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.

Living the vanlife in Northern BC
Living the vanlife in Northern BC
Reaching the Arctic Circle on our road trip
Reaching the Arctic Circle on our road trip

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).

Exploring Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park on our road trip
Exploring Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park on our road trip
Astro Van Camper Conversion Update
Driving the Dempster Highway, Yukon

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?

First views of Yukon mountains on our big road trip
First views of Yukon mountains on our big road trip

What do you love about #vanlife?

Three Big Reasons Why We Love Vanlife! - offtracktravel.ca

Author

One half of a Canadian/British couple currently based in British Columbia, Canada. Gemma is happiest when hiking on the trail or planning the next big travel adventure.

3 Comments

  1. This trip sounds so wonderful, as someone born and raised in BC I’m a bit jealous you are getting to see so much of it. Hopefully the weather gets a bit more consistent (it’s supposed to be extra hot this summer) although any excuse to watch game of thrones is a good one in our books 🙂

    • Gemma Reply

      Give it a few months and maybe you’ll join us?? Now we’re about to head north it’s getting pretty exciting. It hasn’t actually rained in over 10 days now, so I was writing that with a little wistfulness for GoT I think! Saving it for the rain 😉

  2. Pingback: 3 honest reasons why road trips aren't always fun | Off Track Travel

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