The first tour of Europe with a footbike! More than 20 000km, millions of kicks for a humanist and solidarity-based journey, in a quest for the good life. And a fundraising for a charity. Began mid-november 2015.
What I’ve kicked so far (zoom out) :
An adventure through the four seasons, an athletic and mental challenge, during which I’ll have to face the various climates and topographies of Europe, with a simple kick-scooter, for about a year. My main support: my legs and your encouragments :)
I will kick solo and unsupported, carrying what’s necessary to be autonomous (eat, sleep, kick, communicate) in a light-weighted trip spirit.
When I arrived in Budapest, 4th of september 2015, at the end of the Nantes-Budapest challenge, I was thrown in the midst of worldwide events. Throughout the trains carrying me back to France, I was on the same paths as a number of populations coming from the middle east and trying to reach Germany, I witnessed several moments of the exodus.
Europe was at that time summoned to take a stand and make “choices of civilization”; multiple behaviors, sometimes clear-cut and harsh, reveleaved yet again an identity crisis that keeps reflecting our difficulty to imagine and build a common better world, without alienation, based on diversity and solidarity. They revealed trouble in apprehending the complex unicity of a worldwide eco-system: the crazy run towards “progress” and accumulation of goods and wealths is played out on all continents, whose centers and peripheries, riches and poors, movements of populations, tensions and difficulties, identity crisis are bound in only one global breath (which does not mean it’s a simple and monolithic system). We have to systematically put in that perspective, in continuous back and forth points of view, what we call local events, in order to see what those facts are truly telling about ourselves, (at this moment: european, capitalists, consumers). What they say about the roles we are playing, about the consequences of our daily and individual actions at a global scale.
Thus it didn’t took long for me to decide that the next challenge would have to be inscribed within the geographical, identity related, civilizational and political scopes of that actuality. By preparing and soon beginning to kick a tour of the european continent, I’m putting those issues at stake, I’m throwing an optimistic and constructive challenge to “Europe”, and I consider that it’s the task of each individual to act each day as a revolutionary: any invention made act becomes immediately another stone added to our edifice-world, and that world of ours is nothing but a permanent, abundant ongoing construction. That’s where lies our capacity of action. It’s a question of agôn (a political debate, a political fight) where one has to weight more than one’s adversary (would it be in oneself), one has to try embodying, by weaving more finely in the present’s fabric, the human perfectibility, always about to happen, never totally achieved.
A travel along EuroVelo network
I will kick along the Eurovelo routes network in order to complete a tour from the south of Europe to the east, then towards the north and west. There will probably be improvisation en route, concerning the order of the countries visited and the trails taken (depending on events, budgets, etc).
Eurovelo initiative is itself an attempt at federating Europe around the notion of a committed and sustainable mobility. It’s a beautiful way of encouraging and promoting the joys of human-powered travel. That is why, in order to strengthen the meaning of this trip, I’m once again basing the itinerary on those trails, a part of them still being under construction: it’s a titan’s work at different levels that mobilizes together organisms, charities and institutions at the scale of departments, regions, countries and european union, in order to coordinate that huge network and its progressive realization.
A unique adventure
I will face harsh conditions (winter, relief, etc) and unexpected events.
Going counterclockwise, I will first kick down to Punta de Tarifa, the extreme south point of continental Europe. I will contemplate Tangier on the other side of the sea! Alps and their dreaded Tendes pass will be waiting for me before I kick my way through Italy towards Venise. Then the mediterranean coasts and endless richnesses of central Europe, prior to reaching Athina, historical heart of the european rationality amongst historical hearts of the european civilization. I will then make a detour in Turkey to join Istanbul, and to once again interrogate the malleability of borders, identities game sets, cultures, pivotal trays between worlds…
An endless ascent towards Nordkap (NO) will follow, riding through the european continent it by its middle earth to its extreme north point. I’ll “provoke” the map by trying to reach Saint-Petersburg in Russia, by kicking the Finnish ground on its entire length through Lapland (in summer if everything goes as planned), by running against the sun and the earth revolution.
Then I’ll have to confront the norwegian mountains whilst enjoying the sublime nordic landscapes. Will I be in time to cross seas between Bergen and the Shetlands (a few ferries during the summer only) or will I have to continue and finish the tour by the lands? And will I even be able to reach that point?
It will be also a shared adventure, a way of taking the time to wander on resolutely optimistic trails, with you. An attempt at generating solidarities on small and large scales.
A quest for the good life, being an ambassador of slow travel.
I’ll be going towards people and cultures to learn from them, in a quest for meaning and visions. I’ll try and be a good ambassador of a sustainable and humanistic way of travelling, whilst promoting a simple and sound way of living.
For the reasons stated before, I believe that changing one’s own way of living and travelling is the first step towards a global social justice (the possibility for each and everyone to access the miminum means required to lead a good life – but here becomes necessary a philosophical thought and a committed quest in order to define its content and nature: what is a good life?), and, no doubt, towards a happy life.
A solidary and committed trip
I will be raising funds for a charity during the whole journey.
A local charity from the place I’ll be departing (Caen, Normandy, France), acting for a change at the very roots of our activities. I’m convinced, as many, that by acting upstream on the chain of causalities (which also means by setting back from the magnifying glass and cognitive deformations we are plunged into by the spectacular media mega-machine), by acting where is played our capacity of being free (a quest towards sovereignty on our desires and lives, non-liable to fetiches and marchandises of any form), the rest will follow. I probably have more political and concrete impact by encouraging a local initiative that transforms the relationship of my community of citizens to its civilazionnal grounds and human condition. Probably more power in the long term to change by repercussion the world at any place. This is why I’m not choosing to raise funds for an international charity helping refugees, for example (it doesn’t mean that their actions are dispensable), but for people that are committed on the other side, at the beginning of the causal spectrum (what do I eat, how are produced and how do travel the goods I use, how do I live and from what, etc).
The chosen charity
During my Nantes-Budapest challenge, I was fundraising for Café Sauvage, a participative and solidarity-based place of welcoming, workshops and social creativity. That citizen-minded laboratory is amongst a bunch of very concrete projects from a larger initiative : Bande de Sauvages.
For this new bigger trip, the Europe Tour, it seemed obvious for me to keep being commited with them, since they will be throwing soon a series of new local and thrilling challenges to our ways of living and thinking. Thus I wish to accompany this authentic pool of experimentations and reflections, by speaking of it, by raising funds during the whole trip, by echoing shared values and convictions.
Bande de Sauvages
Created in 2012, it’s main guideline is ‘to think and put in place collectives projects, dealing with the issue of living well together, in coherence with our environment (may it be human, urban and/or natural).
An experimentation that takes form in a myriad of tangible projects (Café Sauvage, Caravane Sauvage and other promising initiatives very soon), and from which a key value is co-construction, the participative aspect of living together, since «to live well, one need to live well with others ». How? By « bonding, adding value to mutual aid and care, by developing a network between individuals whoever they may be, diverse structures whatever they might be (networks, societies, charities, official organisations or not, informal structures…).
Without ever forgetting to keep a light-hearted way and humour, often giving rise to new ideas and emulsion, the charity aims at a certain creativity, a collective and honest manner, with mutual respect and goodwill. A lightness that, far from superficiality, is rather an acknowledgement of an ephemeral but always renewed preciosity of life and interactions. Worlds we have the common task to make an ethics with.
The charity is registered as a youth and popular education organisation, acting for the general interest, and is adherent to a local network of « cultural and associative cafes », as well as affiliated to the Teaching Ligue. Bande de Sauvages received the « Sustainable Calvados Prize » in 2014.
Make a donation, whatever your means and will (the amount is at your discretion, and everything will be redistributed to the association), and we’ll have contributed to make a (bit) better world!
Here is the donation page !