It started with seeing a few photo posts on social media. Tropical paradises. Warm weather – year round. Exotic food. Beaches and palm trees.
Choosing to retire garnered thoughts about what to do to fill the “void” of work routine. Not wanting to sit still, we knew we had to go someplace. Both of us adore traveling together and seeing places we’ve never been before. We loved the spiritual qualities of the Andes and Amazon in Peru, the rainforest and coasts of Costa Rica, the Maritime Provinces of Canada. What exotic ventures could we get up to? Having been to Singapore and Hong Kong I thought we could choose the far east, travel extensively and possibly live within these ancient cultures. We discussed various locales, expat communities and sights to see, foods to try out and people to meet. Thailand, Cambodia or Malaysia were ideas.
After about a year of living vicariously through the camera lenses of other travelers, our focus changed on how we were to make these voyages. We still wanted a “home” base in London, Ontario. The kids were here albeit grown up, and our friends were too. But how could we proceed? It was all too easy to hop on a plane from London, but on several online accounts I followed were young adventurers who took to the road and explored overland. Using converted vans and buses, they were able to stay off the grid, go wherever they wanted, stay as long as they wanted or move on to another destination. This appealed to me greatly. I liked that idea so much the mind started ticking… We like traveling by car and have done many trips this way, out east, out west across the Rockies. We could do this! It was all falling into place. Drive to the west coast – see all our friends who live in that direction – as much of Canada as we could along the way, ditch the vehicle and fly to Asia. Wait! What?
Many YouTube videos later, we figured out the countries we wanted to visit or stay at, based on finances and healthcare, and the cultures we wanted to experience. We even know people who lived there. Bonus!
Wake up! It was a dream.
After much, sometimes heated deliberation, that “dream” is on the shelf – for now. However, traveling in a van was still a viable and mutually agreeable mode of transport to begin our adventure.
Yay! A new dream lives!
However, realizing we are not twenty something hippies anymore and with more focus on our daily needs (creaking bones and aching muscles) meant that ‘comfort’ was the prime objective to our enjoyment. Don’t get me wrong. We are campers – used to sleeping in tents on ever deflating air mattresses and wearing clothes that reek of campfire smoke – rain or shine. Traveling overland for thousands of miles without wi-fi or a flushable toilet though, was out of the question. As was showering outside!
More research. More videos. More reviews. More bourbon!
Right off the bat… indoor plumbing. A dry bath, meaning, being able to have a shower without sitting on the toilet. It had to be separate. Storage – a huge factor in vans. Apart from floating storage bins, many customized vehicles use the space under the raised bed or seating for storing clothing, food, water and fuel. Raising the bed seemed daunting enough. Class B vans seemed about right, but where do we put all our stuff?
Bye bye custom van. No way Westfalia. We need something a tad larger.
Here’s the thing, looking at all the different types of motorhomes on the market can be overwhelming at first, but I decided straight away that I didn’t want to have to tow anything. That cut out a lot. Same with fifth-wheel. Class A motorhomes are the size of a bus. Too big says papa bear. Class C vehicles may sleep more, but still big and bulky.
Weeks passed with more research and mailed-in brochures – then it finally came down to Class B+ vans. Not too big. Not too small. Interior and exterior storage. Separate shower and bathroom and modern-looking cabinetry and amenities. We looked at the big players from south of the border – Airstreams, Winnebagos and more, but two Canadian manufacturers stood out and played to our patriotism. More reviews, more videos and such a variety of floorplans to choose from. We really liked the Pleasure Way products (made in Saskatchewan) and had a tour of a couple at a nearby RV dealer. The vans had just what we wanted. Then we checked out (online) the Leisure Travel Vans (made in Manitoba) and needed to see one in person. They had more space and extra seating! This was a good thing.
Winter was coming.
The camper season was over and it would be a few months before the RV shows began making their rounds to nearby cities. During that time we focused on the offerings of the two Canadian manufacturers. The reviews showed us that their construction quality and price was comparable. We watched the sales and user videos over and over again and ultimately chose the Leisure Travel Vans (LTV). We had spent so much time on this, that we knew for sure this would play a big part in our new dream adventure. Then LTV spokesman Dean Corrigal introduced the world to the new “baby”, the 2019 Wonder RTB and we knew this was what we had been looking for.
Geez I hate shoveling snow!