Mi Casa - My House - My Car

It’s the first time that I'm traveling with my own car. This way of traveling is unique, because it gives one the ultimate freedom to go wherever and whenever you want, on your own conditions. Moreover, it gives you the possibility to sleep in the car, which makes the voyage even more comfortable! So here is the short story about my 'Schwarzenegger'.

The Search

I started my endeavor in Vancouver, so that was the place to look out for my future ride. Craigslist quickly became my best friend in the extensive search for a suitable car. My primary search criteria would be price, reliability and enough space to sleep. After a dozen missed attempts, which would lead me to every corner of the city, I had finally found my nice family van.

1st Drive

Once I had met the owner, we went for a test drive, which turned out to become a half-day sightseeing tour! We started to drive up to the base of Grouse Mountain, visited a rainforest and did a hike up to a dam. Later we would drive around Northern Vancouver and check out all the nice mansions. Everything seemed in order with the car during this extensive 'test drive'. One part I regret missing out on while growing up on a farm, is the lack of knowledge when it comes to engines. I know the basics, but it’s hard to judge if there are any hidden damages. So I've decided on investing an additional 50$ for an inspection. The mechanic asked me about the price. I told him 2'300. "If you won’t buy it, I will!" was his answer.


Now that I had good hopes the car could make it all the way down to Chile, I was ready to get to the bargaining part. The price of 1'800$ for a '99 Toyota with close to 300k on the odometer was already a bargain in my opinion. Anyway, on a budget, I had to get it down even more! Finally, we agreed on 1'500 CAN$. My next problem was to get that amount of cash out of my bank account. Unfortunately, I have a limit, so that meant ATM-runs for the next four days! After that I was ready to buy the second car in my life. If you’re about to do the same, don't forget to include the insurance in your calculations. It cost me roughly 1000$ for six months. After ten days, the journey on the road could finally begin.

The Name

I realized quickly that I couldn't keep calling my car names like: Baby, family dwelling on wheels, Rolling Hotel, Schiff and so on. So, if you started reading at the top, you know by now that my car carries the unusual name of 'Schwarzenegger'. We got a bit of a story here. On the ferry to the States I met Romeo, a Canadian mate who would join me for a couple of weeks down the west coast. He was driving his '87 VW Jetta, by the name of 'Tyson'. I didn't want to stand out, so I thought about a suitable name for a guy coming from Austria to California, trying to accomplish something that is surreal for most people (driving from Canada to Chile). Boom, there it was- 'Schwarzenegger'. In his best days, even he could keep up with 'Tyson'! Ever since that, the name was fixed.

The adventures of Schwarzenegger