Who are you and what is your backstory?
A filmmaker and a tech startup connoisseur walk into an Instagram post…
That’s how it started, at least for our beginnings. In relation to our time on the road, Reggie left his grueling day-to-day three years ago. Despite being in the film industry, work was wearing on the nerves and he wanted an outlet to see more and stress less.
Monica has over a year of nomadic existence under her belt but works for a company that let her take the plunge, and, yes, we met on Instagram but, surprisingly enough, we barely talked before meeting up to film a webseries. The time frame on things after that are so insane that Reggie actually created a spreadsheet to track it.
"I didn’t have time to figure it out. I didn’t have time to even think about it. I, in a single conversation, became a resident of trailer parks."
Before road-life we were mirror images of one another. With somewhat similar backgrounds and outlooks we realized right away that appearances are deceiving. Reggie thought Monica must of been a cheerleader in high school and Monica looked at Reggie and thought, well.. actually.. to this day she still notices tattoos she had never processed before. It took about 6 months before she realized there was a tattoo of one of his friend’s faces on his buttcheek.
After we met, a few texts began to turn into daily texts, then a phone call moved into nightly chats, and the next thing we new Reggie was driving through a few states to babysit Monica’s cat when she had a work trip to handle.
Nowadays we think we have moved into the realm of commitment, comfort, and full-blown creativity. We try to utilize our life on the road to inspire our passion to make things, especially funny things. The sunsets, the sunrises, the awkward cooking of meals in small spaces all add to the connection we both feel to who we are as people, and what mark we want to leave on this world.
Reggie will now take over and finish the interview post by his lonesome!
Take us to the moment you decided to begin your Vanlife?
I was in a relationship where we had a trailer, an apartment in downtown Toronto, and a house out in the country. Pretty dreamy… but the relationship was not. It all crumbled and when it came time to divvy everything up, I told her to take it all, less the trailer. So I moved into my 1970 glorified tent named, Franny.
I didn’t have time to figure it out. I didn’t have time to even think about it. I, in a single conversation, became a resident of trailer parks. At that point I had only traveled in it a couple times as a weekend warrior. So I learned as I went.
"I needed my alone time. I was emotionally in a place in my life where I needed to spread my wings, fly solo, and examine me. "
When the winter came in Canada I knew I had to fly south to avoid becoming a popsicle. Maybe for a split second I felt some fear of moving to a new country with this weird lifestyle… but that went away so quickly. I just dove in and went with the flow. Almost 4 years later, that flow has brought me more riches through experiences than I could ever have imagined.
Tell us about the advantages to the Van lifestyle?
Being able to call North America my backyard is beyond freak’n cool. Way beyond. My first season out, I spent my winter months in Texas then drove 5500 miles to the Yukon for another summer. Daily, I would look in the mirror and ask myself what the hell was I doing with my life… I was finally living!
It’s like this; I lived in the same place for 31 years of my life. It was time to go, time to explore, time to live outside! Living this lifestyle has brought me a lot of humility, a lot of perspective, and a lot of magic into my life.
Tell us about the biggest challenges and downsides to the Van lifestyle?
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I miss having a warm home and a bathroom that isn’t a 100 metre walk away. There’s also a lot of planning that goes into this lifestyle, and although it does become routine, there can be some stress that comes with it.
The above being said, I know that this isn’t my end game. I will homestead. I will plant myself, so I am savouring this as much as I possibly can without complaining. And living this life has forever shaped who I will be. I will want to go out camping, I will want to explore, I will be okay with taking a shower a month… okay, maybe not the last one once I have a house.
How do you find a sense of community when you’re always moving? How do you maintain and build relationships on the road?
That’s usually the number two question I get (number one is below). I have never felt lonely for a single second. It’s 2020. We have every single person we have ever known at our fingertips. It’s as simple as that.
Also, trailer parks are communities of similar lifestyled folks. They want to socialize, they want to share war stories. And honestly, if you’re hurting for human interaction, go anywhere and tell a random stranger that you live nomadically… they won’t stop asking you questions.
I needed my alone time. I was emotionally in a place in my life where I needed to spread my wings, fly solo, and examine me. Now, after a length of time doing that… I found my perfect mate, Monica, who happened to be doing the same thing.
Monica was on the road and a really funny person. I was on the road and a filmmaker. I asked her to make some videos with me, and what came next is a life together. The road works in strange and mysterious ways!
How do you support yourself financially?
I am a filmmaker, but I do use that term loosely as since I’ve gotten into this lifestyle I mainly make advertising. Why? Because $$$. Being Canadian, I can only work in Canada, so my months down in the USA I usually make passion projects. When I head back to Canada for the summer, I work my buns off. It’s kind of as simple as that.
Monica has a very different system where she works half of the year remote for a company and half of the year at their head office. She’s in tech so it’s the kind of outfit that allows for some freedoms.
What is your one piece of advice for people who want to do what you do?
It’s so funny when I’m with Monica and this question is asked, she will say “do your homework, research, plan,” meanwhile, I’ll say, “just dive right in!!!” There is no right answer, and I think it comes down to personality. So do what you need to do to be comfortable!
What have been the most influential and helpful books, podcasts, blogs, websites or other resources?
I suppose I’d say Instagram? Just browsing other people’s accounts, seeing how they live, talking to them… but honestly… I still think it was just jumping in and figuring it out as I went that was the best way to peel the orange..
What does the future look like?
The future is so bright, I need to wear a welding mask. I met Monica on the road and we are on cruise control toward a life together. We’re figuring that out. It’s an international romance so there are Visas and boarders and such… which SUCKS, but it’s worth it beyond words. We are both nomadic right now, but we are looking at land to park on and maybe build something on… or maybe not!
There is a lot up in the air right now, but that’s part of the fun! That’s the essence, and thus the beauty, of living this lifestyle. Not everything needs to be straight forward. Not everything needs to be laid out. Take your time. Meander.
Is there anything that you need that you can’t find or anything you are seeking help with?
Nah, I’m like stuuuuupid satisfied with life. Maybe a water filter for the hose? But meh, we make it work with re-filling jugs at the grocery store.
Rapid fire questions
What are the top 3 Van essentials that you couldn’t live without?
Smart phone, DSLR Camera, Laptop
Top 3 favorite places you’ve visited?
The Yukon, Asheville in North Carolina, and South Western Utah
Where are you now?
How long do you usually stay in one place?
About a month, at the most.
When did you first start Vanlifing?
May / 2016 for Reggie. Oct / 2018 for Monica
Are you full-time or part-time Vanlifing?
We live in this giant shoebox full-time!
How many weeks have you spent in the Van in the last 12 months?
I have probably spent 40 weeks in my rig and the other 12 couchsurfing
What kind of vehicle/rv/trailer/setup do you have?
1993 Airstream Motorhome… they didn’t make them for very long…
Where can we go to keep up with you and your adventures?