Marc & Jen are an adventurous couple who decided to sell their home, downsize their stuff, quit their jobs, and try something new. They wanted to re-design their lives according to what was most important to them: skiing, hiking, travelling, making music, and being self employed.
They chose to finish converting a box truck into a home on wheels so they could explore van life with their cat Starla and their now minimal possessions.
They've driven across Canada 3 times, they've lived in Walmart parking lots, at the bottom of a ski hill, in driveways, and in campgrounds; and after exploring many parts of Canada, they fell in love with Squamish, BC where there are loads of outdoor activities at their doorstep, and lots of work opportunities as well.
Jen's goal is to work as much as possible online. She has a de-cluttering blog and professional organizing business called Clear Your Life, and she also works a combination of VR (virtual assistant) and online professional development jobs, and supplements with part time work in the service industry.
Marc earns a full-time living as a professional musician through his performances in BC and around Canada, as well as with his albums and custom songs.
[Music] one of our favorite things about living this lifestyle is it's always different when we get to say yes or no to whatever comes up and lots of surprises and you get to chart your own paths it's the idea that you just design what you want so you can basically be the architect of your life you know being able to choose the things that they come up yeah we've been living in the truck since January 1st 2018 taking it across the country three times and you know with all the kilometers in between but eleven thousand kilometers that's been our home everywhere it's beautiful yeah we love it once we decided we wanted to hit the road we knew we wanted a sprinter engine but we decided to go a little bit bigger with our box truck and also we wanted something that had really good gas mileage yeah which surprisingly enough this thing has incredible gas mileage for a big truck yeah we had a house to sell two cars to sell the truck to renovate and move into my full time job to leave all of marks regular gigs to leave we were like an ongoing garage sale and we sold stuff and Kijiji and Craigslist just non-stop we just kept the bare necessities the non-negotiables were that I had to be able to stand in the vehicle we wanted something that was insulated or that we could add insulation to because we knew we are gonna be living in winter we wanted something that our cat could also be comfortable in she's been living in there for almost two years herself and a full time bed the other non-negotiable that's why we chose a box truck yeah we knew we wanted to move to the mountains and where the weather is less extreme so BC was a perfect choice I think the most adventurous thing we've done is living in a ski hill parking lot we parked at the bottom of the ski hill turn the truck off and actually stay put for four months I'm a skier and I need that in my life or literally just had to walk across the parking lot to the ski lift it was pretty nice way to live so when you walk into our box truck our bed is on the right it's a full residential queen-size mattress we really really found it important to not have to put together and take a part of that every day we have my clothing closet and Marc's clothing closet and then just some books and my journal and my tarot cards and my crystals we have a Wi-Fi booster that we use so anytime we're close to Wi-Fi we can connect and multiply the signals by quite a bit we have a two burner propane stove top double sink spice rack and charge controller and everything we need for our solar - lithium batteries hidden underneath the bed in a 2000 watt inverter by Go Power when we bought this truck it was half converted as a family RV and one of the really big jobs that we didn't have to do was creating this pass-through so we have a curtain here for privacy and then because winter is coming and it's getting cool out in Canada we have reflectix - but this leads straight through to our the cab of the van so the passenger and the driver seat so we have a pretty simple water system we do have an electric water pump that's run on the solar off grid or Shore power when we're plugged in but underneath hairs we have five gallon water jugs we have three of them on hand we usually keep one or two of them full at any time and so these stay inside they're rigged so that we never have to worry about them freezing and because of this we don't have a shower in the truck so one of the luxuries of being in a campground and hooked up to shore power is that we can have an electric heater so this is our third source of heat and it is the easiest we go anywhere between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius easily in the truck and then it just hides away when we don't want to look at it so when we bought this truck we actually there was a big big Dometic standard RV fridge in it in a wood box and mark knocked the whole thing down so that we could have more wall hanging and also be able to sit on the Dometic fridge that we invested in so this is one of the bigger sizes and we often to get the cooler pack as well to keep it extra insulated but basically we went with this style because it is so easy on the solar panels we never ever have to worry about running out of power and our food always stays cold and it's really cool because this fridge can be plugged into AC or DC power so while we're set up at a campground we run it on AC and when we're off boondocking or living on the road we use TC we don't have to work as much right so it gives us that freedom to be a bit more picky about the jobs that we do choose before we did that I was like oh I'm gonna have no bills I'm just gonna go like live off the land and I don't even know but it's not like that we have insurance payments for our vehicles that we have cellphones we still still work really hard to afford to live like this but it's less tiring and we can change it next month if we wanted to when we conceptualize the truck and what it was going to mean to live in it in a Canadian winter the initial thought was that we would have a heater we obviously need a heater so we got the S bar easel heater and but then I started talking about how moisture is a killer in the winter so that's when we added the wood stove so then they work together so the the S bar kind of heats the floor and heats the batteries to keep our electricity constant and the wood stove dries out the interior dries the windows dries my gear because you know in the winter that's one of the biggest things as moisture as a killer mold is you know it happens and it happens quickly and if you don't get a you know grip of it it just takes over well we've done two full winters in this box truck and they were completely different for the first one we were 100% off-grid we were not plugged in once so we had the wood stove the S bar heater and it would get cool because the stove is so small mark would have to wake up in the middle of the night to restock it but we we did well we reflectix covered the windows we had thick curtains and we were cozy considering it was completely off grid but now something we had never planned on doing but we're 100% on board is we stay in a campground all winter so we plug in so we can use electric heat and in the in the summer it's so easy to drive around to find a laundromat or to go for showers but in the winter I really like having laundry and showers nearby yeah because we don't have a shower in the truck so if there's one thing that's been involving in our life in this box truck over the last two years it's understanding and adjusting our needs for storage so this was really simple but mark installed it's just this past year and we have tell dish house and kitchen towels here and then you know like our little food pantry here this has made a world of difference who's really excited when you put it up this whole box holds storage underneath so extra travel backpacks Mark's music gear some of our ski gear this whole lid lifts up and then again it was another seat for us so it's a really nice addition so we got the smallest version of the cubic mini this is a cub wood stove it is a real stove even though it looks a little bit like a toy and a really cool thing so when we bought this truck it still had the roll-up delivery truck and while it was really tempting to keep that mark built a wall added tons of extra insulation and then our wood stove is actually in a punch out box so it gave us extra room otherwise the stove would have come to about here it's all surrounded by galvanized steel super safe we've never had any issues and especially in the rainy kind of cool months it heats this whole box up within minutes and then in the winter it's really really nice for dry heat so one of the things that mark and I didn't agree on at first but I'm so grateful that he had this awesome idea he was dead set on never putting a hole in the roof of our truck so the challenge with the box truck is it's not a metal roof it's actually a membrane and so mark phoned the company that produces fantastic fans and made sure that it was possible to use it properly if it was on a wall rather than a roof and they said yes they gave us the green light so that's what we did so we have a little bathroom area behind our lightly curtain instead of having a heavy door we invested in the nature said composting toilet and while we totally respect their company no their family-owned you know they have really great reviews we've personally had mixed results using it so really do your research but it was quite a large investment in terms of the box truck and yeah like I said just kind of mixed results we don't really call ourselves minimalist but we understand why people would say that but it's just having enough so having four plates and four bowls and four cups and and there's only two of us you know so that really works once you let go of the addiction of shopping for retail therapy and for fun like it's just it really becomes easy people might look at it and think like we go without or we struggle but we really don't we have absolutely everything that we need and when you get laser focused on what you want to have in your life and what you don't need everything falls into place and for us it's about travel is about time together and it's just not about new accessories one of the really cool surprises that we hadn't planned on when we moved into the truck was the opportunity to help set fur friends and friends of friends also getting a pet set which is incredible we have a cat in the truck but we've taken care of dogs and cats and they have ranged anywhere from one week to five weeks at a time so we've lived full time in the truck that we've definitely had little spurts where we have all of the amenities of a house and an extra pet as well but one of the really neat things about when we host it that people are often surprised by is we still sleep in the truck so when I left my salaried position and our house behind I knew I wanted to make money online my main baby is a web site in a business called clear your life and it's all about clutter clearing with the ability to transform your life so get rid of the extra stuff and design a life that you absolutely love and then I supplement any other way that I can i bartend I have remote work where I work for an online entrepreneurship platform and I've gotten work as a VA so a virtual assistant we never planned [Music] to Squamish I've been a musician for most of my life full-time for the last 16 years I write custom songs for people so I get hired to write songs for couples or groups or companies or businesses jingles or love songs anniversary songs which is really cool and I also write my own songs I've have a couple records out toward Canada eight times yeah the live shows that's where the magic happens [Music] lots of living like this hasn't played out how we thought it would and other things have we've learnt a lot about each other living in a hundred and twelve square feet and living in the winter in such a small space you have less space to ignore the problems or challenges in your relationship so we've actually learned - a lot about how we communicate with each other the truth is it done everything yeah pushed us the way and brought us closer there's no hiding and there's no secrets you know we've definitely learned a lot about each other so we were coming up on our third full time winter in this truck and what we've noticed is that every winter that passes we learn a little bit more about what comforts we want and how we're able to live in a small space and really we're actually thinking that we're just about ready to move into a bigger home on wheels so we're dreaming something up really cool right now that'll still be off-grid capable and on wheels but just give us a little bit more elbow room for when it's snowing or rainy and a lot on the coast it'll be easier for Jen to do her work you know she'll have a you know a place that has a desk and maybe a recording space for me in our home you know so that's kind of the idea that's a point too Mountains please share this video if you liked it also be sure to subscribe to exploring alternatives and check out our playlists for more stories like this thanks for watching you [Music] [Applause]