I have been dreaming of van life for about four years now. I am, at last, living my dream. The spark, or the full-on infatuation, with the dream of solo van life with my dogs started when I watched a YouTube video about a woman traveling in her van with her dog. I put the idea on the backburner and never pursued it. But, through some miracle, in May of 2020, I was able to start converting my first van. Now, mind you, I had no money to buy a "van-life" van, so out of pure refusal to do anything else but to pursue my dream of imminent van life, I decided to convert my personal car at the time, a 2005 Dodge Caravan.
Yup, a mini-van. I had lived in a Hyundai Accent and a Toyota Sienna on two separate occasions before in my early twenties, when my ex-partner and I lived in Venice Beach,California. So, as you can see, I was no stranger to living in small spaces.
I proceeded. I converted my van in May of 2020. A few days after being finished, it started to have major breakdowns. And after taking it camping with my two big dogs, I realized that it was just way too small for the three of us. By a series of fortunate events and a generous gift, I was able to scrape by some money and buy Paloma, our current home.
She is a 2004 Ford E-250.
The dogs and I left Québec, a place which I called home for the past seven years, in October of 2020. It was bittersweet to leave my friends, but with their spirits in my heart, I knew that I wanted to explore more of the world. With winter fast approaching, Marlow, River, and I headed to California for the time being, to Los Angeles, as that is where I spent a decade of my formative years, ten to twenty years old. I never liked L.A., as, to me, it has no heart, but I thought that it would be different now, because I was different. It wasn't. I was miserable and quickly running out of any money that I had brought with me.
I wanted to fix all of L.A.'s problems; add community to fix its lack of compassion, get involved in local groups to aid in positive social change, help the unhoused population to allow them to feel seen and worthy to be in a city which they call home, but that doesn't recognize them as its citizens. I ended up burning myself out and running through any money that I had. COVID-19, due to the careless behaviour of the general population of the United States, had spread to a point where everything was locked down and it was extremely difficult finding a job as a photographer. I had to make a choice. To flee the city which I hated oh-so much, but wanted so badly to help fix, or to come back to Canada, a country which, to this day, I am enamored with?
I chose my sanity, because an empty cup has no business trying to share its last drops with the cups of those around until a plan to refill itself is figured out.
So. Here I am. Figuring out how to refill my cup.
I will be hunkering down in Beautiful British Columbia. I can't help anyone and give my soul to help humanity until I figure out what my soul is and just exactly what it has that can be given to the world.
I will be focusing on my photography, dream of singing jazz in hazy lounges, on writing my musical, and of course going on camping excursions with my two babies.
Yana, unapologetically wild.
Life. Freedom. Understanding.