Ask A Van Dweller Ft. @eh.mon & @rebeccamoroney
To start things off, please introduce yourself to us.
Hi everyone! We’re Eamon and Bec and we live full time in our self-converted Sprinter Van. Her name is Trinity.
Tell us about your van?
Woops, we got ahead of ourselves in the first Q! We bought a used, 2008 Mercedes Sprinter Van this past March and spent 30 days converting it to our home on wheels. We did the conversion ourselves with the help of any friends and family we could bug!
How long have you lived in your van and how long are you planning on living in it.
We moved into our van June 2017 and have traveled from the east coast of Canada all the way to the west coast now. We don’t have an “end-date” in mind for vanlife but we also don’t necessarily see us raising our family in the exact van we have now… (mostly because Eamon wants 6+ kids haha).
Why did you decide to live in a van?
First, we were exploring options for expanding our tea business (chaiwalachai.com) and researched the cost of flights and Air BnBs across the country. It is extraordinarily expensive to travel across Canada. We partner with independently owned coffee shops to wholesale our chai and find the most effective way to sell these accounts is to meet face to face. So, the idea of moving into the van was born out of our desire to grow our company! Second, Eamon and I have always been BIG travelers (we’ve been to every continent together, except Antarctica) and are always happiest when we’re on the road. Moving into a van has been on our mind since we tested it out in New Zealand for two months! Last, we recently got engaged in Africa and when we got home we were looking to rent an apartment in Toronto’s city centre. The cost of living is absolutely ridiculous in the city with most one-bedroom apartments starting at $2000/month. As small business owners, these prices turned us off. SOOO, I guess you could say that these three things combined have led us to convert and move into a tiny home on wheels. Phewf, that was a long one!
What is your favorite thing about van life?
Oh, that’s a tricky one because we love so many things about van life. I think our top pick would be that no matter where we are in the world, we still have our comforts of home with us. We can be parked in a WalMart parking lot in Tim Buck Two or the most beautiful beach front camping site and always be able to cook a beautiful home-cooked meal. If you don’t know this about us already… we are OBSESSED with eating :)
What do you miss the most about living in a house/apartment?
I’m (Becca) actually quite an introvert and while Eamon respects that I need some time to just chill by myself the space is a little small to really take time to relax together (but separately) in our van.
How do you shower and go to the bathroom?
Oh, the classic FAQ. We chose not to install either a shower or a bathroom in our van so we have a few different ways we make that work. When we are in a city, we like to get a gym pass or a yoga membership and use the showers at their facilities after a great workout. Killing two birds with one stone! In the summer months, we shower at public beach showers, in lakes (with all natural soaps, of course) and in watering holes lol. To prove how much showering is a no-issue, we installed a solar shower on our roof mid-summer and have NEVER used it. Wild, right?! As for the toilet situation, we poop and pee at truck stops, public restrooms, at our gyms, at our campsites, at cafes, at friends houses… basically anywhere you would if you were on a roadtrip. Hope that settles that ;)
How do you make living in a van with your significant other/another person work?
Eamon and I actually met each other at our first “grown up jobs” after university, so we quickly learned how to work together. From there, we spent almost 4 years backpacking the world together. Trust me, there is no greater way to get to know a person than to share a bathroom in Thailand when you both have traveller’s diarrhea (TMI?!). Needless to say, we were very comfortable with each other before making the jump to vanlife. Owning a business together has also helped us learn which buttons not to press and when/how to give each other space when needed. People often ask how we survive working and living together… and my response is almost always “how do you survive spending 60+ hours apart from the one you love?”
Is there anything you would change about your van build?
I would not repaint it white. GAH, our cupboards haven’t been clean since March.
What was the hardest part about converting your van?
I think our biggest struggle was with the electrical install. We are not electricians by any means… we are YouTube learners, but you do not want to mess with electricity!
What is the best investment you’ve made for your van?
For our business, escaping winter isn’t really realistic. SO, just this past week (with the help of Scott from @comeswithaview) we installed an Espar D2 heater. We’ve slept like a baby in our toasty warm home with -10 degree weather (I’m talking celsius people… we’re Canadian). It was not a cheap heater, but oh my buddha, it is worth eveeerrry penny!
How are you able to afford van life?
As I’ve mentioned, we run a tea company together called Chaiwala. We started our business 2+ years ago after returning home from India + Nepal and missing fresh chai. Chaiwala specializes in a unique “sticky” chai blend that is available at various indie cafes and in retail packages on our online shop! We work on the road during the week and morph into weekend warriors when time allows :)
What’s the hardest thing about working remotely on the road?
WIFI. I don’t know why Canada has to make access to affordable Internet connection so gosh darn difficult. We purchased a wireless router but try to use it in “emergency” situations as it is not cheap. Otherwise, we settle in at various coffee shops (got to support our clients, right?!) and work for an afternoon.
What’s your favorite thing about being able to work remotely?
I can put in an honest day’s work in Montreal, Vancouver or the middle of the Rocky Mountains!
What’s your favorite snack?
As I mentioned, we are OBSESSED with food. Right now, we’re digging dried mangoes, hummus and anything (but mostly Mary’s super seed crackers) and pomegranates!
What do you do to pass the time while driving somewhere far away?
PODCASTS. Don’t know where we’d be without those things. Some of our favourites to date have been How I Built This, Serial and Someone Knows Something Season 2 (season 1, not so much).
Name a movie you’ve watched more than 7 times.
Even though I studied Media and took more than one film class in university, I am not much of a movie buff. Eamon however has watched Super Troopers probably 700 times. Funny story… I tried to watch it with him once and he shut it off 3 minutes in because, and I quote, “it’s no fun watching it with someone who doesn’t know all the lines before there said.
There are two types of people in the world... What are the two types?
Ones who go to bed dreaming about breakfast and those who can’t be bothered to eat breakfast. We ALWAYS dream about breakfast.
Where do you hang out online?
Website: COMING SOON www.eamonandbec.com