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.
Moi, là-dedans, je m’amusais de plus en plus avec mon vélo Hello Kitty à Hualien, avec cette idée de tour de Taiwan qui me démangeait de plus en plus. Il faut avouer que ça me faisait flipper, de partir sur les routes à vélo comme ça pendant plusieurs semaines : j’ai même jamais fait de randonnée de plus de 4 jours ! Alors j’ai trouvé un compromis avec moi-même : j’allais pédaler la côte Est de Taiwan. De Taitung à Hualien.
When you decide to go on a bicycle travel trip, for a long period of time or not, you kind of face the same old fears that when you decided to go backpacking for the first time… ‘How do I pack my bag in a smart way’, ‘which itinerary should I follow’, ‘which gear should I buy’, ‘how could I avoid selling my kidneys to replenish my bank account’, and the same old ‘how do I stay alive while travelling the world?’ (yeah, I did ask myself that one more than once), in other words how to achieve your traveling goals, and in that case, on a bicycle…?
Like a family, we took care of each other. We cooked together after our shift. Emma used to help me to separate the white and the yolk to bake chocolate mousses. Vincent helped me getting train tickets out of the Family Mart’s vending machine where everything was written in Chinese. I used to go swimming with Emma at Our Beach. I used to sleep with Vincent at the 7/11 convenient store before watching some hot air balloons in Luye.
I wanted it wilder and more adventurous. This is why I chose to leave Taipei to travel the East Coast of Taiwan. According to my plan, I was supposed to spend two weeks in Hualien and explore the Taroko National Park as much as I could, and slowly make my way down south, stopping here and there.
But you know me pretty well by now, and you know that I suck at sticking to the plan.
I lived in Taipei for a whole month, volunteering in a hostel, which allowed me to get free accommodation et enjoy my free afternoons discovering and taming this new country I chose to live for a whole year. It’s hard to talk about Taipei, to list everything there is to see or to experience because the city is so big that even a whole month wasn’t enough to do everything I planned to do. And as I also like to feel the vibe of a city, I also spent some afternoons hanging out in cafes and bookshops, or Geocaching around Shilin while feeding the mosquitoes with my French sweet blood.
Ex-libraire, boulimique d’images et de rêveries en papier. Reconvertie en agent de voyages adepte de nouveaux horizons. Reconvertie en apprentie baroudeuse. Baroudeuse en carton depuis 2015 en Nouvelle-Zélande, au Japon, à Bali, à Singapour, à Taïwan, à Hong-Kong, en Equateur et au Mexique. J’ai chopé la bougeotte et je compte bien ne pas m’arrêter là.
A former bookseller, who couldn’t get enough of pictures and paper dreams. Retrained as a Travel Agent, who couldn’t get enough of new travel inspirations. Retrained as a novice adventurer. Novice Adventurer since 2015 in New Zealand, Japan, Bali, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong-Kong, Ecuador and Mexico. I caught the travel bug and I won’t stop anytime soon.