West Kelowna  

West Kelowna couple stays in Mexico amid pandemic, living in van

Hunkering down in Mexico

Braden Taylor and Lyndsay Fillier are used to an on-the-road lifestyle, spending the last three years living in a camper-van. After deliberation, they have decided to stay on top of a mountain in Mexico while the pandemic continues.

The couple spends their summers working at The Cove Resort in West Kelowna in order to spend winter living abroad.

"We really love it, we love the people here, to us it's almost a second home," says Taylor. "The first time we crossed into Mexico we were very scared to be honest. You hear so many stories about the crime and corruption, but since we've come to Mexico and travelled around it seems like the opposite of that is true."

They travelled to Mexico in January for the second year in a row, with the intention of returning home in June. When they left on their journey, they did not realize what was in store for the world.

Since learning the seriousness of COVID-19, the pair has stocked up on food and water and are currently in an isolated area in between Mazatlan and Durango. 

"It seems to be pretty relaxed here in Mexico in terms of the coronavirus scare and when we were in more populated centres people didn't seem to be too concerned, but of course we're hearing a lot of concerns back home," says Fillier. 

While the federal government has urged Canadians to return from abroad before the borders were closed, Taylor and Fillier decided it was best not to attempt to drive back and potentially get stuck at the border, exposing themselves to others. 

"We could have flown back but then we would have had to leave our van and we don't have a house back in Canada," says Taylor. "At this point we're so used to living the lifestyle that we are doing now that spending time in our van and finding a secluded place to camp."

They have spent almost a week in their van and have enough supplies for about 10 more days.

"We do think it's inevitable that the virus will spread a lot more here especially because people have been so relaxed,' said Fillier, explaining social distancing has not been adopted in Mexico.

"So we're not hugely concerned about the virus, although we are concerned that if panic starts to spread when it's time for us to go back and restock, there might be very little on the shelves."

The couple has also considered that if they do end up getting sick and the health care system in Mexico is seeing an influx of cases, they might not receive proper care.

Despite this, they are continuing to isolate themselves from others and are enjoying every day.

Their days are spent drinking coffee and eating breakfast and they enjoy reading, exercising, hiking and star gazing.

"It actually reminds us a lot of Kal Park (Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park) just outside of Vernon," says Taylor. "It's very dry, a lot of big pine trees - it really reminds us of being in the Okanagan to be honest with you."

Before the pandemic struck, the pair had planned to stay abroad until June — which they still plan to do. 

"Hopefully the Mexican-American border will be open by that time because right now we find ourselves in a situation where we've pretty much made our bed, and we have to lay in it, because the border is closed to all non-essential travel," says Fillier. 

To follow Fillier and Taylor's experience on Instagram click here. To view their website click here.

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