- Why Long-term travel?Because it make sense with the spirit of freedom!
Idea: How did you think about doing this trip?
In 2002 after my tourism and sports studies, I started to travel and settled in England (2,5years), New Zealand and Australia (1year), made trekking trip in Morocco, and this 4 years were a big change for me as I come from a family with not enough money to do much leisure’s and because I had never traveled before my 22.
I would have never imagined doing this but years by years, trip by trip and after new studies in international Aid, while I was working for a NGO in Paris I started to look for work as a volunteer in India or Nepal. As I was searching for ideas I found on a travel website the offer of Maud Ramen who was planning to do a one year trip across the Himalayas…
We met and finalize the trip as a project to meet and highlight women implications and activities in the Himalaya in honor of Pasang Lamu Sherpa, first woman on the top of Mount Everest in 1993.
Preparation: How did you prepare for it?
We made a budget and made some partnership for the financial part and to communicate about the project. With Maud, as we didn’t know each other before the trip and as we were living far away from each other we planned to meet three time: first we met in a travel festival in Paris, the second time in the Alps to test the equipment and spend sometimes in the wild and the third time in a big party she organized with friends and family to launch the start of our great adventure…I must say some of our relatives were a bit septic with the fact we were not friends before the trip as you never know who you travel with.
But in fact our friendship got stronger along the road and as we had the same values, objectives and the same ideas of how should be our adventure, everything was perfect.
I think even better and easier than if you travel with your boyfriend, girlfriend or sister where you are bound to family stories and expectations.
How did you financially prepare for the trip? If you make a living while you travel, how do you do it?
We worked before and used our personal money. We also made some fund rising via social and travel association which helps travellers with project.
Top 10 experiences / Most incredible stories:
Hum, there is so many things to tell really, but the most incredible is definitely the feeling of being at the right place, being clear with ourselves and free in our mind. Thanks to that “perfection” even when we didn’t really know where to go or what we were doing exactly, the road was bringing us a sign like if we had angels caring for us…
Of course there was difficult part, especially in trekking conditions, in Pakistan for example, it is very remote and a guide is really necessary, of course we were alone and the paths were dangerous, we got lost and didn’t find any water for two days.
But at the end it’s a great memory cos our friendship and the confidence in others was then really pure and thongs were simple, we thought life is great, we are so lucky !
And all along the way be able to explore so much to see such beautiful sky, stars, mountains, smiles and people, made that trip incredible.
Top 5 Preferred places and Why:
All the places where we realized how lucky we were, because of the people, the feelings, the landscapes…Difficult to say which one I preferred, but few are spotting in my mind :
– Kalash valley and the environment totally unique in Pakistan
– Shimshal area, with very difficult trek graced by the kindness of Mohammed’s family in Pakistan.
– Lingshed’s nunnery in Ladakh, in India
– The Everest base camp in Nepal for the emotion we shared with Maud
– Being into the wild in Dolpo in Nepal with no Tourist at all
What was the most profound/meaningful moment of your trip?
There was so many!
All of them concern the people and the wilderness, and if I have to choose one moment, it was the feeling I had being in the everest base camp with Maud after 10 months of travel, and the love we had from perfect stranger when we were in trouble or a little bit down : the world is full of kindness !
What about the craziest thing you have done?
Going there with someone I didn’t know before the project J In fact Maud and I met for the project, we really become friends during the trip!
How was the return?
I got back after 6 months because of a very good friend’s wedding, and I felt very bad as I was still “there” and not really enjoying being back home as I should, it was not just the right moment…
What changed in you after this trip? What did you learn?
I learn that whatever the differences, whatever the fact that we are not challenging life with the same chances and how much unfair it can sound, we all have a power to do something beautiful…We are all the same and think about the same thing, trying to make life better and beautiful for ourselves and whose we love.
Books, DVD´s launched after (if any)?
A book, “Himalaya regard de femmes” Ed.Golias which narrates all the year trip, added of some pictures and 15 portraits of women we met in the different countries. (In French only)
Favorite travelling quotes:
“It’s not you who made the journey, but the journey that’s makes you and undoes…” Nicolas Bouvier.
What was the biggest challenge you faced?
It is awkward but it seems that despite the difficulties everything went smoothly and the challenge was not in the trip. Maybe the big challenge was to negotiate my state of mind during some period and also when I came back home. In fact in the middle of the project I came back because of my best friend’s wedding and I was feeling really depressed, in a way my mind was still in Himalaya and I wasn’t feeling at the right place. I was very happy to celebrate and see friends and family but it was not the right time…
Which safety tips would you say are essential?
Know yourself… Smile and be confident in yourself and others. Most of all, accept that you will experience things you have never experienced before and respect the cultural habits of the countries.
Also have a knife and a lighter it is always useful!
Given what you know now, what would you have done differently?
The only thing afterwards maybe, is that I should have decided before if I wanted to make a movie and then the preparation would have been different, and so the voyage.
But to live the same trip of course nothing sould have been done differently, the trip was magic because I was not prepared so much about such a long adventurous travel. Now I feel that it would have been great to have more time to settle a bit and share life with locals, but I didn’t have this need at the time, I wanted to see the world and go ahead always and always… But now a days, I am more into that desire to take the time and stay in an area to know more about people culture, it is a different way to travel again.
Inspirations: (Movies, Books, People…)
People I have met along my life and those I will meet later, the maps and books I was looking at younger, the movies that I have fed my imagination and a urging feeling of discover the world around me to know more about myself by being deeply into the “real life”.
Any other idea to share:
The spirit you will developed, people and events you will experience is a awesome feeling…
It will help you to see life in a new perspective or confirm your ideas, it can be a bit tricky because questions will still be here, in your mind and around you, but remember that if you want the success of your trip you have to do it because it’s YOUR CHOICE !
It means, that whatever happens, you have to accept it, you can not be everywhere and do everything, you will be far from your family and sometimes miss your country but also experiment the wealth of being involved in your project and be proud of what you are doing because you are the one who have decided and are the actor of your life…
Doing this, is not “a luck” as some others will tell you, but the way you want to live your life, with all the compromises that we all have to make in our life, being at home with two kids and a dog, are traveling around the world, it’s not always easy, but being honest with yourself and enjoy what we love is the best way to feel free and happy.
1) Before going: Don’t plan too much for your trip, everything will be fine if you are in peace with yourself being away for a while, but make everything clean with administrative paperwork, vaccines and all the things your family don’t have to deal with after you left : it’s good to leave being sure that your family feel secure for you and know that you have done everything right.
2) During the trip: let the route bringing you the answer and lead the way…
3) After the trip: Take some time for yourself it’s ok and necessary because the jet lag is not only physical also emotional, then you could not feel at the right place back home.