Lonely Planet Writer

Meet the Wayfaring Kiwi woman living the dream from the back of a van touring Canada

Meet the woman who was so fed up of living payday to payday that she left her job and life in New Zealand to move more than seven-and-a-half-thousand-miles away to live a sustainable life out of the back of a van. Reservations agent, Yvette Morrissey (28), also known as the Wayfaring Kiwi, moved to Canada in November 2016 after finding herself single, with no savings and feeling overworked earlier that year.

This woman gave up her job to live in a Ford van
Yvette Morrissey aka the Wayfaring Kiwi. Image by Yvette Morrissey/mediadrumworld.com

Yvette sold all her belongings, including her beloved horse Blue, saving almost four-thousand pounds in just three months. She currently lives in Banff, Alberta, Canada whilst holding down a full-time job. In her spare time, she hits the road in her Ford E150 to explore the local area. “In August of 2016, I was 27 and found myself single, overworked, living from pay to pay with zero savings in my bank account,” said Yvette.

Living the Van Life!
Yvette in her converted Ford E150. Image by Yvette Morrissey / mediadrumworld.com

“I kind of panicked and thought that this isn’t what life is meant to be like, I wanted to make some exciting memories so I sold absolutely everything I owned, squished all my possessions into two suitcases and within three months I was living and working at Big White Ski Resort in Canada.

I just remember being so determined that this was my path, and nothing was going to stop me from following it. In my past, I worked as a journalist for several years and in 2015 I started the first online equestrian magazine in New Zealand, called Equine Online. I pretty much went from living the corporate life to living a full-blown hippy lifestyle.”

Horsing around in Alberta
My lovely horse- Yvette sold her own horse to fund the trip. Yvette Morrissey / mediadrumworld.com

Yvette plans on spending the summer in Banff to save money to road trip to Toronto, visiting National Parks on her way. Next summer, she plans to van life in the UK before possibly moving back home to New Zealand, buying and refurbishing a van to live in to save more money.

According to Yvette, she’ll save approximately 2500 pounds living in a van over a house but it wasn’t plain sailing at first. “It’s a kaleidoscope of feelings. The first night I spent in the van I had nightmares that there were bears outside my van trying to eat me as I was camping in the woods,” said Yvette.

On the road in Canada
The Rockies in my rearview. Image by Yvette Morrissey / mediadrumworld.com

“Some nights it can be incredibly lonely, I miss the company that comes with living with people. I’m an introvert by nature so I was quite surprised by this.” Yvette said that the only time she ever felt scared was when she awoke one night to find a drunk knocking on her window.

Yvette joined a gym in order to use the shower facilities. “Living in a van really desensitizes you to caring about what other people think”she said. “I usually rock up to the gym in my pyjamas in the morning and I get odd looks but all I’m caring about at that stage is using the bathroom and having a shower.

View from the back of Yvette's Ford van
Lazy afternoon parked up by the Bow River, Banff, Canada. Image by Yvette Morrissey / mediadrumworld.com

Yvette says that she wants people to live their lives more authentically and says being rent free is thrilling. “With the way that the economy is at the moment, not having to pay rent is incredibly freeing. As someone in their twenties, I feel it is incredibly hard to buy a house unless you spend the majority of your youth working your ass off,” she added.

“The majority of people think it’s awesome, some people have called me brave, which I find quite bizarre – I feel like there are so many people in the world who are much less fortunate than I am, and I feel so grateful that I can live this way. For more information see www.facebook.com/wayfaringkiwi

By MediaDrumWorld