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Back on the Coast

Back on the Coast

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Rebirth of a Vandweller

"They call me the Seeker; I've been searchin', lo' and hi'..." - excerpt, The Who song.

About two years ago, I started wanting a van. I missed the freedom of Waldo, the Magic VW Bus; how, I could go camping, visiting, travelling with ease and economy. The VW vans had in the meantime become a rather expensive option, and being frugal in nature, not an option. After looking at lots of vans, I decided to go with something domestic, reasonable fuel economy and serviceability, and commonplace. Although I wasn't buying the van for urban stealth, I like vehicles that blend in, that don't stick out as a target for thieves and joyriders. Hence, after considering the Chevy Astro, I went with a Ford Aerostar. I thought about full-size vans, but at that time, fuel economy was a priority, and I really wasn't thinking about full-time vandwelling, more of a mini-RV.

I took the Aerostar out for some nice road trips; one extended trip across Canada, for 2 months and 11,700 miles was particularily great. When visiting friends and family, I had my own bedroom, if necessary. I started reading blogs and web groups about vandwelling, and started appreciating the concept. Practical, efficent, convenient, opportunistic, economic - a lifestyle option, which mirrored many of my desirable personal themes for living.

My first vandwelling period was living and working in Whistler, BC, Canada. Whistler is known as a world class ski resort, but, it is also a small city, with full-time work opportunities, year-round. I had already lived there for five years, so I have an extensive network, both social and workworld. Although there is plenty of employment, accomodation is extremely limited and very expensive. Stealth vandwelling provided a convenient solution, for a work contract from April to October '06. I showered at friends', the Rec Centre, or jumped in a lake; I cooked at friends' and tailgated; I parked whereever. Eventually, I got a steady campspace on private property, in exchange for some labour.

Since, I didn't want to stay in Whistler for the winter, I headed back to the big city, down on the coast. I found accomodation to be very expensive, around $800 - $900 per month for a basic one-bedroom apartment. After paying no rent for quite a while, I wasn't too thrilled with that idea. So, I just modified my vandwelling routines to suit.

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