Catherine L’Italien, 28, and Pat Maillé, 34, are living life on their own terms.
Fed up with the nine to five grind, the French Canadians quit their jobs and set off on the open road to pursue a life that most of us only dream of.
“We were questioning our life and where we were going,” L’Italien told Global News from Oaxaca state in Mexico.
That’s when she says they decided to make some changes, and opted to live a life of travel now — while they were young and healthy, rather than wait for retirement.
At first, the couple thought they would set sail off into the sunset and travel the seven seas. They even bought a sailboat, but reality quickly set in.
“We wanted to conquer the world with a sailboat, but then we realized that it took a lot of skills, and crossing the ocean would be long and dangerous,” Maillé said with a smile on his face.
So instead, the pair went back to the drawing board.
They bought a short school bus, and got to work stripping and refurbishing it. And before setting out on their trek from Canada to the southern tip of Patagonia, they found tenants for their home.
The do-it-yourself job was cheaper than buying a new van and afforded them more space and flexibility to adapt it to their needs.
School buses in Quebec can only be used for 12 years to transport students, so finding a used and inexpensive bus wasn’t a problem.
But that’s not the only reason the travellers chose a school bus to be their home on wheels.
“They’re known to be very reliable vehicles,” L’Italien explained, with Maillé adding that government inspections and regular maintenance are part of the reason the buses are in such good condition.
They’ve been on the road for seven months, and the bus has proven its worth, with only a few little hiccups along the way.
The pair admits living in a small space took some getting used to.
“We went from a 3,000 square-foot house to a 110 square-foot bus,” Maillé said, explaining they each have their own chores so they don’t bump into each other.
“One will be doing the dishes, one can be at the oven, or one is at the oven and the other can be at the table,” he said.
In the end, though, both agree it’s not much of an issue.
“Outside is our playground and it’s huge,” Maillé said, adding they do everything outdoors — including taking showers.
So far, the intrepid duo has travelled 25,000 kilometres.
They’ve driven across Canada, through the U.S. and are now in Mexico — where they’ve been for three months.
What’s surprised them most on this journey was discovering the beauty hidden in their own backyard.
“When we travelled Canada, we discovered areas that we didn’t even know about,” L’Italien said. “Canada was amazing,” Maillé added.
L’Italien says she hopes their travels will inspire others.
“Our main goal is to have people travel more, live differently and live their dreams,” she said. “We want to make people see that it’s possible and affordable.”
While you might not be ready to drop everything and take the plunge yourself, you can follow along as the pair document their travels on various social media channels, including Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.