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Welcome to the Hippie Van Man Frequently Asked Questions Page.
I often get asked questions about the van and the project. Here are some of the questions I get, and the answers I give.
Yes and No. I sourced Toronto artist Runt aka Alex Currie to do the mural. I assisted him in filling in the color, as did some of my family and friends. But on the whole, Runt is responsible for the trippy paint job.
Read more about Runt on the About Page.
I constantly get smiles, peace signs, thumbs up, and people approaching me to talk about the van. On the first road trip I took with the van (Burning Man 2011), people driving down the highway were all pulling out their cameras to snap shots of the van and its crew of enthusiastic care-free occupants. This is when the initial idea came about, to turn this van into a full out interactive multimedia project.
The Hippie Van Man mission statement is, “to share the experience, inspire people to live their dreams and to live in the now. Further more it’s about the spirit of adventure and spreading smiles and good vibes 1km at a time.”
I have traveled to over 30 countries since 2008. During these travels I have received countless messages from friends, family and strangers, admiring my thirst for adventure. Often receiving comments such as “I’m living vicariously through your posts” or “I wish I could do what you are doing”. This is another factor that lead me to create this project. To bring people along for the ride and to show them that if you want to do something you can indeed make it happen.
This is a question I get a lot, seeing as I have already traveled to over 30 countries and am constantly updating friends and family of my doings. Basically it’s a combination of things, none of which include me being “rich” by Canadian standards.
a) travel isn’t as expensive as the average person thinks. Especially when traveling in regions like South East Asia and South America. The more you travel, the better you get at making your money last.
b) When I do hunker down in Toronto (my home base) I work my butt off and budget myself pretty strictly.
c) While I travel, I take on freelance web development and photography projects. So I am able to make a little income as I go.
On this trip, creating, uploading and editing content for hippievanman.com will likely take all of my spare time, which I would normally spend on freelance work, so I’m hoping to get some sponsorships for this project in order to help cover the costs involved.
In short, no, I am not fearful of traveling in Latin America. That being said, there are always inherent risks involved when traveling, be it to work, to your grandmas house, or international travel.
Having personally traveled to countries with notorious reputations, such as; Serbia, Israel, Colombia, Burma, Cambodia, etc. in the past, I know first hand that what the media portrays is not necessarily the reality of the overall situation in the respective countries.
Am I saying there is nothing to fear, or that there is no danger in traveling through Latin America? Of course not. What I am saying is that if you use common sense, caution and street smarts, and don’t put yourself in bad situations, there is no need to be overly fearful. 1000’s of people travel throughout Latin America every year unscathed. The ones that do run in to trouble usually bring it upon themselves (ie. getting involved with drugs, being unaware of their surroundings, putting them selves in compromised positions, etc.)
In short, there will always be risks, but if you are per-cautious and carry yourself properly, the risks are dramatically minimized. As a wise man once said, “Never trade the thrills of living for the security of existence”.
If there is a will there is a way. Don’t underestimate the Hippie Van just because of it’s age. Classic VW’s may break down here and there but the upside is they are fairly easy to work on, even for a novice like myself. And with the help of online forums I can usually do most repairs on my own.
Yes I will most likely have a few break downs a long the way. Who know’s maybe I’ll even need to replace the engine or transmission. Attitude is everything. As long as you maintain a positive forward thinking attitude, you can make it happen. There will be roadblocks, but they just make it all the more interesting.
Formal, no. But I have always been interested in figuring out how things work. When I was a child my parents use to let me take old electronics apart in my fathers workroom. As soon as I was old enough to drive, I started learning all I could about how cars and motorcycles worked. Although I never took so much as a auto-shop class in highschool, the internet and my best friend Mo (who is a mechanic) have been great teachers.
When it comes down to it, automobiles are just big, seemingly complex, puzzles. The hardest part about repairing a vehicle is figuring out what is wrong with it. Fixing it is the easy part once you figure out the problem. Just like taking apart and resembling a puzzle.
Yes and No. I wouldn’t ask for straight-up payment to ride along, but I would ask that my passengers contribute in some way, be it chipping in for fuel, cooking food, helping update the site, etc. Feel free to check out the Hitch Hike Page for more details on how you can ride along.
On the first major trip I took in the van, to Burning Man in 2011, I was asked this question at the border.
My response, “Fair enough, but for the record, this is vehicular profiling”.
After a good 30-40 minute search of the van and having the dogs sniff it out, we were allowed to roll on through.