Almost two months into our five month Western Canada road trip and we are loving life. There are many reasons but some of these are intrinsically linked with travelling and living in a van.
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vanlife love no 1: we can go anywhere
Pin a spot on the map and we can most likely go there, one way or another. There’s a great place to camp 30km down that logging road? Sounds good! What does that sign say, ‘Historic General Store’? Well, why not. There’s a slower but much more scenic route that way? We’ll take it!
Being back on the road with our own vehicle reaffirms that this is my favourite way to travel. Public transport is all well and good, but it can be so limited and inflexible. The best places so far have been a fair distance from the main road, where rental cars usually can’t go. Our van may be old and goes through a heck of a lot of gas (more than you could ever guess) but it is our passport to going beyond the beaten path.
Wonder how we find the outdoor adventures in BC? By using Backroad Mapbooks. These feature every single road, every trailhead, every free camping spot. Simply put, they are amazing and have saved us so much money.
vanlife love no. 2: we live outdoors 24/7
The birds singing in the morning, the stars at night, cooking and eating outside every day – I feel so much more connected to the world and nature when travelling like this. Food seems to taste better too. It helps that British Columbia is a great place to be spending so much time outdoors; beautiful, plenty to do, easy to travel around and lots of places to camp for free.
OK, I admit it, it does rain sometimes (and it can really rain in BC) and the bugs are irritating, but the days I long for having four walls and a roof are few and far between. A rainy day on the road is an opportunity to curl up in the van and watch Game of Thrones. Or blog, phone home, read, sort through photos, make comfort food or tidy the van (although that one doesn’t usually happen).
vanlive love no. 3: we follow our own schedule
On a long trip like this, we have so much flexibility that having a lazy day or two really doesn’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things. It keeps us sane. We can stay as long as we like at places we love, although weekends can admittedly be trickier. There’s no bus schedule to adhere to or mileage limitations to worry about, so we can go as far as we feel like. One day, that was a huge distance of 25km. When you’re in an inspiring place and the weather is good, why move on?
With this much flexibility and few plans set, we were able to backtrack a few hours and visit a good friend who was visiting from the UK – since we have the time and means, we couldn’t find many reasons not to. We do get caught out sometimes at places which do run to a schedule (think BC Ferries, supermarkets, Visitor Centres) but hey, we can just go tomorrow right?
Read next: How to Find Free Camping in British Columbia