Story 38 | Architects
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Story 38 | Architects

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Eric and Joana (@desfenetressurlemonde)

"To stay is to exist, to travel is to live." - Gustave Nadaud

Eric and Joana are both architects and engineers from Marseille in the south of France.  They met ten years ago as young students, graduated, and together began working for the same agency.  After years of grinding out long hours and weekends they began to have impressions of stagnating in a daily life that did not correspond to their inner beings; their true selves. According to a thesis Joana wrote in college, humans are originally nomadic.  Eric and Joana needed movement; needed to go far, far from their everyday routine.  The couple decided to embark on an adventure into the unknown in order to rediscover themselves; each other. Abandoning the usual comforts ("au revoir apartment!") and selling all of their possessions ("adieu!") the couple was ready to hit the road to Elsewhere.

The road to Elsewhere turned out to be Quebec, Canada where Joana and Eric found a 1984 Volkswagon Vanagon Westfalia to give their dream of travel some wings.

"We wanted a camper bus because we know their mechanics (Eric and Joana have a 1978 VW bus in a garage in France that they fully restored themselves). The size of the vehicle is ideal for us, small, compact, well thought out, goes everywhere, and is quite discreet," says Eric.

Eric and Joana spent a year and a half traveling over 47,000 miles across Canada and the United States living with the minimum.  The couple had only planned to travel for a year but one night they were watching the sunset in Canada and they realized that they didn't want the sun to set on this nomadic life they were creating.  The mobility, the open space, the beauty in the small things like making a fire or sharing a sunset was causing their creative mind to flourish...and they didn't want that to end.  So they flew home to France, visiting friends and family, then regrouped and went back to Canada to tinker on their van.  The engineers went to work improving their mobile home adding an auxiliary battery, solar panel, awning, heating, and some homemade furniture.

"Get drunk permanently on new landscapes, wild places, away from everything."

Life on the road costs Joana and Eric about the same amount as their apartment in Marseille, but the adventure is life-changing and priceless.  The couple has been living off of their savings, however, they are currently working on a few projects inspired by their lifestyle: micro-architecture, object design, furniture, etc.

To learn more about how Eric and Joana have reformed life go to: @desfenetressurlemonde or