It seems that more Canadians are choosing to live in RVs. The rising costs of rent and housing in Canada’s major cities have left some people seeking alternate options for shelter.
In Vancouver, the housing crisis is apparently so bad that some people are resorting to camper vans just to avoid homelessness:
But that might be just what they need to get back on their feet. One man from Calgary has proven the value of RV living after he was able to pay off $85,000 in debt by living entirely out of a mobile trailer.
Geoff Westlock was a former film student who owed more than $40,000 in tuition, loans and credit card debt. After evaluating his finances, he realized that rent was taking up a huge amount of his income, so he decided to give the RV life a try in order to save money.
In 2014 he took out a $36,000 loan to buy Wanda, a 6-metre-long RV trailer, and began mapping out free parking lots in Calgary. He spent three years moving from lot to lot, until he had saved enough money to pay off all his debts, including the the loan he took out to buy the trailer.
Westlock says the toughest part of his experience was getting through the winters, which, in Calgary, could often get as cold as -40 C at night. Since the trailer’s furnace could only operate with electricity (like at a campsite), he resorted to wearing multiple layers; sometimes even wearing four thermals at a time. If it got too cold to bear, he would turn on his battery-operated generator, though it didn’t last for a very long time.
Otherwise, Westlock says he enjoyed his years living in the trailer and even plans to continue doing so to build up more savings. Eventually, he’d like to buy his own lot of land.
"To me, this journey has always been about freedom because right now, I can live on about $400 a month — and that's before economizing," Westlock told CBC News.