Love for Travelling Has This Family Exploring the Globe Before Their 3 Children Lose Eye-Sight!


Travelling around the world is a dream for many of us. We would be able to see a mix of this world- in terms of architecture, culture, natural wonders or as simple as a mesmerising sunset.

What happens if you realise that one day you will not be able to see any of these? Isn't it a heart-wrenching feeling where you have to keep living with the fact that you won't be able to see anything in the near or distant future?

In a heartbreaking turn of events- this nightmare has turned into a reality for a Canadian family consisting of 2 parents and their kids. However, instead of getting upset over it, the family decided to do something special.

The parents- Sebastian Pelletier and Edith Lemay, came up with the idea for a one-year world tour to fill the kid's brains with visual memories. They packed their bags and embarked on the journey before the kids lose their eyesight due to a rare genetic condition known as retinitis pigmentosa.

Let me introduce you to the family.

Sebastian Pelletier and Edith Lemay have a loving family with their four kids - Mia Lemay-Pelletier (age 12), Leo (age 9), Colin (age 7) and Laurent (age 5). They live in Quebec, Canada.

How did it all begin and what really happened?

The couple first noticed that Mia started struggling with vision issues when she was three years old. In 2018 Mia was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic condition that causes a loss or decline in vision over time. The following year, their fear became true when the boys Colin and Laurent were also diagnosed with the same disease while the second born Loe was given an all-clear.

How did the idea of the World Tour start?

As they couldn't change the outcome of the diagnosis with no visible cure or effective treatment- Lemay and the family came to terms with it. When Mia's doctor suggested engrossing her with "visual memories," Lemay realised she wanted her children to see the real world, not the books. The couple started working on their savings. One incredible way that they could do just that for the children. She and her husband soon started planning on how they could spend a year travelling the globe with the kids.

The world tour wanted the children to experience rich memories and show that no matter how hard life is, they were lucky to have running water in their home and be able to go to school every day.

Originally due to set off in July 2020, with an in-depth itinerary that involved travelling through Russia by land and spending time in China, the family was forced to delay the trip due to Covid.

Eventually, they left Montreal in March 2022 without any particular itinerary and have already covered several countries like Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania, Turkey, Mongolia and Indonesia.

The family created a bucket list of experiences they wanted to cover and have a fun time before living. The couple has been chronicling the travel story on social media in both Facebook and Instagram.

How is the experience so far?

At the beginning of the trip, Mia wanted to go horseback riding, while Laurent wanted to drink juice on a camel. They began their trip in Nambia, where they saw elephants, zebras and giraffes up close. The focus is on "sights", fauna and flora to have the most incredible experiences.

Photo of Love for Travelling Has This Family Exploring the Globe Before Their 3 Children Lose Eye-Sight! by Tanisha Mundra

While witnessing beautiful sights while their vision is relatively strong, the couple hopes the trip will help the children develop strong coping skills. "Traveling is something you can learn from. It's nice and fun, but it also can be hard" as per them.

With the travelling, the husband and wife are hoping that spending time in different countries and experiencing multiple cultures will help the children gets unforgettable experiences. They're super-curious," Edith says. "They easily adapt to new countries and new food. I'm very impressed with them."

Photo of Love for Travelling Has This Family Exploring the Globe Before Their 3 Children Lose Eye-Sight! by Tanisha Mundra

Others who've been diagnosed or have a loved one with retinitis pigmentosa have also gotten in touch with Edith, offering words of encouragement and support.

What exactly is retinitis pigmentosa?

As per The National Eye Institute in the U.S - retinitis pigmentosa is a group of rare eye diseases sparked by genetics. Usually, people are born with it, causing visual cells to break down near the age of 30.

The first warning signs are seen in children when they start struggling with their night visuals and end up bumping into things.

Peripheral vision or Central vision is the most common loss seen in these cases. Some may go completely blind.

Photo of Love for Travelling Has This Family Exploring the Globe Before Their 3 Children Lose Eye-Sight! by Tanisha Mundra

Is there a cure for retinitis pigmentosa?

There is no cure for retinitis pigmentosa at present. Although as per the experts - using low vision aids and training programs to rehabilitate to new vision can help.

Photo of Love for Travelling Has This Family Exploring the Globe Before Their 3 Children Lose Eye-Sight! by Tanisha Mundra

What does the future hold for this family?

The family is planning to return to their home town- Quebec by March 2023. However, they have decided to live in the moment. It is one of the key learning for the family over these past few months.

"This trip has opened our eyes to a lot of other things, and we want to enjoy what we have and the people that are around us," says Pelletier, as per reports.

The kids are being home-schooled while experiencing the adventures of the world. The couple is witnessing the bond between the kids strengthening, which has been a highlight of the journey.

They remain hopeful that science will find a solution and the children may never go blind. But knowing the possibility, they are ensuring the children are well equipped to face any challenges in the future.

Be a part of this family while they make memories around the world - follow them here.

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