A young couple from Argentina, who’ve been on the road, travelling since 2016, stumbled upon the northern BC town of Burns Lake earlier this month, and ended up extending their stay after falling in love with the community.
Maria Belén Bisotto and Luis Garnero, from a small town called Adelia María, in Córdoba, Argentina, decided to pack up their lives and hit the road, travelling from Argentina to Alaska. On their pit stop in Prince George, they met Burns Lake’s Hamp family (Randy and Gabriela Hamp), who invited them to their home for a stay.
“We meet the family in Prince George. They saw our old VW bus and were interested in our travels. We started to talk, they bought our travel book, and invited us to their house. And of course, we accepted,” Bisotto says. “These kinds of meetings are the most important thing on the journey, much more than sightseeing and landscape, it is about sharing with locals. For us, this is the best way to know better a country and feel family far away from home.”
Garnero, who is an industrial designer, fixed up the Kombi van T2, with Bisotto, a physical education teacher and a hotel management graduate. The two lived and worked in Sao Paulo, Brazil, before getting on the road with their little house on wheels, something that found fans in Burns Lake.
“Yesterday we went to the local high school, and we loved how the teenagers saw the kombi and greeted! We felt so welcomed by the people of the school,” Bisotto says.
The two also stopped by the visitor centre.
“We went to the visitor centre and they were so kind with us too and people in the village are just so nice. We remembered our little town, where everyone knows each other and say hi on every corner. Experiencing it again here, we realized we missed that kind of humanity so much!” Bisotto adds.
Charmed by the village and touched by the hospitality of the Hamp family, who invited the couple to stay longer, the two 33-year-olds planned to extend their stay in Burns Lake by at least another three days.
“In places where we thought we would stay only one night, sometimes we stay more because beautiful things happen with people. It is the most beautiful part of the trip. Have no plan, or expectations,” Bisotto says.
The next stop for them will be Smithers, after which they will take the Cassier Highway to go to Alaska, where they’ll stay for a month. They then plan to cross Canada from West to East.
“We don’t have a plan around how many months we will be on the road in total. We will travel as long as we want. And we have a dream: to go around the world. So will go for it,” she says.
For the couple, the trip has taught them a lot, and they believe they are no longer the same people they were when they started out five years ago.
“Getting out of your comfort zone, living simply every day, helps your creativity, improves your intuition and develops practical and empathetic people. It empowers you and makes you more confident. You realize that you are not alone, even though you are far from home,” she adds.
In the journey, they have learned to ask for help, to be humble, to practice gratitude for both the good and bad things in life, she adds.
But more than anything, she says, “Meeting new people is the best way to learn and grow.”
“If you have a dream, whatever it may be, go for it. Fear is the main thief of dreams, but you have to face it. Trust yourself and each other. But always walk a path that has heart and passion. We came into this life to learn. So, let’s act with love, to receive love,” Bisotto says.
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