The 29-year-old from Sydney, Nova Scotia, was hoping to do some research to open a boutique inn in Cape Breton. But she found it was difficult to find transportation to all the places she wanted to go. Not wanting to tour the continent, Heading hired a motorhome.
“Once we rented our first motorhome, I immediately changed my business idea because I fell in love with vans,” Heading said.
His plan to start a motorhome rental business got even stronger when the pandemic struck.
“We started to get nervous ourselves at the end of the trip and we were like, ‘How can we best travel safely? “” Said Heading.
“And in our van… we were socially distant from everyone, we had the safe little capsule to get from one place to another. We didn’t have to use public transportation. “
As the pandemic worsened, Heading took a flight to Nova Scotia. She was ready to review her initial business plan and start her new business, Nomad Happy Campers.
She was in good company. Renovating and customizing vans, buses and old motorhomes is now a popular pastime. Some people even choose to live in these vehicles as affordable housing.
Heading bought a newer minivan as a prototype and got to work redesigning the interior. She used sheep’s wool as insulation and lined the interior with shiplap.
With the help of a carpenter, Heading built benches that could be converted into double beds, a kitchenette and self-locking cupboards to prevent things from tipping over when the van spins around corners.
“So I made the most of my pandemic,” Heading said with a laugh.
The prototype was called Disco (short for Discover) and is aptly named.
“You can’t have a van named Disco without cool lighting so there are going to be LED lights going under the cabinet that change color and the ceiling lights also change color and they can actually sync to the music. “
Heading plans to purchase five vans at one point to create a fleet and provide extras like ski and paddleboard rentals. With the return of inter-provincial travel imminent, Heading believes the idea is sustainable.
“As far as I know I’m the only one [camper van rental] business in Nova Scotia.
Disco is about to launch Canada Day.
Heading said she was proud to follow in her family’s footsteps.
“I took a lot from my father… but also, my grandparents were very important in the tourism industry, and it seems that every idea that I have, all of my business plans end up being linked as well. tourism. “