spacerStand By Your Van

Chelsea and JanisCHELSEA and “JANIS”
Interviewed February 2016.


Name, age, where you live:

Chelsea McKenzie, 31, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.


What kind of van do you have?

1980 Ford Econoline 150 that I share with my twin flame (my boyfriend Corby).


Tell us about any customizing you have done on on your van.

Corby bought the van about three years ago now, and since he has done a lot of work to the transmission and carburetor. We then both did a lot of custom work to the interior a year ago. We took out the bench style fold out couch, and the two extra passenger seats to make our van livable! We crafted a custom made cabinet, and a bed frame for a twin mattress. We lived in our van for three months in 2015 while working full time to save money and pay off debt.


Any future plans in the works for the van?
We are still driving Janis (that’s her name) in the winter since we made her our home. We plan to take flight in the next year or two towards the west coast. The pacific northwest has been a dream of mine to do a road trip. We just need to save a bit of cash and pay off the rest of the loan for the engine, and we’re golden.


Have you “rocked” your van?

Why yes!


Any past vans you’ve owned?

I have not owned any vans previously, nor has Corby.


quoteAre you in a van club?

Not a member of any clubs. However we are getting to know a lot of the California Street Vans community, and connected with organizing members over social media in the last year, which is exciting.


Do you go to vanning events?

No. We would love to, though.


What are your favorite places to take your van?

It is Corby’s primary vehicle, and I drive a 1985 Mercury Marquis which I love dearly. We love to drive the van as much as we can in all seasons! She’s our baby.


How and when did your lust for vans begin?

Corby had a lust when he drove past Janis one day before we even met. He bought it from an older gentleman, and it was in need of some tlc. He was also in a band at the time, and thought it would be a good ride for them on gigs. My lust came when I met him, and he sold me the first time I rode in it. We then grew to love the van with the culture surrounding off-grid living, and the feeling we got when taking it on road trips was unlike any other!


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What do you think about the current van “scene” today?

We have never been much for scenes after living in the van. Where we come from, there are very few serious ’vanners’. The ones we do know, couldn’t keep up with maintaining them due to the age of the vehicle. Our only outlet at the moment is social media, and we love seeing people live the off-grid life in their vans, and get new ideas for customizing ours. We love seeing the beautiful shiny vans also, as you might say, ours has a bit more ’character’ than some.

Any other van-related things you do?

We each have our own instagram and various van photos, usually we are more creative when the weather is nice. Eventually we might get a profile for our van-living once it’s more full time. Corby’s Instagram is astralfuzzpoetry, and mine is eternalrevolver.

Janis insideWhat other kinds of wheels do you roll?

As I mentioned earlier I drive a 1985 Mercury Marquis with dual exhaust and a big engine. Corby can tell you the specifics, I’m a novice mechanic.

Sky’s the limit, describe your ULTIMATE wet dream van.

That is a tough question to answer. I’d say that we both drool over most every custom 70’s van out there. The riders are one thing, with the nice paint and custom windows, but we also have love for the camper vans. We would love to have the best of both worlds; great paint job, custom windows, and a glorious topper. Janis doesn’t have a topper, but it would make van living infinitely more comfortable when inside the van. Right now it’s: Crouching vanner, hidden dragon.

What are some must have tunes to crank while cruising in your van?

We have a wide variety of music we both listen to. Of course there are the 70s classics, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Stones, etc. But our passion has become exploring all sorts of tunes and artistry throughout the decades. I wouldn’t say we are snobs, but there are so many bands we have come across, I wouldn’t be surprised if we could enter a trivia contest for 60s and 70s music and completely dominate our opponents. Haha.


Ford, Chevy or Dodge?

Fords baby.


JanisAss, gas or grass?

Gas! Can’t get the best quality of the other two without it most times!


Plether, shag or tuck-n-roll?

I’d say shag. But those crafty Instagrammers have some great hardwood concepts we are looking towards...sometimes it’s substance over style these days.


Any other comments for DON’T COME KNOCKIN’?

We are so grateful to be a part of the vannin’ lifestyle e-community, even if we haven’t found our family yet. We recommend it to all our family and friends to try living in a van. Aside from the weird looks, I’d say most are simply jealous of the bad ass road we’ve chosen!




Don’t Come Knockin’