Hello, welcome.


In 2009 I built a little living space in the back of my van, and made it my home. I spent the fall and winter learning about van life and documenting it in this blog; it was a project about the meaning of home, about living simply, about freedom and nomadism, and about chasing old dreams, which for me meant trying out a life in architecture. I put together a portfolio and applications to go to architecture schools, and was accepted to Dalhousie University in Halifax. Since then the blog has been semi-dormant, with just occasional updates and stories as I bounce between periods of school in Hali and social service work in Vancouver. But in spring of this year I heard about the Mars One project; I was completely inspired, and I put in an application to become an interplanetary colonist! You can check out my application video here. It’s a project that inspires endless questions, and it fits perfectly with the ‘mandate’ of my blog, so I’ve decided to re-start the Going Nomadic machine and use it to sort out my thoughts about moving onto another world.

THE ORIGINAL (from December 2009):

I’m Jeremy, and in early September I decided to quit my job, sell all my stuff, give up my apartment and move into my van. I was pretty excited about all this, and with my usual impulsiveness set everything in motion to make it happen. I eased into it towards the end of November, and as of December first I became a full-fledged vandweller. Some people said they were envious, others thought I was totally off my rocker, but everyone seemed to find it interesting, so I decided to chronicle the whole thing here.

There’s a bit of a plan that I’m following. I go swimming every day, which is also where I get my shower. I spend a lot of time at the library, working either on the blog or on my most important task, which is putting together my applications for architecture schools. And every night I sleep somewhere different, just because I can, and with each new place I try to find something interesting to photograph and write about here.

This project is many things. It’s an experiment in radical lifestyle change, in downsizing and living simply. It’s a love letter to Vancouver, my home town, which I expect to be leaving next fall. It’s also my vehicle (baha) for exploring many different meanings and implications of the word home. Most important, I’m finding it enormously fun.

Thanks for visiting, I hope you enjoy it.


UPDATE May 20 2010…

Still living in my van, still loving it, but I’ve moved on to the next phase of my plan, which involves a lot less time on the blog, so I only do the “Home #…” posts when I find myself staying somewhere new & special. I was hoping to get involved in some building projects over the summer, but there was a snag. I got into the architecture program at Dal (yay!) but to seal the deal I have to do a prerequisite calculus course this summer… given that high school math was twenty years ago, I’ve basically swept everything off my plate this summer except math. Sorry to say, new posts here are likely to be few and far between…

UPDATE September 7, 2010

Obviously, if you read any recent posts or look at my map, things have progressed. I passed the math course, drove across Canada, and I’m currently trying to get myself sorted out in Halifax. Vandwelling with next to no money in an unfamiliar place where you don’t know anybody is very different from vandwelling in your hometown… but I’m starting to meet people and get the hang of the place. It’s coming together. And I start architecture school tomorrow, crazy!

UPDATE Nov 23, 2011

The first year of architecture school was exhilarating and totally mad; it flew past and left me breathless. Vandwelling and architecture proved a perfect combination, and winter in Halifax was very little trouble at all. But I’ve hit a pretty big obstacle. In mid-summer after third term, we’re supposed to go out and find co-op jobs, in real architecture offices. I flew out to BC to find a position there… and totally failed! This was tough on my ego and also had financial repercussions, and left me with some tough choices to make.

In the end I decided to take a year out: to work in BC, save up more money for the next round, and take some autocad courses on the side to improve my hireability (not something Dal teaches). I made a fantastic road trip out of it, driving from Halifax to Vancouver the long way (via California!), visiting family and architectural sites and Occupy camps all along the way. but then on my return to BC I hit another snag: to insure my van here I needed to do a safety inspection, which the van failed due to its strange imported nature (features that had been legal when it was first imported in 2005) were now illegal, requiring lots of repairs and modifications).

So after two years of van life I’ve finally run into the obvious problem, which is that if something goes wrong with the car you immediately become homeless. Fortunately I have lots of friends with couches, and people willing to help me out financially. I feel… *mostly* confident that I’ll be back in the van, and back on track, fairly soon.

I never wanted this blog to be ‘the Jeremy story’; I’ve always tried to keep it strictly related to vandwelling. But now that I’m running into these obstacles I’m starting to think that I have something else to chronicle. The last few years were about uprooting myself and chasing an old dream in an unconventional way, something lots of people might relate to. Well, sometimes the dream dances out of our reach… and I think those times are just as important as the ones when everything seems to flow easily. So I’m going to expand the scope of these pages, to include thoughts and stories about chasing the dream. Wish me luck.

UPDATE August 4, 2013

Time for Going Nomadic to go Interplanetary Nomadic!!! I’ve applied to live on Mars, and people sure do ask me a lot of questions about it, so I’m going to start trying to answer some of those questions here.