Have you ever felt the desire to travel in a communal van with a bunch of random strangers?
That’s what a man who calls himself Ben Jamin is doing with his Hasta Alaska project.
“I bought the bus three-and-a-half years ago with the plan to share it with as many people as possible,” Jamin, founder of the project, said.
He shares his 23-year-old Volkswagon “Co’Pito” with complete strangers, to allow people to get a taste of the travelling life so the travellers don’t have to spend a fortune, he said.
“(It’s) kind of like couch surfing,” Jamin said.
Hasta Alaska is a project that Jamin started in 2011. He bought his van in Chile and spent time fixing it up before making his way through South America, Central America and finally North America where he plans to end his journey in Alaska. He’s been filming the journey and posting photos and videos on his website and on YouTube.
“I’ve had over a 100 people live with me,” Jamin said.
So how did he end up in Qualicum Beach last Wednesday? “I’ve been following his travels since he was in Chile,” Deanna Wyndham, who lives in the Spider Lake area said. She invited Jamin and his crew to visit the area.
“It’s only really me and the dog that are going to Alaska,” Jamin said. The other members of his crew stay for a few hours, to a few months.
Jamin is also giving the van away once he reaches Alaska to one of his followers online. He said he has rebuilt the engine 10 times during his journey so he relies on funding from his online followers and advertisements from his website.
“This is probably one of the most beautiful offices we’ve had,” Jamin said “You get the opportunity to stop with locals and get to experience places in-between the main tourist attractions.”
Jamin also taught himself how to film during the trip.
“Part of this trip is basically to learn new skills.” Jamin said he didn’t know how to make videos at first and borrowed equipment from people who came in the van with him.
The van has solar panels so Jamin is able to edit his videos on the road.
“I’m going to do more adventures, (after this one),” Jamin said. He said he plans to go to remote villages in India and bring cinema to those communities.
“(Travelling is) one of those things that you’ll never regret,” he said.
He said 25 per cent of the proceeds that Jamin receives he plans to donate to a charity but he hasn’t decided on which one yet.
To see his latest adventures: kombilife.com.