By Mark McConville
MEET the couple who packed up their lives into a converted van and hit the road with the help of their dads after one of them also grew up in a van.
Advertising agency creative director Dominic Faucher (31) and PhD student Mariepier Bastlen (29), both from Gatineau, Quebec, Canada, spent around £16.5k on a 2014 Dodge Ram Promaster before spending a further £13k converting it into a cosy home.
The conversion process took around 12 months including planning and research, but only around 12 weeks real time to complete the build.
The lucky couple were able to call on the expertise of their fathers who are both skilled in woodworking and construction.
“I was raised in a 1985 Ford Corsair with my brother and sister,” said Dom.
“The road was kind of our second home since both my parents were in the military. We travelled and moved around a lot, so it became convenient to have our own home on wheels.
“When I met Marie, we went to work for Happy Campers in Iceland: a campervan company. Writing, shooting, and editing on the road came up as second nature for both of us.
“We decided to build our own little home and office on wheels since we knew we would not stop driving around from that point on.”
The couple are currently in their hometown before setting off on their long road trip but have clocked up around 25,000 miles travelling through Iceland, New Zealand, Colorado, Norway and South Africa in rented camper vans.
They also plan to shoot a documentary over the next few years on vanlife in North America named Vanlife Sagas.
“Together, we create photo, video and textual content for clients around the world, including campervan rental companies, tourism board, surf schools, and other entertainment and cultural organisms,” said Dom, explaining how the couple make money to fund their lifestyle.
“My main focus is on content creation (photo and video), while Marie is more focused on online community management.
“Our documentary has a clear mission: understand why people leave their “normal” life to live on the road. Is there a typical vanlifer? What does he or she look like? Is the hype all about beautiful pictures on Instagram? What are the main struggles of a Home on Wheels?
“Here are a few reality checks we often give people thinking about vanlife: It is not glamorous (although it looks like it on Instagram); It is not cheap; It is not easy; and it is not comfortable (nights at 32°F are a reality).”
Despite these harsh realities Dom insists the couple love living in their van and the lifestyle it affords.
“We love the flexibility and knowing that we can move wherever we want and be 100 per cent autonomous, whether it’s for work or fun,” he said.
“Driving around every day and being outside is the best way to find new ideas. Living on the road is an excellent source of inspiration and helps your brain to stay active.”
For more information see https://www.instagram.com/vanlife.sagas/