RVing full-time, across Canada
Adam Doolittle and Catharine McCallum, with Bella the Chocolate lab, and cat Paris Frances, in Prince Edward Island on Monday August 8, 2016 before their cross-Canada journey. Submitted
Adam Doolittle and partner Catharine McCallum lost their radio jobs in New Brunswick, in 2015.
It turned out to be a kind of epiphany for the couple.
“We decided that we were both done with typical 9 to 5 jobs, paying rent or a mortgage, and owning too much stuff,” says Doolittle, who grew up in Bradford West Gwillimbury. “You put so much in, and get so little back... We knew it wasn't something we wanted to do with the rest of our lives. That's when we decided to do the lifestyle switch.”
Doolittle and McCallum created “Full Time Canada,” sold almost everything they owned through yard sales, kijiji and Facebook, and purchased a 5th wheel RV, making plans to travel across Canada “while we're young and healthy.”
The catch: “Neither of us had RV'd before.”
After researching RVs, they purchased a 32 ft. Heartland Sundance, and decided to start their new lifestyle in an area with which they were familiar – Prince Edward Island.
It was just the two of them, plus their Chocolate Lab, Bella, and cat Paris Frances in approximately 300 sq. ft. of living space.
“The benefit of the lifestyle is you really don't have a lot of expenses,” Doolittle says. There's gas, a camp site, a phone, food, insurance. They further cut costs by “work camping” - carrying out maintenance work around the camp grounds, in exchange for a space. “It's freedom from all the typical stuff you'd expect to be spending when you're in your 30s.”
McCallum says there are other benefits, many of them health-related. “We no longer watch TV. I don't have a phone, and my health has improved a lot since early 2015. I am almost off my blood pressure medication, and I no longer suffer from chronic back pain.”
“We are proof that less is more,” adds Doolittle. “Our life is now full of valuable experiences. We're now in control of our own dreams, rather than working to help fulfil someone else's.”
Their dream is now to make their way from PEI to Tofino, British Columbia in their RV - to promote Canada, ditching the 9 to 5, and “to get to Vancouver Island before the Canadian winter starts so that we can live in our 5th Wheel without freezing,” Doolittle says. They hope to reach Tofino by October 15.
The month-long journey began on September 12 – and the pair faced challenges right away. As they left PEI and crossed the Confederation Bridge, they discovered that their RV was hard to handle in high wind, and the steep grades of New Brunswick's hills also created problems. “We used our four-ways a lot!” says Doolittle.
They reached Ontario around September 16, and took a break to spend time with parents – McCallum in Langton, Doolittle in Bradford. But they were back on the road on the 25th, heading towards northern Ontario and western Canada.
Although they hope to reach BC before the snow flies, Doolittle says, “We're not on a deadline. We're pretty flexible. If we get stuck for a couple of days, it's not a big deal.” They also hope to take enough time to see the country, taking a detour to Banff and Jasper.
Their biggest challenge could be the Rockies – but that's a mountain they'll climb when they come to it. In the meantime, they're keeping track of their travels on their website, fulltimecanada.ca and via social media, and contemplating starting a podcast of their journey.
So far, things have been harmonious on the road. The pets have travelled well, and there have been no major disagreements between the partners. “We worked together for 8 years. We did all our bickering then; we're over it now,” says Doolittle.
“It's been pretty awesome,” he adds, offering this advice to others thinking about RVing: “Do it while you're young. We're just having a lot of fun. I think it's the perfect lifestyle.”
Note: The couple got snowed in in Jasper, Alberta, but reached Vancouver by October 14 - only to be held up, waiting to cross to Vancouver Island, by stormy weather.