Nathalie Garcia doesn't make a habit of inviting strangers to stay at her Saanich home.
But thanks to a network of mutual friends and a bevy of messages sent over Facebook, the Colas family had a place to stay last weekend in their unusual year-long trip around the world.
“It’s the craziest thing,” Garcia said of the unique network that brought the Colas to her doorstep on Saturday.
Since leaving their life behind in Paris, France in July, Frédéric, his wife Estelle and their eight-year-old daughter Héloïse have been travelling through Canada and the Unites States on the first leg of their global journey.
They are billeting with people they know through friends and family, and through their Facebook page and campaign, We Like the World.
“Yesterday we didn’t know Nathalie and today we feel we are like friends,” Estelle said Sunday morning while touring ****HMCS Regina at CFB Esquimalt, where Garcia is a military officer.
“The people we meet matter more than the places and the monuments we see,” Frédéric said. He and Estelle are on sabbatical from their careers, and they are home-schooling their daughter while they are on the road.
For every family that hosts them along the way, the Colas contribute $50 to the construction of an elementary school in Burkina Faso, in Africa, where they plan to visit at the end of their tour next June.
“I don’t think I could do it,” said Garcia’s 12-year-old daughter, Michelle, of the family's travels. “I’d get homesick.”
The Colas plan to make several more stops in Canada and the United States before making their way to South America, Asia, Europe and Africa on a quest to inspire the people they meet, provide African children with much-needed educational opportunities and travel the world in a unique way.
“I feel very happy and proud to do it,” said Estelle. “It’s once in a lifetime that we can do that.”
Follow the travels of the Colas by visiting www.facebook.com/weliketheworld or go to www.weliketheworld.com.