Tips for Solo Road Trip Camping Across Canada – Cost, Sleep, Route
So, my solo road trip across Canada was not what you’d expect! I drove across Canada coast to coast in the month of August, 2022, from Vancouver Island to Cape Breton Island in 27 days. I did it affordably, safely and had a wonderful time. I’m still excited to have learned so many things about a life of camping and being on the road, as well as the geography of this amazing country.
Right now, I want to share what I learned with you in a list of tips for roadtripping solo cross country. I’ll share facts like what a road trip across Canada costs, what the best route to take is, what to buy when you’re preparing for the trip, and details like how to live in your car, tips for where to sleep in your car and advice for saving money and making sure you’re safe and comfortable on the road.
After that, I’ll share my own experience itself with a day to day journal and major tips I learned each day, showcasing how well these daily tips worked for me. I hope you learn some important tricks for your own solo roadtrip, and have some fun reading my advice while you’re here.
Tips for Solo Road Trip Across Canada – The Cost, Where To Sleep, What To Buy & The Best Route To Take
Solo Road Trip Across Canada Cost – What Is The Cost of Driving Across Canada By Yourself?
The cost of driving across Canada by yourself will depend greatly on what kind of trip you want and, funnily, the price of gas at the time. In my case, traveling in August 2022, it was for pleasure as well as intentionally moving to the east coast, so during my cross-Canada travels I wanted to have fun while also saving money for my move. It’s a good thing I enjoy camping because not staying in hotels saved me a ton of cash. If you decide to only sleep in your car and do zero camping, and if you’re driving for an average of 6 hours per day, you may be looking at expenses of $50 to $75 per day, your main expense being gasoline, of course.
I would get a coffee every morning, about $60 in gas every day and around $40 per night for a campsite, totaling about $120 per day including food. When I stopped eating out and began cooking on my own campfire, and buying less expensive coffees and driving more economically (not speeding and using cruise control) I began to cut that cost down to about $100 per day, and sometimes when I decided to sleep in my car I could spend as little as $60 in a day.
So, from coast to coast, my trip was a lot cheaper than you might expect, bringing my total road trip across Canada cost to about $3,000. If my car wasn’t so good on gas or I had a camper, that cost would be a lot more, but if I hadn’t stayed at nice campsites and had only slept in my car, I probably could’ve driven across the country for as little as $1,500 or thereabouts.
WHERE TO SLEEP
Where To Sleep In Your Car On a Solo Road Trip?
Assuming you have a car, or better yet a SUV or camper, you’ll find you have many options to sleep for free or to rent cheap campsites. There’s an incredible app you should get for your phone called iOverlander which shows all the places on the map you can sleep in your car for free. Ideally, you want to find a place that is safe, quiet, has minimal light and optimally has nearby bathrooms or a free Wi-Fi connection. Unless you have curtains for your windows, which I highly recommend getting for privacy (even a kit of sun screens for each window works), it can be tough to get a peaceful sleep when a street lamp is blaring through your windshield to illuminate you. If you don’t care about people seeing you sleeping in your car, then one of those sleeping blindfolds would do the trick.
But from my own experience, here is a list of places I recommend for sleeping in your car overnight during a solo road trip:
- 24/7 gyms
- 24/7 coffee shops like Tim Horton’s and fast food joints like McDonald’s, even if only the drive through is open 24/7
- Walmart parking lots
- Expensive (safe) neighborhoods where it’s legal to park
- Hospital parking lots
- Lastly, if you’re desperate and worried about your safety, you can go to the local police station of any town and ask them if you can sleep in their lot overnight, but I wouldn’t do this without asking
WHAT TO BUY
What To Get And How To Prepare For Solo Camping Road Trip? 16 Things You Should Buy Before Road-tripping By Yourself
If you’ll be camping along the way like I did for the safe-and-affordable option, I put together this nifty list of 16 things you should get to make camping across Canada enjoyable by yourself. I’ve linked to each useful item on Amazon, and please note (disclaimer) I’m an Amazon affiliate so if you shop through my links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. However, if you don’t want to wait for these things to ship in the mail before you hit the road, or if indeed you don’t even have an address to ship them too (that’s how ready you are for this trip!) then you can pick them up at Canadian Tire or similar stores as you need them along the way. With that said, and assuming you already have body wash and a toothbrush, here is my list of sixteen items you should buy for a solo road trip in your car:
- Audio entertainment: Get used to the radio in your car unless you plan to get a Spotify or YouTube Music subscription. Although I had lots of fun browsing the radio stations in each city along my travels, having podcasts or audiobooks at hand would’ve served well when driving alone for long periods of time.
- Portable power bank: If you’re going the campsite to campsite route I recommended, you might expect it would be fine to keep your devices like your cellphone and laptop charged by plugging them into your car during the day, but I didn’t find this sufficient and so here’s a great hand crank power bank radio for camping that doubles as a flashlight – shoutout to my friend’s company Gear Up Survival. The radio is great because you can jam out to local radio stations while setting up your tent and cooking on the fire. Honestly, though, the bigger the power bank the better, as the one above only works to charge one device before you need to recharge it in your car. But, indeed, instead of charging your devices in your car during the day, you should be charging your power bank so that you can use it to charge your devices overnight.
- Thermos: No matter if you’re road-tripping in a colder season or the heat of summer, you’ll want a quality stainless steel thermos to keep your coffees hot or your energy drinks cold. That said, zero-sugar energy drinks are a great way to stay alert and pumped-up on the road, as you can buy a case of them to put in your cooler.
- Cooler: Guessing from the recommended item above, you probably know what’s next: a cooler. A larger cooler will serve much better, as it doubles as a seat when you’re making your campfires. Don’t waste money on a small lunch cooler like I did–they don’t even fit bags of ice.
- Water bottle: I found it best to have one large water jug as a back up, but four smaller water bottles that I can reuse and drink from during the day. The large water jug was useful for brushing my teeth when sleeping in my car, and the small ones I kept near me in my cooler while driving for convenience. No need to keep buying new bottles, as most of the water in Canada is safe to drink, even at campgrounds where you can refill your bottles before hitting the road again.
- Car window covers: Get custom curtains or car window sunscreens for privacy if you’re planning on sleeping in your car. It’s much easier to sleep in your car when no one can see you and all the light from traffic and streetlamps is blocked out. The sunscreens also work to keep your car a bit cooler if parked in the sun, of course.
- Tent: Speaking of privacy (and being sick of sleeping in your car), a tent makes a huge difference if you’re camping along your road trip, and it’ll give you greater reason to want to have a campsite each night knowing you won’t have to sleep in your car.
- Inflatable mattress: Whether or not you decide to get a tent, you’ll find it much easier to sleep if you have comfort, for if you have a SUV or truck bed, you can lay out your inflatable mattress to sleep on it. I got sick of sleeping in my car rather quickly and so whenever I got to a campsite at the end of a long day of driving it was a pleasure to roll out and inflate a mattress in my tent, knowing I would be able to sprawl out and sleep comfortably that night.
- Cookware: For cooking right over the fire, I found that a plain stainless steel pot and pan did the trick, with stainless steel ladle, spatula, fork, knife and spoon, because they’re fire-friendly, easy to clean and you can find them cheap at most thrift stores. There’s NO need to get a BBQ, propane or expensive cookware designed specifically for camping if you’re just cooking stir-fries and heating cans of soup for yourself. Also, if you want campfire-cooking to be even easier, a gridiron to lay over the firepit is a good idea, but I typically laid out the fire logs in such a way that I could put my pot or pan on the fire without it spilling.
- Electric fan: If you’ll be making a lot of campfires, get one of these small handheld, battery-powered electric fans to keep your fires stoked and the embers hot for cooking. Having one of these is much better than having to blow with your mouth or fan your fire manually. An electric fan will also serve great if you’re sleeping in your car at night in the summer, because you can cool off while maintaining the security of keeping your windows closed.
- Headlamp: If you’re like me and like to be able to see things, a headlamp is a must-get item for a solo camping road trip, as it frees a hand and doubles as a reading lamp at night.
- Firestarter: Lots of fire starter! Unless you’re a pro at making campfires without it, fire starter serves great to get a quick fire going for dinner when you’re short on time or it’s raining. Also, if you buy firewood at each campsite, fire starter can replace the need for a wood-cutting axe, as you can collect sticks and random paper nearby for tinder and kindling which easily lights up with the fire starter for you to place your logs on. Most campsites will also sell bags of tinder.
- Bear repellant: Because it’s legal in Canada, so long as you keep it in your trunk and also get the belt holster to wear it exposed, a can of bear mace is highly recommended. If you’re camping alone it gives peace of mind knowing you have the security, because there are lots of bears in Canada, along with other predators, and you never know when you might need to defend yourself. But remember, it’s illegal to use bear mace on other humans in Canada, even for self defense, and you should read the safety instructions that come with it very carefully. Just don’t blame me if your can of bear mace explodes in your car because you left it in the sun or you took the safety clip off. Read the instructions and follow them!
- Roadside assistance: I’m assuming you already have car insurance, but a separate roadside assistance plan can add an extra level of protection for your road travels. My roadside assistance plan only costs $60 per month and although I never had to use it the peace of mind alone was worth every penny. I felt much better knowing I could drive 6 hours straight in unknown territory when I reminded myself that even if the worst thing happened and my car broke down, I was covered across North America because of my roadside assistance plan – which covers towing costs, engine repair and I even pay extra for auto body repairs like minor dents and wheel aesthetics. Plus, you should get an oil change every 5,000 to 8,000 kilometers. On my cross-Canada road trip I had to get 2 oil changes, one in Ontario and one in Nova Scotia because Canada is more than 8,000 kilometers wide.
- Mobile data: I recommend at least 8 gigs or more of mobile data as part of your monthly phone plan. Anything less and you could find yourself without Google Maps on the highway. It’s also nice to watch YouTube videos at your campsite if you’re eating alone. The more data the better. I road-tripped across the country smoothly but I couldn’t have done it without my constant use of mobile data and Google Maps.
- Phone mount: Because using a cellphone while you drive is dangerous and illegal, you’ll definitely need a mount for your phone so that you can easily take peaks at Google Maps while you’re going 110 kilometers per hour down the highway. The phone mount might be the most important thing on this list because it’ll prevent you from taking your eyes off the road when relying on Google Maps to know which turn is coming up for your route.
Best Route For Road Trip Across Canada?
If you’re driving by yourself, here’s a great route to take across Canada, and it’s super simple. Just go from KOA campsite to KOA campsite – 🙂 – Every morning, put “KOA campground (next city)” in Google Maps and boom!
KAO stands for Kamprounds of America, and almost every major city in North America has a KOA campground near by its side (over 500 locations). I’ll get into the reasons why you should choose KOA campsites as your destinations throughout your cross-Canada travels, but first you should know that this franchise also has a phone app in which you can see all their locations and save %10 on all your site rentals if you become a member.
The reasons why I love KOA campsites are also simple: security, laundry, showers, affordability, convenience. Even though KOA sites are often the best, they’re also reasonably priced. You can get a tent site with or without electricity/water for an average of $45 per night (each KOA campground is different and has separate rules), but you only save on average about $7 per site if you want to get the “basic” no electricity, no water campsites, so it can be worth it just to get the tent sites that feature water tap and electric plug, especially if you’re arriving on the brink of nightfall and still need to pitch your tent before starting a fire for dinner.
Ultimately, however, the reason why going from KOA campsite to KOA campsite is the best route for a solo cross-Canada road trip in your car is because, indeed, they have campgrounds near almost every major Canadian city. That means that if you start your travels in Toronto, you can spend your first night camping at the Sault Ste. Marie KOA, then you can spend your next night at the Winnipeg KAO site if you feel like driving for 13 hours straight. After that, it’s still so simple–look at the map to see where the next KOA site is. Boom!
It’s the same if your going from west to east. From Vancouver to Toronto, you have so many options. Just don’t get a cheap motel in Kamloops like I did, lmao. If you’re starting from beautiful British Columbia, you can race over to one of the KOA sites in Alberta, then there’s one in Regina, one in Winnipeg, and so on. It’s so simple: just ask Google Maps where the next KOA campsite is and your route will unwind itself before your eyes.
Lastly, I love KOA campgrounds and recommend them as pins to mark on Google Maps before your cross-Canada trip because, unlike hotels, you don’t need a credit card nor advanced bookings (although you do need a credit card to save %10 on the app). Just show up in person, stroll into the office with cash and a smile and that’s that. Slap! But keep in mind most of their offices close at around 8 PM and it’s always prudent to call to make sure they have tent sites available before arriving.
MY OWN EXPERIENCE – 27 Days = 27 Extra Solo Road Trip Tips
- Avoid cheap motels, because camping is much better.
- Don’t plan too much, and be free.
- Only drive during the day.
- Seek safety for better sleeps.
- Always check the time and your gas levels.
- Extend your stays in locations you love.
- Family is everything.
- Budget well, but don’t be too frugal.
- Know how to bear the undesirable moments.
- Get up early to avoid large crowds and busy roads.
- Stay cool.
- Stay clean.
- Know what’s important.
- Remember why you started this trip in the first place.
- Follow the laws of the road.
- Stay sober.
- Don’t let yourself get cranky.
- Be careful when running on low sleep.
- Never litter.
- Be a tourist, even if all you can do is pretend.
- Have a mantra.
- Keep your valuables with you at all times.
- Check your vehicle’s fluid levels often.
- Take lots of photos.
- Don’t wait too late to house hunt when you’re trip is almost over.
- Always remember you can solo roadtrip any time you want.
- Share your story to inspire others.
My Own Story Camping Across Canada In 27 Days!
The week before leaving Victoria BC, or the month for that matter (it felt that long), was a volcano of activity I’ll never forget. I had more fun than usual with my friends knowing I wouldn’t see them for a long time. That meant a lot of fishing, a lot of playing pool at the bar and a lot of just hanging out. I miss you guys so much! I wanted to celebrate uniquely to the point that I nearly rented a bouncy castle with all my friends. Having fun with all the old homies, trysting with associates I hadn’t seen in years, only because I was about to hit the road and visit family and might never see some people ever again. Life was superb, practicing living out of my car for the big trip. Then the road hit me squarely… Yup!
Roadtrip across Canada update #1:
“Currently leaving Banff, slept in my car in a random lot. Very quiet. The night before however, in Kamloops, made the mistake of getting a cheap motel and drug addicts kept me up all night. Not doing that again! Next city will be a surprise…”
Day 1 postscript
Looking back at day 1, the greatest lesson I learned to give as advice is: Avoid cheap motels, because camping is much better.
If you’re road tripping alone, it may NOT be worth it to get a cheap motel for the night. Get used to sleeping in your car to save money, or even camping. Hostels are a good choice, too. Personally, for a long road trip I prefer campsites over hostels or sleeping in my car because camping adds to the overall experience of being outdoors and being independent. I actually feel like I’m getting away, so to speak.
Hostels can be $20 a night or even free, but most campsites in Canada will be roughly $40 to $60 per night, and maybe a few more mosquito bites, but that’s still way cheaper than a hotel for $190. But unlike hostels or cheap motels, camping in the outdoors can add an extra spark of traditional outdoor adventure to your trip. If you hate camping even, I’d recommend learning to love it. You’ll save money, be safe and still have the chance to meet new people all the while gaining new skills on how to live off the grid. Camping is what the original European settlers had to do to survive in Canada, it’s what many First Nations tribes did during their hunting trips or as a way of life, and it feels great to get really good at it. I had over a dozen different campsites during my 27-day trip, and not at a single one did people judge me for camping alone. In fact, it was very pleasant to camp alone, as I got to chat with other campers and had a great time reading by the fires at night. At least try it before you spend your whole budget on hotels.
Check out my Instagram for Day 1’s videos.
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Roadtrip across Canada update #2:
“Passed through Calgary and had a coffee at a very loud Asian tea house of sorts. Then it was a long 7 hour drive to Regina where I cooked steak at a campground (it didn’t drop in the fire and tasted great!). This morning while rushing for my keto coffee (the lady at Starbucks was very confused when I asked for butter in my americano) I decided to stop by Wascana Lake and talk to the birds and rabbits like a crazy person. Now I’m pooping and can’t wait to shower, have no idea what city is next!”
Day 2 postscript
Looking back at day 2, the greatest lesson I learned to give as advice is: Don’t plan too much, and be free.
Unless you know you’re going to arrive to a new city rather late in the day, like after dinner time, don’t stress out about searching for a place to stay. Typically I was able to call and find campsites to sleep at in an hour’s notice. However, if you arrive into a city at 5 PM or later it would be prudent to have plans ahead of time. Just don’t think you have to plan multiple days ahead because if you’re set back a day for whatever reason you’ll have to adjust all those plans you made. Just go with the flow and have fun. I typically didn’t decide what city I would drive to next until I woke up, had a coffee and checked out the map.
Check out my Instagram to see the videos I took that day.
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Roadtrip across Canada update #3:
“After stopping in Brandon MB for a stretch, burger and ice coffee, I headed straight for Winnipeg where I listened to jazz and roamed around the city enjoying the sights. It was another long day of driving so I eventually rushed to a campsite to cook some chicken kabobs and pass the heck out. This morning, scratching my 30 mosquito bites as I defog my windows, I’m really hoping the front desk has coffee! Ontario, here I come :)”
Day 3 postscript
Looking back at day 3, the greatest lesson I learned to give as advice is: Only drive during the day.
I’m so glad I decided to only drive during the day. This way I maintained a healthy sleep schedule and also was able to see all the sights on the road while driving. It’s also much safer to stop driving at night, as vision can get poor on the highways once the sun goes down. No need to rush!
To see the videos and more, check out the Instagram.
Roadtrip across Canada update #4:
“Left Winnipeg after shaving in a grocery store bathroom and stopped to do some fishing at Falcon Beach before getting an oil change at Kenora, ON. Then it was a race to Thunder Bay to do some laptop work for a client at Montana’s before they closed. Ended the night with a beautiful view of the moon laughably in a Walmart parking lot where I slept for 4 hours and bounced. Now, after brushing my teeth and caffeinating myself at a random gas station, I’m in the hilly, lake-riddled highways of Western Ontario. Today is the day I get to see my mom for the first time in over 10 years. Mom, I’m coming! I’ll be exploring all over Ontario in the next few weeks, visiting family before I continue all the way to the Atlantic – so excited to see Toronto again – so stay tuned for more.”
Day 4 postscript
Looking back at day 4, the greatest lesson I learned to give as advice is: Seek safety for better sleeps.
Feeling safe is a huge factor in sleeping well. When I arrived to Thunder Bay, it was already after dark and I cruised to four different parking lots before I finally slept at the Walmart one. The reason for the tardiness choosing a spot to sleep was my lack of feeling safe as well as the fact there was a circus bumping in town and drunk were people all over the city. I tried the 24-hour gym, I tried the 24-hour McDonalds before I got desperate and tried to find a nice neighborhood to crash in my car, but I kept getting disturbed by people who only seemed to be trying to have fun. It was well after midnight before I tried my hand at sleeping in a Walmart parking lot for the first time and it worked because there were other campers there and I felt safe.
Check out the Instagram feed below to see more videos from day 4.
Roadtrip across Canada update #5:
“It was wonderful stopping at different small lakes along the Western Ontario highways until I nearly ran out of gas and prayed for a miracle. Thank goodness there was an Esso in the middle of nowhere, 300 km from the last gas station… Finally, I reached Sault Ste. Marie where I hugged my Mom for the first time in over ten years. It was so nice to see her smile! Sadly, our visit was short because I have so much work to catch up on and I’ll be in town for a while anyways. Now, this morning (still getting used to the 3 hour time change from BC) it’s “just another day at the office” using the campground Wi-Fi to work and my fire pit to cook breakfast. Ah, I’m loving this.”
Day 5 postscript
Looking back at day 5, the greatest lesson I learned to give as advice is: Always check the time and your gas levels.
If you feel spontaneous on the road viewing beautiful scenery and decide to take an out-of-the-blue stopover at one of the Trans Canada Highway’s many pitstops, just make sure to check the time as well as your gas level. It’s one thing driving across the flat plains of Saskatchewan but you should know the roads start to get hilly again as you enter Ontario or British Columbia and so running out of gas in these parts can feel more adventurous than desirable, especially if you’re relying on GPS like me. I’m not a car guy, and I assume you got your own car situation figured out already if you’re planning a solo road trip (there are thousands of zero-money-down opportunities in this country to get a car) and so I just wanted to say that when the roads start to get hilly is a good time to check your gas levels, because sometimes you might find yourself an hour away from the nearest Esso. I got stuck on the bottom of a hill and had no cellphone service… Thank goodness the fumes in my tank got me to the nearest gas station, but that was a big scare I could’ve avoided.
To see videos from day 5, check it out in my Instagram below.
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Roadtrip across Canada update #6:
“Not much adventure of day 6, but for good reason. Since I’ll be visiting Mom a lot in Sault Ste. Marie I decided to book this wonderful campsite (honestly the most clean and friendly campsite I’ve ever been to, it’s like staying at a 3-star hotel) for at least another few nights before I gallop to Toronto. I caught up on a bit of laptop work, at least enough to not feel like a drifter, and will do more so today, so probably won’t be taking many fancy photos. Last night I had the brilliant idea of catching up on my favorite TV show in my new tent, because I was tired of passing out to podcasts in my car. I gratefully watched the last episode of season 9 of Alone. This morning, I made my own coffee for a change, with cream and fatty cocoa for my ketone production. Feeling great! Now time to go try that fancy campsite shower.”
Day 6 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Extend your stays in locations you love.
If you got time to kill and find a campsite you like, you can only judge yourself if you decide to camp a little more. With hundreds of different campgrounds to choose from across Canada, you’re bound to find one you like more than others. I was visiting family in Sault Ste. Marie for several days, but yet I thought having my own tent to crash in made me feel like I even wasn’t on a trip because I loved my campsite that much. If you’re visiting towns and cities for any reason, it doesn’t take much to feel like you’ve had a home all to yourself nearby if you’ve already paid for a campsite in the outskirts (that you set your tent at) while you’re cruising in the heart of the city. Checkout isn’t till 11:00 AM tomorrow, aye-o-silver-away!
More content from day 6 is in the Instagram feed below.
Roadtrip across Canada update #7:
“It’s officially been a week but it feels like a few days since I booked it from BC. Friday was a nice balance of laptop work, self care and visiting family. My Mom and I did some reflecting over dinner and park swings. I’m glad she understands I need to keep working. Last night was somewhat productive at the campsite (still better than a hotel), now I’m in a Starbucks having a poop break hustling my ass off. I can’t wait to peep some museums and finally spend a full day with Mom later. Soon, the adventure across Canada will continue!”
Day 7 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Family is everything.
Spend more time with your family! My one and only regret from the trip that I can think of right now while writing this is not spending more time with people I intended to visit along the way.
Check out the Instagram feed below for more videos from day 7.
Roadtrip across Canada update #8:
“After working at Starbucks on Sunday morning it was back to the camp for a creative keto stir-fry on the fire. Then I napped and didn’t regret it! Feeling refreshed, I picked up Mom to go hike around #fortcreekhubtrail before we dined at #themillsteakhouseandwinebar to conclude a pleasant evening. When the sun started to lower at the campsite it felt good to do a bit more laptop work and reading while tending the fire. Now it’s morning and the fun part is deciding where to go next, as I got clients to help around Toronto and other family to meet that I haven’t seen in a decade. Toronto, I’m coming!”
Day 8 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Budget well, but don’t be too frugal.
If you spent a bunch of time creating an extensive budget for your road trip and suddenly find that exactly halfway through you have more money than expected because you budgeted so well, then that’s probably the right time to spend it! Then, you can go on your wondrous adventures continuing to believe you always have everything you need when you need it (especially in Canada). Trying too hard to save money on everything sometimes isn’t even worth the time it takes to think about it.
For day 8 videos, check out the Instagram feed below.
Roadtrip across Canada update #9:
“So I left #saultstemarie and headed south toward Toronto, another decent day of driving with few stops. There was a really nice boating dock I did some business calls at, before I rushed to Barrie, ON and got another #koacampground (love the showers there!). The internet was too slow to get much work done at this campsite but I managed well enough after setting up my little portable office. Now, I’m at a Starbucks yet again where the coffee is good and the internet is fast. Time to hustle before I hit the road again. Where I’ll sleep tonight, only God knows! :)”
Day 8 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Know how to bear the undesirable moments.
Not every campsite is going to be enjoyable. In this case, my Barrie campsite had people working on their car beside my site until late in the night and they kept me awake. I also didn’t have a lot of privacy as kids would stroll through my campsite as if they didn’t even care I was there. However, I was able to remind myself that this site was only for one night and it’s still much better to have this safe place to myself than be off sleeping in my car at some random parking lot. Besides, me not liking my Barrie campsite meant that in the morning I was even more eager than usual to hit the road and get some driving hours in. So, if you find yourself in a position that is undesirable, stay positive and remind yourself it’s just for one night, and set your alarm happily knowing that soon better things are coming.
Look below to view the videos I filmed from day 8.
Roadtrip across Canada update #10:
“I shouldn’t have to say where I’m currently camping if you watch the videos but I’ll say it anyways – NIAGRA FALLS, SON!!!! Lol, yesterday driving through Toronto to get here was stressful, especially as I had to stop midway for a banking issue that popped up (I whooped its ass in a Starbucks corner). After a peaceful night at a campsite I rose early to shower and see the Falls before the flock of tourists could impede my sexiness and step on my toes (they’re all over the place like roaches as I write this, just barely avoided them). Now, I’m gonna pump out some work on the laptop and think about where I’ll go tonight. I do know for shizzle I’ll be partying in Toronto this weekend to visit my awesome cousin and see the city night lights, but not yet. Can’t wait!”
Day 10 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Get up early to avoid large crowds and busy roads.
If you’re at a place where there are many tourist attractions you wish to see, getting up early to see them at 6 AM will most likely allow you to avoid the swarms of tourists who flood these areas during the day. At Niagara Falls I was able to enjoy the sights nearly all to myself because I got there at 6 in the morning. If large crowds aren’t a problem for you or you enjoy waiting in long lines, by all means sleep in…
More videos from day 10 below!
Roadtrip across Canada update #11:
“Waiting to party in Toronto this Friday, I extended my campsite in Niagara Falls. Wednesday was rather productive, not being on the road. But I did make the mistake of eating slightly too many carbs at an extravagant Irish pub – #docsirishpub – which was delicious, then I got overheated. A nap and a cold shower quickly cured my discomfort before I got back to work. Last night I think I made my best campfire yet (getting better at it!). This morning I found the Tim Horton’s Wi-Fi to be way too slow for work, so I hit up a small café under a hotel. Now that all my devices are charged, I think I need a shower before I get back to it. Tomorrow will be all Toronto proper! So excited.”
Day 11 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Stay cool.
If you’re traveling in the summer it’s very important to prevent getting overheated. Even with high quality air conditioning in your car, things can get hot. Being overheated means you’re more likely to make poor decisions. There’s nothing wrong with stopping in the shade to drink some ice water if you’re starting to feel a bit too hot. Once you feel like you’re too hot, take action to cool off before you regret not acting sooner.
Day 11 videos below!
Roadtrip across Canada update #12:
“‘Twas my last night in Niagara Falls when this adventurous young man decided to finally have a relaxing time. I pulled up my inflatable mattress by the campfire to watch the clouds roll over the sky and the birds lark in the trees. This morning was relaxing, too, calmly decamping and preparing myself mentally for the busy Toronto roads. Before departing wholly I decided to check out another precious part of the Falls, this little sanctuary for ducks and geese which reminds me a lot of Beacon Hill Park back home in Victoria, BC. Now, I think I’m ready to hit the highway. Toronto, you’re mine!”
Day 12 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Stay clean.
Keep up with proper hygiene practices. One thing I loved about camping was that all the campgrounds had showers. Even on nights when you sleep in your car you can go to a Starbucks bathroom (they typically have the cleanest ones) to shave and brush your teeth and hair. If you find you’ve gone 3 days without a shower and can’t remember the last time you brushed your teeth, you should wash yourself ASAP, especially in the summer, because the last thing you want is an uncomfortable rash between the legs. When you’re sweating in your car all day on the highway, refusing to shower that night also means you’ll need to do laundry more often and, yeah, like I said, it’ll be easy to develop a rash.
Check out the cool videos from day 12 in the feed below.
Roadtrip across Canada update #13:
“I would like to say I came, I saw and I conquered Toronto, but the truth is I got here and stayed inside and hung out with my amazing cousin all night. It was fun to catch up, but today we’ll be doing more of the conquering stuff, more like just going to the beach because we both dislike large crowds, haha. At least I’m here! I’m also taking a weekend break from keto, which I felt I needed – it feels splendid to eat junk for breakfast and watch Tim Dillon’s new comedy special so I don’t feel like a fatty while I do it. Today, I hope to get more photos of Toronto. For now, though… nevermind.”
Day 13 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Know what’s important.
Make mental lists to separate all the things that are vital from all all the things you know don’t matter. Remember all the things you sacrificed to be right where you are now and laugh whatever cost of it. Mentally prepare yourself for an expansion in your own strength as you reflect on all the reasons why you’re capable of living anywhere in the world you want to. If you give attention to things that don’t matter, the things that matter won’t be as numerous in your adventure. For me what mattered was learning and having fun.
More day 13 content can be found below.
Roadtrip across Canada update #14:
“Saturday was a fun day of walking around and checking out a few cool spots in Toronto. Today is more fun before I get back on the road tomorrow.”
Day 14 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Remember why you started this trip in the first place.
At any given time during your trip, you can remember the original inspiration that made you want to solo roadtrip cross-country in the first place. Then, when you’re sitting nonchalantly on the roadside, it might never feel like you left home at all, if you can see how much you’ve changed since you left home. Your home is wherever you, yourself and your long-lost dream exists. Whatever your dream, it’s way better when you have people to love along the way. And when you start to have doubts about anything related to your travels, remembering your original inspiration can be all it takes to toss your doubts to the curb.
Check out my Instagram update for day 14 here.
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Roadtrip across Canada update #15:
“My last night in Toronto was super chill, lounging in an old fashioned English pub with my cousin when the electricity suddenly went out in the whole neighborhood. That canceled our theater plans but we compensated with a movie at home. I slept like a baby and rose early to find a nice view of the city, just barely missed the rain. Today it’ll be back to highways and campfires, heading to visit my beloved aunt near Kingsville.”
Day 15 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Follow the laws of the road.
Never park illegally, even if you think you can get away with it. Remember, you’re doing this alone. Imagine if your car got towed and your phone was in it! Even just an unexpected parking ticket can lead to a series of compounding effects, like reducing your budget and delaying your plans. So, wherever you arrive each day, pay attention to see if you’re parking legally. Wouldn’t it suck if you got your license taken away halfway through your trip for too many violations. On this note, it should be obvious that speeding is a bad idea too. Always pay for your parking and don’t speed. You might save a few dollars by not paying for parking or you might save a few minutes by speeding, but once you make a mistake and get caught for it, you can never go back and you’ll be left to pay the consequences. So do the right thing and obey the laws of the road!
Check out the cool videos for day 15 below.
Roadtrip across Canada update #16:
“On Monday, I said a sincere goodbye to my cousin in Toronto and hit the highway southward. This amazing 100 acre campground full of man-made lakes near Leamington and Kingsville Ontario is so unique from anything I’ve seen in BC. I got the full tour on a golf cart, meeting my dear cousin Sandy and my aunt Julia for the first time in over a decade.
It was nice waking up outside around nature again, but I’ll be gratefully spending the day with my aunt in her modern Kingsville home. Last night I learned a lot about the history of the Evelands and how they settled here in Ontario after their lives were disrupted during the War of 1812. I can’t wait to learn more tonight! I also didn’t know the surname Eveland is actually Dutch and my ancestors are from Holland. So cool! Wednesday I’ll be going to Montreal. For now, it’s so nice to meet and learn about my family.”
Day 16 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Stay sober.
For a solo road trip, this advice is more personal but I’d highly recommend staying sober. Even a few drinks can throw you off the next day. Although it might be tempting to have beers when you’re seeing loved ones, remind yourself that tomorrow is a full day of adventure and you don’t want to spoil how good it’s going to feel just by getting a little tipsy the night before. Trust me, you don’t want to be driving on the sweltering highway with a hangover. Because, what’s the point of having this adventure if you’re just going to feel like crap. So stay sober. You’re trip will be much better.
Amazing day 16 videos below.
Roadtrip across Canada update #17:
“Monday was almost too much family for me but I wouldn’t change a single moment, as I got to learn even more about the historical Evelands and my cousin Sandy who has the best campground in the world. In the afternoon, my aunt showed me around the clean and cultured town of Kingsville Ontario, even visiting a cemetery where some auld Evelands and other family members are resting, before we spent a pleasant evening lounging in a pool and BBQing in my aunt’s backyard. To top off the night, of course, we had to have a campfire, which is always nice even after the dozen I’ve had in the past two weeks. This morning I’m catching up on some important laptop work and laundry, mentally preparing for the road to Montreal!”
Day 17 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Don’t let yourself get cranky.
At all costs, avoid letting yourself get cranky. If you begin to notice your mood waning or you’re getting road rage, start to think intentfully about reasons why you should feel grateful to be on this adventure. I regrettably got a bit snappy when visiting my aunt, because I was having a hard time trying to understand something she was telling me. It left a bitter memory and could’ve been easy to avoid. So, the very moment you realize you’re being rude or cranky with others during your trip, make an affirmed decision to change your behavior before you regret your experience. It’s easy to be in a good mood while traveling alone, but it can be hard to notice sometimes when you’re good mood leaves you and you find yourself swearing under your breath at things you can’t even control, because no one is beside you to point out these things. Stay calm, and raise a smile on that pretty face!
Check out my Instagram feed below for cool videos from day 17.
Roadtrip across Canada update #18:
“I had a great time in Ontario visiting family and the area I was born. After visiting the graves of my grandfathers it was sad to say goodbye, but last night I reached Oshawa late at night to continue my roadtrip eastward. I stopped in London ON along the way to check it out, and slept in my car in a 24 hour Oshawa Tim Horton’s, with my little electric fan to stay cool. Now I’m in Montreal after hitting the highway at 4:30 AM, loving the sexy French people and lettering everywhere. I’m writing this with a gorgeous water view, excited to explore Old Montreal – my next stop! Hopefully I can get a campsite around here tonight because I’m pooped. Yeeeeehaaaaaw!!!
Day 18 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Be careful when running on low sleep.
You might find yourself in a situation where for whatever reason you had a terrible sleep the night before. Leaving Oshawa was one of those days for me, for like Thunder Bay it had taken me a while to find a place to sleep in my car where I felt safe. So, in the morning I knew to be extra careful on the road. Make intentful decisions for safe driving when you’re overly tired, like stopping for coffee more often and sticking to the right lane. I also turned the music up louder when I was tired, which helped to keep me excited.
Day 18 videos below, worth checking out.
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Roadtrip across Canada update #19:
“Old Montreal was so beautiful, and people weren’t lying when they said the ladies here are especially attractive. I had a great time visiting the area before I got into my campsite, cooked, showered and did some laptop work for clients. I don’t think the creek behind my camp had any fish, but it was nice to do a few casts and take that cool photo of my rod, lol. Now it’s morning and I already finished up some work at a Starbucks (ladies here are gorgeous) and my campsite in Quebec City is booked. Let’s goooooo!“
Day 19 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Never litter.
Don’t litter! Trust me, you’ll feel way better about yourself when you get to say “I didn’t litter a single piece of garbage on the entire trip!” Otherwise, you’ll be saying “I littered garbage all across Canada.” Especially when you’re in new places, visiting as an outsider, putting your garbage where it belongs will attract respect from locals. Prevent remorse and be welcomed where you go by refusing to litter, even when it gets annoying to maintain your garbage. When your trip is over, you’ll be glad you did the right thing. I enjoyed smoking along my trip, but I can proudly say I didn’t litter a single cigarette butt on the whole trip, and that’s a true statement which earned respect from important people I met.
Some awesome videos from day 19 below.
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Roadtrip across Canada update #20:
“I think I’m getting better at this! Either that or Quebec City was just super kind to me. Arriving in Old Quebec had me gawping mouth agape for hours–it’s nothing less than a true European city, with its Renaissance buildings and historical monuments crisscrossing everywhere, not to mention the sexy French Canadians. I had some zero alcohol beer at a pretty diner in the thick of it and meandered around, feeling Iike a real tourist for once. Then, I hit up the campsite where I treated myself to a Jamaican sausage stir-fry with some dark English ale before I smothered the laptop to work for a decent while. Now, only God knows what the winds of the easterly highway will blow my way next!”
Day 20 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Be a tourist, even if all you can do is pretend.
You may only be driving solo across Canada because you’re moving for work or trying to get away from something. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to pretend to be a tourist on your adventure. Just because you’re driving across Canada alone for work doesn’t mean you’re not DRIVING ACROSS CANADA ALONE! Woohoo, you’re supposed to have fun. In my case, Old Quebec was by far the favorite place I visited on the whole trip, and so you shouldn’t be surprised to read I finally felt like a tourist while I was there, and it made me realize I hadn’t been a tourist thus far; hitherto I had just thought myself to be passing through each location. Now, knowing this, I began to change my perspective, to see more wonders at each place I “passed through”. In other words, don’t be in such a rush that you forget to stop and see the sights.
Day 20 videos can be watched below.
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Roadtrip across Canada update #21:
“I miss Quebec already but driving into New Brunswick was spectacularly beautiful. Not quite mountainous but very hilly with vistas that stretch over the forests as far as the eye can see. I stopped in Riviere-du-Loupe before I found a campsite in Woodstock, NB. This morning was extremely foggy but I enjoyed the change. I still can’t get over the crazy dream I had last night. It might have been because I watched the new episode of Westworld before sleeping but basically, in my dream, I knew the secrets of the gods and they killed me for it, but then they loved me too much so they wiped my memory and brought back a version of me to life. Somehow, though, deep inside, their secret still lived inside me and I could sense things weren’t as they appeared. Strange, eh! Anyways, off to Moncton!”
Day 21 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Have a mantra.
Have a mantra or positive affirmation to repeat in your mind when things are getting difficult. In my case, it’s hard for me to be trusting of strangers, so I developed the mantra “The world is full of good people and worry is the soul-destroyer.” Whenever I found my mind being idle, or when I found myself camping near people who I assumed weren’t trustworthy, this mantra worked miracles to prevent me from worrying about things I can’t control. You know yourself better than anyone, and so you’ll know what your own mantra should be. It could be something like “I’m very careful and thoughtful and learn from my mistakes.” Or it could be “I practice safe driving and behave kindly to strangers.”
Watch videos from day 21 below.
Roadtrip across Canada update #22:
“I passed through Moncton, NB, which reminded me of Langford, BC before all the development. Nuff said, so I kept up my pace to the wonderful Halifax campsite, by far the best one I’ve had so far as my site is right next to a lake. Once my tent was set up and I showered I checked out the city a bit. I love Halifax so far! It feels like driving in Vancouver a bit, so many trees! This morning I did some more exploring of the city and found a great waterfront park. Now I got to go decamp before checkout. I’ll see what happens next!”
Day 22 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Keep your valuables with you at all times.
I’ve always been very good with never losing my valuables, but some of you reading this might be notorious for misplacing your keys. Either way, it’s smart to be mindful of where your valuables are at all times. For me, that meant my wallet, my laptop, my car keys and my cellphone. I could lose everything, but so long as I had these items I knew I could get everything else back. I would even keep my car insurance papers with me in my satchel at all times, and would sleep with my car keys near at hand in my tent. Even when going for a shower, I would have these things with me in my satchel. By creating this habit, you might even stop misplacing things well after your trip is over.
Videos from day 22 below! 🙂
Roadtrip across Canada update #23:
“I love that feeling in the morning when you hit the highway with a full tank of gas and blast the some hard classic rock. I feel like Mad Max! But then I quieted down, reached peaceful New Glasgow, NS. Then I cranked up the volume again and barely stopped till I reached my sexy campsite near Sydney, NS.
Whoa, the drive across Cape Breton Island is magnificent. Ironically, the campsite here is for sure the best I’ve had yet also the cheapest. It was really quiet, too. I cooked a seafood stir-fry over the fire before getting some laptop work pumped out. Falling asleep was pleasant, but I rose viciously and got to downtown Sydney where I chatted with other tourists.
My goal for today is to check out the historical fortress at Louisburg where the French famously battled the English over the ownership of Canada, then I’ll get more work done so I can keep buying gas. I might extend my campsite and plan for Newfoundland and Labrador either tomorrow or later this week. I love it here that much, and already have some apartment viewings. Thanks for tuning in, I miss all you guys back home! Let’s get it.“
Day 23 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Check your vehicle’s fluid levels often.
Even though I was driving a newer car that had sensors to warn me when fluids are low, I was careful to double check regularly. Especially during the summer you’ll want to make sure your coolant is always at an ideal level. If you’re getting an oil change every 5,000 to 8,000 kilometers, you should also ask the mechanic to top up your fluids. Trust me, you don’t want your car to overheat on the middle of the highway.
The videos from day 23 are pretty awesome. Check them out below.
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Roadtrip across Canada update #24:
“As you can see from all the photos and videos, Cape Breton Island is almost as handsome and majestic as me. It’s like a miniature clone of Vancouver Island, which is why I believe my soul loves it here, but it doesn’t have the mountains nor the swarms of homeless people and everything is much more affordable. I would count me as one of the new homeless people in Nova Scotia except today I’m signing a 6 month lease for a fully renovated 2 bedroom basement suite that’s shockingly cheaper than the crappy 1 bedroom apartment I was paying for in Victoria, BC. The roadtrip doesn’t end here however!
Once I’m tucked in with some used furniture, I’ll be exploring Newfoundland and Labrador to cap off the experience. It’s safe to say my fear of travel has been conquered. Next year, when my lease here expires, I’ll be doing a coast to coast roadtrip across the United States of America! Then I’ll be prepared for a similar trip across Europe the year after. So exciting, eh! Anyhow, it’s time to shower and get some work done. See you sexy folks tomorrow.”
Day 24 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Take lots of photos.
I’m not typically one to take lots of photos nor post on social media often, but I killed two birds with one stone by forcing myself to upload photos of my trip onto Instagram each day because this also allowed me to keep my friend’s back home updated as well. Then, when you’re trip is over, you’ll be glad you have so many images to remember it by.
Videos from day 24 below.
Roadtrip across Canada update #25:
“So I moved into my new place in Glace Bay, NS today, hooked up the power and got my internet appointment scheduled. Now, it’s time to unpack and play some funk music!
Last night was a rainy, relaxing time at the campsite – had a lazy day to be honest. I think my body misses the keto diet and didn’t feel the best. But I love the sound of rain falling on my tent and stayed super dry all night.
My updates until I check out Newfoundland and Labrador will just be me exploring more of Cape Breton Island. Ah, but seriously, after nearly a month of camping across Canada it feels so good to be living in modern comfort again. I’ve been smiling all day!”
Day 25 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Don’t wait too late to house hunt when you’re trip is almost over.
Start house hunting well before winter. Trust me, you don’t want to spend a single month of winter living in your car. That’s how people freeze to death, and an unexpected blizzard can put you in a nasty situation. You might be having fun exploring Canada well after summer ended, but you should make sure you have a real home for the winter. I had no idea Glace Bay was going to be my home, but I’m so grateful I found my new apartment in time before winter and the cold weather.
Some interesting videos from day 25 below.
Roadtrip across Canada update #26:
“Not much adventure yesterday unless you count settling into a new town across the country as adventurous. I’m so grateful to be in Glace Bay, NS. It’s a town unlike anything in BC although maybe similar to Metchosin if I had to make a comparison, reason being the houses are old as this part of the country was settled in the 1600s and BC wasn’t until the 1800s, hence the difference in culture, too. It’s much more Christian and old school here, which is exactly what I wanted.
Last night I enjoyed some beers and funk music while unpacking and got a pizza from a local shop – shotout to #chickiespizza – and then lounged to some Joe Rogan on my inflatable mattress. It felt strange to put my tent in the washer, as if I won’t be camping again anytime soon, but that’s not true.
I don’t get internet until the 8th but I’m grateful for that, too, for I’ll be able to plan more clearly without distraction. I’m so pumped to resume progress on the book I’m currently writing, which will be traditionally published unlike all my previous self-published books. There’s a local writers festival coming up so maybe I can meet some new friends there, plus I’m excited for a Tinder date – a local is going to show me some of her favorite Cape Breton hiking trails next week – yay!
Today will be catching up on errands, work and getting some new furniture. Since I’ll only be here for 6 months until I start my roadtrip across the US, I’m hoping to get some compactable furniture which I can stow in my car rather than sell when I move. It certainly feels adventurous to settle in a new town, alone with no experience here. Newfoundland and Labrador, get ready for this handsome bloke. I’ll be ferrying to Prince Edward Island soon enough!”
Day 26 postscript
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Always remember you can solo roadtrip any time you want.
Now that you’re trip is coming to an end, don’t get mad when you find yourself living normally in an apartment again. Be grateful you have this amazing travel experience because now you have the ability to get up and solo road trip whenever you want to, or indeed whenever you’re forced to. Writing this in my cozy office, I don’t feel ashamed that I’m not traveling anymore because I’m already planning my solo road trip across the United States for next summer. Then again, you might want to live the road trip life more than for just a single season. In that case, read the previous day’s tip again and make sure you at least have somewhere warm to stay during the winter.
Videos from day 26 below.
Roadtrip across Canada final update:
“I still plan to go further east soon, but I’ve come to accept the fact that the roadtrip ends here. Glace Bay is my new home and I’ve already met some incredibly friendly people and have some events planned with new friends.
Last night I took it easy, watched some Blackadder on my old laptop because it’s saved on there and I still don’t have Wi-Fi. Today I really feel like I’ve slipped into the the flow of life here, buying used furniture from people all over Cape Breton, even stopping at a yard sale in magnificent Sydney Mines. The people here are so nice and although I miss my friends back in BC and my family in Ontario I can safely say the roadtrip was a major success because right now there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Today I’m also hopping back on the ketogenic train because I can tell my body misses it, or I at least miss how much better I felt when I was avoiding carbohydrates.
Thanks for joining me on the trip. Next summer will be a coast to coast roadtrip across the US! Woo!”
Looking back, the greatest lesson I learned that day is: Share your story to inspire others.
It’s my belief that the hard pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 made lots of Canadians either lose faith in their freedom or they began to take our historical freedom here in Canada for granted. One thing I hope to accomplish by sharing my experience is to prove that Canada is still a free country. If I can get up and drive across the country by myself then anyone can. No one but ourselves and our responsibilities can stop us. If you decide to do a solo road trip, please share your experience with as many people as you can in hopes of inspiring others to never take the freedom we have here in Canada for granted. If someone is living a life they hate, knowing they have the freedom to get up and go somewhere else might change their lives for the better. In this wonderful country, you can be whoever you want to be and go wherever your heart desires!
More content from my final update below.
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Now Here I Am Across Canada!
Indeed, as I tuck my sweaty bandana away and style my hair, looking like Mr. Bean as I take a selfie, it certainly feels fabulous to be working on my book again. I’m now developing a healthy new work routine while I settle in to my new home with all the comforts of modern civilization. Compared to my adventure going from campsite to campsite, being in my comfy home is, well … it’s true as I like to say that “modern is so drab” because I’m a medieval studies nerd. I’m still just so grateful for modern society. I get to finish my book in an efficient manner! With all the latest gadgets! Though, writing with a quill would be cool.
If you’re curious about the book I’m writing and want the count down before it explodes, subscribe to my book launch news letter here. Thanks for coming on this adventure with me!
Don’t take the glorious freedom we have here in Canada for granted, and hit the road with confidence knowing you can do it affordably and safely, even if you’re all alone! This is truly the best country in the world.