Our Story

Our-Story-Heading-1920

Our Story

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 Without Van

 

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?!

The Comfort Zone
The Comfort Zone is a Beautiful Place, but Nothing Ever Grows There.

 

 

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).

First Ride Avila
First Ride!

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$.

Cost and Labor

 

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!

Clean your mess
More work, less fun…

 

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!!

 

 

Downsizing

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:

 

 

Things

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

Kayaking Stuff

  • Playboats (2)
  • Creek Boat (1)
  • Paddles, Skirts, Helmets, Dry-Suits, Dry-Bags, Life Jackets, Car Rack, etc, etc
  • Clothing

 

Snowboarding Stuff

  • Splitboards (2)
  • Snowboards (2)
  • Avalanche Gear
  • Clothing

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)

 

Cars

  • VW Jetta TDI (210 000 km): Dieselgate buyback!
  • Toyota Corolla (320 000km)

Camping Stuff

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Mats
  • Cooking Gear

 

Housing Stuff

  • 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.

 

Getting Emotional

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?

Last Day at Work
Leaving work for the very last time!

 

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

 

To Do List, July 18th 2017

 

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!

 

 

 

STAY IN TOUCH!

Join 20,000+ followers via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Patreon or e-mail:

Instagram link

.

 

ABOUT US

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!

8 thoughts on “Our Story”

  1. We met you yesterday at Freedom Vans! I had most of the details right, I’ve learned a ton from your website, thank you! Our van is 3 days old and we’ll be following in your footsteps. I’m also an engineer, and appreciate your thought out recommendations. Thanks! We’ve already found a place for your sticker. 😉

  2. Hi you two, love your site! I am just past 70 and my wife turning 60 . We think it’s not to late to do what you do . Having owned a VW Camper vor 25 years we thought it’s time to upgrade, so we bought the same Ford Transit as you and I am currently in the process of building it out. As it turns out it going to look similar to yours. Hope to be done in a couple of months. I just wish I had come across your website sooner, it would have saved me a lot of time. I love your order and detailed directions of the process and product information. Great job! You have become my favorite site!
    If you ever in San Diego would love to buy you a cup of coffee. (Espresso) ☕️
    Happy traveling!

    Wolf

  3. Hello!

    Have ether of you realized on your journey that there is a need to earn an income one way or another? Traveling off savings is one thing but for those looking to work as they go; is there anything that obvious that is not apparent today during initial planning?

    I love the site and the way its structured and appreciate your lack of influencer position. One can influence in the same way someone follows their passion, the rest will come!

    Best of luck

    Luca P

    • Hi Luca,
      “is there anything that obvious that is not apparent today during initial planning?”. Do you mean budget-wise? Don’t know if you stumble on our Vanlife Actual Cost page: https://faroutride.com/vanlife-actual-cost Everything is there 🙂

      Otherwise, we have some income with this website, but we met people on the road doing alllll kind of stuff. Google “Digital Nomad”, it’s a thing.

      Cheers!

    • Hi guys. Just stumbled over your page. I really like the Stile of the page. Just easy to read on and on. You did an amazing job on the camper installation. In my day to day live I’m at the exact same point as you are before you started all over. I will keep following you.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.