Mornings start early. We awake with the sun and sleepily drink our coffee; the furnace warming up the van after a cold night. We get dressed wearing multiple layers, rain gear and waterproof hiking shoes as the environment is unforgiving and the weather is fast changing. The van door opens and out we all come: Mike (my boyfriend of 8 years), Strider and Gemma (our two dogs), Phoenix (our cat), and me, Diana.
We have been living in our 1986 Ford Econoline Van for over six months now. Before that we spent a year and a half in a 32 foot long RV. A few years ago, we did cross country trips in our minivan and tent. Travel has become a way of life for us; it always offers unexpected surprises, magnificent views and a fair amount of challenges as well.
Our biggest challenge by far has been funding our lifestyle; making money. We’ve done all sorts of jobs, we’ve worked on farms, in hotels and resorts, factories and warehouses and have picked up lots of temporary gigs on Craigslist as well. However, they all left us feeling incomplete at the end of the day. Trading our precious time to work for a cause we often didn’t believe in was taking a toll on us. We knew there had to be another way.
That brings me to now. As I type this, I’m sitting in front of a campfire in the mountains on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. We arrived here a couple weeks ago having no idea what to expect after answering an ad on Craigslist looking for wild plant and berry harvesters. I’m happy to say we are loving this new lifestyle, and although we are definitely not going to get rich from it, it’s how we’ve always dreamed of living.
So, back to the beginning of the story. We all pile out of the van, energy renewed from a good nights sleep. Strider and Gemma lead the way as we hike down the SunCoaster Trail searching for Salal, a green leafed plant commonly used in the floral industry. It’s not hard to find as it usually covers the forest floor, but our buyer has high standards, only wanting the straightest stems and zero damage on the leaves.
Mike treks pretty far into the forest, Gemma staying by his side while I wait on the trail sorting and bundling what he brings back to me. Strider stands guard. Phoenix is close by perched on a rock observing-we all have our roles to play. At the end of a long day of hiking and harvesting we walk back to our campsite, carrying all of the bundles we made.
If it was a sunny day, we come back to a fully charged battery; our 200 watt solar panels providing us with more than enough energy. Mike starts building a fire as I start making dinner, something healthy and vegan. The animals are all exhausted and after eating they lay down by the fire and are soon fast asleep.
This new way of life is exactly what we needed. But like everything else in our life, we know this is only temporary. In 6-8 weeks we will drive over 2000 kilometres north to the North West Territories and will be picking Morel Mushrooms. We will be living much like we are now, only making a lot more money. We feel so grateful to have found a way of living that doesn’t involve working for other people and living by someone else’s schedule.
For us, freedom and fulfilment come from living in our tiny home on wheels and always being ready to move on to the next adventure. You can follow our journey at www.facebook.com/dreambounder and on Instagram @dreambounder.