Travel Canada in a Camper

Quick Rant: I talk a lot about alternate lifestyles. Some of these lifestyles may seem strange but in the year 2017, a lot seems strange. With climate change, dwindling resources, and uncertain political climates, we need some drastic changes in the world to help get back on track and survive as a species. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but it doesn’t seem too farfetched does it?

Not too long ago I discovered /r/vandwelling while being SUPER productive one day. Despite not spending my time usefully that day, I really discovered something I’d like to do. With a homestead as a frugal home base and a warm weather getaway property, living costs might cut into my travel budget. Enter an adventure van.

North America is a massive place, and I’ll certainly never see ALL of it. A van will help me get around to a lot of it, and do so on a budget. Never needing accommodation, having a place to cook, and keeping the amenities of home; these are all advantages of an adventure van.

There may come a day when I don’t need the van anymore, so I can pass it onto the next. The value from retrofitting a $5000/$6000 van will pay itself off in no time! RVs are hugely expensive and guzzle gas; I’m looking for a smaller platform. If I fall in-love with living in a van, I could always upgrade as well. An adventure van seems like a great way to test the waters of a different lifestyle. Check out the stories available on the web, instagram, reddit, and more. If van life isn’t for you, it’s certainly an interesting look into a different type of life.

I’ll continue to write about different lifestyles, with the hopes of people looking at alternatives. You never know how you might find happiness, try something new!

-Mike

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Travel Smart – Weigh Your Things

When I begin packing for a trip, these are some of the things I consider when choosing the contents of my backpack:

  • Weather for the time I’m there (temperature and possible adverse conditions)
  • Different activities I may want to partake in
  • Will I need clothing to enjoy the nightlife
  • Am I doing any business there?
  • Transport methods I plan to use

There are a lot of factors, but one of the most important ones for me is weight. Sometimes when you pack a bag, you try to fill it to ensure you have everything you could possibly need to meet all of the above scenarios.

Before you know it, your bag is 20kg and you have to hike 5km to your hostel from the main transit hub. You’re going to be sore, tired, and possibly injured by the time you make it there. Do yourself a favour and weigh your bag before you leave. Look at all of the things you’re bringing, and see if there is any easy weight you can drop.

A 25 gram keychain, a 125 gram portable speaker, a 350 gram book may not seem like a lot but leaving them at home will save you from carrying around a half of a kilogram. Leave out a couple t-shirts, your 3rd pair of shoes, and bring a smaller camera and you’ve saved 3kg. Reducing weight will make you more agile, and leave you in better shape to go further on your travels.

Personally, I like to use a food scale to check the weight of all of my items to see a better breakdown of what the total weight of my bag is made up of. Most of the weight so from clothing, so ditching a heavy pair of jeans and a sweater for some layers and chinos is an easy way to have more outfits with less weight.

Protip: Bring one beat up shirt with you that you can leave behind if you need some extra room on the way home. This also comes in handy if you’re going on a hike/need to get dirty.

-Mike

Travel Smart – Compression Bags

Compression bags are a total game changer for the frequent business traveller and backpacker. I’ve had the same pair of compression bags for the last 3 years, and they have saved me at least a dozen times. Why are they so useful you ask?

  • Dirty and wet clothes can be sealed in these bags, preventing them from smelling up your entire backpack. I can guarantee that compression bags will delay your need for laundry for at least 3-5 days; a godsend on the road.
  • Compressing your clothes before a trip make getting on your first flight painless, as your bag will appear smaller.
  • Compression bags offer a nice method to divide up your clothing for a trip.
  • Compressing clothes around fragile cargo keeps everything nice and tight. This is useful for bringing your new found treasures home.
  • Compression bags are, well, bags! If your bag is overflowing, you can toss some things in these bags to drag around with you until you can lighten things up.

The only bad experiences I’ve had with compression bags are as follows: Having one come open during transit and smelling up my wardrobe. Bad timing as I needed clothing for a night out. The other, is actually allowing me to pack too much stuff. I filled my bag so heavy that it would have been uncomfortable to carry for almost a month. I ended up reducing the amount of clothes I had by opting out of the bags on the way to my destination. I used them during the trip and on the way home though!

Reminder: Pack light. Your spine will thank you!

-Mike

Travel Smart – One Bagging

In 2013, I took my first trip to Europe and it changed my life. I fell in love with travel of all forms and I haven’t stopped since. During my sedentary days, I spend a lot of time researching travel and hunting for my next great adventure.  My favourite podcast has to be the https://indietravelpodcast.com/ .

From the indie travel podcast, I heard all of the benefits of travelling with a single bag and I have followed through ever since. Currently, I am using a Venturesafe 45L GII and I absolutely love it.

I can use my backpack to haul groceries, as a weekender and, of course, as the best travel pack money can buy. The security features alone are worth the money. You can’t put a price on piece of mind. Seriously, if you’re going to spend money on something, spend it on your mental well being.

You’ll end up washing clothes more often, but travelling with less is amazing. Less things to lose, less stuff to lug around a country, and you always have hands free. The money you save on checked bags will pay off your backpack in no time. Create a list of what you need, now look at that list again and be truthful, you probably don’t need all of it. I’ve travelled for 3 weeks with my bag, and managed easily. I’m leaving for a month at the end of the year, and have no doubt it will work just as well.

If you want to learn more, from more qualified people, my friends at /r/onebagging are a great resource to learn more.

-Mike