Our vanlifers travel alone, as a couple, with their family and some with their dogs. They travelled short and long distances depending on their free time.
From two weeks of employer-allocated vacation time to four years continuously, some after selling houses, condos and cars. They experienced moments of pure grace, but not without challenge, often of a mechanical nature.
And you can take photos of sublime places, even though between two idyllic shots, as some say, you still have to move around.
And there are also sad stories.
For example, that of Kelly, her husband and son, whose well-vaccinated Bernese mountain dog Maurice, who accompanied them, became seriously ill in California.
He had to be hospitalized before the family had to return to Quebec urgently. $10,000 later, with the exchange rate playing against them, the poor beast died and the couple sold their Winnebago.
Nevertheless, Kelly considers this trip to have been the most beautiful of her life. RIP Maurice.
The countries visited
The milesopedia community vanlifers interviewed covered America from East to West and North to South. At least, they were on their way to do so.
Others have rented on another continent: in Europe and Oceania.
Canada: from Newfoundland to British Columbia before branching off to the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Alaska.
I am thinking here of Emmanuelle and her dog Kuta, who crossed the polar circle together. Yes yes, you read it right: Inuvik. Just like Joëlle, one of our frequent travelers did with her husband in 1996.
Inuvik is a super small village where it gets very cold, the gasoline is extremely expensive, like $1.60/liter, and where the inhabitants live from hunting and meager crops, so they eat a lot of fish and meat. Grocery stores have few varieties of products, fruits and vegetables because they are too expensive for delivery. But the people are very nice.Emmanuelle
For your information, there is a road, the Panamericana, which connects Alaska to Ushuaia in Argentina and which is very popular with nomads on wheels. These travelers get around!
Quebec to California.
Many of our members have moved in this direction. To name only one: Maude and her tribe. Two adults, four children.
- the great American parks.
Yes, yes, it can be! They even found themselves one day in Times Square crowd, in their RV! But that was on another getaway and it wasn’t planned.
Direction Mexico and Belize
The road from Montreal to Mexico and then to Belize with a precipitous return because of COVID-19: 9,000 kms in nine days in mid-March to get back home!
Here is Carolane’s little family and their dog, who are currently living in their RV:
Early March 2020, we are in Belize.
Our family members are starting to write to us, they are worried about the Covid-19 situation, “will we be insured, will we be able to come back?”.
But here, everything is chill, no one seems to care too much. There are no cases reported. And, much love for this beautiful country! We are thinking of staying there to isolate.
We assess the possibilities, then one day, we have to go through 3 stores to find drinking water. This makes us doubt what will happen next; what if the situation here gets worse because of the virus?
Then we learn that the border of Mexico will be closed from March 21st. So not wanting to get “stuck” there, we cross to Mexico on March 20th.Carolane
We are assessing the possibilities of confining ourselves somewhere in Mexico, but we live in daily anxiety: will we be stuck here? And if one of our loved ones fell ill in Quebec, what would we do?
So we make the sad but rational decision to end our journey in Central America 4 months earlier than planned and come back home.
We leave Chetumal, Belize’s border town with Mexico on March 22nd. We arrive in Quebec in Mauricie on March 29th. We had to cover more than 7000 km in 7 days if we don’t count those days in Belize.
It was really unpleasant, 10-12 hour days on the road with a 7 year old child, phew!
Luckily the roads were quiet, the price of gas was plummeting, and the tolls in the USA were closed! On the other hand, in Mexico we paid a $125 toll in 3 days and passed many roadblocks where the military were allowing themselves to enter our RV!
So we reluctantly went home, but at least we have peace of mind!Carolane
The same goes for Mélodie, her husband and their two preschool daughters on their way to Argentina. After a nice trip to the United States, especially Louisiana and Texas, they had to turn back. Damn COVID-19.
However, they remain very grateful for their first getaway, which will surely not be their last. You can meet them on their Facebook page: La tribu sur roues.
Northeastern United States and the Maritimes
Closer to us with Charles and Marilyne:
- the superb Blue Ridge parkway in Tennessee
- the Washington region
- New England
They also explored:
- Nova Scotia
- Ontario and its beautiful Georgian Bay
Since they only have two weeks of summer vacation, they decided to sell the Westfalia. The call of Europe and far away regions was too strong.
And for the record, the Westfalia has since become a happy resident of Hawaii!
Around the world
And finally, there is Anik and her lover, who rented RVs to discover:
- New Zealand
And ready to go again as soon as possible, but with a lighter weight.
Van Life, as it is called by its adepts, is a way of travelling that appeals to many.
It calls to a spirit of adventure that allows you to get off the beaten track with a motorhome.
It implies the freedom to move when and where we want, often for free and over long periods of time. Nevertheless, it requires a great deal of planning, organization and a sense of eco-responsibility.
The possibility of seeing it become increasingly monitored in the future is very real due to its popularity in recent years and the abuses that followed.
Finally, if the way of travelling by motorized vehicle is not considered to be the most economical, it allows for escapades away from the crowds, in nature and in an improvised way, which its adepts, always on the lookout for small corners of paradise, enjoy.
To find out more, feel free to ask questions to our vanlifers, members of the milesopedia community who participated in the development of this article.
We thank the following milesopedian vanlifers: Joelle, Emmanuelle, Carolane, Kelly, Melanie, Maude, Anik and Charles.