(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 eighth installment in that series.)
We’re home! Did you miss us? We missed you too, don’t worry. It was time for us to return home so we could celebrate a couple of weddings with friends and catch up with family. So far in our van life journey, we have taken you exploring through Quebec, Labrador, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.
|Tori enjoys some homemade waffles while parked in her parents’ driveway in Navan. PHOTO SUPPLIED
After some much-needed time in Halifax visiting a friendly face, we slowly made our way back to Ottawa. Some of you may have followed along since we left, while others are just tuning in. Why not summarize the first leg of our journey by listing some of our favourite places.
The number one most underrated destination in my books is Red Bay, Labrador. With a current population of 169, a rich history dating back to 1530, and being home to the Red Bay National Historic Site, this little village has lots to offer. My top recommendation is to climb Tracey Hill Trail on the town’s edge. With such a beautiful view of the unforgiving sea, immense icebergs and ancient homes, it’s like nothing else.
In a close second is Newfoundland, but not the areas you’re most likely thinking of.
Not necessarily Gros Morne National Park or St John’s. Nope, the most impressive part of our experience was a small section of the Trans-Canada Highway between Corner Brook and Port-aux Basque on our way to the interprovincial ferry. With towering mountains and plateaus on the left and the Atlantic Ocean on the right, it was a site to be seen.
Half of the reason why we chose to live a nomadic lifestyle was to see Canada, but the other half was to experience growth and challenge ourselves in more ways than one. So what are some of our lessons we’ve learned? The first (and obvious) is that you don’t begin this journey unless you are truly comfortable with your traveling partner. Kevin and I didn’t see anyone familiar for six weeks. Just him and I in a van, alone all the time. Though small amounts of time apart are important, such as solo walks, reading in a park, etc. However, being able to enjoy each other’s company is even more important.
The next essential lesson learned is safety first! As a young woman traveling in a vehicle, I have to be very aware of my surroundings at all times. Kevin very much adds to my safety just by being there, however, there are days or evenings when I am alone. On those days I have a few key rules to follow: Keep all windows covered, lock the doors, exit and enter only through the front cabin doors, dim the lights at night, and follow your gut. If the spot we are parked is not comfortable and I feel uneasy I will relocate the van. Better safe than sorry.
Now that we are back in Ottawa, we are planning on staying in the area before heading west for the winter. We have a few adventures planned that I’m looking forward to while we are home and I’m excited to share them all with you. In all, thank you for following along and I hope you enjoy what’s yet to come.
(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.)