A travel-loving Chilean couple has begun a journey that will lead them through provinces, countries, continents, and even hemispheres. And what’s more: they will fuel this year-long endeavour with waste vegetable oil, after spending most of June in Vancouver alongside mechanics, modifying their truck’s diesel engine.

Now Victor Millan and Carola Teixido are on the road North and they should arrive in the Yukon by the end of July.

They will continue North to Alaska before turning around and making a long southern decent. From Alaska, it’s back though the Yukon into Alberta, then south along the west coast of the United States, and on to Mexico, Central America, and South America, finishing in Chile.

Despite the vast distance, the pair says they are in no hurry.

“We don’t want to rush,” says Teixido. “We don’t want to run everywhere. We want to go to the rivers, camp, and see everything.”

Along the way they hope to spread a message of environmental awareness, promoting recycling and sustainability.

“We’d like to inform, educate, and spread the word about fueling with vegetable oil,” says Teixido.

“We found vegetable oil and we think it’s amazing,” says Millan. “Because you are recycling first, second you are reducing the pollution of carbon dioxide emissions, and also you are saving money.”

By converting their truck to run on vegetable oil, and by sleeping in the camper, they effectively cut the two main expenditures of a life on the road.

“The most expensive item on a project like this is usually fuel,” says Millan. “But we are going with oil, and it’s basically free. If we can get a lot of oil, well — we can go forever.”

They will be acquiring most of their oil from restaurants along the way, which are usually pleased to give it away instead of paying for waste oil removal. This leads to a varying degree of oil quality, so time must be taken to test and properly filter.

“The biggest problem others have had is that they don’t worry about the oil quality,” says Millan. “They put bad oil in with a spring roll floating – and that’s no good. That’s going to clog your injector.”

Millan and Teixido, graphic designers by trade, have learned enough to do their own mechanical work.

This is something else they want people to realize.

“You can teach people how to do it,” says Millan. “After a while I did 60 or 70 per cent of the conversion. I learned how to do it. (We’re in) an interesting moment in the world when new energies are more important. Most of the tractors on farms — they are all diesel and are perfect for this.”

“We aren’t millionaires. We have simple jobs,” says Teixido. “Many people can do this.”

Millan and Teixido are doing it with the help The Adventure Group Whistler, Torklift International, and WVO Designs.

To follow the couple’s travels and learn more about their mission, go to www.UpaChalupa.org or www.facebook.com/UpaChalupaTravelBlog.