(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 seventh installment in that series.)
If you are familiar with the concept of vanlife and campervans, then you know that the basis of it all is to live in the moment. There are no guarantees in this life, so you might as well live out your dreams while you can. Easier said than done, right? Well, I’m here to prove you wrong.
|Tori during a stop at Crystal Beach, Nova Scotia. KEVIN NAULT PHOTO
Of course, there is the natural progression of life while living within our current society: go to school, get a job, get married, buy a house, make babies, retire, maybe travel if you’re lucky. It’s how our parents lived and their parents before them. It’s well-tested; tried and true.
But who says that’s the only option? My partner Kevin and I have been together for nine years, living together for five. We don’t own a home, we don’t have any kids or pets, and we miraculously found a way to start our businesses in our late 20s.
Essentially no real responsibilities to stop us. Trust me, we tried the original format. I worked for the federal government straight out of university for several years and Kevin worked for Shopify, Ottawa’s largest start-up company. We were on track to get married and start a family by 28, but one day we woke up and realised this was not the life we wanted (just yet). Why not shake things up before it feels too late?
Now when we look around us, we don’t see the young influencers from Instagram and Pinterest. We have noticed that the average age of vanlifers isn’t in their twenties, thirties or even forties, but rather 60+. We met a lovely couple just outside Québec City who shared their story with us of how they’ve been waiting 30 years to travel across Canada. They had two kids and got busy and never revisited the idea until now. Since beginning their travels last year, they have driven to the Carolinas, Florida, Nova Scotia and most recently Québec. It has come to our attention that we are the anomaly here, not them.
This reminded me to be grateful for our experiences and to appreciate the life we have created for ourselves. Waking up to the sound of the Atlantic Ocean and feeling the warm morning breeze from the comfort of my bed with my best friend doesn’t sound so bad after all. It’s okay to be frustrated when we are stuck in a heat wave or when I find gravel from the parking lot in the bed sheets. But all of that is insignificant against the privilege we have of experiencing this while we are young.
So, I challenge you to give yourself space to live the life you want now. Go on that trip you’ve been dreaming of, buy a ticket for the flight bookmarked on your browser, rent a campervan and travel the country! The world is your oyster, you just have to crack it open.
(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.)