Selima Taibi and Felix Starck aren’t just an ordinary couple: They both lead exceptionally creative lives and aren’t afraid to dream big. Most recently, they turned a school bus into a loft and then road tripped America together with their dog Rudi. Felix is a filmmaker (“Pedal the World”), Selima, who is called Mogli most of the time, works as a singer-songwriter and writes books and movie scripts. Needless to say, their adventures on and off the road hooked us, so we grabbed Mogli after they returned home to Germany for a Q&A on their exact road trip route, their creative process and what on earth made them decide to live in a school bus!
Can you introduce yourself and Felix? Who are you, what keeps you going and how are you always involved in the coolest projects ever!?
Most people know Felix because of his first documentary. He cycled around in the world for a year and the movie about his trip was the most successful documentary in 2015. I’m a singer and apart from releasing my debut album, I collaborated with him and contributed to the soundtrack with a few songs. We’re both positive people and don’t worry too much about anything in life. You may call that naive but I think it is awesome to try and have few fears. We don’t have a motto but if I would have to come up with something to describe our lifestyle I’d say: Do more, worry less. If you’re not happy about something, change it. That way we’re able to be ambitious and happy with what we’ve got at the same time.
What made you decide to go on the “Expedition Happiness”?
It was really spontaneous. We had to move out of our loft in Berlin because our dog couldn’t walk the stairs and we couldn’t find a new place. We went from “Why Berlin?” to “Why Germany?” to “Why one location?” in one evening, bought the bus online the next morning and took a plane to the US three weeks later.
The bus looks more luxurious than my flat in Berlin! How did you find the school bus and how did you go about planning and furnishing it?
We bought the bus online which was kind of stupid because it ended up being a little short. Luckily, we’re not very tall so we both fit but we had some visitors who had to duck the whole time. We didn’t really plan the conversion; for example we never had a floor plan – only in our heads. After the seats were out, the bus was insulated and covered in wood from the inside. We took a sharpie and painted the furniture on the floor. Then we started building it from the back.
Can you summarize the whole journey in three sentences?
It was pretty extreme. We saw glaciers and deserts, the highest mountain in North America, a grizzly, pyramids… Moments that took our breath away. At the same time, long-term traveling and driving the bus every day was pretty exhausting and often overwhelming.
You drove through Alaska, Canada, the US, Mexico, and Panama. What were some of the most memorable moments?
Mexico was our favorite country ever. We had no expectations at all and met some of the loveliest people, ate amazing food and loved every bit of the nature that it has to offer.
Where’s the bus now?
We raffled it off. The person who won the bus is Argentinian. Once the bus is shipped to him he will take it on a road trip through South America with his family. They had their second child two days after they got the bus and already sent us pictures of the baby inside the bus.
What tips would you give to anyone embarking on a similar trip?
Do whatever you want and don’t listen to advice. Make your own mistakes. That’s what makes it memorable.
How has it changed you as a couple to spend so much time in a relatively small space?
We’re always together at home too. We work together and spend pretty much all of our time together so the travels didn’t change much. We don’t say our concept of a relationship is the best there is but it works great for us. We just would always rather do things together.
You’re a singer, Felix has shot “Pedal the World” – you both lead extremely creative lives. How did you fund the road trip? What inspires you?
We’re lucky enough to make enough money with jobs that we love to fund things like our road trip. It’s also a matter of priorities though. We could’ve built a house with the money Felix made with his last movie but we chose to travel instead. Of course, we’re privileged enough to make that decision but not many people would’ve done the same. We’re both not inspired by specific things, we just love to work in creative jobs. The emphasis is not only on “creative jobs” though; we both genuinely love to work.
Where are you guys at the moment and what’s next?
We’re back in good old Germany and it’s good to be back home and get back into a routine. We’re editing the movie at the moment and I’m recording my next album. Both will be released in May… See you at the cinema!
All photos taken by Expedition HappinessTweet