(Tori Dark and Kevin Nault have em-barked on a trip across Canada aboard their newly converted camper van. In doing so they are joining hundreds of other couples who have taken up what is referred to in the culture as “VanLife”. During their trip, the Orléans Star will publish a series of diary pieces from Tori allowing readers to follow the couple’s journey. This is the sixth installment in that series.)
These days there is a lot of pressure for us to document our “perfect” vanlife journey on social media. We get asked over and over if we have an Instagram page or TikTok account for family and friends to follow along with Kevin and me. Which I can understand; who else do you know that would buy a very large white van, renovate it and travel across the country at 28?
Most people our age are having babies or buying a house (or at least trying to). We did the complete opposite! If you follow our adventure online you will see nothing but beautiful sunsets, ocean views and mountain ranges. But what you don’t see are the real-life moments behind those photos. So here’s a list of everything that has gone wrong with our “perfect” journey so far.
|Sunset at Arches Provincial Park, Newfoundland.. TORI DARK PHOTO
The first leg of our journey took us to Tadoussac, QC to go hiking and look for Beluga whales.
It was a beautiful fjord with whale sightings every day. I was sharing videos and photos on my Instagram account of what it’s like to work as an artist on the shores of St Lawrence while basking in the summer sun. That was until I got a phone call from Kevin to pick him up from his solo hike in Saguenay Fjord National Park. Little did I know I was about to take our brand new mobile home off-roading because Google Maps led me down a condemned hydro service road equipped with large boulders, bears and cliffs.
I am not exaggerating when I say that every cupboard in the van opened and
everything in them was thrown to the floor. It was so ridiculous we could only laugh and be amazed the van didn’t flip or get stuck. Unfortunately, we later found out that we did, in fact, damage our heater, which was a bit inconvenient once we made it to the -5’C weather in northern Labrador.
Our most recent adventure involved me getting our rear wheel stuck in a ditch while parking in Berry Hill, Gros Morne, Newfoundland. Luckily for us, a local tow truck driver was able to help push us out.
The biggest problem there was his Newfy accent was so strong I honestly couldn’t understand anything he said. He got his point across and he saved the day! More about him to come later…
I guess the point here is don’t believe everything you see online. Yes, there are beautiful sites, delicious restaurants and one-of-a-kind experiences. But there are equally messy and realistic aspects of life. Both make it worth it in the end.
(You can follow Tori and Kevin at www.instagram.com/vanxiety_life/. Tori and Kevin are both former students at Cairine Wilson Secondary School, Class of 2012.)