Two Years Of Vanlife: A Retrospective

2 Years Vanlife Road Map

Two Years Of Vanlife: A Retrospective

1- Life Before Vanlife

The Normal Life

We were products of the system: we had well paid permanent jobs with benefits (we were both engineers), a nice house, cars, friends, we had access to local mountain biking trails, whitewater rivers,  ski hills, craft beer scene, etc. We were not attracted by luxury (except for mountain bikes!) and didn’t buy a lot of stuff, 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! wait… are we?).

Life-Before-Vanlife
Life before vanlife.

Redefining Normal

We lived a comfortable life, but when reaching 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, can we create a lifestyle where we can enjoy these activities to the fullest when 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… Less expenses, less income. It’s all about balance. Can we turn that daydream into reality?

Less Expenses

Easier said than done. How much converting and travelling in a van cost, actually? There was a lot of guesswork involved in our planning… But if you’re reading this now you can take the guesswork out of the equation, because we tracked everything down:

Van Cost

There are so many different van options, so we leave this part up to you. Check out classifieds or inquire to your local dealer to get a quote. On a side note, here is how we decided on the Ford Transit:

Conversion Cost

We tracked down the total cost and labor it took us to convert the van. It’s breakdown 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, breakdown 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? Instagram stars do somehow, and we certainly didn’t fit into that category. 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 idea ever, because while our day jobs kickstarted our vanlife, FarOutRide.com turned it into a full time gig. We can’t say it enough: -THANK YOU- for using our affiliate links (Amazon mostly) from our Build Journal and our Build Guides. Thank you for downloading our diagrams (Wiring, Water & Propane). Without YOU, we couldn’t keep 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…

2- Two Years In Numbers

Road Traveled
42,000 Miles
68,000 KM
Fuel Consumption
~14.7 MPG
~16 L/100KM
Fuel Cost
$11,000 USD
Van Maintenance
(includes oil change)
$2,420 USD
Van Camping
695 Nights
Splitboarding Vertical
(Strava stats)
108,000 Feet
33,000 Meters
MTB Vertical
(Trailforks stats, might include shuttles)
525,000 Feet
160,000 Meters
Snowboarding Cost
(Maintenance, Gear, Clothing, etc.)
$250 USD
MTB Cost
(Maintenance, Gear, Clothing, Shoes, etc.
-->excludes new bikes)
$4,800 USD

3- Tales From The Road

No. More. House.

August 15th finally came. We had to hand out the keys of the house to the new owners. There was no turning back now... Goodbye little blue house!

From House to Van

September 2017

Okay, let's hit the road!

The Badlands

South Dakota

Mount Rushmore

South Dakota

Devil Towers

Wyoming

Duck Lake

Montana

Glacier National Park

Montana

Whitefish

Montana

Homestake Pass

Montana

Renova Hot Springs

Montana

Devil's Canyon

Montana

Yellowstone National Park

Wyoming

Moab

Utah

Fish Towers

Utah

Fruita / Grand Junction

Colorado

Capitol Reef National Park

Utah

HIGHWAY 12 SCENIC BYWAY

Utah

GRAND STAIRCASE – ESCALANTE NATIONAL MONUMENT

Utah

Bryce Canyon / Thunder Mountain

Utah

Hurricane / Virgin

Utah

Flagstaff

Arizona

Grand Canyon

Arizona

Sedona

Arizona

Meadows Hot Springs

Utah

Teton Pass

Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park

Wyoming

Frenchman Coulee (Vantage)

Washington

Lussier Hot Springs

British Columbia

Kicking Horse (Golden)

British Columbia

Rogers Pass

British Columbia

Whitewater (Nelson)

British Columbia

Kootenay Pass

British Columbia

Squamish / Pemberton

British Columbia

April / May 2018

Squamish / Pemberton / Vancouver Island

British Columbia

June / July 2018

Squamish / Pemberton / Vancouver Island

British Columbia
Millions Dollars Economic Impact from Mountain Biking in Squamish (in french):

August / September 2018

Vancouver Island

British Columbia

Oregon

UMPQUA HOT SPRINGS

Oregon

Crater Lake

Oregon

Mount Shasta

California

Redding

California

Redding

California

Avenue Of The Giants

California

South Lake Tahoe

California

Buckeye Hot Springs

California

Yosemite National Park

California

Duck Pass Trail

California

Bishop

California

KEARSARGE PASS AND MOUNT GOULD

California

NORTH FORK LONE PINE CREEK TRAIL

California

Death Valley

California

San Juan / Laguna Beach

California

Mount Wilson

California

December 2018 / January 2019

San Diego

California
December 2018 San Diego

Santa Cruz

California
Isabelle Santa Cruz Bike December 2018

Mount Baker

Washington
Mount Baker December 2018

Squamish

British Columbia

Joffre Lakes

British Columbia

We became BC residents!

We found our Happy Place.

Wishing for a big dump

We like big dump.

Rogers Pass

British Columbia
Rogers Pass Backcountry Skiing
Rogers Pass Backcountry Skiing Splitboarding

The Icefields Parkway

Alberta

Terrace

British Columbia
Terrace BC Backcountry Skiing
Vanlife Snow Snowboard Dump
Mountain Biking Terrace Viewpoint
Terrace Mountain Biking Green

Hyder

Alaska / British Columbia Border
Hyder Alaska Border Canada
Bear Pass BC Van

April to August 2019

Squamish / Whistler / Pemberton

British Columbia

Rossland / Nelson / Revelstoke

British Columbia