We experienced Van Life for the first time this weekend and it was awesome, cramped and amazing all at once!
I recently met a lady through a networking event here in Ottawa and she mentioned during our coffee date that her and her husband #vanlife on the weekends and have recently acquired a new van so they are renting out their first baby!
So we snagged a weekend using the website RVezy.com and drove up to property my family owns near Westport, Ontario. If you’re in the Ottawa area here is a link to rent the exact van we had!
We left Ottawa around 5pm after I finished my work day and got to our campsite around 8pm. Mike and the pups adventured around the property and snagged the sweet sunset shot above while I started dinner. The van is equipped with a propane stove and a fridge so camping was really bougie this weekend.
Dinner on Friday Night was a Buddha Bowl recipe I threw together.
- Sweet Potato (I brought 2 and that was way too much for 2 people)
- Shredded Kale (I washed and chopped this at home)
- Brown Rice (2 cups – could’ve used only one)
- Avocado (1/4 each)
- Vegan Cheese
We wanted to start a campfire but the deer flies and mosquitoes were pretty bad so we opened up the van’s DVD player and watched Can’t Buy Me Love curled up with Rogue on the couch with us and Havoc at our feet.
The next morning, the dogs ran around the property while I whipped up peameal bacon, scrambled eggs and the rest of the avocado from dinner. Mike is usually the one that handles our cooking while camping so I was excited to spoil him on this trip. The pups may have also gotten spoiled with the leftover slices of peameal for their breakfast. I forgot we had 2 breakfasts on the trip and cooked everything up instead of leaving half the package for Sunday morning. Note to self, divvy up the breakfast food.
We headed into town to fill up the van with water as we had used up the amount we started with by washing dishes, filling pots and using the flush toilet (yup the van has a toilet!) We paid 5 bucks at a nearby Trailer Park to use their hose and filled up all the way for the rest of the weekend.
We also drove into Westport for some extra towels (we wanted to keep the van as clean as possible and since the dogs were running in and out of the lake, we went through 4 beach towels we had brought with us fairly quickly on the first day).
When we got back I made Beet Falafel using this recipe and heated up the leftover Buddha Bowl ingredients from the night before to finish those off for lunch.
Mike blew up my stand up paddleboard while I was cooking and I played around on the water that afternoon. Thankfully the weather that called for rain all weekend held off.
So Havoc has never been a swimmer, but last year while SUPing at the cottage with Rogue on the board with me, Havoc swam out to us for the first time. We were so excited. Basically, like a kid taking his first steps. This time he swam out to the board and back in without trying to get on. I was a little scared he’d dunk us trying to get up on the paddleboard.
I then got Rogue to jump off and paddled out a bit. She swam her heart out to the board, yelping the whole time so mad at me that I’d left her so I hauled her up on the board and we paddled around a bit. I can’t stand up on the board with her as she likes to move around and I’m always scared of both of us falling in.
Mike picked flowers to brighten up the van.
and then Mike and the kids napped while I made dinner 🙂 The best is Havoc sleeping with his head up and eyes closed below.
Dinner was brown rice pasta, stewing beef (from truLOCAL), mushrooms and sweet onion all thrown into a frying pan to cook. I added cashew milk and nutritional yeast with salt and pepper for the sauce and voila! My form of beef stroganoff.
We made a campfire and just chilled for the rest of the night. Real exciting stuff 🙂
Mornings camping are always my favourite. We put the bed away (you can see it up on the right hand side of the image below). The platform pulls out, you pull out the mats and make your own bedding. While spacious enough for 2 there isn’t a ton of head space. We found out that Mike apparently sits bolt upright in his sleep. How did we find out? Oh just the multiple times I kept hearing a thud and then “OWWWW”. He even debated sleeping on the couch the 2nd night and putting Rogue up on the bed with me.
Each morning we made coffee in the Bodum provided in the van and just sat and enjoyed each other’s company while Rogue snuggled in between us and on me.
Definitely a great experience and I think we’d definitely do it again. It would’ve been much more amazing if we were somewhere there wasn’t a ton of bugs. Unfornutately our property is fairly swampy so the deer flies and mosquitoes were next level. I’d love van life if I could keep the doors open more!
Are you going to try Van Life knowing you could rent instead of going all in and buying one?