Wednesday, September 10, 2008

my VW Van (my soon-to-be home)

The countdown is on.... only 38 days until I depart on my big photo trip around the continent for the next year and a half.
Here's a photo taken a couple days ago of me with my soon-to-be home, a 1990 Volkswagen Westfalia camper van. I bought it mid summer from the east coast - flew to Halifax and drove it back. Since then, I've been outfitting it for long-term travel: extra power to charge camera batteries and run laptops, cooking & basic survival gear, and most importantly an array of security features to prevent getting robbed.

I love the van, it's the ideal photo vehicle: small enough to drive most places and fully equipped to camp comfortably and conveniently anywhere. It sure beats sleeping in my car, or going through all the pain to setup/takedown a tent on demanding photoshoot schedules.

As soon as my trip starts, I promise regular updates to the blog. I've been so busy lately preparing for the trip, I haven't been able to post as much as I'd like. More coming soon!

Happy shooting!


  1. Anonymous7:12 PM

    wow! I want to hear more....I will definatley be tracking your progress. I would love to hear some of the you financed the trip much you have budgeted to spend on a daily basis..etc...I am currently shooting a book for a Canadian writer but it keeps me in central Ontario....but what your doing really intrigues me
    Kind Regards,

  2. Hi Cameron, I'll be posting trip updates and photos on the blog regularly during the trip so I hope you'll follow!

    My trip funds come from two sources: 1) a 9 year career with Parks Canada which kept me afloat while developing my photo business to a modest, but sustainable level and 2) from selling my house. I'm basically homeless now - except for the van. The proceeds from selling my house are my financial cushion. The downside: nowhere to live when I get back!

    I haven't developed a daily budget for the trip, but have simply minimized all my expenses. The camper van allows a high level of self-sufficiency which equates to low travel costs.

  3. Anonymous3:49 PM

    Interesting.....have you managed to make any of your adventure a "working trip" or is it all pleasure? Are you going west and then down towards California?? sorry for all the questions but I am really curious about the trip.

  4. Anonymous11:15 PM

    Hi Ethan,

    I've read your column in OPC and followed your links from their website to track you down. Your website still says you live in Wheatley, but then I read you live near Midland.. which is where I live.

    I've been running photography workshops out of Barrie (where my studio is) for about a year now and was going to try to meet up with you for a beer and talk shop a bit. Guess I'll have to wait til your return now... if you end up back here.

    I'll keep an eye on your blog and if you are back in the Midland area, let me know and we'll grab that beer!

    Best of luck on your trip. Your work is inspiring!

  5. Anonymous2:08 AM

    Hi Ethan

    just wanted to say hi and wish you good luck with your trip and new "lifestyle", which is something I admire and one of my dreams waiting to become real.
    Congratulations for your wonderful photos too !

    Keep up the good work.


  6. Wow, a year and a half trip. Very impressive. Aren't you married with children? I must be wrong because that kind of trip would probably be impossible with such commitments.

    I am impressed and inspired to plan something like this, how many month of research did you do?

  7. Sebastien, not married and no kids that I'm aware of! It would be tough to do that trip with those kinds of commitments.

    I casually planned the trip over the course of the year leading up to it. Naturally the most intense planning was in the last couple of months.

  8. Cool. Well keep up the great shooting, it is great that you are fulfilling your dreams.