Until recently, I really had no idea how much One Canadian’s Journey has inspired & encouraged so many people.
I’m always thankful and appreciative when I meet people and they let me know that I’ve inspired them. But when I’ve been receiving emails of personal stories and how my blog & photos have inspired & encouraged them, and what they are doing now, Wow! I’m truly touched and moved. I’m also very stumped because I don’t know what to say, …thank-you! Keep on living life to the fullest!
Be sure to read the About Page Thank-you Everyone!
There are so many beautiful places and people out there,
let’s find them together!
Let me introduce you to by buddy, Mike Ranta & his faithful companion Spitzii. These two characters are today’s modern day voyageurs. Along for the adventure is the expedition’s photojournalist, David Jackson, who in his own right is definitely an adventurer.
So here’s what’s happened, Mike has not only canoed Canada from coast to coast, he’s done it twice! As a result of these great paddles, he’s the world record holder of having done it solo and having completing the trip in a single season.
So what’s he doing in Lake Winnipeg near Gimli? He’s in the middle of canoeing Canada for a Third time! Along for the adventure is David, who has joined Mike & Spitzii from the beginning of this adventure.
Back on April 1st 2017, they began their journey in Bella Bella BC and headed east through the rockies. I can’t give away any of their stories, because let’s face it, its theirs to tell at the end of the adventure. I will say, they had to endure solitude, relentless elements, nature, wildlife, food & water shortage, and other adventures within their adventure.
Live location updates – Mike is carrying a beacon which tracks his every movement. Go to his website and locate this whereabouts on his map and if you get an opportunity….go meet the the three companions while they paddle Canada! I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t pass up on a good cold beer either.
You can read about Mike’s & Spitzii’s previous journey through his website and be sure to check out his book. Oh, and check out the baby moose he saved in during his last adventure – video here: Baby Moose Rescue
I’m always dreaming and looking for ways to be creative, live & travel cheap.
For now, let’s figure out the How to Build a Camper Van Conversion, Cheap!
Here’s what I discovered along the journey…
I was doing research into camper van conversions, particularly by those who actually use theirs on a regular basis. I will say, there are tons of people doing it, not just in Canada, but throughout the entire world. Lot’s of information, ideas and experiences out there to be discovered! You can always start by looking at what others have done throughPinterest
If you do plan on looking further into it, you’ll be bombarded with TONS of options: Campers, Pull-behinds, Vans, Cube Vans, Panel Vans, Mini to Full size School Bus Conversions, RV’s, Tear-drop trailers, Gypsy Style Wagons, etc… (too many to list) There are many beautifully well done conversions out there.
People are not only using their van conversions for camping & holidays. In reality, I’ve discovered people living full-time out of their vehicles throughout Canada, USA, and Worldwide. Some live out their vehicle by choice, financial reasons, or just to be able to travel long term. There are some very creative and ingenious ways of doing so. Also, if you live in BC or any other major city that is financially suppressing its people… Believe it or not, you have probably drove passed a “Stealth Camper” without realizing it, but that’s a topic for another day.
Let’s get back to the Cheap camper van conversion build…
Start off with this in mind – “Experiences over Possessions”, “Wants vs. Needs” and “Spend Less to Do More!”. This camper van conversion build definitely demonstrates those mantras. Obviously my needs and wants are different than yours, however, maybe this will get you thinking in a direction that is right for you.
I had been watching Craig’s List and other similar websites for a good used van that I could convert into a makeshift camper van. It took a few months of patients but I found one….
A few months ago, I was in Dayville Oregon when I come across another solo traveler, Paul, who was on a similar adventure. Read more about it here: Nomadic Motorcycle.
Exactly 4 months later, our paths crossed again and it was definitely good for the soul.
See, both of us are currently in limbo, waiting for that date to come when the next big adventure begins. The dates are set, but now its just waiting for it to get here, so until that day arrives, which sucks because you (I) want to go now. 🙂 (read: Emotionally, what to expect)
Paul and I went for coffee, walked around and talked liked best friends would. The discussions were filled with enthusiasm and the topics were about future adventures, solo traveling, the lifestyle, being a minimalist, relationships, society, getting away from the rat race, expectations, the pro’s and con’s of it, the future, goals and everything else that makes it exciting to live this type of lifestyle.
Something I do want to point out to others….although its not an easy lifestyle….I have to ask you, “ What lifestyle is?”. No matter what lifestyle you choose, you will always have ups and downs. You should know the other reality of this journey…..The rewards are awesome! It’s an amazing journey filled with positive experiences that show’s you there is so much more to life. You see life in a different perspective, and it’s very exciting! How can you make it happen for yourself? Start here: Secret to long term travel
The past few hours spent with a fellow solo traveler was a well needed positive experience to speak and connect with a like minded individual on the same path. It’s refreshing, encouraging and exciting! This is definitely something every solo traveler should do, connect with others on the same path.
In a couple weeks, Paul will be flying to South America with his motorcycle, where he’ll be exploring for an indefinite time. I’m so envious! We don’t know when our paths will cross again, but he will always remain a good friend. Safe travels buddy!
The excitement and anticipation will kill you! Not really, but its very exciting knowing that the date to leave is just around the corner. You become consumed because it’s all you dream about. It sucks waiting for that day.
When the day comes to leave, the feelings of …ummm…for the lack of of a better term….”apprehension” sets in, which is totally weird because you spent the last few months planning, dreaming with excitement and not wanting to wait any longer. You want to go now! So where the heck did apprehension come from? It’s like you don’t want to go…..geez…now you’re obligated to go because everyone is watching you, lol. But why does that occur?! Apparently this is a common occurrence among many. However, I found that by the next day I was already submersed into the adventure. All those previous “apprehensive” feelings are totally gone! It’s like they never existed in the first place.
Do I ever feel lonely? Yes, of course, but those feelings tend to pop up when I lay my head down at night. It sucks because I have no one to share the beautiful memories I had experienced throughout the day. I believe everyone, including myself, wants to have that special person in their life to share the journey and have their family with them.
I can relate to what Robin Williams once said… (see quote to the right)
The bottom line is this…. I can sit at home and not experience life, or I can go out and have some amazing adventures, with the hope that I’ll eventually meet someone special. Having said all that, keep the following in mind…
*** Solo travellers tend to meet a lot of people! I’ve met so many wonderful people that I have formed great friendships. I rarely feel alone because I’m too concentrated on enjoying the explorations, the sights, food, cultures, meeting and greeting others.
Do I ever get home sick? This is tough question because I don’t necessarily miss “home”, what I do tend to miss is the people who are important me.
Skype and Social Media does help to ease those feelings. It also makes it easier when my friends and family say, “Don’t come back, we never liked you anyway….errr….enjoy yourself while you can!“. ..lol…. That’s actually an important statement to remember. No, not the first part of it, the second part of the statement. Your family and friends want you to enjoy yourself while you can. One day, you may not be able to.
Although those were legitimate questions and concerns, you have to keep in mind those feelings are not necessary on the forefront of your thoughts because of everything that is happening around you in the present tense. You are immersed in exploring, sight seeing and concentrating on so much around you.
On a final note….. I wish the people I think about everyday were with me, everyday.
“Live for Today because You were Never Promised Tomorrow.”
Being new to the area, which will be my home for the next several months, I have joined a few local groups to get out and participate, which helps with making new friends, seeing and doing what the locals enjoy doing, as well as gaining knowledge of the surrounding areas. Locals know of all the great places!
Why should you join a local photography group? Did you know that most photography groups go on Field Trips, which means – Exploring! Sight Seeing! Adventure! New Areas! … and … each member is a local! That means you have access to a wide range of knowledge! Each member can point you in the right direction of amazing sights to explore. And they’ll give you tips to enhance your photography skills.
A couple other groups I joined involve the website Meetup. Lots of groups with various interests to check out! My first time participating in a group activity involved going on a hike along the Fraser River in Abbotsford, BC. Although I enjoyed the various aspects of it, it had me thinking….
STEP 1 – Pack Appropriately and don’t forget your camera!
STEP 2 – How to Choose a Direction – Try one of these options!
Option #1 – If you want to travel south….go! Don’t decide anything else, just go! (I’ve done this with my motorcycle – Nomadic Motorcycle Adventure)
Option #2 – Flip a Coin! Once you have packed your vehicle, flip a coin! Heads – head south, Tails – head north…..or….. Heads – head west, Tails – head east. (I’ve done this and it took me around The Great Lakes in Canada and USA. Loved it!)
STEP 3 – How to Explore
1. Choose roads that you are not familiar with or have not traveled. Keep your speed below the speed limit
2. If you come across something that catches your eye, stop! Turn around if you have to. Go check it it out! That’s all part of the adventure.
3. In the back of your mind, tell yourself, “The next town I come to, I’m going to stop at the 1st Mom & Pop Diner, Historical Sight, Gift Shop you come across. It doesn’t have to be the 1st, make it the 3rd…or 4th.
4. Ask the locals where the best sights, roads, diners, campsites, hotels, farmer market’s, festivals and places to explore. Locals love to share their knowledge of their area, so take advantage it.
5. Where do you meet Locals? Gas stations are the most common place, but far from the only place. Go up to someone, anywhere, and just ask. You’ll be surprised what you learn.
6. Stop at Information Centres, not for the maps (unless you really have to) but to ask the staff where all the best places are located. They are usually versed in tremendous amount of knowledge and ask if they have coupons for dinners, hotels, tours, etc…. they usually do!
STEP 4 – Where to Stay 1. About an hour or two before the sun sets, start keeping an eye out for campgrounds, or free camp. They are everywhere, so don’t panic.
2. If you’re going to hotel it, the cheapest hotels I’ve found have been in small towns. If you’re in larger cities, find hotels that have large casinos, they are often cheap too.
3. The other option, but you have to do it appropriately. Only approach the person who you think is the head of the household of a residence, while they are outside. If you don’t see anyone, don’t go up knocking on their door, don’t do it.
Keys points to remember: SMILE, be FRIENDLY, introduce yourself and INFORM them that you are ONLY PASSING THROUGH. Then ask if they would mind if you set up your tent in their yard for the night. Those keys points shows that you’re friendly, respectful and not a squatter.
Final Thoughts – For your adventure, this is not a race and you are in no hurry to get anywhere, so travel slower, keep your eyes open and enjoy the ride! By doing so, you will come across some amazing sights, places and people!
By no means is this post about competition between the sexes.
It’s an observation.As I have read many traveller’s blogs, there seems to be a commonality that you might find interesting.
Here it is…..There sure are a lot of Female Solo Travellers blogging about their adventures and world travels and I’m not talking about 1 or 2 week get-a-ways. These female solo travellers, of all ages, are doing it long term. I guess my questions are, “Are there more female solo travellers than men? Or, is it that females are blogging about it more then the males?” In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter to me personally, it’s just interesting to see the amount of adventurers out there both female and male.
What I do find interesting is that if you are of “old school” thinking….then this is what would apply to you: “If a girl can do it, why can’t you?”
If you are a female reading this, let this be your first step to inspiration of knowing that there are a lot of solo female travellers out there.
What truly matters and should be an inspiration for all is that there are people of all ages, sexes, and cultures traveling long term and creating their own adventures and journeys. And, this is not a new concept.
What’s holding you back?
Yes, I know…..job, kids, finances, security, house, rent, etc….
What if I told you I know the secret to doing it? Do I have your attention now? Good….I’m going to reveal the secret soon!