Van Life – We Did It!
We built our van, sold our house, quit our jobs, and we’re doing the van life somewhere between the Atlantic and Pacific ocean. It feels UNREAL!
2017 to 2020:
Van Life Tales From the Road
As we progress in our travels, we learn to live a normal life in our van…
All The Van Life Tales From The Road:
Van life Guides and How-To’s
Below are some guides and how-to’s, learnt the hard way, to help make the most of the van life.
Hope that helps!
When planning for our Van Life back in 2016, we couldn’t find any information on the actual cost of living on the road. It was unfortunate, because how fast we spend money highly influences how long we can stay on the road… To help others following our path, we decided to keep track of all our Van Life monthly expenses (organized by category). Hope this helps!
We’ve been living full time in our van since 2017, and the only times we pay for campsites are when we join friends that are visiting us. It’s totally possible to live in a van and not spend a dime on overnight parking spots. In this guide, we share the resources, tips & tricks we use to find free campsites.
Van Life really makes you realize how precious water is, because it’s no longer an unlimited supply. Indeed, the idea of running out of water can be nerve racking, especially when travelling to remote places! In this guide, we share the resources, tips & tricks we use to find water for free. Hope this helps!
Finding driving directions, camping spots, cool swimming holes nearby, grocery stores, cheap gas, etc… we’ll go ahead and say it: van life wouldn’t be the same without mobile Internet these days! In this guide, we share what’s the most reliable way to get Internet on the road, as well as some hacks to make the most out of your Internet plan.
Winter van life is not easy, but it is extremely rewarding if, like us, chasing epic skiing/snowboarding conditions is what you’re after! With the proper resources & planning, it can be a magical thing… In this guide: traction and driving in snow, staying warm, condensation control, water & showers, drying our gear, tales from the road, and more!
Need help figuring how to register and insure your DIY camper van conversion in British Columbia? Moving to British Columbia? We’ve been there! Here is what we learned in the process.
Accidents happen when we least expect them, and a dream vacation planned for years ahead can quickly turn into a nightmare. The goal of this article is to share the knowledge we gained about travel medical insurance; we’re no experts, but it should help you get started.
Creating your own website is a great way to keep your brain busy on the road, connect with other people, and even make money remotely! We’re no Internet gurus or experts, but if we made it happen with FarOutRide.com, so can you! Here is everything to get you started.
Van life FAQ
What is Van Life?
It’s up to each of us to make the Van Life community an inclusive community! As such, we don’t like having a specific set of rules to define Van Life… But as a general guideline, Van Life is a lifestyle of living (or travelling) full-time (or part-time) in a van. Typically, it involves converting a van to a camper van (or adventure van) by adding basic amenities (roof fan, bed, 12V refrigerator, cooktop) or full amenities (toilet, sink, shower, etc). The van conversion can be performed by a van conversion company or it can be self-built (aka “DIY”). The budget for a camper van can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to a few hundred thousand dollars! But whatever the cost, we’re all part of the same awesome Van Life family 🙂
What is Van Life for FarOutRIde?
For us, Van Life is about doing more of what we love while we’re still young and healthy: mountain biking, skiing, travelling. We sold our house in 2017 to move full time in our self-built Ford Transit camper van, and we don’t look back! We’ve been documenting our adventures in our TALES FROM THE ROAD, which you will find at the top of this page (scroll up). See you on the road!
Why Van Life?
We all have different backgrounds and different reasons for doing the Van life, and that’s OK! Amongst the fellow van lifers we met on the road, here are the most common reasons why people are doing the Van Life:
- To avoid rent and save money.
- To live a minimalist lifestyle (simple living).
- To live a nomad lifestyle and be location independent (e.g. digital nomad).
- To travel and see the world (short or long term).
- To do more of their favorite activity (mountain biking, skiing, moto, photography, etc.).
Why Van Life for FarOutRIde?
For us, the motivation for full time Van Life came a few years after we became fully rooted in our mid-thirties: engineering careers, home owners, etc. The idea of working full time and taking short (and expensive) vacations each year until our old days was not really fulfilling… 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? Van Life seemed like the perfect solution! We originally planned to travel one year, but one year turned into two… into three… into four… and we’re still counting! Well, that’s the short story. For the long story, head over to Our Story:
What’s the best van for Van Life?
It’s impossible to answer that question without FIRST defining your needs! Indeed, the “best” van is different for each one of us. Here are some questions you should ask yourself in order to define what’s the best van for you:
- What’s your budget to purchase the van?
- What’s your budget for the van conversion?
- What’s your budget for van maintenance?
- What are your mechanical aptitudes?
- Is a mechanical breakdown a big deal for you, or it’s part of the adventure?
- How important is it for you to be able to stand up in the van?
- Do you prioritize function over look?
What’s our Best Van?
When we first tried to decide what van to get, we went through the process of asking the same questions as above:
- What’s our budget to purchase the van and for the van conversion?
- We’d rather build a van once and keep it for a long time. We’d rather pay a high upfront cost for the van and the conversion, so that we don’t have to worry about the van in the future and so that we can focus on our adventures.
- What’s our budget for van maintenance?
- The lowest the better, of course…
- What are our mechanical aptitudes?
- None, and learning how to fix a van is not really our thing.
- Is a mechanical breakdown a big deal for us, or it’s part of the adventure?
- For us, the adventures are on the bikes or our skis. So we’d rather avoid breakdowns, especially knowing we plan on traveling in remote places.
- How important is it for us to be able to stand up in the van?
- VERY important.
- Do we prioritize function over look?
- Function. Owning a vintage or a cute van is not important for us.
We were steered towards either a Ford Transit, a Mercedes Sprinter, or a Ram ProMaster. We ended choosing the Ford Transit and we don’t look back! Here is more info about choosing between one of these vans:
How much does it cost to buy or build a van?
The cost of your ticket to Van Life is influenced by several variables: pro-build VS self-build, vintage van VS modern van, amenities added, the quality of the components used for the van conversion, etc. Some people invest only a couple grands and are ready to live in their van; others invest over two hundred grands to buy their dream rig. The cost varies so much, there is no general rule of thumb. But if you plan on building your own van (like us), we can definitely help: check out our “Van Build Cost and Labor” page where we fully detailed and documented the cost and labor of our own van conversion (it’s all organized by category).
How Much Did We Spend On our Van And Conversion?
Back in 2016, we could buy brand new Ford Transit van for around $35,000 USD. And then we spent about $20,000 USD on the conversion. To help you plan your own van build, we fully documented the cost and labor we invested in our own conversion; all detailed and organized by category. Hope this helps!