As Year 2 of Covid-19 kicked in, Benjamin Septier was getting restless and dreaming of seeing the world again. The Customer Success Specialist at Property Vista was an extensive traveller, and the one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver that he shared with his girlfriend, Jade, was starting to feel closed in as they both worked from home.
“It was early spring and Jade and I started talking about ways that we could get outside and travel and also work at the same time. The idea of being able to do our jobs while on the road, exploring Canada during the summer and into the fall, was really exciting,” said Benjamin. “We looked at each other at the same time and said, ‘Let’s do it!’”
Benjamin and Jade are not alone. Many millennials (and others!) are embracing a new way of life: van life. Search for the hashtag #vanlife on Instagram, and you’ll find more than 11 million posts of these free-spirits enjoying stunning views and working from wherever the road takes them. The nomadic lifestyle has been around for a few years, but really gained popularity during the pandemic due to flexible work arrangements, a desire to travel after being cooped up during Covid lockdowns, and a simpler, more minimalist way of life.
More and more, people are leaving behind their sedentary housing situations and integrating work life and wanderlust. The self-containment and self-sufficiency of the van lifestyle allows them to keep their day jobs while spending their free time in nature and exploring new places.
But first, Benjamin needed to bounce the idea of taking remote work on the road off of his manager, Vaughn, and Property Vista’s Chief Experience Officer, Richard Robins.
“Benjamin is responsible for onboarding new clients, training them on how to use the Property Vista platform to get the most value out of our property management solution. It’s crucial for our customers to have an excellent experience,” said Richard. “However, Benjamin came to me fully prepared with his request, and outlined how he would always be online when he needed to be and that he would maintain his regular working hours. Having a healthy work-life balance is part of our company culture, so we were happy to support him on his exciting adventure.”
Benjamin and Jade invested in a good cellphone plan, solar panels and a massive battery to ensure a reliable Internet connection, enabling them to work confidently while driving across Canada.
The couple rented a van that was outfitted with a bed, an oven and a sink and a small workspace. They set out from Vancouver in the summer and crossed the country, driving through the Rocky Mountains, across the prairies, looping around beautiful Lake Superior and all the way out to the Atlantic.
Benjamin factored in the time zone differences as they drove across Canada, and adjusted his work hours to align with his work supporting Property Vista customers. The couple would find a nice location to park for the day, and from time-to-time Benjamin would go to a coffeehouse for a change of pace.
“The experience gave us so much energy and was so positive. Every day after work we could go hiking, or relax and have dinner together under the stars. On the weekends, we could explore more remote locations. You see so much, experience so much and learn a lot about yourself in the process. It was amazing. I’m very grateful to Property Vista, Richard and Vaughn.”