Meet Marie and Dom: nomads obsessed with Nutella and their minimalist lifestyle, which they’ve embarked on for the past 5 years. Their second van build came with a very important upgrade: LiFePO4 batteries, which have helped them take big and small road trips around Canada. As the creatives behind the educational and entertaining Vanlife Sagas YouTube channel, Marie and Dom are inspiring people to live on the road freely.
Meet Vanlife Sagas:
As a Ph.D. student in the field of education at the University of Ottawa, Marie also works as a content creator for Canadian and American start-ups like Native Campervans and Vanlife Customs. Dom is an associate creative director at Orkestra, a Quebec agency with a focus on communications, marketing, event planning, and video production. He also has worked with clients like Osprey, Kodiak, and more.
The Quebec-based couple first became interested in van life when they first started dating in 2016 and during a 2-week trip to Iceland rented a rig. They became enchanted by the idea of parking anywhere to sleep, cook, or claim a spot first at the beach or a campsite. Taking the plunge and purchasing a van was an easy decision, which was also solidified after another nomadic trip to New Zealand.
Dom also had spent time living in RVs as a kid, as his parents came from a military background and when the house they’d move to wasn’t prepared yet, the family would have fun living off-grid for a bit. Inspired by these adventures, the first van Dom and Marie purchased was nicknamed Vanessa, a 2014 Ram Promaster 136”. It was the perfect size for their lifestyle!
Once comfortable with full-time life on the road, Dom and Marie felt the need to upgrade. Earlier this year, they purchased an extended 2021 Promaster 159”. With the install, Dom and Marie had help from Dom’s dad as it was his eighth electrical install for a van. They helped on all steps of the van, from cabinet making, layout design, plumbing, and heating.
Here’s what they installed in their current rig, nicknamed “Vanessanessa:”
“It’s the most A1 system and certainly the most powerful setup we’ve ever had in our rig,” said Marie. “We recently were able to use our computers for work, run the blender, and do so much more.”
For a system similar to Vanlife Sagas’, check out our Battle Born Energy 600Ah Van kit. It comes with everything you’ll need to supercharge your system and to sweeten the deal, every component comes preprogrammed.
Now the system can power all their content creation equipment, from camera batteries and drones to their shower pumps, heaters for the cold Canadian winters, and more. Check out their detailed install video here as they outline everything you need to know about components such as inverter/chargers, solar panels, and battery monitors. With lithium on board, they also contribute to a green and eco-friendly lifestyle that they’re passionate about.
“It’s a nearly waste-free camper van, we make sure to use biodegradable products, use a small amount of water in the van and we’re flexitarians,” said Marie.
As mostly off-grid campers, they utilize three ways to charge: solar power, shore power, and alternator charging. They’ve got a total of 300 watts of solar on the roof and acknowledge that while Canada only has a handful of fully sunny days a year, they’re able to make do with it. Recently, there was a power outage in Quebec and while people were relying on generators and having trouble with supplies, the couple were completely self-sustained.
Marie suggests that people who are interested in living on the road full time should ease into it first to find out what works and what doesn’t. There’s something so free and liberating once you find out what works for you, she says, and people can figure that out if they stick to it.
Also, the two are most in their element when working in the van, as it helps get their creative juices flowing. “I’m the most focused I can get when writing for school or work when we’re in the van,” she said. “It’s more inspiring for me than our home office.” It’s one of the perks of a nomadic lifestyle, combined with a reliable lithium power system.
What’s Next for Vanlife Sagas?
Once travel restrictions across the country have eased up, Dom and Marie plan to visit everywhere they possibly can in North America. They won’t stop until they reach their goal to inspire others to start #vanlife and to help build their very own homes on wheels. Their next goal is a long, ambitious trip from east Canada to Alaska, winding through the United States and then looping back up. Marie also plans to finish up her Ph.D. by early next year.