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Road trip across the ocean

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services
Thursday, August 23, 2007

INUVIK - For the past year, the Blavier family has lived on a bus making a documentary about the western world.

The family from Belgium started their trip last year in Ushuaia, Argentina.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

A family from Belgium is in Inuvik doing a documentary for European television. They brought their bus from Europe and have already been through South and North America. They want to capture the life of Inuvik and the people that live in it. From left, Charly, Archibald, Merlin, Arsene and their parents Eric Blavier and Axelle de Pierpont. - Dez Loreen/NNSL photo

Mom Axelle de Pierpont said the planning for the trip began 17 years ago, when she and her husband got married.

"We brought our four children along on the ride, which has been good for them. They have learned a lot," said de Pierpont.

"We renovated the whole bus ourselves. We took out all the seats and rows and replaced them with beds, a table, desks and a kitchen."

The four boys have been on the road with their parents for the last year.

De Pierpont said that she teaches them via home school, while her husband works on his documentary.

Her husband, Eric Blavier, has been working on his documentary during the trip, examining life throughout both continents.

Blavier said that he wanted to come to the North to see the top of the world.

"We saw the bottom, which was Ushuaia," he said.

Originally, the trip was to take the family to Alaska.

Blavier said that he noticed Inuvik on the map and their boys made the choice for them.

"One of my children said they wanted to go to Inuvik, not Alaska," he said.

Blavier said that Northern life and aboriginal culture interest him and the people he knows.

"The Northern life, we all dream about that," he said.

Blavier said that experiencing the lifestyles of the places he visits is important to their journey.

"We lived with a family in Argentina for a while, getting to know them and the life there," he said.

"We are in no rush here and would like to meet with people as well."

The family has parked their bus at Happy Valley campground, where they have set up base for the next few weeks.

For filming the documentary, Blavier uses smaller cameras, so his family can work on the project as well.

"It's easier for them to use the camera if it is smaller," he said.

"It's also easier to carry around and use."

Once their time in Inuvik is done, the family wants to travel south through Canada to see the rest of the country.

"We're not just looking for landscapes," said Blavier.

"The things you remember most about different places is the people you meet, not the sights."