For This Canadian Family, Seeing Our Magnificent World Turned Into an Emergency

The Pelletier-Lemay Family Kids on Top of a Rented UAZ in Mongolia 9 photos
Photo: pleinleursyeux on Instagram
The Pelletier-Lemay FamilyThe Pelletier-Lemay FamilyThe Pelletier-Lemay Family Kids and the VW TransporterThe Pelletier-Lemay Family Kids and the VW TransporterThe Pelletier-Lemay Family Kids and the VW TransporterThe Pelletier-Lemay Family CampingThe Family's Rented Soviet-Era VanThe Pelletier-Lemay Family Kids and the UAZ
There are not that many things people could wish for during their lifetime. Some want money, some desire health, while others are looking for memorable adventures or some much-needed peace. But giving your kids priceless memories is one aspect almost every parent wants to fulfill. The Pelletier-Lemay family had to hurry – their kids are going to be blind soon. Here’s their story.
Taking a year off to travel the world is something most people think about after working hard for a longer period in which they didn’t allow themselves any pleasure or personal time. That’s why the sabbatical leave, for example, exists and is awarded to some valuable employees with or without pay.

But life isn’t often as we plan it to be. Sebastien Pelletier and Edith Lemay have four kids together and have been married for 12 years. The Canadian couple discovered that their daughter had problems with her eyesight and took her to a doctor for a checkup. She and their two other sons were diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called retinitis pigmentosa, according to multiple interviews the parents have given since they decided to make their story public. Only one of their kids will be able to see without any issues.

In a discussion with CNN, the mother said they have come to terms with the diagnostic after a tumultuous period. Over two years ago, the family decided it was important to give their children priceless memories before their eyesight would be gone.

The Pelletier\-Lemay Family
Photo: pleinleursyeux on Instagram
Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare disease. It slowly affects the retina until the sick cells break it down into pieces, which can partially or totally affect the eyesight. Most people lose their vision completely, according to the National Eye Institute (NIH). There’s no known treatment. Some people think stem cell treatment could help, but no proper development has been confirmed yet.

Getting to know our planet

The family made plans to start exploring everything Earth has to offer, which was made possible because the dad works in finance and the mother in healthcare logistics. Also, some personal investments paid off just in time. The funds were secured.

They went on trips as a family before, but nothing of this magnitude. They wanted to start with China, Mongolia, and Russia, where they would travel with an off-road vehicle that’s suitable for a family of six. They planned to spend as much time as possible away from tourist hotspots. What they sought was a connection with fascinating ecosystems that were untouched by human development.

Their original plans, however, were met with a major setback – the global health crisis. Since their kids’ diagnostic meant time was of the essence, they had to change everything they decided upon beforehand. But a one-year delay was inevitable. However, that didn’t stop them from road-tripping Canada. Around two years ago, their first visit was organized with a minivan to Cote-Nord, Quebec.

The family didn’t want to waste 2020, so they kept exploring other beautiful regions of Canada over the summer.

They returned to their daily, normal lives for a year and started traveling again in the summer of 2021, right after the kids finished school.

The Pelletier\-Lemay Family Kids and the VW Transporter
Photo: pleinleursyeux on Instagram
Enter 2022.

The journey commences!

Things have calmed down almost everywhere on Earth health-related. The family decided it was time to begin their globetrotting as soon as possible because you never know what might happen.

Instead of dealing with Asia, they now chose to visit Africa first. The amazing journey was about to begin in Ethiopia with an air transfer to Namibia. They rented a Volkswagen Transporter and got some camping equipment to go along with it.

After a couple of weeks, the six of them went to Zambia and then by train to Tanzania. Every trip was filled with unique experiences – from seeing wild animals to experiencing the life lived by locals, the parents tried to show their kids why our world is beautiful and deserves to be explored.

Their journey continued with Turkey, and they eventually reached Mongolia for a 30-day stay. They rented another vehicle, but this time it was an old soviet van called UAZ SGR. To make the best out of it all, the family also paid for a driver and a guide.

The family is getting ready to start a new experience in Indonesia. Their only desire is to help their kids remember the great moments spent together and the mesmerizing sceneries available on their route. And they might succeed in doing so!

If you want to learn more about their adventure, the family set up an Instagram account that shares moments from their experiences.

All in all, this is a lesson in resilience. No matter what life throws at you, there’s always another way to enjoy it or to take advantage of the good times that are left.
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About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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