The trip of a lifetime : We have set up a campervan to cross the continent without breaking the bank

News 26 March, 2018
  • François Breton-Champigny

    Monday, 26 march, 2018 06:00

    Monday, 26 march, 2018 06:00

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    The salty air of California to the blazing sunset on the horizon, the waves of the Pacific as a backdrop, the cell to off. A magical spectacle, which reminds me of my girlfriend and me, we worked very hard to be witnesses.

    Back on the roadtrip of a lifetime…



    Since a few months already, Laurie and me, we stroked the idea of crossing the continent up to the warm beaches and colorful of the west coast. It is by scrolling on Instagram I had an illumination.

    “We’re going to buy a campervan, pimp out pis roll up in Cali.”

    Nothing less.

    We’ve just finished our trays and we wanted to fully live the last breaths of our freedom juvenile before starting our real lives to a responsible adult. From my side, I always loved the old Westfalias psychedelic and my girlfriend has always loved camping. 1 + 1 = 2.



    We started from the beginning : find the meteor. After hours… no, days on end sifting through the specialized blogs, to refresh the section for RV’s, caravans and trailers Kijiji and to be on the edge of giving up, an announcement has finally caught our attention.

    “Econoline 2004 for sale. 2800 $ negotiable. Contact Steve for more information.”

    It was enough of a call to Steve for all becomes crystal clear… and that one becomes the happy owners of our future mobile home. I’ve even been able to lower the price to 2500$. #winningatlife



    Ironically, from on the run as the two hippies, it requires a lot of preparation and organization of the organization : insulation, layout of the walls and ceiling, construction, furniture, space management, in short, there had to the purposes for and the crazy. A chance is ben purposes, and a little crazy.

    In order to save money, Laurie and I have raced for bargains and recycled all that you found useful in the garage to my mother. Thanks, mom!

    A summary of our expenditure before the start :

    • Ford E-150 2004 (190 000 km) : 2500 $
    • Insulation polyurethane foam with installation : $350 usd
    • 12 wooden slats of 2 x 4 x12 : 69,12 $
    • 3 panels of plywood standard : 70 $
    • 3 styrofoam insulation panels : 32,25 $
    • Roll of vinyl : 50 $
    • 3 panels of pre-finished : 130 $
    • Hatch vent Fantastic model 800 with installation : 200 $
    • Rack Yakima with installation : 250 $
    • Battery Yeti 400 Goal Zero : Up To $600
    • Fridge Mobicool 30 litres : 140 $
    • Kitchen accessories and storage : 170 $
    • Paint : 50 $
    • Total : 4561 $

    MAY 15, 2017, THE BIG DAY

    After months of hard work in very difficult weather conditions, it was finally time to take the road in our caravan DIY.

    Hasta la vista Montreal, United States of America, it happens !

    We have travelled over 4000 kilometres at the rate of 12 hours on the road per day. Each State that we crossed, the sense of freedom we invaded a little more.

    Sometimes, we drove in silence, just to let it fully carried away by the beauty of the landscapes. Other times, it was our playlists Spotify summery flavour that accompanied us.

    First stop in the promised Land : San Francisco.

    The City by the Bay has us captivated with its victorian houses, its streets steep and mist daily that envelope the Golden Gate. Only problem : it was super windy, and we were anxious to arrive in a warmer climate.



    The more we descended toward the south, the higher the temperature became paradise. Hello swimwear and lunch on the edge of the water.

    Quickly, the beach became our playground. Whether in the water to surf some waves, or on the sand, to brown the rind, it was 2 kids who did not want to hear the bell ring.

    Our van was full equipped, but there was no bathroom. Fortunately, the government of california has hot showers in public at the disposal of the bathers.



    The option of the restaurant was to be avoided if we didn’t want to end up with a credit card full to the brim.

    In all honesty, the grill of our bbq’s portable and the sandwiches in the butter of peanuts really were in the job. One evening, we even took a drink watching the surfers at Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz instead of going out to eat in The Pocket, the hot spot of the corner.

    It is still small splurge, like a cold beer and a burger mahi-mahi in the company of locals, who were screaming loudly during the match of Warriors against the Cavaliers in the finals of the NBA. One was surprised to scream after the referee we also.

    Definitely, Cali is the place to be.



    To sleep well without spending, the parking lots of Walmart and the neighborhoods quiet we have served campground. It was like little thugs and we stressait always the idea of getting caught. They closed the curtains of the van, and mini lights Ikea in order not to arouse suspicion. The big thrill.

    Friendly reminder: the police of Malibu is not particularly open to this kind of wild camping. If you pognent in flagrante delicto, they are going to scream in their megaphone until you wake up and you sheets the camp.



    After a month to live the van life, our 4 ½ in the Plateau called us. In the light of this first trip with our “big baby”, it’s unanimous : we loved it.

    We returned to our hometown the heart and the head full of amazing memories.

    We have enjoyed this way to travel, combining a style of life which is simple and economical. In the end, the month has cost us each about $ 2000, all expenses included.

    In the days following our return, it was already brainstorming on our next destination, sleep on the bed at the rear of the car parked in front of our apartment.

    This is where my partner campervan said : “And if we were going to the discovery of Quebec?”


    Chase your dreams, crazy little things and big projects. The financial security, it changes EVERYTHING. An advisor can help you.