our bikes!!
To Do List, July 26th 2017
Mosquito Screens Installation Sell stuff on craiglist! Downsize the house!
To Do List, July 27th 2017
Start Building Cabinet’s Doors under oven Start Building Snowboards storage Re-Do Webasto Splice under van
To Do List, July 28th 2017
Continue Exterior Shower Curtains Installation Continue Snowboards storage Re-Install Spray Nozzle
To Do List, July 29th 2017
Re-Locate bikes in slide-out rack Buy Russian Birch Plywood (3/8″ qty =2, ) Start Building Under-Bed Shelf
To Do List, July 30th 2017
Continue Under-Bed Shelf Start Building Slide-Out Storage
oupsy, we skipped a few days of planning… oh well.
To Do List, August 3rd 2017
Continue cargo area setup Pack the van to check if things fit!
To Do List, August 4th 2017
Fine-tune cargo area setup… Continue packing the van… Continue Bed Frame/Countertop interface
To Do List, August 5th 2017
Finish Bed Frame/Countertop interface Intall 120V outlet Install Cargo LED strip + Switch accessible from kitchen Indoor Shower (test) Install doors for sink/stove cabinet
To Do List, August 6th 2017
Finish & Install Overhead Shelf above bed Install shelves in overhead storage and sink/stove cabinet
To Do List, August 8th 2017
Add shelf in cargo area Take appointment to install KO2 as spare Call for van evaluation (we haven’t heard from them)
To Do List, August 9th 2017
Install border (or so) everywhere to prevent stuff from falling off Fine-tune cargo area storage
To Do List, August 10th 2017
Install border (or so) everywhere to prevent stuff from falling off Install hook (or so) so oven’s door won’t open when driving Fine-tune cargo area storage (bike wheels, etc)
To Do List, August 11th 2017
Cargo Lights Add moooaaarrrr shelves! Weight the van (no payload)
To Do List, August 12th 2017
- Cabin Curtains
- Decide on Internet solution and act!!
Add raised edges to shelves Heat Shrink the last connections and make tidy!
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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!