WDN Interview with The Roadtrippers: Exploring Canada
“Happiness is not a destination; it is a way of life.”
Let’s start with who you are and a brief history of life ‘before vanlife.’
We are Pierre Rouxel and Camille Visage, two French travelers in their mid-twenties. We haven’t stopped exploring new countries and living in different cultural environments since we were 18.
Before this project, we lived in Austria and worked for a web-marketing agency.
What is the make and model of your van and have you changed it in any way? Has it got a name?
We travel with ‘Bob,’ our ’85 Dodge Ram Van B250 (furnished by Campwagon). When we bought it in Montreal, we decided to keep the name from the last owner – they named it after their favourite Canadian hockey player Bob Gainey.
Why did we keep it? We don’t really know. Maybe it was a way to acknowledge its identity and pay our respect to the many roads this van has been driven on. After all, it already had 250,000 km on the odometer!
Describe your first journey. Not just the pretty moments, but the awkwards, too. Ha.
Because we’d never traveled nor lived in a van before, we’ll always remember the first place we stopped at.
It was near a church, towering over the Saint Lawrence River. If the view was truly magnificent, it was nothing compared to this overwhelming feeling of freedom we experienced.
We’d prepared this trip for two months and being on the road at last gave us a feeling of exhilaration. But yeah, we have to admit: we were rather worried, too.
Neither of us had ever driven a vehicle that big, with an automatic gearshift and in a country with a different traffic rules. At 80 kilometers per hour on the highway, we could feel the wind strongly striking against our van.
At first, it was so stressful that we needed to stop every hour to relax!
Where are you now?
We are currently in British Columbia, in a small town called Clearwater. After spending some time in the Canadian Rockies, we’re now on our way to Vancouver and its surroundings.
It’s been more than two months since we left Quebec, but we took some time to visit the Canadian Maritime. So far, Newfoundland is the place we prefer – it’s less touristy than Banff National Park!
What do you enjoy most about your lifestyle?
The feeling of freedom. We wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. As the famous saying goes: ‘Home is where we park our van.’
What do you miss most about your static lifestyle?
We don’t really miss much. We live simply, but with meaningful things. Alright, we do have to confess that sometimes we miss our comfy sofa (the bed we have in the van is not convertible).
How do you fund your lifestyle? (i.e. do you work consistently, or do you work in spurts, saving up for longer trips?)
Right now, we’re managing to self-finance while being on the road. We’ve kept some tasks from the company we worked for back then in Austria.
As digital nomads, we are totally dependent on the internet. Community management, content writing and link-building are our main tasks, but we are also developing both personal and professional websites as a hobby.
To keep up the driving pace, we organize ourselves in this way: Monday and Tuesday are our working days. It means that we need to find a place equipped with internet every week.
Why did you decide to change things? How much did you have to leave behind to start fresh?
The life we had in Austria was comfortable. We had permanent, interesting jobs that were quite well-paid. Our apartment was very comfy. We were nearby mountains and lakes. We had everything we needed to be happy.
Well, almost everything.
We were missing the one thing that motivates us: meaning. By leaving all we had built behind, we put our life in perspective. Not only by making a fresh start, but also by trying to figure out what we wanted to do with our lives.
Is there anything you wish you’d known before you started?
Not really. Behind every decision we made, there were indeed some unknown parts. Knowing that something could turn out good would only encourage us to do it. And knowing that something might turn out bad could prevent us from doing it.
But isn’t that the only effective way to learn? To make a mistake, find and test your solution – so it won’t happen again? We believe this is the way of life.
You can’t learn to walk if you can’t handle falling down first. Besides, life is funnier when it surprises you, don’t you think (smile)?
How do you deal with relationships (living with someone or having friends visit) in such a limited space? Any advice for newbies?
We are indeed all the time together. Having a small space for both of us is really challenging sometimes. Even though we are a couple, as human beings we need to be left alone from time to time.
Not only when we are mad at each other (which doesn’t happen very often – luckily!), but also to preserve our sanity. It’s important to give yourself some space. Friends or couples, try to have your own activity that doesn’t involve them.
Describe an unforgettable experience you’ve had (good or bad) that wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t chosen your lifestyle.
The first time we woke up by the ocean. In a real bed. Opening the door while lying under a warm duvet. Feeling this fresh and salty air coming inside the van. Hearing seagulls sing instead of a radio alarm.
Realizing that the day is yours.
Where is your next journey taking you to?
To the very west part of Canada: Vancouver Island. And then? Who knows…
We really appreciate you taking the time for the interview, Pierre and Camille! Love your van.
Any questions for the Roadtrippers? Ask in the comments below or connect with them:
Facebook: The Roadtrippers
Instagram: The Roadtrippers
Website: The Roadtrippers