Converted van as full-time home for nomadic Canadian couple




Watch our feature-length documentary: Summer of (family) love: tiny home VW-roadtrip

Mat and Danielle spent their first date bonding over Lloyd Kahn’s book “Home Work” and discussing their ideas for simplifying their lives. They became a couple, but “somewhere along the way, we ended up doing the exact opposite of what we wanted,” explains Danielle on their blog.

“Instead of simplifying, we bought a house and spent months hauling furniture, paint and knick knacks into it to surround ourselves with stuff that we liked.  Our bills went up so we got better jobs, started working more, and eventually all we did was work during the day and watch Netflix every night because we were too exhausted to do anything else.”

“Mat was the first to suggest making a change because he found our lifestyle stressful, but I resisted at first.  I was really caught up in the idea of owning my own place, maybe starting a family one day and planning for an amazing retirement.  I was also excited that I had a new full time job with benefits and that we were financially stable.  Eventually I realized that all I was doing was working and I didn’t even like my job anymore.  We decided that we should do something crazy: sell our house, quit our jobs and travel the world.”

Today, Mat and Danielle are living full-time in a converted van. Their back seat folds down into a bed. Their kitchen is a cooler plus camping stove. Their bathroom includes a solar camping shower and a plastic bottle toilet (with funnel).

They’ve eliminated a mortgage, but their are still costs, what Mat calls “like renting a really cheap apartment in a city”. Instead of paying down a house, Mat and Danielle have decided to focus on working less and experiencing more, both by exploring the world and their artistic interests: for Mat, it’s music and art and for Danielle it’s writing.

Mat and Danielle on youtube:
Their blog:
Mat’s art:

Original story:

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46 Comments

  1. Ruud Van den Broek
    August 19, 2017
    Reply

    Love it

  2. Daniel_81
    August 22, 2017
    Reply

    I guess the fact that you are "living" in a society like the Canadian one helps a lot to have this kind of lifestyle. I mean, if you get tired as you said you can still get another job back, or buy another house or another self-phone…etc…but in the majority of the societies around the world for social and economical reasons this would be totally out of reach. Many people back in Europe, do not think about their retirment but they live the present struggling to find a job ….and they do not have money to buy a house or to to travel. Even the idea of working online is cool but it works right just in those country were the activity is not choked up by taxation. I am from Italy and here whoever works online needs to pay up to 40% on taxes. Anyway, I am glad many people mostly from Canada, USA, Australia and New Zeland live a simpler and more enjoable life ….I think we do not need many possessions to be happy and I believe that exploring the world is for sure part of the reason we are here as human beings :-).

  3. W
    August 25, 2017
    Reply

    My biggest question is maintenance on the vehicle and vehicle costs –

  4. tj alj
    August 29, 2017
    Reply

    Nice

  5. Brice Schaan
    September 1, 2017
    Reply
  6. G Forcke
    September 2, 2017
    Reply

    Who filmed you guys? Very professional documentary. Common sense info. Thank you

  7. Monica Wilson
    September 6, 2017
    Reply

    Cool life. Matt, you are an amazing artist! It was fun hearing your life style. Minimalist living with a generous heaping of happiness.

  8. cody neely
    September 6, 2017
    Reply

    Guy gets in car accident and has near death experience – decides to spend all of his time in a car.

  9. Andrew Riemer
    September 13, 2017
    Reply

    Loved the video, but do you ever get tired of each other? Where do you go if you have an argument? I love my wife a lot but I need my space sometimes..

  10. Love United
    September 19, 2017
    Reply

    Canadian people are pretty cool

  11. dave kraft
    September 23, 2017
    Reply

    loved it

  12. laura j phillips
    September 25, 2017
    Reply

    Ok you gave up the cell phone how do yo get internet? Wifi?

  13. Deborah Cazalas
    September 27, 2017
    Reply

    Most of these comments are unbelievable. "They're selfish because they don't have cell phones".
    Really !? They have laptops and internet, guess what ! There is something called email and you can make calls using your commuter. I could on and on with the comments ….

  14. Yao buck
    September 29, 2017
    Reply

    SHES A REAL BEAUTY

  15. nuvoclassic
    September 30, 2017
    Reply

    viewers, go to 21:54  for minimalist wardrobes – nice video.

  16. noleftturnunstoned
    October 2, 2017
    Reply

    What about winter?

  17. Lance Baker
    October 9, 2017
    Reply

    No introductions at all, but the woman has too much rising inflection at the end of every phrase. Why do you do that?

  18. Lance Baker
    October 9, 2017
    Reply

    Ridiculous to cite a serious vehicle crash as a reason to drive across the country in a vehicle. To others viewing, "We felt this need after that to control our situation…(unintelligible) feel safe." DRIVING IN A MOTOR VEHICLE IS NOT A SAFE SITUATION!!!! Stats show you have more chance of injury or death when driving than when in a home. Sure, there are plenty of anecdotal stories of folks who drive all year with no problems, but the averages are against you.

  19. Lance Baker
    October 9, 2017
    Reply

    OK, I tolerated this up to 06:56, but still NO VAN CONVERSION!!!!! THUMBS DOWN!!!

  20. Lance Baker
    October 9, 2017
    Reply

    Why is it so damn hard to find any useful video of a van conversion with no selfie-stick, no long history of your lives, no mic in a bucket audio. My god almighty, can't any of you people make a normal video?

  21. Charity Fjogstad
    October 10, 2017
    Reply

    Great video and great advice! You are both young, in good health, and are doing what brings you both happiness. You guys are spot on when you were discussing life style choices and how it is so important to live in the present, as the future isn't guaranteed. You both are living the example and inspiring others to explore other alternatives as well by sharing your life style choice and your valuable insights. I have been inspired by many here on youtube sharing their wonderful, unconventional, and creative solutions for enjoying the Now Moment. For me; I have been thinking about making a major life style change and how I was going to strike that all important balance between travel, adventure, and security. I am going to give the van travel thing a try. For me; I couldn't live that way full time, as I am older and not in perfect health. However, I am still well enough to travel, so NOW is the time to just do it! Two recommendations for you brave, adventurous souls: 1) In a medical emergency a cell phone could save your life. I suggest just keeping one cell phone with the 911 service for a little extra peace of mind. 2.) a portable potty, will make both your lives easier! I am very impressed you both can utilize that jar, but why strike a yoga pose just so you can pee if you really don't have to? God Bless you both with many happy and safe travel adventures!

  22. Charity Fjogstad
    October 10, 2017
    Reply

    To Erika Drummond: AMEN Sister! We will have to petition to overturn that BS law! 😉

  23. Charity Fjogstad
    October 10, 2017
    Reply

    At "Grandma Liz's Kisses": You are still HERE! You can choose to make a change at any age and start living life on your own terms. What are you waiting for?! Just go for it!

  24. Hedda Lettuce
    October 13, 2017
    Reply

    I have really enjoyed watching your fabulous adventure! I have been watching many tiny house shows and it is he;lying me to deciliter my life. Having two wardrobes is a challenge 🙂 Question: is there a way to see your art work? I would be interested in buying a piece to support your journey. Email me at – [email protected]gmail.com

  25. lancedaniels
    October 18, 2017
    Reply

    Watching this one for the second time. Great couple, w/complimentary thought process.

  26. Jackie McMillan
    October 18, 2017
    Reply

    What kind of solar panels did you get, and how did you choose them?

  27. surething Pat
    October 19, 2017
    Reply

    wow, just caught this video. look forward to checking out your travel videos. very inspired.

    Cheers guys! Best of luck!

  28. cowboy6591
    October 20, 2017
    Reply

    Feeling in control? You didn't need a house and all the out of control zoning laws and codes. All you need for "CONTROL" in the nomadic life is a much bigger escrow to fall back on if the van blows up or gets stolen. Money in the bank is all the control you need. Learn to live on half of what you make, and stash the rest…
    No cell phone? A little over the top. Get one, do not set up an account. Just have the phone. 911 works on account-less phones. Magic jack works when connected to wifi. [20 dollars a year dial anywhere.]. Extremes are silly. One bear attack and you can't call for help= dumb…. Cell phone no monthly bills = Smart…

  29. Louis Brozo
    October 23, 2017
    Reply

    Great video. Laidy I love your voice, it's so soothing.

  30. Myrna Martinez
    October 24, 2017
    Reply

    Thanks nice job…. Check out 'Walter Veith' if you find time….

  31. Wiz 666
    October 26, 2017
    Reply

    Of course they are hipster artists. I would have more respect for their living style if they weren't stereotypical hipster douchebags

  32. Quickplaya
    October 31, 2017
    Reply

    Good luck in the winter lol. All these people think insulation is the answer… Insulation doesn't do DICK in the winter.

  33. Greg S
    October 31, 2017
    Reply

    Ricky lives in a car and look how awesome he is.

  34. Margy's favourites
    November 3, 2017
    Reply

    Where are they now .?
    We used to subscribe to this couples ch.

  35. donna jackson
    November 4, 2017
    Reply

    what the hell is wrong with stopping in a caravan park? use the toilet, have a shower, get some hot coffee?

  36. Hangin' Burrito
    November 4, 2017
    Reply

    Very inspiring video. I'm planning on giving the van life a try next year. I really like the fact that, clearly you both deeply love each other. Very nice to see that nowadays.
    I hope you keep following your dreams!

  37. fernanda flores porras
    November 11, 2017
    Reply

    How do they poop? Cause that tiny little can doesnt convince me…
    And where do they shower?

  38. J.M. ZIMMERMAN
    November 13, 2017
    Reply

    "We felt a need to control our own situation", That says it all for me. I have @ 7 – 8 K saved and am ready to hit the road, but need first to find a quality 'vehicle' of some kind, preferably a van, as then, as they r doing, I will B able to have a quantity of my own belongings with me, and myself and my pup Bailey, a 5 yr old Chihuahua can do what we have been seeking to do for the last few years but have been stopped because of various medical issues that I have been able to manage where now they r at least under control moreso than ever, and – – – – NOW IT IS TIME – WISH US LUCK AND HAPPY TRAVELING ! Any1 interested if coming along-presently in a bad-abusive-widowed-lonely-homeless-life and/or relationship, please contact me, I am seriously seeking a partner-hopefully a possible LTR with a female from ANY previous/current lifestyle who-as I am seeking a free lifestyle out west, and also who would love to explore our country is welcome 2 join me,Animal(s) are Absolutely Welcome!, as I, we-(Bailey and I ) are serious animal lovers!, Text me please if this interests you with some measure of information about yourself.Where u are personally-physically-mentally are of no concern, as it most certainly is none of my,our business. HOPING 2 HEAR FROM U SOON,( ! ) , John (jz)and Bailey dog, ! < [email protected]gmail.com >

  39. allisfaith
    November 14, 2017
    Reply

    21:10 reverse lottery

  40. Nino Jayson Enriquez
    November 14, 2017
    Reply

    Coz were here now
    We exist now
    And the future diesnt yet exist
    And we dont if it will ever be exist

  41. Bill Sales
    November 16, 2017
    Reply

    nice

  42. Joseph Cote
    November 18, 2017
    Reply

    How do you keep the van warm for sleeping in the winter time.

  43. Blackdogcamper
    November 19, 2017
    Reply

    where is the moose meat , cant live on bananas ,lol stay safe

  44. Shyho
    November 26, 2017
    Reply

    f
    IE

    R
    C
    E

  45. Northern Lighting
    November 29, 2017
    Reply

    Hats off to you. You guys are awesome to make such a mega move very inspiring thank you for Sharing these intimate feelings and deep thoughts

  46. Northern Lighting
    November 29, 2017
    Reply

    I think though you should have got a proper camper with shower toilet etc

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