Story 38 | Architects

Eric and Joana (@desfenetressurlemonde)

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

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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.

"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.

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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.

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 "It is not very big, it is not always easy, but we retain only beautiful memories, beautiful encounters and moments."  

"It is not very big, it is not always easy, but we retain only beautiful memories, beautiful encounters and moments."
 

 "The road is alive and makes us feel alive," says Joana.

"The road is alive and makes us feel alive," says Joana.

 "Liberty! We move at our own rhythm, we settle (almost) anywhere we want, and then we change our view every day!"

"Liberty! We move at our own rhythm, we settle (almost) anywhere we want, and then we change our view every day!"

 "Every day we enjoy simple pleasures that cost us nothing, like setting a fire, listening to silence, contemplating sunrise and sunset.  We learned about ourselves together, and about each one, about life, about the life we no longer wanted and the life we wanted."  Says Eric.

"Every day we enjoy simple pleasures that cost us nothing, like setting a fire, listening to silence, contemplating sunrise and sunset.  We learned about ourselves together, and about each one, about life, about the life we no longer wanted and the life we wanted."  Says Eric.

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

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

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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.

 "We love being outdoors, so hiking is part of our daily lives."

"We love being outdoors, so hiking is part of our daily lives."

 "Photography has also taken more space in our lives, we have always loved it but we never had time before. We learn a little more every day and it is a good way to be more and more outside and take the time to observe, to contemplate what surrounds us."

"Photography has also taken more space in our lives, we have always loved it but we never had time before. We learn a little more every day and it is a good way to be more and more outside and take the time to observe, to contemplate what surrounds us."

 "A sensation of all possibilities, where time belongs to us and at the same time runs at full speed."

"A sensation of all possibilities, where time belongs to us and at the same time runs at full speed."

Remember Joana's college thesis paper? In it, her statement was: "Are micro-architectures the mobile homes of tomorrow?"

Well, Joana and Eric, I think that life has answered your question, wherever tomorrow takes you.

 "Travel is undoubtedly a fabulous opening to the world, impossible now for us to reverse gear."

"Travel is undoubtedly a fabulous opening to the world, impossible now for us to reverse gear."

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