The bland story of a girl like any other.
23 years. I had time to finish my Master’s in Lyon, work for three years in a work-study program in the same company in Paris, get tired of this position that was going to be offered to me on a CDI, and be offered a doctorate. On emotional intelligence.
23 years. I had time to fall madly in love, to suffer to death, to have a few little stories that always ended in tears and regrets. The eternal catchphrase declined under several male profiles—complex and tortured relationships.
23 years. I had friends, acquaintances, parties. I had a broken-up, blended family. Sundays at Papa’s, shared Christmases, vacations abroad with the family. Arguments to tear each other apart. I was loved and misunderstood.
Yet, I had nothing to say.
When I reread the first lines written in my book a few days before the significant departure in December 2014, I write:
“I’m 23 and I don’t feel like I’ve been through anything special. What will I tell my children and grandchildren when my old age leaves me with only hazy memories to share?”
What mark will I leave off my passage on Earth?
I refused everything that was offered to me. Ph.D. Employment. The last buddy. I was left alone.
I jumped with a heart swelling with happiness, the size of a hot air balloon.
I was far from knowing what I know today. I was far from being who I am now, and yet I left with this innocence mixed with a profound certainty: that of living the most incredible adventure of all my life.
I was drunk with joy and scared to death, but fear gave wings and stars in my eyes. It was the best start of all my round trips, much happier than the one for immigration to Canada. But that’s another story…
Four countries, one year, encounters and adventures to fill entire notebooks of experiences and emotions.
What will I tell my children and my grandchildren?
The outstretched hand and generous heart of those people who did not know me and who made me sleep under their roof in Sydney, Melbourne, Townsville, Byron Bay, Païta. The fear I had the night a drunk guy collapsed in our tent in the middle of a deserted forest. The galleys, the arguments, the doubts, the tears, the lies that dot the trip, like a concentrate of life condensed in a few months.
The intensity of relationships where everything is created instantly, where the temporary connect us, the absolute becomes denser: now or never. Friendships for a life freed from a distance. The stories of one evening encountered at the bar, where artificial means have become superficial to bring about the meeting—love stories, better than in the movies, nights spent in the moonlight.
The energy that tropical greens, turquoise blues, the radiant smiles of happy people, the singing of birds, the dancing of whales, the light of snow-capped peaks gave me. The silent and benevolent harmony of the Aboriginal sacred lands. The exhausting but sublime hikes, the miles of roads without knowing where I would sleep, the open sea trips to scan the horizon and watch the turtles.
The freedom of not knowing what to do in a few days or months, or who I wanted to be—the choice of no-choice. The respect of any obligation, except vibrating with the present moment in these pleasant or sometimes tricky moments.
The privilege of meeting me, among all the other encounters. Touch my sensitive cords and my wounds, wake up my demons, tame my fears, satisfy my desires, reveal my talents and my qualities, discover my limits. Please get to know me, build a bond of trust, unseat the padlocks, and drop the masks.
Spirituality rediscovered as a symbol of my journey in each country, with different expressions, yet carrying the same message: “I am”. I am in the sky playing with the lights of the night, pretending to be a thunderstorm with divine lightning. I am on Earth making your footsteps vibrate. I am in the ocean singing life to you, and I am in people’s eyes that I put on your path. I am in your shadows and your lights. I am in your tears and your anger. I am in your love rush and its absence. I am full and empty. I will tell them about this day when everything came together to sow a seed of sacred meaning in me.
I will tell them it was the best decision of my life.
That I have infinite gratitude for what she has given me directly or indirectly. To us, these dreams come true, not without sacrifices, not without pitfalls. What I have experienced no one can certify with a diploma, knowledge or professional competence, but it surpasses all learning.