(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 latest installment in that series.)
Many people were surprised to hear that we are continuing to live in the van while staying in Ottawa for the next few months. I guess they assumed we would move in with family and park the van for the time being.
|Tori checks out the fall foliage during a recent van-cation trip to Camp Fortune in the Gatineaus. PHOTO SUPPLIED
We could enjoy the free showers, beds, and space to walk around without knocking my head on the overhead cabinets every other day. Sounds tempting, but there are a lot of benefits to being nomadic in this city.In a way, it has encouraged us to become tourists in our hometown.
Since being back, we have taken up “residency” in numerous neighbourhoods that we otherwise wouldn’t have because our house goes wherever we go. Having friends in Gatineau means movie nights can go longer without the long drive back to the east end. Just a quick 20-second walk down the driveway and bingo – you’re home!
This became extremely convenient when we attended weddings this summer. Kev and I closed out the reception on the dance floor at 1 a.m. without having to worry about calling an Uber or catching the shuttle back to a hotel. We took the free floral arrangement, and a bottle of whiskey and danced our way back home – all 100 metres to the van.
A few other places we have enjoyed exploring further include Wakefield, the Mer Bleue Conservation Area, Gatineau Park and my sister-in-law’s driveway.
Meech Lake provided a much-needed relief from the humid Ottawa heat. We have also been introduced to the mountain biking community at Camp Fortune. Only as a spectator for our friend Chris, because there is no chance I’d make it out alive biking down those forest trails!
I’m also looking forward to planning little weekend trips outside of Ottawa as a way to take full advantage of vanlife this fall. First on my list is downtown Montreal for a concert at the MTELUS Theatre next week, hiking in Tremblant for my birthday in November and hopefully a trip down to Lake Placid before the snow falls.
We often park outside family and friends’ homes and they always offer us a spot inside, but we are more than happy to snuggle up in our cozy van apartment.
Until next time. Happy trails.
(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.)