Hi! My name is Eric. Before starting the van life, there was a huge process, one does not simply wake up one morning and go on vanlifing
away. To know the complete story of where I came from and how big a change it was for me, please search "My story" in the blog category. This category of the blog will focus on my adventures on
the van life.
So in December 2018 I made a "pact" with life. I was 35 years old, I had no interests in pursuing my life, it was "boring" to me. What I was picturing in front of me was "the grind" for money to pay the bills, pay the rent and maybe live a little bit on the week-end. I did that for 15 years prior, my mom and dad did it until they died before reaching retirement, I couldn't see how doing it for another 30 years would make me "happy" or fulfilled.
The pact was "Okay life, I'm going to move forward, I'm going to get a day job to pay my debts, but!, in six
months, my life has to get interesting, help me find my answer on how I want to live my life. If I don't, I'm selling my soul and joining the army!" So you must understand that I dislike
authority, I dislike being told what to do, I need to be free of my own choices otherwise I feel very frustrated. I also do not like the concept of an army, of being "armed" to defend ourselves.
I'm a peace loving person and do not believe in violence. I'm also NOT in good physical shape, so the army training would be BRUTAL for me. But I was talking to myself saying, if you can't use
your freedom properly, might as well give purpose to it, let the army teach you a few things until you figure yourself out.
It made sense as well, it just went way out of my values. So the week before Christmas, I had an appointment at the recruitment center in Montreal, brought all the paperwork and did 4 hours of tests. Apparently I did okay because after we met individually with recruitment officers and he told me I could pick any career in the army, I just had to choose! So I picked "aerospace telecommunication and information systems technician", wow that's a mouthful! Basically it's a computer job, I'd feel comfortable in, I'd make money, I'd travel, I'd learn a lot about myself and I'd get in shape! Perfect alternative I thought.
Then on January 7th 2019, I found the best job I could find, driving forklifts like i did for 12 years, stable, comfortable and in the same industry I was working before. The difference though, is that my co-workers all acted as teachers to me. They were all amazing people, through them, I managed to learn a lot about myself, my desires, my on-look of life, on others and helped me frame up what I would be doing in a few months.
The flood, the shift!
In 2019, Quebec was under an unusually long and snowy winter, so snowy in fact, that the thaw caused massive floodings in the areas surrounding
the thousand island river (elsewhere too). I so happen to (used to) live close enough to the river. The picture above was taken on May 2nd 2019. The water that you see is supposed to be a road
the leads all the way to the edge of the picture, where the river is supposed to be.
You see the van that's parked in the picture? It's right at the corner of my yard. So at this point in time I'm next in line to be flooded. I also happened to live in the basement, which means if the water levels rise to my windows, I'd lose EVERYTHING. So during my work days, I started to wonder what would happen, how would I react if I did lose everything, how would I feel, what would I do?
And I noticed that... I wouldn't mind at all. Nothing would change, I'd still be me, I'd still do what I do. A big
understanding came over me at that point, that all the physical stuff I had acquired in my life didn't matter. The material stuff is just tools to achieve something or make
life more comfortable, it isn't needed to live. I thought that my life sucked anyways, what would more stuff give me that didn't have in me already? At the same time, I was working
to pay my debts, to pay the bills, in order to keep this apartment, to pay for the internet, to pay the electricity, almost all my income was going into that. I was working 40 hours a week I
didn't enjoy THAT much, going through 2 hours of traffic per day which felt like a huge waste of time, all of this to pay for stuff I didn't care about? Why am I doing this??
That realization got me thinking further, what if I didn't have to pay for all this "stuff", what could I do? Well... I could travel I guess, I got family in western Canada I could visit (sister, aunt, cousins, friends), so that would be an opportunity to do that. How would I do that without working a 40 hours job? Well if I could get a starting funds and some time, I could create a website and focus on working online as an intuitive energy healer/coach (see my story to know more) and work from anywhere in the world. I could also spend winter in a country where it doesn't suck so much. And how would I do that? Well to be able to afford living and travelling in the same time, I couldn't afford paying hotel bills everyday, so how could I save on that?
That's where Monty comes in! I call my ride Monty because it's a Pontiac Montana : Monty! I just acquired this van in December the 23rd, I had no
choice in fact, because my old car left me out of nowhere, so I had to change ride very quickly and he (yeah it's a he for me!) came into my life! Even though I was more into economical
cars, I couldn't pass this opportunity.
Take a note of the synchronicity of my demands on life and the change of cars!
At the time, as I was riding back home with him, I looked back at the storage space he had and thought to myself, that will be useful for me in the future, but I don't know why. Fast forward in May, I thought to myself, hey! I can just remove the seats, put a bed in there and the world is mine!! I would only have to pay for gas and food! For some reason, this prospect got me REALLY excited, the idea of being completely free to go and do anything that I wanted was really resonating with me. In the mean time, I realized joining the army was THE WORSE idea for me, it was the most disrespectful thing I could do to myself, my values and what I was trying to achieve in life. I got an appointment to do medical tests and an interview to further my demand at that point. The day before my appointment I called them to remove my application, saying how sorry I was for wasting their time. I had found a better way to express my self, my heart.
After that, I asked my friends and family what they thought about going travelling with my van, subconsciously trying to find reasons not to do
it. They all told me it was an amazing adventure and I should definitely do it if that was where my heart was guiding me. So now I had the reason, the plan (read : rough idea), I hadn't renewed
my lease, so I could still cancel it, my job was a contract that was ending in June, the only thing that was missing was the money to make it all happen.
Now how would life help me find my travel funds...?
You see, at that point, I hadn't done my taxes for two years. The prospect of this daunting task was making me nauseous, but strangely, the next week-end I got the urge and energy to tackle that task, even though in my mind, I owed money. After taking a few hours to get all the paperwork, sort it out, get the software and doing my taxes, it turned out they owed me over 4 thousands... what?
So now I mysteriously had my travel funds, at least enough to start and have enough for the summer, the time i needed for me to figure out how to
finance my travels further.
So I didn't need anymore signs for the universe to start moving, I announced to my landlord I wasn't renewing my lease, I started ripping the seats off Monty, to figure out how much room I had to work with and figuring how I wanted to go about making Monty my home.
I will end the first "episode" for now and in the following episode, I will cover all the "upgrades" I did to make Monty livable, in the The start of the Van Project!