After a yummy breakfast shared with my friend Christel with some chocolate cake left by Valentin the previous night, I’m back on the road! I cycle in Neudorf, my former neighbourhood, quite nostalgic, but with a strange feeling of not completely belonging there anymore. After all, that neighbourhood has changed a lot, it got a bit gentrified, and what once felt familiar is now mixed up with the foreign. Is it how it always goes with the places we used to cherish? The filters of the past can’t quite overlap the actual sceneries. We play the game of the 7 differences, with some eagerness, but also a bit of nostalgia, isn’t it? What’s left of our memories when the architecture is changing? Is there any memory set in stone?
Last year, end of September 2019, I cycled around my home region of Alsace (France) for a week. I started in Wissembourg, at the extreme north of the region, and cycled down to Basel in Switzerland. I cycled about 400km in total, on three different Eurovelo routes, I crossed two borders (Germany and Switzerland) and relaxed in three different spas along the way (because why not?) and, obviously, I experienced different weather conditions.
The other night I was invited to talk about my experiences when it comes to accommodations while travelling during a workshop about alternative tourism. It was all organized by the Enjoy’In hostel, which is a project to build a social and eco-friendly hostel in Mulhouse, the city I’m now living in.
I didn’t feel very legitimate to speak right after the Mulhouse’s tourist office and other touristic related companies. What could I bring? In the end, I decided to do as I always do when it comes to talking about travel: I simply told stories.
It’s also about an indigenous tribe and its very own peculiar culture, it’s about a nuclear waste facility that’s disturbing the landscape as well as the heart of its inhabitants. It’s about politics and history, about people and rocks and the sea.
There are several warning signs along the way about the Black Bears of Taiwan (as well as snakes, wasps, leeches and rock slides) and it’s starting to get on my nerves all those stories about deadly animals, to the point where I completely overreact and jump with fear at the sight of… a bird flying away. So long for my cold sweat followed by my laughter.
The purpose here is to make travel books travel around the world. Each traveller (and even locals!) can write or draw its own unique story. We all have something to share while travelling, whether it’s a story, a picture, an address, a drawing, some dried flowers or business cards.