We have researched travel in Europe for the past two years, and couldn’t be more excited to begin the journey BUT our plans have changed! Now, we are starting our vanlife adventure here [in Canada] before heading over to Europe.
This entire planning process has been both exciting and educational! We will continue to post updates as things develop so we can pass helpful information along the way.
Why Change Plans?
Our goal with Forever Abroad is to carve a path towards a new way to approach life. With the hopes to travel the globe, it doesn’t really matter where we actually start! With that, the idea to 1st see more of the country we grew up in is as great a place as any to kick everything off!
We have worked out a budget, done plenty of research, and even tested vanlife in Quebec for a while. Our greatest challenge on the road will be discovering new ways to sustain this lifestyle as we transition away from our traditional jobs, towards full-time van dwelling.
While Europe was part of our initial plan – providing unlimited camper van options – we ultimately decided to begin our travel in Canada for a few reasons:
Purchasing any vehicle where you do not have citizenship is a difficult task to begin with, requiring licencing and insurance. To buy vehicle insurance, you need a place of residence [within that country] to register your vehicle under. Since we will not be staying in once place, we cannot provide this.
We came across many campers we thought were ‘the one’, but without actually test driving and viewing the vehicles ourselves we weren’t able to make a decision to move forward. Despite our seemingly unlimited options, it was still difficult to work within a budget AND find something that we wouldn’t need to make many changes too.
Ultimately, we came to find that European ownership, vehicle certification (Eco. testing), registration, and third-party insurance (for both personal and company asset) is easiest to set up in Bulgaria and could be arranged for proceeding import from its country of purchase. Following countless hours of research and communication with lawyers, we stumbled upon this option. It appears to be the best route for us to continue our journey in Europe following our tour in Canada and The States. If you are looking into something like this, check out Bulgarian Plates. Their licensed lawyers provide detailed information and helped to walked us through understanding import and licensing process.
Our New Plan – Self-build Campervan
We’ve been asked numerous times, “why don’t you travel Canada first?”. Having Europe as our starting point was part of our original plan, BUT starting elsewhere turned out to be a better option for our long-term idea! Truthfully, we haven’t seen much of Canada and every trip we have to Nova Scotia or Quebec leaves us counting down until our next time there!
Starting where we have citizenship brings with it many positives we wouldn’t have during long-term travel elsewhere:
- Building our own van – We can choose what we want to put into it. Everything from insulation, electrical, storage, etc. Having viewed many different arrangements, one of the most exciting things about this is to fully customize the mobile home to house EXACTLY what we need! When we’re ready to head over to Europe, it would be easy to import our van conversion to continue our travel there!
- Travel supplies (lower cost) – No longer having to reduce our initial belongings to a 40 Liter travel backpack each, we are able to re-use many household supplies in our van. Dishes, bedding, electronics, and much more would have been additional start-up costs. Check out some of our recommended travel gear here.
- Health care (i.e access to prescriptions and medical coverage) – Unfortunately, there are restrictions to the length of time you can travel outside of your residence country. You risk loosing your provincial health care benefits if you aren’t physically living there a specific number of days out of the year.
- No language barriers – An obvious advantage, we will be able to ease ourselves into this adventure better.