After a week of sketch camp spots and waking up to sewage smells I couldn’t be happier to have woken up in a warm bed in the silence of a room with curtains keeping out the light of the sun. We had slept til 9:45 and had fifteen minutes before breakfast ended so we raced to the cafeteria to begin another strange and exciting day on this journey through Europe.
Breakfast was amazing. Even though we had only fifteen minutes we still were able to wolf down breads and jams and coffee and cereal before we were told the cafe was closing. After breakfast we took our showers, which were almost as good as waking up in a bed, and air dried on the balcony before turning in our key.
Our room was shared by a German guy biking across France who began giving us advice on places to stay or things to see on our travels. We talked with him for a long time downstairs and sort of settled into some benches at the hostel to write and read before we decided what we would do today.
Unfortunately I sat for too long without much to do and began feeling anxious in the grips of another city vortex and began a small downward spiral of over thinking things and creating plans to cope. This is the part on this journey I hope to grow in where I notice my needs and either communicate them or do something to help myself so I don’t become a burden to other people. I need to keep listening that desire to control, but also take care of myself and give myself the healthiest atmosphere to grow in for the personality type I possess.
We met a guy yesterday who offered to take us to play tennis and after a few hours of sitting we met up with him and got to play tennis for a few hours, which was amazing to be able to move around. I started feeling energized and climbed a tree to rest before we decided what to do next.
After a while we said bye to our friend deciding we would head north and potentially find a place to camp on the ocean, but mostly just see where we would go. With some movement I began to feel some joy and we were off. It’s amazing how easy it is to get rides and not feel trapped on the side of a busy street feeing aimless or stranded. Within five minutes we had our first hitch to the highway leading north.
- Liver paste, cheese and biscuits. Mmmm
This is where the story gets good. On the highway we got a hitch from a mechanic who took us to a round about and pulled up on the sidewalk to let us out calling us chefs as we left, which I think means “boss”, then we got a hitch from a woman with a strong and joyous personality who took us to Villdeaux where we got a hitch from two stoner dudes who took us further down the highway dropping us off across from a bar telling us there was a cheap place to drink if we wanted too. Then we were picked up by a young French fisherman with tight fitting clothes and big hazel eyes who took us to another round about where we caught a hitch from a sweet and kind military man who drove us all the way to Luçon and dropped us off at our classic McDonalds drop spot where we stood to catch our last and final hitch of the day with an amazing surprise waiting for us. All of the hitches took maybe ten minutes of waiting in total.
As we stood outside the McDonalds we noticed an old truck coming our way and hoped to catch a ride in its rusty, vintage frame. To our amazement the truck pulled over where we were greeted by a dreaded woman opening the door with beer in hand asking us where we were going. She spoke English and in a few sentences told us she was going to a beach near Lègére to camp where we were told to go by the woman who took us to Villdeaux. She told us we could join if we wanted to and with a quick glance between ryan and I we decided to tag along for the ride.
As we drove we were both given a beer as we headed down the small highway going toward the ocean. The man driving was our age with a strong and happy heart, but didn’t speak much English and in the back seat with us was a young girl with a dog named Jack. Their plan was to go find a place near the ocean in the woods and make a wild camp and trip some LSD, which we were offered to join in on, but declined, thankful for the offer. We were already on a wild trip ourselves and didn’t feel the need to take it a step further. However, tempting.
The ride to the beach was a bit terrifying where there were a few times our driver threw both hands up reaching back for a beer and looking back at us to passionately express his hatred for suburban areas and the murder of beautiful landscapes and forests. This was what we were looking for; an experience with some wild people, passionate and free.
We stopped a few ways along or ride looking for a place to stay, but weren’t finding anything good. They didn’t want to use phones so we’re looking at an old map, directing themselves along the coast line. Finally we came across a wooded area near the beach and got our things out of the truck to begin a walk across the same to enter the forest and find our home for the night.
They didn’t want to sleep near humans so we bushwhacked through brush for half an hour before find an opening beneath a canopy of pines with enough space to make a fire and settle down for the night. Immediately the guy, whose name I do know, but don’t want to use, built us a fire and we all sat down to cook. They cooked up some cheese and meats in a pan while I was asked to cook the pasta in my pot. We had a communal dinner sharing our food and theirs with wine they brought and a few beers that were left.
After dinner and drinks they took their acid and the night began. We started playing music and singing, making up songs and raised a hell of a chorus of laughter rising with the smoke into the star lit diamond scattered sky. We played and frolicked for a long while into the endless night. I’ll never forget looking across our fire into the faces of such wild people who willingly boarder the line of animal and human. Their desire was clear; to live with the earth in freedom and share what they have with those willing to live in peace and harmony in returning what they possess. I was glad to live in their atmosphere for the night and felt honored to be considered worthy of sharing what I am with them.
After many hours of laughter, stories and monologues about our beliefs of freedom and life I began to feel the need to sleep and went to lay down while the three of them decided to head to the ocean. Almost immediately after they left I realized how stupid it would be if I missed out on an ocean walk and raced to find them in the woods. They were lost, understandably, and I led them to the beach where ryan and I explored the tide pools and then returned to sit with them on the rocky shore watching shooting stars and resting in the breath of the ocean pulsing at our feet.
After a while we decided to return to camp where I relit a fire and decided I needed to lay down if I was to have any energy for the next day. They seemed to be in a similar place at five in the morning and we all made our way to our sleeping spots; Ryan and I on our tarp, the couple in their tent and the younger girl and her dog next to the fire.
Moments like this I look back on my anxiety only hours before and scoff at my ridiculous struggle with control and rest. There is rarely a need to desire so much understanding of exactly what will happen in the future and I’m finding that the less I control, the more surprises come my way. I hope to take strength from this day and find more power while resting in the current, breathing in the beauty of freedom and peace being still in the wind that surrounds. Thanks for reading!