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A Story - About Us

Sometimes not going to plan is just how it's supposed to be.

So our story of ending up in Canada is a funny one. Whenever people ask when "we" got to Canada, well... we came separately, but also didn't meet up here in the north. It's a weird one, although at the same time it's never too normal with us.

 

• • •

When I finally arrived in Canada we had great intentions of doing the whole 'vanlife' thing. It's easy right? Buy a van and off you go. Every morning is different, spectacular sights all round and you'll see more than you even knew was out there... right?

 

Well no. Not for us.

A 1979 GMC Vandura was our first attempt. Scarlett was her name. It began in North Vancouver where Liz had spent 4 months living. Purchased from a friend of a friend. It just felt like it was meant to be, and maybe it was, but sometimes it takes a while for things to fall into their place.

September we set off. I (Josh) had 3 weeks before I had to be back in Australia for a wedding where I was part of the bridal party. A big loop of BC and the rockies was on the cards, ending back in Vancouver where the return flight was departing from. However, despite being all for the nomadic lifestyle we needed a home and jobs for the winter. So we thought we would find somewhere on the way. Some place that felt just right for two wannabe vanlifers.

A whole week it took and we were now situated in Fernie, BC. Home of "the Griz" and a whole lot of snow. We had a plan mapped out to see all sorts of beautiful things on our round trip and maybe that was the issue. We had never done plans. The van struggled on the highways. '100km/hr' we kept reading as we chugged along past the posted speed limits. How fast were we going? Scarlett couldn't have even told you. Her broken speedometer constantly darted back and forth with every bump and turn, but at around that speed we didn't really need it. As for climbing hills, we cheered at the conclusion of each one. All of which we did with our hazards lights flashing as bright as they could.

 

Foreshadowing? Maybe.

Vanlife conversion in front of mountains, Fernie, BC

After bypassing a couple of towns on the way that required a slight detour of our route, we thought it would be best to have a proper look around town. If you don't already know, finding accommodation in a ski town that doubles in size during the winter is TOUGH.

 

Another week passed, I had only one more left. We spent countless hours searching for housing and nothing. Finding a job wasn't even a thought anymore. Every workplace wanted you to have a house first, but getting a lease was much easier with a job. It's a vicious cycle. So what did us two determined people decide to do?

Flee - or at least we tried.

With little time left on my initial trip shouldn't we at least enjoy the weather and see the beautiful mountains before the snow sets in? So the journey through the iconic Canadian Rockies began.

8km down the highway. The engine blew.

 

We aren't no mechanics, but usually an explosion isn't the best of sounds for a car. We popped the hood and moments later a tow truck pulled over. Who would have thought an old van with its hood popped up on the highway looked like a bad thing?

It was a Friday afternoon and back to Fernie we went. Who doesn't love Fridays right? Everyone loves to have the weekend off. Including mechanics... So straight into the car park between Canadian Tire and Tim Hortons we went. At least soaking up some sort of the Canadian feel, right?

Van being lowered off a tow truck in front of mountains

3 rainy grey days we spent in that car park. Fernie chose us, we didn't even need to flip a coin. As for our car - $135 later we found out she was done after her 40 years. A "blown engine" we were told. It was maybe the lowest point right then. Our home on wheels was now a small immobile home that had to be moved ASAP (but to where?!), the weather was deteriorating and we had no clue how I was going to get back to Vancouver.

 

But is it a low point or a turning point? You choose.

Vanlifer and Van in carpark eating lunch
Vanlifer in cooking in carpark

From our temporary home of the Canadian Tire carpark we sent out a distress call and an answer we got. Using a bit of wit and humour we had a house for a month and a half. With a roof over our heads we finally had time to think about everything else and it wasn't long after we locked in jobs and on my final day we found accommodation for the winter. Not to mention we also found a new vehicle. A truck this time, an F150 to be specific. Mass produced, easy to fix and reliable... we thought. Well, it got me to Calgary airport and Liz back to Fernie in one piece, just. What happened after that is another story in itself.

Truck and Van on a rainy day in a mountain town

The original plan failed, miserably. Although maybe in a weird way everything happened in the exact way it was suppose to. Sometimes to find exactly what you need you have to stop looking for it. In this case our home found us and the stories didn't stop there.

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