Leaving Switzerland in 2010 for a trip that was to stretch over three years and take them to New Zealand, Xavier Pasche and his wife, Céline, have since covered 78,000 km on four continents and given birth to two girls aged seven. and three years.
The nomadic family on bicycles does not intend to set foot on the ground to start a sedentary life. The plateau of 78,000 kilometers was reached on Tuesday in Quebec.
Initially, Xavier was to go solo, but Céline wanted to accompany him in this life project. They had only been a couple for a year. “I am in love with a man who has dreams and who takes the means to make them come true,” says Céline. We built the project together. I was already traveling alone, and traveling is part of my life. On the road, the great strength is that we listen to each other more, and we are more attentive to our intuitions. “
After a winter in the Yukon and a summer traveling the roads of Western Canada, Xavier, Céline, Nayla and Fibie reached Quebec a few weeks ago. They will spend the next few months there. After a month in Mont-Sainte-Anne, they will settle in Lac-Saint-Jean this winter with the hope of returning to the Maritimes when Mother Nature is more lenient and if the four Atlantic provinces open their doors again. doors.
“Beyond societies and the discovery of the land and its cultures, we meet incredible human beings, and that is the reason why we continue,” says Xavier during an interview in a city park. from Quebec City while the girls had fun on bikes and games under Mum’s eye.
“We’re 24 hours a day together, and it’s great. The four themes that we favor are live, explore, share and inspire. We do school in the tent every day for an hour, an hour and a half. In Asia, we would buy fruit at the market and it became Nayla’s math class, who learned to count in that context. “
Birth of children
Nayla was born in 2013 in Malaysia. Fibie too was born in Malaysia on Penang Island because the couple wanted to experience a natural birth in water, and it was one of the only places in Asia where it was possible to find a doctor who was using this approach.
The birth of a first child has changed the pace of travel. “Instead of reaching New Zealand in three years, we took five years,” says the 40-year-old dad. At five months old, Nayla was in the cart when we hit the road. I now ride a bike that weighs between 300 and 350 pounds.
“We drag books and games for the girls. At the beginning, we traveled 15,000 kilometers per year, and it now varies between 8,000 and 10,000. We keep an average of 50 kilometers per day, but there is no target. It’s okay to go slower. It’s part of education. Fibie did twice ten kilometers on the P’tit train du Nord track. For the little one, it takes 1 hour 30 minutes to cover ten kilometers. “
If he retains beautiful memories of the many countries visited, Xavier keeps precious memories of an event experienced in 2013. “We were facing Mount Everest in the Himalayan range, and my wife told me that I was going to be daddy, he confides. It was very powerful. We did two trekkings to Mount Everest. The base camp was great. ”
“I love Japan because of its culture and its food, to continue the father. Because we love the great outdoors, we loved Mongolia and the Yukon. It was awesome, the Northern Lights in the Yukon. After four months in China, I couldn’t wait to get out, but can’t wait to go back. It’s fascinating, but there are so many people. As for India, it’s intense by bike because there are so many people, but there is so much to see. We would go back without a bike. There is nowhere we have been that we wouldn’t want to return to. There is something special everywhere. “
For her part, Nayla was quick to respond when asked about her favorite country. “The country I love the most is Japan because of the sakuras [les cerisiers japonais qui sont en fleurs au printemps]. The Yukon was really cool, even if it was a bit cold. “
The Pasche couple were also able to discover Syria before the war broke out. “We met Bedouins [les nomades syriens] in the desert, says Xavier. Two weeks after our departure, the first signs of war appeared. It’s terrible, war. It’s sad. ”
“We trust people”
Throughout their journey which has led them so far on four continents, Xavier Pasche assures us that he has never feared for his safety or that of his family.
“There were more difficult times, but we always slept well and were always safe,” says Xavier, who wasn’t originally a cyclist but a mountain sports enthusiast. We met bears in Alaska and the Yukon, but they were more scared than us. We have a vaporizer in case we need it, but we never used it. Fears do not come from outside, but from within. “
Kindness of people
The Swiss have never been the victims of a theft. “We trust people,” sums up Xavier quite simply. We have never locked our bikes in the big cities. 99 percent of the time, the people are amazing. Regardless of cultures or religions, humans want to be happy, to be with family and to have enough to eat.
In Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, a bag was lost because it was not securely fastened. A person on a scooter who was following us picked it up and he came to bring it back to us. The people are good. “
After a first book Nomads at the heart of the elements which is available on their website www.ylia.ch in paper and electronic version, a second book is one of the projects this winter between homeschooling and exploring Lac-Saint-Jean.
“Our book, a regular collaboration with the Swiss newspaper Cooperation In the form of a blog and the writing of about ten articles per month, the sale of photos and the presentation of conferences are our main sources of income, explains Xavier. We also have material sponsors. ”
Africa and Northern Europe in the plans
Will the Pasche family continue their odyssey across the world for a long time to come?
“At the moment, we have no intention of stopping, says Xavier. We take advantage of the present moment and we are happy. We wouldn’t be able to stop tomorrow. We would like to go to Africa and Northern Europe, two places we have never been. We needed a year to prepare our project. We will also need a year to prepare for a sedentary life, which will lead to longer stops and a reflection on our projects. If the girls get bored, we’ll change our lives. “
It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. “After a five-month hiatus after Fibie was born, Nayla asked us when we were going to cycle again and that she wanted to go camping,” says Xavier. It was great realizing his interest in discovery. We have to find a balance. If it’s easier for us with the fridge nearby, our classic upbringing in a house, and the ability to work more on our writing projects, it’s not easy for Nayla. “
Welcomed in Saskatchewan
The pandemic, however, raised questions. “This summer in Calgary, we hesitated to leave. We had discussions whether it was worth continuing under the circumstances. Sharing is at the heart of the four important themes of our project and it becomes more difficult due to health constraints. ”
“On the Prairies, the people have been amazing. Due to the heat, we pitched our tent under a tree at the farmer’s house. We had coffee in the morning and we shared beer in the evening. We also rely on the Warm Showers social networking service, which is available to people who cycle touring. In Malaysia, we had a large apartment and we were the ones who welcomed passing cycle tourists. “
If sharing is one of the main axes of the project, the same goes for inspiration. “Through our numerous conferences and our book Les Nomades au cœur des elements, we want to inspire people to live their dreams. It doesn’t have to be on a bike. You can find plenty of excuses not to make your dreams come true. The first step is the hardest. “
Guy Labrecque is a privileged witness to the remarkable journey of the Pasche family. Traveling to Malaysia in 2017 for three months while the Swiss took a break after the birth of their second child, the two families were staying in the same high-rise apartment building where they developed a beautiful friendship because their eldest daughters were playing together.
“We are only one page in their ledger, image Labrecque who is responsible for academic monitoring within the Rouge et Or program at Laval University. Their journey is inspiring. Their adaptability and the confidence they have in the Star of Life is remarkable. It is also inspiring to see the growth of their children in a beautiful balance. At 7, Nayla has a very different toolbox from children her age. “
Chance or not, Labrecque ran his first lifetime marathon on October 4 to raise funds to provide scholarships to Rouge et Or student-athletes.