Carnet de voyage

Another brick in the wall

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Dernière étape postée il y a 944 jours
Second chapter of my trip around the world
Décembre 2019
10 semaines
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Publié le 25 décembre 2019

When I'm traveling, introducing myself is always complicated ! For some reason poeple have a hard time to pronounce my name. In English it's "Mail", in Spanish "Mayel". I got tired of it so I often introduce myself as Ismael, here it got easy since it's the Arabic translation of my name 😀

The project that I m joining is a small farm doing some permaculture outside of Ramallah. The project is linked to a hostel in the city, it belongs to two brothers (one deals with the hostel and the other with the farm). The hostel and the farm are both functioning with volunteers and one or two permanent workers. We all live in and eat in the hostel in exchange of our work.

I'm arriving on short notice since I just changed my plan, I was in touch with Bubu ( one of the brothers) he is not in Palestine so put me in touch with Yara, who's working and running the farm at the moment.

I arrived at the hostel, the place looks pretty empty, the volontueer that welcome me is new and never heard about Yara. The place looks very cosy but I'm not so sure where I have landed : good or bad spot ? I've learned from experience to not judge only on first impressions, so I ll see how it goes tomorrow after seeing the farm and meeting Yara! 🤔

In the meantime I decided to go explore a bit the city. I walked randomly, a lot of things are happening in the street, lots of people everywhere, traffic is obviously working without any rules 🚛🚐🚗🚙🚕

I'm pretty surprised to see that it's very Christmas everywhere ! I knew there is a Christian community but I was not expecting it

In the morning, I meet Yara she comes to pick me up at the hostel. Tall girl, short hair wearing a hat and a piercing driving with confidence The feeling is good, she seems to be pretty relaxed 😉

We are driving to Bil'in the village where the farm is located. On the way it's the occasion to see a bit of the ambiance in Palestine.

For example we stopped to buy something for the breakfast, on the opposite of the street a guy is yelling from is car trying to order from the traffic jam to the bakery where we are😂

We arrive to the village, it reminds me what I v experienced in the country-side of Maroco : the Bled!

She's introducing me to the farm : the organization of the place, the philosophy, the work, the history of the place.

It belongs to a man from the village that lended it to them for an undefined period of time. The place was pretty desertic, the soil is bad, there is not much water but they have worked it hard for 4 year's and the result is pretty impressive!!

They have about 1ha, every inch is used ! They have five different sections with a large variety of fruits vegetables and aromatics (passion fruit, papaya, lemon, orange, mandarins, apple, few variety of salads, carrot, betterave, spinach, zucchini, eggplant, coliflower, broccoli, onions and more) They have 3 differents green houses and also some olives trees.

They don't use any chemicals or machines in the day to day of the farm and are very strict about it!

The place itself is very beautiful and peaceful ☮️✌️

That's the View we are seeing from the farm

What we are seeing is the green line (with the wall) and behind a settlement that is keeping increasing. So when we work in the farm we are hearing the noise of the work going on in the construction site across the wall. Very particular situation!

For the record the village is in zone b and the field in zone c wich means they could be removed any time by Israeli government.

For info :

Area A – which would be under the Palestinian Authority’s full control and include all Palestinian cities and surrounding areas with no civilian Israeli presence.

Area B – which would be under the Palestinian Authority’s civil control and Israel’s security control and include areas of dense Palestinian population with no civilian Israeli presence.

Area C – which would be under full Israeli control, except over Palestinian civilians. This area includes all West Bank settlements and their immediate vicinity as well as strategic areas dubbed “security zones.”

Bil'in is also very famous because they have protested against the settlement and won partially in the court against the settlement. The area they "won back" is where the farm is. So this whole context gives a very symbolic aspect at the project of working the land ⚖️

For more information there's a documentary about it :

I had a very first good day, I have learned a lot about different topics, the farm is nice and the project has an interesting philosophy. I have a good feeling about it ! Yara is leaving for one week on holiday after a big season, so it will be a bit different as usual. Here we go driving back to the chaos of Ramallah !

I must go to sleep early cause my alarm is set up at 5h30 for the next days 😅

In the morning, I meet Guilia an other volunteer that was off my first day. She's from Italy traveling by herself in the middle East and has also studied international cooperation, we started on the right foot 🙂

The city doesn't work with a bus company, it's all with little van call "service" that goes from point a to b and goes when they are full, you can stop anywhere on the road. It creates the zizanie of the place but it's working!

So we're taking the service to Bil'in to meet Mahmoud that lives there and works at the farm. Then we have a 15-20 min walk to the farm.

We are working on the classics farming tasks, wedding, watering, planting, taking care of certain plants, compost etc.

The work mood is good, she's very sweet and he's very outgoing person that likes to talk and exchange ideas

We go back to the hostel and cook a meal for all the others volunteer to create a friendly mood. It's working pretty well plus Guilia is a good cook as well so we make the team happy 😋

I'm starting to get Into the rythmin of the work and waking up early. We arrive at the farm around 8am drink a tea a talk about what we are going to do. We take a one (ish) hour break at lunch and finish around 3pm.

It's real work but not to hardcore as I have experienced in the past in other places. Plus it's winter so the weather is not to hot and the day finishes early.

I like what I m doing but doing the go and back every day is a bit tiring and loose of time. I like the cosy ambiance of the hostel but going back from the field to the city is a bit hard 🚐

The sunset is beautiful but that's all I see from Ramallah cause day is over around 16:30

There is a little wood cabin on the field but it's full of stuff because a volunteer burn out the kitchen tent a month ago. So I started the project to put some order In it and fix a window to be able to stay sleeping at the farm ⚒️

I finally finished after working on it a little bit every day ! So I packed my things for the next days! 🎒

I finish my work day and can enjoy the sunset peacefully ✌️

I got to met two guys from the village that were chilling next to the farm so they invited me to join them for a narguile 😎

I have everything I need to cook and eat, lots of time to read and it's super quiet, I love it!

I wake up early but have a lot of time to do my morning exercises and eat a good breakfast while looking at the sunrise 😉

Feeling free again like camping with my hamac

Guila and Mahmoud came with Zay a friend from the village that is gonna help because today is harvest day.

The farm has a group of 15 family that is member and receive every week a box of differents veggies and fruits. This is how they finance the farm. So we're gonna make the basket and bring them back at the hostel for them.

And now day off!!

I enjoyed my day off chilling at the hostel, taking the time to do some exercise in the sun, reading and writing but more than everything : cooking a nice dish!

I decided to practice my humus making. I tried a lot of version back home but never reached the texture I really like. Guila showed me her version and it's real good, perfect texture !! I had to come to Palestine to learn with an Italian 😅

I wish you a good humus to all of you ⛄🕯️

Publié le 3 janvier 2020

I'm not really a fan of the winter holidays even if I like the family gathering spirit.

Since I'm away from home I was not thinking to do anything special.

Guila, Paul and Emrys ( two volunteers from the hostel where we live) were going to Bethlehem for Christmas. She offered me to join, so I thought what the hell must be nice at that time of the year to go in this holy city ⛄

So here we go in this mini bus traveling through those hill roads full speed. When you arrive you feel like you got out of a boat 🥴

But it is a good surprise once we walk in the old City. It feels a bit like the old part of Jerusalem, it's very charming. When we get to the main square it's very Christmasy, a lot of lights and poeple hanging out there

On this side of the square, you have the nativity church wich is a very symbolic place for chrisrians. On the other side, you have a nice mosque, as always in this area very strong mix!

You can look at the Christmas tree while the muezzin is calling fro pray 🙂

We walk to go to our host house that lives a bit outside of the city. We meet Mahmoud, who welcome us as kings! He takes us to eat in a nice restaurant 🍽️

We get to know a bit of his story, he has an interesting background! He's born in a refugee camp, quit school around 14 years old to work in a wood workshop. There he learned to make different sculpture of olive wood that Christian tourist buy when they come to Bethlehem.

He recently started his own company and have his own atelier. He makes himself a lot of different items from olive wood and sell them on internet. Very beautiful work, if you want to have a look :

He explained us how things are complicated in Palestine to run a business : he cannot use most of the online application payement, when he wants to send a package. He must send it first to Israel post office then They will send from there ( he has to pay two times and wait a lot). The administration is a mess, he has buy a place to start his business but is stocked for a long time for no real reason, just wainting for a official paper. And it goes on like this with more!

But still he has made his way and lives now comfortably thanks to his efforts 💪

Sometimes in life things got weirdly stucked, you need to work with it 😉

The next days, we go to check the center during day time to see what is the mood. It is full of poeple and there is a Parade so almost impossible to walk, not so enjoyable.

We decided to go check a other part of the city that is also interested but for different reasons.

The wall of separation passes very close from the center of Bethlehem, so it's a bit of a change to pass from the Christmas mood to this.

This part of the wall is even more famous because Banksy came to paint at differents spot near it !

On the wall, they did some work to collect stories from different people of Palestinian society about a few thematics related to the oppression, sadnesses, frustration, fear and so on. It's a bit like walking in a exhibition and read stories about the country and poeple but in a context very particular. I would say pretty well made the stories, not trying to reach the drama, just saying a story that everyone could understand.

What banksy did is a interesting gesture and meaningful use of street art: Bringing the attention and push poeple to think

But now we reached a point where poeple start to come just for the painting. Wich makes it a bit strange, you see family and couple posing with smile and funny pose near to the wall. On the other hand, it's positive to turn something negative into something meaningful.

So a lot of mix feelings go in my head as I walk around...

We finally go back to the center to meet with Mahmoud after his day of work.

We meet in a nice bar to have a few drinks 🍻

Good surprise, they having a live show with traditional music. We end up spending Christmas Eve in Bethlehem drinking beers and listening some Oriental music ! I say good mix, good poeple 😉

I even had a little present, merry Christmas ⛄

I don't how he did but Emrys, ( who was staying at a hostel) Managed to get arrested and lose his phone just after we split up after the bar. He still doesn't really know what happened to him and what he did wrong. There was a lot of police in the street because minister of Palestinian was visiting the nativity church for Christmas. Crazy story !

The next day we chill at Mahmoud's place with a late breakfast. End of the afternoon it is time for me to go back to Ramallah 🚌

I'm actually happy to be back ! Bethlehem was nice but it's a very touristic place, everybody is trying to sell stuff all the time. Here it's a mess in the street but nobody bother me for anything ✌️

Publié le 6 janvier 2020

I start to get use to the rythmin of the farm, taking my bearing in the day to day life at the hostel. What I didn't really except is that Palestine experience a real winter time. I had in mind the very hot summer of middle East but I was a bit optimistic about the rest of the year... It gets sometimes near 3 degrees at night, wind is powerful and the houses are not prepared at all for that!

With this cold and rainy weather I can't stay at the farm but good thing is that we have a nice rythmin going on with the volunteer at the hostel. We cook and eat together every night. It feels cosy in the kitchen/living room with the fire place going on and the dog resting on the couch ⛄

Unfortunately, Paul and Emrys are leaving and no more volunteers are coming at the moment. So it seems that the little group ambiance is over.

Before they leave we go for a drink and to watch the sunset in a spot that I have found in Ramallah 😇

Everyone has his own path to follow ✌️

I thought this winter would be the one but no, i managed to catch a cold just before new year 🤒 anyway I didn't feel like partying. I decided to escape at the farm to rest and be in an environment healthier🙏

It was a great idea, I got to rest, enjoy the sun during the day, just be relax. It made way more sense for me to start the year like that than drunk in a club, glad I got out of the social pressure of partying 😇

Anyway, not the judging the others who want to party, hope everyone had a good time with family or friends 🍽️🍻

Happy New year to all of you 🎉🎊

Publié le 17 janvier 2020

The project started almost five years ago with Mouhab (one of the owner of the hostel) and Mohammed ( a guy with agriculture's knowledge from Gaza) were working together.

At the beginning they were more following the philosophy of agrocology (def : " Agroecology shares much in common with other approaches to sustainable farming. Agroecology is farming that “centers on food production that makes the best use of nature’s goods and services while not damaging these resources.") and mostly aimed to be a act of resistance throw occupying the land and showing example of food souvernity.

Mohammed could enter in the West Bank due to an admistration's mistake (since he's from Gaza, he's not supposed to be there). At some point he has to leave because his situation was blocked. He left the country, mouhab kept working with the project. After a while, he needed some help to keep going, that is where Yara entered in the project. She brought new energy and the permaculture philosophy to it!

(def : " Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people — providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. ")

Basically the two visions are going in the same direction, permaculture is bringing a holistic vision to apply at all the aspects of the Life system.

At the moment, mouhab is in France. He's spend a lot of his time there because his girlfriend is from there and she's banned from Israel for 10 years ( they got suspicious simply because she was coming oftenly to the westbank to visit him, a bit arbitrary.. ). So Yara is managing most of the time by herself, trying to develop the project. They still work at distance with Mohammed, who works on theorical planning of the harvest and discuss together as much as possible about the main decision related to the farm. This represent well the kind of complications you can get in project management in Palestine 😅

Om Sleiman farm, named after the Beatle ( in Arabic) who's a good companion in agrocology

The Farm is compose of 5 mains areas( abcde), inside of it we grow differents vegetables following variable timming and schedule. The vegetables are planted in what we call beds. Basically it's layers of soil, manure and compost. This Technic allows to start farming in a place where the soil is weak and at the same time to nourish it as the season past. For that they had to bring extrant (soil and manure) Wich they try to limit as much as possible.

Here some pictures of the differents areas with a non exhaustive list of the vegetables we are growing and the others elements of the farm to have a better idea of how it looks 🙂

Beans, carrots, salads, Roquette, radish, rootbeat, green onions, turnip, broccoli, purple cabbage


Persil, Coriander, salads, carott, mustard, paksoy, spinach, tatsoy


Lemons, orange, cabbages,, kale


Garlic growing


Coliflower, salads, green and red chards, celery leej

We also have an area with plurianuales plants ( staying more than a season) like artichokes. You can find a lots of herbs around the farm, like salvia, rosemary, different types of thymn ( origabo, zatar), lemongrass, mint, lemon basilica) apple trees and papaya 😋

There are 3 green houses, that play an important role. 2 mostly for seeding and inside cultures. This is key step for the balance of the production's rythmin.

The third one is a tree nursery, the idea is to develop a place that's growing local trees and taking care of the Palestinian wild history.

Seeding and growing in the plants allows us to secure the rotation of the differents beds

We have differents types of compost that play a key role in the whole process The 2 "classics compost " are divided by duration of processing : long term ( few months 3-6) a short term ( 2 weeks). This last one is a magic receipe with different quantity of staws, greens leaves and manure. Making it looks like a bit like baking, you put the right proportion of each ingredients, turns it every two days and you get to 60 degrees in a few days! And voilà 🙂

There is a vermi compost ( it's a compost with worms) and we also make oftenly a tea compost ( liquid) that we can directly spray on the plants to give her some nutriment and power.

You will also some bees to complete the balance of the system and having some honey 🐝

There is the wood room ( with the roof that needs to be finished), the new big tent ( a volunteer burn out the previous one two months ago) where we cook and prepare the baskets. Also a natural building work in progress : it's a place to cook with an oven, the steam go through a pipe and heat the seats 😎

The whole farm is about 1.7 ha considering the areas around with olives trees (where we seeds plants that don't really need attention or lots of water) and a other area just wild.

What you saw with the areas abcde, the green house etc is actually only about 0.5 ha !

We went on a walk to observe a bit the land and discovering wild plants

The farm structure is based on Community support agriculture.

"CSAs are partnerships of mutual commitment between a farm and a community of supporters that provide a direct link between the production and consumption of food".

Basically some persons become members of the farm by paying in advance for the crop of the season. Like this the farm doesn't have to worry about selling to the market and both parties are happy to cut off the middle man. The members have a guarantee of eating good, fresh and organic vegetables every week. Everyone is happy 😉

Then the Challenge is to produce a basket a week for the 15 members that contains the same items in each one's ! Making sure to produce in the right quantity and timing requires a lot of planification, organisation and adaptation 🗓️

So every Sunday it is harvest day : we spent the whole day collecting, washing, cleaning the different vegetables and making the baskets that the members will come to pick up at the hostel.

It is a tiring day but very fulfilling, even though the baskets are not for you collecting the vegetables from the ground feels like a healthy Christmas day 😄

You can have a general idea of the farm's reality 🤠 our work consist mostly in paying attention to the different elements part of the system. This imply a lot of maintenance : weeding, watering, seeding, planting, making compost, harvesting and observing

I'm learning everyday a bit by doing, watching and asking questions. I'm willing to understand better the bigger plan of the farm organization. Also, Getting to sharp my observation skills and increase my general knowledge about plants 🧐 step by step I'm advancing on this long beautiful path !

Beeing and working in the farm make a lot of sense for me ! The project is very meaningful and managed with love and passion. It's a peaceful act of resistance that serve as an example. Plus it shows the result of permaculture to the habitants of the village.

On my personal perspective, I m learning everyday about farming and permaculture. Working in a farm is very logical: the way I see it is really about finding the balance between all the elements of your system. Everything in the farm is useful and has a purpose. In order to make the system going on, you have to pay attention to every step. It's a matter of seeking the right balance, Wich makes a lot of sense for me!

I see kind of a parallel logics with the organization in a kitchen. To cook different kind of dishes, be quick, cook for a big amount of poeple your kitchen system need to be well set. Plus you need to make sure all the time that you have the ingredients that you need to create all your menu. You take care of the flavour of your dish as you take care of the vital energy of your plant. Big difference is the speed rythmin of the work 🙂

The other day, Victor asked me if I hand the green hand ? My answer was : like cooking I have a good intuition, I do things that I observed around me in the past and improvisation is my credo but I still have a lot to learn 😅

I m good at seeing the general view of a system or a project plus, I consider myself as someone that looks for healthy balance in life. One in the other I found both in permaculture and farm work🙏

Publié le 24 janvier 2020

One day I got back from the farm and I got a message from my cousin asking me news. I answered giving a bit of the last stories and mood. He answered telling me that he's in Israel at the moment and that he would like to come to visit me ! Totally unexpected 😅

Of course I'm happy about it so we arrange to meet during my days off. So nice and at the same time so strange to see some one from back home in this environment.

The first night we go to a nice local restaurant to have typical food and your belly full of foul 😉

After that I take him to a nice little bar where young Palestinian meet to chill. Very surprising to see how similar the mood is from every bar you could find in Europe ! We have a image of Palestine as a moslim country very religious. It's partly true, but the Christian community and the young open minded generation balance very much this reality.

Even have a few Palestinian beers and they're good 😎

I haven't moved much inside Palestine excepted for Bethlehem, Bil'in and Ramallah. Si we decide to go the next day to Naplus, less touristic than Bethlehem, less international than Ramallah but more authentic.

Less poeple speak English which is nice for me as an exercise to practice my Arabic. We feel quickly welcome, once we arrived and we're looking for the center. A guy came naturally to help us and showed us around (not asking money, just beeing Nice). We walk around in the old City and the market. Stop to eat in a really narrow place where two guys barbecue continuously some meat : delicious 😋!!

We kept walking and decided to go outside the city to have an upper view of the Valley. We first ended up to a archelogic site belonging to Samaritans community. That's how we learned that this small community of Jewish believe in this old temple as the holiest place instead of Jerusalem. They live appart from the rest of the Jewish community. It s a very small group ( about 800 poeple) 300 live here outside of Naplouse, it seems that they leave peacefully there ( but couldn't find one to ask).

Nevertheless, the view worthed it !

We go back to the old City to have a piece of kunafa ( traditional Palestinian desert made of cheese and a sweet layer) it is originally from the city of Naplouse. So we go directly at the source 😅 when we finished and we wanted to pay the guy tells us : "nothing, hospitality".

It is completely the opposite behavior of what we are used to experience in the touristic areas ! It feels good; a girl even stopped us in the street to ask where we from and then just smiled at us, saying : welcome in Palestine !!

Time to go back to Ramallah and finish the day with a good pitta falafel ! Yes it's all about food 😉

The next day Julien join me at the farm to visit the place. Very happy to be able to present the farm and sharing what I have experienced those last weeks. He seems to really enjoy the place, as a gardenner he's sensible to the natural environment and all the plants.

It is also a good opportunity to observe the wall from the other side, see the village's situation of Bil'in and experienced and other reality.

Even got me to work with me 😀

After that I drove him back to the village where he will be going to Ramallah and then direction Tel Aviv.

He shared with me his thought : "waw the shock is going to be quite big, from harvesting salad in a farm next to the wal in the morning l to be drinking beer In Tel aviv at night in the same day !"

It was interesting for me to see someone else experimenting and realizing those mixed feelings that were in my mind those last weeks.

One of them was, the surprise facing this information sign that you find at many checkpoint. Why would it be forbidden to cross ? Maybe a advice for safety matters but still... I guess that is part of the tough game that is beeing played by Israeli government 🤔

Publié le 2 février 2020

At the moment, Half of my life is the farm and the other one is at the hostel and in Ramallah. I live by a pretty healthy rythmin since I have to wake up early💪

The rest of the time I try to create positive habits :

- warming up every morning and stretching in the afternoon. Working in the farm is quite demanding for the body. I try to take care of it 🤸

- Studying Arabic every day, (at least learning a few words). I'm realizing how long it is going to take me before I will be able to have a day to day level. Not loosing hope !

- Reading and learning about farming and Permaculture. Since I'm seeing everyday something, I'm adding some theorical content to improve on both aspects.

- Meditate every day 10 minutes.I was interested about it for a while and did a few intents. Lately Victor got me into trying with more commitment through an app that guides you in the first steps. Really interesting and good habit to stop and pause in your day, even 10 minutes 🙏

- Eating healthy ( mostly vegetarian, almost vegan). Plus I eat a lot of fresh and organic vegetables from the farm 🍽️ Plus practicing cooking and learning New recepes.

I realized that the situation where I am is a perfect structure to focus on certain aspects of my daily life that I was hardly able to put as a priority in Brussels. Plus, beeing a volunteer give me home and food without needing to worry about money or dealing with it in my daily life. It is a real release and an enjoyable feeling 🧮💰

I feel that my brain is beeing stimulate every day with lots of differents stimuli. Even by being speaking English all the time, I m working on something. It feels good to focus all you capacities on new subjects and having the space for learning more.

Of course I can't say that everything is perfect, I'm still making some exception as a gift to myself 😅 You have to look for the balance with a bit of flexibility !

Nutella is kind of Proust madeleine for me! The table is 100% homemade 😉

I'm starting to have my little habits that gives you the feeling that a place or a city is your home for the moment 🙂

First I can find my way in the neighborhood (haha). Then I start to know the bus drivers to go at the farm, the good places to eat sweet, falafel or humus. I even enjoy the craziness of the city (obviously because I know I won't leave here for ever) but still, I find my space in the flow of Ramallah.

Normally I would add climbing at my routine but I'm injured at the finger since I arrived 🙁

Remember all the climbing in Cyprus ? Well an old Injury woke up there and Instead of letting it resting I pushed it too far !

It's classic for climbers to hurted themselves at the fingers. I read a bit about it, and saw a lot of case like me . First you Get into climbing for about a year and then your first injury comes. Hits you right in the ego and reminds you that your body has some limits that you have to respect. Specially if you want to keep using it full power !

It is a very important lesson here and it makes sense with the stretching that I m doing every day 💪

Still, I need to do sport to stay in shape and keeping my good vibe, so it's : Parkour training !!

It may sounds a bit crazy to do parkour to not get more injured but I m going Easy on it 😉

Problem : it's cold and rainy so I cannot train that much. Plus I'm thinking that I could do something to train some other skills in order to improve my climbing level when I'll get back to it. So to help me to be patient and still be training, I started yoga 😄

I just started but really enjoy it!

I also thought that I should do something to practice my Arabic with someone else outside of the hostel. So now I'll meet every week Sana, she wants to practice her English and will be helping me with my practice of Palestinian dialect.

I would say that my life is sweet and full of positive activities at the moment. My weeks are fulfilling and meaningful 🙏

Publié le 16 février 2020

As I told you previously, Bil'in got famous for his non violent civilian rebelion. The spirit of the protest stayed even after that the wall has been moved backword. Poeple kept the feeling of injustice, the dead won't be forgotten and the land stay zone C.

They tried to keep the rythmin of the weekly protest they use to organize every Friday. Now, it lost a bit of energy. Years passed, the revendications are not so clear anymore and poeple lost interested.

You can still see a few poeple protesting every week at the gate. It became a bit "sad" to watch. Once some Europeans tourists came to participate, so they burned some tires in front of the gate. It a almost looks like it became an attraction for foreigners.

There is still some strength from the ash remaining, last week for the 15years of the protest, 150 poeple were present

Still, the impact of the oppression is real and present in the day to day. For example, in the morning we always stop at a bakery on the way to the farm, the guy is super friendly. Once, we stoped and his brother was there instead, we asked why ? Because he was in detention for using flour coming from Israel. They are a lot of economic regulations on dayli product that makes life more complicated. Simple example but strong!

It's always a big contrast with the good mood at the farm !

Anyway, life goes on and everybody keep doing his own thing.

At the farm we had two new volunteers for two weeks, with Bubu back from France we've got some new energy. The sun was even back for a couple of days 🙂

The previous week, I decided to go a bit away for the weekend and go check out Haifa. Paul that was volunteering at the hostel is in a project over there at the moment. So it was good opportunity to go check something else.

The morning I took the bus to cross at Jerusalem, it was pouring rain, it gave a dramatic background at the checkpoint.

What a shock, on the other side ! I didn't realized that it was a month and a half that I was in the Westbank. I got used to it! Passing the check point and seeing old poeple dealing with young soldier that are younger than me got me thinking. What a strange power experience for a teenager ?!

In the arab bus of Jerusalem ( because they are two differents companies) I'm looking around me and thinking that the old man that I m seeing looks so familiar that ( out of context) I could not tell if they are Arabs, Jews or even Italian... It is a strange feeling from my perspective!

This day we even got some ice rain in Jerusalem !

I finally got a bus from Haifa, dried my feet and admit that I might have been a bit pessimistic, everything was not that bad. It was even sunny when I arrived in Haifa 🙂

A round about in the center with the symbols of Judaism and Islam together. 5 mins from the Baha'is garden !

Haïfa, is very different from the other cities from Israel. Thirst it's more a "working class " city by opposition to Tel aviv. Then it is way more mixed inside of the cities. Arabs and Jews/ Israeli live closer to each other than in some others areas of the country. For example, It's not a big deal when you enter a shop and you Shalom or Salam to say hello. Most of the time, it seems that poeple were pretty chill about it. So I walked around the city with Paul to have an idea of the area.

The city has it own charm, it is not the most beautiful place I've seen but there is something. Even the industrial port from the upper view is kind of cool !

I heard a nice story : there has been a criminal fyer at one of the ( kind of liberal) synagogue. So the rabbi was a bit desperate. One of the imam of the city, friend of this rabbi. Helped him with some members of his community to rebuild the synagogue and offered him some trees to plant in the garden !

Later on, it is the mosque that has been the victim of some fires. So he called the rabbi cause he didn't know what to do for the preach day. In response to that, he invited him and his community to pray in the synagogue and transformed it temporary in a mosque 😄

A nice story with a bit of hope in this complicated context !

We go on in our exploration of the city to go in direction of the erithreen and Russian neighborhood. It is a other style, it's a mix between a "cheap" neighborhood where different immigrants community live and some cafes and restaurants that starts to be a bit trandy. It is just next the market, I a way in reminds me my neighborhood in Molenbeek 🙂

The project where Paul is volunteering is in this area. It's a restaurant that cooks only food from the waste of the supermarket and shops. They only serve vegetarians dishes and the food is free price ! I feel quite familiar with the concept 😉

We arrived at the end of the day so I could not eat there but I got to visit the place and the kitchen instead. The restaurant is really cute and the working areas are quite nice for a small project !

It was the end of the week, so I stayed for a cup of tea and had the time to speak with the team manager and some volunteers. I got to understand a bit the structure and the organization of the project.

They are 6 workers to get paied.

The main part is the restaurant, that works with a chef, second, team manager and a lot of volunteers. The have in permanence about 20-30 volunteers in the project coming from abroad and sharing the shifts of the week. They have some more volunteers that are locals : who help with the hosting of foreigner volunteer, play music or even cook.

The rest of the team is working more on the volunteer aspects, communication and workshop organisation.

From what I could understand, they are at about 90% self sufficient economically speaking! They have only a bit of subvention from government, quite impressive. All of this with a small team and a restaurant working on a free price, I say : mazel tov! I have an pretty good idea of the challenge that they are facing 💪

The guy that started the project, came to pick up some stuff but didn't stay cause he was in a hurry. Very funny: he's the same size as, me a beard and hat, kind of ginger, pretty friendly and dynamic. Felt like looking in a mirror, strange but interesting feeling ! Good to be watching 😅

Finishing the rest of the food of the day with the team, it brought back some good memories 🍽️❤️

I stayed in Haifa for the night and been hosted like a king 😉

I left Haifa with a very different feeling than when I arrived!

On my way back to Jerusalem I was very much in my head thinking about the level of complexity that reach the situation of the area. To illustrate it, in a coffeeshop in Haifa the worker and the owner were speaking Arabic together. It seemed that the worker was not speaking in his mother tongue so I assume that he was a israelian but learning Arabic with his boss. So I told them : " that is cool, you speak Arabic together ?" And answer :" yes of course". I go like : " waw and you're Palestinian and you Israeli". They both answered : " no we are Arabs Israeli".

They are big differences between, Israeli, Arabs Israeli, Palestinian with Israeli residance cart and Palestinian. I had a good example of the importance of the difference, they were insisting on being Israeli. When on the other side most don't want to have anything to do with Israeli government...

This is just on the social aspect, not even talking borders or political right!

In Jerusalem, I was so thoughtful that I took the tram in the wrong direction. When I changed to go back, there was a guy with a big back pack staring at me. Then I walked to the arab bus station to take the bus to Ramallah. The same guy was there. While waiting for the bus, I was speaking with someone and talking about the farm. The guy from the tram, comes to me and said " sorry couldn't help myself to hear you speaking about the farm" and I was like yes, how can I helped you ? He said :" I'm Bubu"! He was just arriving from France and by coincidence we end up in the same tram 😅 that is how we met ! He was looking at me in the tram cause he saw some pictures of me on the Facebook of the farm.

Publié le 28 février 2020

Before Guilia left the project she wanted to show me a nice spot at the Dead Sea.

It seemed like a good idea to rest a bit from the farm work and the cold weather! So Yallah !

If you look at the map, the way that we have to do in order to reach the spot it is very stupid. From Ramallah we have to go to Jerusalem, from there to the dead Sea. It's the only way because we need to catch the Israeli bus company, since the spot is in occupied territory.

So it means crossing the Jerusalem checkpoint again!

If you don't catch the official bus from Ramallah ( that goes directly to Jerusalem) you have to take a service to the checkpoint and then crossing walking.

This place is so strange! On the outside it looks like your next to a prison. When you are inside, it is similar to a small aéroport but not very welcoming.

We went through the security check, as my bag was passing in the X-ray. The soldier asked me if the bag was mine. I answered positively. She told me : " big problem" ! I had my camping knife in my bag...

I had to go in a room big as 1m² with just a camera and a parlophone. I stayed there for 10 minutes without knowing what was happening. When they let me out, there were 4 specials soldiers with huge guns near my bag. They asked me to take out slowly my knife and give it to them. Then walked me to the outside of the security check zone. Asked me a few questions and eventually gave me back my passport and knife. I guess beeing white with a European passport helped to smooth the situation 😅

(Photo by Giulia)

Then we took the bus that dropped us nearby the Sea and we hitchhiked the rest to arrive in the middle of nowhere!

A little walk from there to find the spot 🤠

Et ils marchèrent ...

The spot was so nice, the colours of the sunset were incredible ! It was like looking at a painting 🌞🌛

The spot is a small beach with little natural pools of hot springs. So you are sitting in this natural jacuzzi while looking at the nice view of the Dead Sea and Jordan 😎 what to ask more!?

When we arrived most of the pools were occupied. I spotted one that was going to be free. As I was speaking with the guys the offered me drinks to welcome us. They were really friendly ! When they left they said as a joke : " you see we are giving you the place easily. Now poeple don't come to us and say that we don't share the lands." We were in occupied territory 😅

Fire To finish a good day 🔥

We enjoyed again the whole morning the hot springs 🙂

Time to go back to Ramallah !

Différence of température is huge ! It is crazy the distance is so small but it felt like going to two differents place of the world 🥶

Publié le 8 mars 2020

I can't believe that 3 months have passed already ! Time goes on so fast 😀

We can start to feel the end of the winter comming and the spring slowly starting. At the farm, the nature is waking up : birds singing, insects coming and flying, flower blooming !

Almonds tree in flower on the way to the farm

It's time to prune the trees

New volunteers arrived

Some mystery came to light

Vegetables are still beautiful

Learning new skills with professor muhab 😉

We even had the opportunity to go to a workshop about rainwater collect. It was interesting and a fun experience to be with all Palestinian farmers. Drinking tea all day and seeing some others groups ambiance!

We hosted one about natural soap making at the farm as well. It was something to have a lot of poeple in our little farm 😀

I really became use to my farmer day to day, my hands are speaking for me !

Some part does not go away ! The soil is part of the skin 😅

Said goodbye to the farm, hoping to come back soon !

Enjoying my last days 🙂

In Ramallah, I have my spot that I will miss too! The group at the climbing gym 💪

Went to a little concert before leaving, good mood🎶

Time to leave 🤠

Direction : Jordan

Check point

First stop : tel aviv

Funny story : I ran into a Belgian couple that I v met in Ramallah at the hostel. I join them later for a drink, as we talked we discovered that we have actually a few friends in common ! Small world 🙂

Then Nazareth, really good surprise ! Beautiful and unique. It's a arab city in Israel. It's again a different mood of all the other ones I saw around!

That's it for now, we will see how it goes ✌️

Publié le 15 mars 2020

After a difficult night in the hostel, never heard snorring like this in my life ! (It was a concert of several people in the room). I ended up sleeping in the hall on the couch, considering that I m normally a heavy sleeper you can imagine😅

Took the bus, direction Aman in the morning. Borders are always a strange place to be, you can feel a type of tension in this no man's land area. Plus you mixed that with some bureaucracy handled by police man ( by the way you have to pay a tax to get out of Israel). In those time of world crisis corona, everyone started to be a bit scared : wearing masks and avoiding any type of contact.

Once arrived in Aman, I got dropped at the entry of the city. The capital is big and I have to get to the center. Of course taxis are waiting for us when we arrived but that's not my style! I went on the main Street looking for public transportation.

My first impressions are that it looks like Palestine but bigger and nobody talked English ! Finally a good practice for me 🙂

My objective is to get to certain neighborhood where a friend of Yara and Bubu lives. He accepted to host me for a couple of days.

I found my way through different transportation and walking. Here I am in a hype neighborhood of Aman.

I arrived at the spot and met Anas and his girlfriend Gina from Germany. Very friendly and welcomming. They are both finishing their master in humanitarian help, so we have commons interests !

Anas is from Palestine, he spend a few months leaving and working at the farm so we connected pretty quickly

He showed me a bit around the city, his neighborhood, some nice projects and chill places around.

The City looks cool, pretty crowded in the center but there is something particular about this place that makes you wanted to stay and discovered about it!

We went to the center to see a historical site: an old theater. Did some grocery in the market wich is always nice to see the typical part of the city!

Right in the center of Aman

Of course I went to do a little detour by the climbing gym, it's suppose to be the biggest one of the middle East !

It felt good to be back on the rope, it was a few months that I was just training a little bit in the bouldering gym of Ramallah 💪

I cooked a nice meal to my hosts to thank them 🍲🍴

I thought about what I was willing to do in Jordan, and spotted a nice part of the Jordan trail ( trek crossing the whole country from ). The part i chosed is from Dana to Petra, 4 days of hiked listed as one of the top 15 most beautiful in the world by national geographic for the diversity of landscapes !

My project seemed to tempt Anas, he asked me if he could join ? I've said of course, welcome !

So here we are, planning the trip : gathering material, buying and rationating food, finding maps and understanding the water supply situation. It seems to be a trek quite challenging, mostly for the water supply!

Everything is set up, a good night of sleep. Then a good breakfast and direction bus station to Dana !

It took us hours for the bus to start but finally we started and arrived end of the day to our first step.

It's a small village in the mountains with an authentic charm. It's all small houses made of stones, really beautiful. As we walked through to find the beginning of the path to set up our tent (before sunset), we met some of the locals that welcomed us.

We left the bags in the tent that was just at the beginning of the path. We came back to the village to have a warm dinner in one of the refuges. On our way we ran into the same people, that asked us where we putted our bag ? We explained our situation, they told us we should be careful and tell the local police we are staying here. We thanked them and kept our way thinking that was not necessary.

We went to have a nice warm meal. At the end of the dinner Anas went out to go to the bathroom. When he came back, he told me : " we have a problem !" I asked him what was the matter ? ( It was the night when the first case of corona was declared in Jordan, so people were a bit nervous). He told me that he got stopped by a guy that asked him his paper and claimed beeing from the national intelengency. Problem, Anas had only the photocopy of his passport cause he was afraid of loosing the original one during the hike. The guy asked him in wich hostel he was staying ? He didn't like the answer of Anas and started to find that strange. I told Anas : " don't worry, I'm sure we can explain that we are just hikkers". Anas told me :"you don't understand, here when someone told you national intelengency, you don't mess around".

They called him back outside. I waited a while and then started to think that something was wrong. I went out to check and saw Anas in the back of a pick up looking like a prisoner. I went to the car to talk with the guys, said hello in Arabic. They found that suspicious and started ask me questions about my stay and my identity. Took my passport and called the central to double check. Then asked me to get in the car and putted me on the phone with the central that started me question about Israel. Things started to look strange, they didn't want to explain us what was the matter.

They started the engine and asked us to lead them to our tent. They explained us that we don't have the right to camp in the village and because Anas had no official identity they have to bring us to the local police. So we drove in the mountains, packed our tent and bags and went in the car. They brought us to the police office.

The police there were kind of welcoming they shooked our hands with all the salamalek. Then we were sitting in a room and left us with a officer while they went to a other room. After that, they brought us tea and each officer from the highest ranked to the less asked us the same questions about our stay and hike. It was really like a joke from a movie where they needed to play the same game. Of course everything was happening in Arabic so I was understanding less than half of the situation. I could feel that the mood was getting less tensed once everyone has done his role in the scene.

At some point, they started explaining us that we can not camp In this area and that we have to pick a place to stay. This was maybe the funniest moment ever, every one was talking at the same time! I was about to explose of laughed 😅

Conclusion in concertation with anas was "Sleiman" that he knew already by the past. After that everyone was smiling and seemed really happy like if this meeting just solved a national issue!

I got it that it was not worth trying to go against this decision. We said goodbye to everyone and They brought us back to the village where we left our meal unpaid.

At the end we figured out that it was probably the locals that asked us about our bag in the first place that called the police on us in order to protect the local business...

Anas negociated a very good deal with the food and the night so we weren't not that pissed in the end. Still all of this was a damn start for our hike 😁

Tried to get a good night of sleep to wake up at the very beginning of the day!

We got welcomed by the Sheppard's dogs that came in band after us on the beginning of the path. We passed them but then I realized I forgot the maps in the room so I went back to get them. Of course the dogs came after me, they started really to bark and showed their teeth! They were trying to circle me and i started to panic. Then I tried to look the strongest I could and yelled in Arabic " xallas, bass!" ( Means stop) it worked, they went away 🙏 on my way back they were there again, this time but the yelling was not working anymore... I was trying to not let them circle me but they could feel the fear and were winning territory! As I was slowly going away but still facing them they eventually let me keeping going on my path. What a start, my heart was beating so fast !

I joined Anas and we could start our journey, the day was starting and the wildlife was waking up : what a delight 🙂

We stopped after an hour to have our breakfast and look the map of the day.

Day 1 Dana to Wadi Malaqa, 23,5 km

Suppose to be mostly flat except the beginning where we were going down from Dana to the valley. The end of the day was the waterpoint, we were supposed to ran into springs during the day if necessary.

First part in the valley is very beautiful and pretty green. Except a few Sheppard's you don't see anyone on the path, what a good feeling.

As we kept going, the landscape started to be dryer. No sign of any river except one tiny piece at some place of the trail.

We arrived to a small " village" in the desert where there was a few bédouins tents, a eco lodge and a school.

After that, what was in front of us, looked like a Sahel desert. We followed some kids that seemed going back from school and going in the same direction as us.

The trail was supposed to be well marked but almost didn't see any indication. Luckily the way was so far pretty clear!

We had lunch in the shadow of the only tree in the horizon 😅

We walked on a good rythmin and were supposed to arrive soon at our campspot. Following the indications of the last bédouins that saw, we were very close.

Unfortunately, the path started to be unexisting and no sign of the campsite...

The map we had was not that precise, so we were going following the compass but with no confirmation we were in the right place. The day was going to finish soon and yet we were not arrived. Something was wrong we clearly walked more than we should have.

When suddenly we saw someone far away coming on the opposite direction of ours !

It was a hiker, Oscar from Germany. He was coming from the very beginning of the Jordan trail down south. He had a gps, so we could confirm where were we exactly. We actually passed the campsite that was just a pile of rock... So no water supply for today!

Luckily Oscar had enough water and was going to refill at the next bédouin tent few km in our opposite direction. So he gave us about a liter and half to survive.

We talked a bit, gave us some recommendations for the next days and both kept going to be able to set up camp before sunset. Thanks to him we were safe 🙏

Lessons of the day : path is really not well marked, don't trust the map when it's written campsite and refill water at any occasion you find !

We were pretty tired, made a fyer to keep us warm. It was a good first day. Anas has never done long trail like that before so it was a challenge for him that we were taking together.

Time to get some sleep, the coming day is a hard route. With a lot of going up and down into the mountains. We will be in the nature with no bédouins and the water point is a river at the end of the day ! 💪🌛

Day 2 Wadi Malaqa to Ras el Fayed 13,7 km but more than 2000m of up and down

Morning stretching, packing and Yallah ! We have to start going up before it gets too hot. We have only a liter for both of us 🏞️

We stopped for breakfast and saw a group of hikers coming to us. It was some guys walking without back pack that had a car dropping them food supply every night. So they were going pretty fast and were also walking with a GPS. We followed them for a while, so we didn't have to worry about the way that was not so clear.

We passed the first top togheter but then they were going to fast for Anas. So I stopped and waited for him. I saw the last ones of their group but no sign of Anas. I waited and started to be afraid. I left mi bag and started going down looking for him. He had stopped to take a break, he was starting to get tired. I explained him that we needed to keep our rythmin in order to not get caught in the hottest hours of the day and reach the water supply as soon as possible!

I did everything to keep him motivated 💪 To be honest I was a bit worry, I wanted to make sure we don't get lost and find the river in a reasonable amount of time. I knew that with one liter we would be weak by the end of the day, so no right for mistakes 😅

The landscape changed so much, the morning we were in the desert flat and empty. Now we are in a canyon!

We reached the second top that was a confirmation we were on the right path and on a good rythmin. Still no official signs on the path. We were finding our way thanks to the altitude on the map, the compass and some pile of rock that were the confirmation of our guessing.

After second top we ran into a couple that confirmed that we were on the right path and about a hour from the river. That was a good news, we were almost out of water and the sun was starting to hit badly !

We kept going down and started to see what looks like the dry part of the river. We kept following it and finally : fresh water 🙂🤸

What a relief, we could even fresh up in the river. We stopped for lunch and rested a bit.

We kept going to finish the kms of the day.

Unfortunately we had to go back at some point because impossible to find the rest of the path. So we went back to the last point where we're sure was on the path.

Anas went one direction and me the other to look for the path. Plan was to set up the camp here but at least knowing where is the path for the next morning. As I was looking, a couple appeared from the bushes. They looked exhausted and were drinking water from a still point! They got lost and also ran out of water. We talked a bit, they explained us ( with their gps) where was our path ( we were on the right one) but it was really hard to see it. They warned us about water the next day as well. I explained them what was the river and they left.

Lesson of the day : everybody walks with a GPS !

Set up the camp and even had the chance to have enough water to cook a warm meal 🍴😁

Day 3 : Ras el Fayed to little Petra 23 km

A good day with a reasonable amount of km and some uphill to start the day !

The path was almost non existent and we were completely walking azimuth style hopping we would eventually ran into a confirmation.

Nevertheless the hike kept beeing beautiful and the landscapes differents. 😎

Finally, some pile of rocks and a path ! We were going the right way 🧭

We kept walking and saw down the valley, something that looks like the path we were supposed to reach. By looking at the map and compare the hills it was making sense. But the question was how to reach that path ?

We heard some voices, it was some bédouins calling us. They were resting with their goats under a tree.

We reached them, sat and drank some tea with them. They told us that we passed the original path but could still reach it from where we were 🙂

They offered us to host us in a tent (in exchange of money) explaining that we will not be able to camp in the area of little Petra. We politely refused since we wanted to keep walking for the day and we were not so trustful anymore since the experience in Dana.

We had lunch and kept walking happily. We ran into a Sheppard and bought him water to be safe for the rest of the day!

We started to get out of the mountain and saw the first signs of civilization.

We arrived in the first village and where looking for our way. It was almost sunset and we we were close of our objectif. We wanted to quit the village to be on the path and camp there for the night.

As we walked, a group of locals was waving us. So we stopped to say hello. They asked where we were going? They told us we could not camp in the village or in the area of little Petra.

We said don't worry for us we'll keep going further . Problem was that we wanted to camp on the trail but they were next the entry. We learned our lesson since Dana. So we thought about looking for plan b. As we were walking on the main route, locals cars were stopping and asking us where we planned to sleep ? Everybody was trying to sell a campsite. It was indeed the same situation as Dana...

Starting to regret that we stopped talking to the first group. We understood that everyone is playing the police's role here. So we kept walking to get out of the village in order to find a spot. But no luck it was Thursday night and all the locals were doing some barbecue in what could be a good spot for camping. We kept walking in the dark and finally found a hidden spot for the night!

Lesson of the day : Don't trust everybody ! Sleep on the trail and be discreet

Picture in the morning

Day 4 : Ras l Fayed to little Petra to Petra 14km

This last day was supposed to be a chiller day where you finished the hike in the official site of Petra comming by the northern entrance.

As we were not on the path we decided to walk on the road to reach the entry of little Petra and be back on the path.

We arrived there and bad news : to enter there you have to get a stamp from the main entrance ( even though I already have my ticket). Easy just take this car that is going to charge you a ridiculous amount of money for 20 min ride and then coming back, what a scam!

Time up : we sat to adjust the plan. The sky was not looking good and Anas was not willing to stay sleeping in Petra in a hostel.

Then it started raining Very heavily !

We waited in a little cave and then when the rain calmed down started walking and hitchhiking in direction of Petra.

There we stopped for tea and charging our phone. It looked like it was the end of the adventure. Anas was trying to find a way back to Aman and I was thinking what to ? My volunteering in the desert was only in a few days.

It was Friday so no transportation running at all!

We had our last lunch (gypsy style) together at the bus station with the craziest weather and then went to main road said thanks for this nice adventure and goodbye. Each one was trying to get lucky hitchhiking his way 🙂

I decided to go down south and sleep one night in a camp to rest before going to my volunteer place.

My beginning was pretty hard, Petra is so touristic that everyone stopping was asking me " how much?" when I answered that was hitchhiking they would just closed the door and leave.

I did not give up, I walked quite a long time to get out of the center and there people started to take me but for really short distances.

I was on the main road going to Aqaba. Wadi rum (my destination was on the way) so I should be able to find someone! Finally someone stopped and told me he was going to Wadi rum. I was so happy because the sky was looking really aggressive 🌧️ Then he told me" how much ?' I politely decline and explained that I I came this way hitchhiking. Then he said " xallas, come!" Yallah 😎

Just on time, it rained super heavily two minutes after. Mohammed, the driver work for tourist transportation. He was on his way to pick up a client. As the way past he was more and more friendly. He even stopped to buy me some tea and chocolates !

We were almost in Wadi rum when he got a phone call, his client cancelled... Sorry, he dropped me there and went back.

I kept hitchhiking, but from there it was easy. People stopped, they were not even opening the window to ask you where you are going ? They just tell you Yallah come ! 😁

At the entry of Wadi rum the sky was separated In half : blue and dark. I could see the rain In a part and the dry weather on the rest !

Finally, I arrived in the warm. My host picked me up in the village and dropped me in the camp in the desert.

There I spend a quite evening near the fyer ate a good dinner and met nice people 🙏🔥🌛

I slept like a rock after those days of hiking ! My host Mousa asked me if I wanted to volunteer in his place. I struggled with the decision, since his camp and team looked really cool but I gave my word already to some one else.

Lesson of the day : Jordan is a touristic place, so you have to fight your way but don't give up its worth it!

I hiked to the top of a mountain the next morning to explore. Then, thought that it was not fair if I already gave my word.

So I told him I might come back but first I ll work in the other camp!

So hitchhiked again to get to the next village 👍🌞

Here I am at Salaman's camp, nobody is speaking English! It's gonna be good practice 😁

Publié le 17 mars 2020

It has been now a few days that I'm here at the camp of Salaman at the entry of the Wadi rum desert.

The place is nice and chill, I live in a small room of the camp. Im' eating a tasty dinner with the guest when we have some Or with the work team when there aren't any tourist. So I'm having a good time and finally practicing my Arabic !

At the moment it is pretty calm because of the corona virus. So there aren't much tourists coming to the camp. Still you can feel there is some activity going on, there are more than a 100 camps in the area !

My work mostly consist in helping the boss with his different platform of online booking. It's a huge mess in his organization and he doesn't really speak English, so it's quite challenging but not hard work. 😅

I'm having a lot of free time, that I spend mostly doing yoga, meditation, reading, trying to communicate in Arabic and enjoying the luxury of having freetime to think freely. I also like to go explore the area Wich is very beautiful and particular!

I'm really enjoying the lifestyle and the the free time. I got to finish a few things that I was trying to do for a while ! So I can say that I m pretty well here but one thing is missing : climbing !

If I came in this area, it was mostly to meet some climbers 😇

It is not easy to find the poeple, I'm not in the village, the camp's team are not climbers and I'm not really willing to pay for a personal guide.

The other thing, is that the area is known in the world for it's wildness. It's not easy ( if not impossible) to reach most of the spot without a car. Majority of the routes are "trad climbing" wich I have not done before.

[When rock climbing started to be developed, people where setting (temporarily) themselves the bolt as they were climbing. In opposition with what we call now "sport climbing" it means you're on a route where the bolts are settled in the rock for long term. Now people do both, depending of the spots. We keep saying "trad" for "traditional climbing", for the purist this is the real way of climbing. Plus you don't interfere with the environment by drilling deeply in the rock.]

That means : a lot of the foreign climbers come for the trad climbing here. This reduce my chance to find a partner or a team...

One day, as I m working with Salaman a group of seniors tourist arrived. At first I didn't really pay attention since I was busy doing something else.

At the end of the day, I ran into one of the person of this group. I stopped to say hello and to see if he needed any help for something. We started chatting a bit and Richard asked me if I was a climber ? I said : " yes I am, how do you know ? "

- because I am also a climber ! I have all my gear with me. You have your material ?

- waw nice ! I've got my shoes and harness.

- that is all you need! You do trad climbing ?

- I wish ! Do you ?

- Yes of course, I do proper climbing 🙂 You know what I'll teach you ! You want to join tomorrow ?

- Of course!!!!

Not kidding, this is exactly how the conversation went ! Then he introduced me to this climbing partner : " Nigel" and the rest of their group (age between 65 and 74 years old). All members of the Lancashire mountain club, friends and climbers for a long time !

After dinner, they started to discuss the organization of the next day. Richard invited me to join the conversation. It was bit ackward for me because I was not sure I had the knowledge to keep up with their projects. Plus they payed for a guide and transportation. But Richard took me in as a member of the group even though I understood it was a bit touchy between them. It appeared that Nigel, Richard and I will do a route while the others will do some hiking approach and we'll meet at the end of the day.

So it's set up, we will do sunshine route on Budda's hill, a 300m route multi-pitch tradstyle!

After a briefing with Richard I went to bed super excited about the next day 🤸💪🌛

A good breakfast and let's go with the driver and his team to the the spot in the desert !

We arrived nearby, the rest of the group went for the hike. We started preparing the gears, it's a long road and the book's description is very short so we had to pack smartly and light. We made our backpacks as light as possible considering that we have to hike to the beginning of the route and carry them to the top !

Plan was to be back around two for a late lunch. The climb is about 3 hours and the way down (hiking) 1 hour.

[ This is the only picture I have from that day, since I didn't take my phone with me. I will use pictures from others days to illustrate 📷 ]

On the left Nigel 67 years and Richard to the right, 73 years. In good shape and still climbing ! An example of mindset 💪

It took us at least a hour to find the beginning of the route, the book is not very accurate. Nevermind, we finally started getting ready for the climb. As we putting our shoes, I discovered that Nigel has one artificial leg due to a mountain accident he had when he was young. I didn't even noticed when we were walking, I was so impressed ! 😯

Richard gave me an explanation of the devices they use for trad climbing. I won't be setting up since he will be leading but I needed to know how to clean behind him.

So here we were starting to get up as the sun started to get pretty hot. We had a good rythmin going on, Richard was pretty quick setting up the route and Nigel was behind me in case of any problematic situation.

It was very impressing to see both of them climbing ! I mean, I could see when we were walking that Richard has his age but when we were climbing it was like he immediately lost 30 years. His body seemed to be still so fit and well trained that I could not believe my eyes.

Nigel, is a tall guy verry strong. Same I could not tell about his leg when I was looking him climbing. By the way he told me he learned skiing after his accident !

The beginning of the route was pretty easy, it was not to hard to read the way and the level of climbing was pretty straightforward. Except the heat and the feet that where swallowing, it was pretty fine. 🌞

I was having a great time, it was a very good context to learn trad climbing. I was a bit surprised by the setting up of the devices, it was looking in a way very easy but you need to be very confident since your life relays on it !!! If you think that rock climbing with bolt already settled is crazy you should check this out 😅

We didn't see the time passing. Multipitch takes quite a long time, every time setting up the rope (60 meter long) , climbing and taking it back.

I did once multipitch in Belgium and we were also three people, we did two routes of 80 meters in one day with one rope and each one climbing at his time.

There we were with two ropes. Nigel and I climbing with a small interval of time. So when you make the math, 300 meters is quite long route!

Around 15:00 two of the friends were down, telling us that we had around 3 hours to sunset. Richard and Nigel evaluated that we were still on time to finish the road and join the others. The book was clearly a bit optimistic since we were going up on a good rythmin.😎

We kept going up, the route started to be a bit more complicated to read. It was delicate since depending on wich way chosen we would ended up on, a level that could be very different to finish to the top.

At 17:00 we were very close to the top but not sure at all of the way. We were discussing on taking left or right. The book was not helping at all since they were no precise descriptions!

The friends at the bottom of the mountain started shouting to stop the climb and get down. Richard and Nigel were having a technical discussion : Richard was saying that we could still make it to the top before sunset and Nigel was saying that It was time to teach me how to go down in rappel. The conclusion was that the route was not fit for rappel and they were not trusting the rock (since it was sandstone).

[To rappel without bolt, you need to set up a piece of rope on a rock as fixed point to put it through the main rope in order to get down.

Since the hight of the route is longer than the rope you will need to get down in several times. So you need to be sure that you are in a good spot where the rope will not get stucked ]

--> There was a lot of small pieces of rock that were not reliable and also a obstacle for the rope to get down.

Shame I didn't have anything to take pictures because sunset was beautiful from up there!

I could feel their was a tension with them and the rest of the group, probably existing from others experiences. They didn't want to pay attention to the recommendations of their friends. They were doing the climb, so the decision is their !

So we decided to reach the top quickly and once there wait for the moon to show up to have a "good light" to go down hiking. It was full moon a few days ago so it should be alright !

It seemed to me doable since we were maybe at one or two pitches from the top. They seemed so relaxed and have both 50 years experience in climbing that I was not feeling worried at all about reaching our objective ! 😎

We did one pitch and then where looking for the next one that was supposed to be the last one. It was not very clear if we had to go left or right around a big rock. The night was starting and we where still climbing with one head lamp for three. At some point it started to be really hard to see anything and we could not see far enough to decide which was the good direction. So we took a break to wait for the moon. We waited quite some time and still no moon ...

So we took the decision to find a good spot to spend the night. We went just a little bit before where we had seen a place that was flat and big enough. Their were some little bushes that we smashed to make a soft and cosy place to sleep. We had almost no water, just a few nuts, dried fruits left and a biscuit that tasted like the best ever ! Last meal was breakfast and we had no camping material but the team mood was still good, we were making jokes and laughing. I decided to sleep with my harness tided up to the rope, since I know I'm a deep sleeper. The two others slept without 😁🌛

Picture taken at night when the moon was full, we could see at more than 10 meters away!

It was a very cold night but I could fall asleep and get some rest.🥶 We got woken up by some rain, so we went all to a corner to protect the rope and the gears to prevent them to get wet. Luckily it was a small rain !

As The day started slowly to start, We were trying to stay warm in the meantime. We started to do some warm up and talking about the strategy of the day. We knew the forecast was announcing heavy rain for the afternoon, so we had to be careful to not get caught in the bad weather.

Here we are going back to the same point where we were stucked yesterday. Richard was looking for differents options, went up and then down right, and then Left to finally find a way ! You had to commit to the moves but it was doable. We passed this part and were finally able to see if we were on the right way or not. What was in front of us looked like a way that was used before, they were evidence of people climbing there before. This was a good news !🙏

We kept going up and started to see on the top a specific rock described (it forms a bridge to go from a part of the mountain to the other, pretty impressive!) in the book that was confirming that we were reaching the top. The last part in The book was supposed to be very easy. What we had in front of us was not "really easy". That meant we were probably next to the route we were planning to do.

Anyway way, not the moment to get down, we could see far away that the weather was starting to get bad, it seemed that some heavy wind was coming to us! So Richard went looking for a way 🤠

We could see a car down the mountain, it seemed that it was our guide waiting for us ! We waved to tell that everything was fine

As we were waiting while Richard started opening the route, the wind and the sand were hitting us strongly. 🌪️🌫️

Then it started raining heavily! 🌧️🌬️He was not giving up and finally got to a safe point to belay us. So, I started climbing under the rain, it was not an easy part and wet was even harder. We finally got to Richard's spot. The rained stopped but the sand was still hitting with the wind. We could see the top from where we were. We kept going and finally arrived to the end ! We congratuleted ourself with the last sip of water we had 💪

I said : " well gentleman, thank you for this beautiful experience!"

They both smiled and answered " wait we are not down yet 🙂"

We took of our climbing shoes to put our hiking ones, rolled up the ropes and started looking for a way to the rock bridge. It was something like 12:30. Thanks to the previous rain we were able to collect some water along the rock to get some energy.

We saw some signs (piled of rock) so we followed them but they were leading nowhere... Richard started to be tired, since he leaded the whole way up ( means also pulling both ropes up all the time). Plus the hike implied some down climbing with the little piece of rocks that began to be weak with the rain (damn sandstone). So we ropped ourselves Alpine style. We kept looking for the way but the sign didn't seem to bring anywhere. We were not down yet!

Finally Nigel saw a bolt a bit down from us. It seemed that it was a way to go directly down to the bridge area. So we went to the bolt secured ourselves and he taught me how to go down in rappel 🧗

We arrived to the bridge (beautiful place by the way!), crossed and started going down looking for the trail. It was still not very evident but we were on the right way.

When suddenly we heard some voices ! We answered back and met two of the guides that were there looking for us. They welcomed us with some waters and dates. Then we follow them to the way down, they knew a short cut 🏞️

At the bottom, the whole guide team was there waiting for us with a little fyer, a falafel pitta and some tea. They literally took me and putted me next to the fyer and made me ate the pitta. 🥙

I felt so happy to be there surrounded by this bédouins handing me food and drinks 🙂

On the other side, two friends of the British group were there. It didn't go well between them and Richard and Nigel. They were worried and angry at them, while for the duo everything was under control and no reason to get worry. I understood both perspectives but could feel the tensions of the situation inside of their group.

When we got to the camp we went to shower and having a good nap ! At the dinner I ate the equivalent of three people's dinner 😅

Later on I heard that the guides came three times to the top of the mountain during the day looking for us and that my boss and a co worker as well!

I started to understand better the mood that was at the camp during our absence... From our perspective everything was fine and under control, we thought they understood we were taking the choice of finishing and exiting by the top. But it seemed they didn't experienced it the same way!

To be honest, I never felt the panic or the danger during our journey. They seemed so relaxed that I felt we were in control of the situation. It's true that in a way we were trapped by the mountain but in a strange way I think I never felt that free of my life !

For me it was a good lesson of the strongness of the mountain and the elements but also how you have to react in this imprévisible situation. Always stayed calm and focus on your objective!

It's amazing what your body allows you to do, with the little amount of food and water we were still in good condition!

It was the a good context to learn trad climbing, mountain skills, spirit of emergency but without a real risk. People knew we where there, the way down was a hike, nobody was injured and we were having a good time 🤠

The following morning, Nigel showed me the book : we apparently ended up on an alternative route that was harder, with (quoting the book) " belay points are almost none existent". We tried to match with an other book and figured out that our route was most likely 400 meters high. The book was old and not accurate, this was maybe our biggest mistake !

In the end my two teammates defined more this Ascension as alpinism than climbing. Anyway, I've learned a lot in 30hours 🙏

After that they left for a other camping site. I thanked them for the experience, we shoked hands and hope to meet for a other climb 😎

The following day, it was very bad weather, so I spend my day resting and processing all the emotions. My body was so tired, I slept so much ! At night Mousa offered me a glass of camel milk to get better 😁

Publié le 27 mars 2020

The days past and it has been now a while that I'm in the camp. The government has officially closed the country in and out, so the reality of the coronna virus has come to us!

Now, there is officially no work anymore in the camp since no tourist will be coming anymore. Most of the tourist took the last flight to go back home but I'm staying where I am!

The camp is a nice place to live, it's in a beautiful environment and very quiet. But the desert is not always an easy place to live, the weather ( as I learned in the mountains) can be very mean...

Here is the work team :

Salaman, the owner and boss of the place. He is a nice man and good with us. His family lives in this place for ever. He is the cliché you could think of, drinking tea and smoking narjile all day long 😁

Abdullah is the manager of the camp and the cook. He's from Egypt and work here all the year to support his family back home. He's a serious man who seems concern all the time but a hard worker.

Qays and Khaled are the builders of the camp. They build all the rooms and the infrastructure of the camp. They are both from Jordan and live in Amman but come here to work few months.

There are also two drivers Abu shabab and Mohammed that I don't see oftenly since there is no more work for them.

Qays wainting for us to eat

And the best for the end : Mousa from Soudan! He is responsible of the camels. He also lives here to support his family back home. He is the good vibes of the team. When he's not taking care of the animals he is smoking narjile and drinking tea 😅

This context of national blocus seems to sound like the beginning of holidays here !

Everybody is chilling and our days are mostly resting and eating together.

Everything was going well, until they announced the national quarantine ! Everybody has to stay at home for the next two weeks. Police and army will be guarding the entry of the cities. You should not move except for emergency!

When they announced that, Qays and Khaled left for Amman. The mood of the camp started to change a bit, people understood that it was not going to be only about holidays...

Luckily for me Salaman said I could stay here for free. He's not even asking me to do any work in exchange, really nice of him! I called the embassy to communicate that I was staying there. The police came to register me as foreigner staying in the area. Here I am, stucked for at least two weeks !

Could be worst, I won't complain ! 😎

I spend my days at a very relax rythmin. Still doing Yoga, meditation, reading, studying and sleeping well 🙏

One day, Moussa took me with him to take the camel for a walk and eating in a nice spot.

Salaman joined us later and I became kind of his personal photographer 😅

It was nice to go a bit away from the camp and see something else.

When we came back, they announced total blocus of the country for a few days. All the shops will be closed, no one moves from his house. If the police catch you, they can put you in jail for one year. So better not mess with them ! 😯

The next day I went to the village before the blocus started. I could feel the tensions, people were wearing masks. They were afraid when they were seeing me ( stranger = corona), when I was walking I could here whispering "corona". What a strange feeling !

I cooked a nice meal and made a fyer for the one year of my Grandpa's death. Mousa joined me for this little ceremony to support me 🙏

The day after it was my birthday but didn't really feel like celebrate plus the weather started to be really cold. Wich is very unusual, in general my birthday is always a sunny day.

The day after I decided to fast to take a day to focus on thinking and start the year on a new spirit!

The mood it the camp started to be a bit rough ! Abdullah is never in a good mood and it's not always easy to live since we are only three. I understand his concerns but I m not responsible for it..

Luckily Moussa is still in a good mood and we get along pretty well.

The objective of the days with him is to be relax! At night We drink tea, smoke narjile together and practice English/Arabic 😎

Let's hope the situation will get better ! At the moment I have no idea where I will be in the next week and how the country will be dealing with this crisis?

In the meantime, I m staying positive and trying to take this problematic situation as an opportunity to use my time smartly !

I'm getting a lot of feedback from back home and it doesn't look easy over there neither. So I wish everyone to stay strong and safe in those stranges days 💪🙏

Publié le 1er avril 2020

Well here some news from the desert:

Life is very slow here😎

The following days (I'm not going to lie) were pretty shity.... Abdullah's mood was getting worst and worst. He was barely talking to us and he had totally closed himself. You could tell from his face and body language!

I really didn't like this ambiance, Plus he always had a comment on Mousa's way of doing things. So I could not understand all the words but I could see that they were arguing. Apparently he wanted to leave the camp to go live in the village.

One day I decided to clean the kitchen ( wich was extremely dirty) to do something nice for the group. So here I am ordering, cleaning everything ! When Abdullah saw it, not even a "thank you", he just started moving some stuff back and mumbling some stuff... Unbelievable!

I even understood later on talking with Moussa that when Salaman saw the kitchen, Abdullah claimed he did it.

So when he realized that Moussa started to be angry with Abdullah because he was misbehaving with me. He told me don't worry I ll talk to Salaman!

I really wanted to avoid conflicts and tensions and here I'm stuck in it.

I don't really speak the language so I don't get everything that is going on. I cannot really express a opinion. Hard exercise for myself! Sometimes I feel a bit isolated because not able to communicate properly.

Like that in a few days, this paradise became a jail ! I thought that for sure the lockdown would be longer than expected. I would become crazy before the end...

One day, Mousa was out of the camp working with the camels. I decided to talk to Abdullah ( in Arabic) let's try to be smooth and smart.

I told him that "I want to speak to him from my heart. That I understand that those are hard time for everyone and that I don't know what are his situation at home. But if we are going to get stuck here , we might as well make a effort to be sweet and polite to each other."

He did not take it well, he claimed that it was not making sense and he did not do anything wrong. That he always has been a quite man and his mood has not changed. Then the conversation started to go non sense because he was talking so fast in Arabic that I would not understand anything. On my side, because I wanted to answer back I started talking in English. Completely crazy 😅 I finished saying, ok I doesn't matter, at least I tried. We went each one on our side.

I was about to regret having tried talking to him. I told the story to Moussa and he was just about to give up on him. I fought let's give him the time and be the bigger man. After all we are playing our mood life for the next weeks coming!

Then, he slowly digested it on his own rythmin and started to be more polite and even nicer with us !

The mood started to be more relax again and just like that we got back to a nicer environment. I was really happy for the effort and release this worked out 🙏

That doesn't mean his behaviour is perfect now, but you can not expect people to be like you wish. Plus sometimes looking the other and their way of doing, reminds you who you might be. It is kind of looking in a mirror and see what you want to see 😉 ( I mean that I might have been Abdullah in an other group, other context).

My mood was getting better again and the days started to get warmer, so I have more energy !

I thought ok, if the mood is getting better, how can I improve my time here, since I'm going to be stucked for a while?

I realized that I gained some "weight", to much bread in Palestine 😅! So I started adding to my routine some work out to keep in shape 💪

But that is not enough, I looked at my hand and I saw my climbing skin starting to leave. I thought I should do something about it! I wanted to train but the mountain experience let me a taste of danger and I do not trust this sandstone. I felt frustrated to be surrounded by mountain and not able to train...

One day I decided to have a walk and looked more carefully for a spot. Just at 5 min from the camp I found a perfect bouldering spot! I checked every looserock on the route. I m now able to train every day 😁

This little episode made me realize that I was so bummed by the bad mood the previous days that I didn't even think about opening my eyes and check around me.

This lead me to a other simple realization :

I m actually in the desert in a beautiful place surrounded by nature, the only noise are the sounds of the wind and the birds. I'm leaving with people that only speak Arabic. I have a space to train yoga and working out. I got all the time to study Arabic, doing meditation and read. I have a room for free and I don't even have to cook. Plus now I found a spot to climb just next to me!

Wait, that is exactly what I could wish for during my travel 😂 How could I not see it before ??! Obviously I realized before some of the good side, (that were the reasons I came here) but I never looked at the whole picture.

It's only after passing the frustration of beeing stuck ( I did not choose to stay here) and getting over the abdullah's situation that it just hited me : This is the perfect retreat-spot for me ! 😎

And just like that this hell turned into a paradise!

Life here is sometimes crazy, I don't really know how to describe it. The rythmin is so slow, nothing is happening around us. Sometime I don't even see a car or a other person during a whole day!

It is so big and so empty at the same time. You could try to picture this classic Western scene where you just see a man sitting on chair, the wind blowing, a bush passing and no noise at all.

Well, this in Jordan with a Soudanni smoking narjile and an Egyptian napping all day. So not quite the typical Western.

I could say there is a bit of the Belgian touch, in a surrealistic movie where some randoms characters are on an adventure where nothing particular is really happening 😉

Since I have almost no access to Internet and that my conversations are limited by my level of Arabic and Moussa's patience. I m a bit isolated in my mind, so here some thoughts to share :

Sometimes I think : when we are working we are complaining to not have enough free time. When we have a lot of free time we complain and not knowing what to do with it.

We are very used to enjoy freetime by opposition to work. But when you take out the work, the balance is not there anymore.

I look around me and tell to myself :

In a way it is not easy to do nothing and stay positive ! Reading, watching TV or talking doesn't count. Really doing nothing ! Specially if you didn't chose it...

Really enjoying the present moment for what it is and not because we are satisfied to take a rest after making any kind of effort. It's Something really hard to deconstruct from our education " l'éloge de l'oisiveté".

I'm someone that loves having freetime to think or taking the time to do things slowly. This always go with a balance with the fact that I'm someone active that like to get things done. Here I have to look differently at my day.

I knew already I was looking for this balance. Before leaving I was to busy, always something to do! Now I am seeing the other side. I hope I will find the balance when I will be back home 🙂🙏

Except the news that I get sometimes on my WhatsApp and what I try to understand from my colleagues, I don't really know how the world is doing ?

I use to read a lot the newspapers and felt really interested by the news. Little by little I started reading less and less the newspaper. Until reaching a point before my trip where I got disconected by most of the Media. I could not really explained how and why it happened. At first I tried to fight it because it felt weird. Then I got use to it and my life was not worst. Maybe better ?

I still got some news by talking with friends and family, watching documentary and when a subject really interested me I would look it up. I haven't found the right balance yet about getting informed.

For sure to much small news is pointless less and stressful. On the other hand, I'm thinking I should know about some important things that are happening around me ! Why? to have a opinion, being able to have a conversation ? I'm thinking until Wich point it is really making a difference ?

What is the point for me to digest so many information ? Recently it made way more sense to read a book than the newspaper

Now with the corona virus, the question comes back more than ever !

I don't want to spend my day reading about it (even if I had internet) it doesn't make any difference and I will just end up anxious!

But again, being in the bubble where I am and enjoying life, when I know that so many people are struggling. That the world is facing a general crisis without being sure which will be the end is a very strange feeling. Almost as is I was selfish not wanting to know !

I still think there is a balance to find, digesting to many information is not good for the mind. I think there are a lot more of valuables thinks to read in your dayly life. If nobody told me about corona virus it would took me a long time before I read about it!

On my side, one of my biggest challenge on my reality scale is : food!

We don't have a fridge so nothing really fresh, cheese or whatever.

All the stores were closed for a while. We had to back up bread for few days.

I'm not worried about quantity, we have a good stock of rice and beans!

We naturally went down to two real meals a day.

The highlight of the meals is when we have a tomato or cucumber on the side😂

Now then opened again the stores ones in a while just for a few hours but they are very limited on products. So we are just happy to get some onions, garlic and a few tomatoes.

Sometimes Salaman comes with a chicken and I think even if I was still vegetarian I would eat it 😉 !

I'm not complaining, some people in the country have a really hard time accessing food. For the first time of my life (during the total lockdown) I went to check the kitchen, looked at the food storage and thought : " how long can we live with this ?"

Well the answer is long enough to be safe! 🍲🍴🤸 Strange feeling that I never experienced outside of hiking.

Richard send me some of the pictures of the climb. I forgot to tell that the British accent during this adventure was just delightful ! 😎

Well I think that will be it so far for the "sharing thoughts".

They just announced two more weeks of lockdown but I'm not surprised. Looking at Belgium, I guess they will add some more time soon!

I hope you are all doing alright and staying positive ! ✌️

The wind was so strong at night that it opened my room's door. So I got woke up by the sunset at 5 am 😅
Publié le 19 avril 2020

It has been now more than a month that I m here in the desert. The days are still slow but in a way time goes on fast!

I still enjoy the life here, when I think about it this stop makes a lot of sense for me considering what I was looking for during my trip.

The hard part is the impossibility of choosing. I try to accept the fact that I don't know how long I will be here and not knowing if it will be possible to keep traveling this year.

I have no impact on the situation and no other options, so accepting the situation as it is, is my only option.

It's a good exercise that applies to the "classical" life problems. Here a nice sentence about it, coming from the book I'm reading at the moment.

"A chaque jour sa peine - à chaque lieu. Nous nous habituons à éprouver de l'inquiétude au sujet d'événements lointains, au sujet desquels nous ne pouvons faire nul bien, et nous croyons qu'une telle inquiétude est un signe de notre sensibilité et de notre compassion".

I keep my days busy as I was doing lately. My life is healthy here and I cannot complain. I read a lot, wich is very nice. I'm pretty disconnected from the technological word. I keep doing a lot of physical exercises. I have build myself a day to day routine very positive!

The other day I found out that there was a snowboard in the camp. So I even got the chance to try sandsurfing 😎

lately I've been keeping thinking about "time": how we always want more, how we decide to use it, how our perception of it change depending our context, etc.

One thing that I ve been stricked with here is : The need of structure !

It's been a while (in my past trip) that I v noticed how we usually develop little habits in our life. It can often be positive things that will improve your day to day. For example : stretching every day during this trip.

Here in the camp, it was a different evolution. When I understood that I was going to be here for a while, I automatically started building my self a structure of each day with my different activities. As the time passed, the routine became more and more organized and fluide. I have the chance here to be able to do the things without rush and with time in between to chill.

I pretty much do the same pattern every day with some little variation (maybe one afternoon instead of climbing I go running) that can happen but still part of the big structure.

Funny how It goes up to where you put the things, where you like to sit etc.

When I looked at my colleagues here, at the beginning it was like holiday. But soon they needed a new structure to not be lost. They both pray every day so that gives a rythmin to their day but outside of this there is cooking/eating, drinking tea and using their phone.

So step by step I watched them building their pattern, where they drink the tea morning, then will sit there but not the same place in the afternoon etc. Very interesting to look at the results : one started to fall in total depression and the other totally fine!

On my side, I realized that I'm good at building my structure (with challenge or goals) to stay strong in my body and my mind. But I have a very hard time to go out of this structure without having the impression of "failing my day ". So I reached a point to have my day off : where I do none of the things I do the rest of the week. It works pretty well 😅

I also work on the aspect of relativity, it's good to have goals to move forward, a structure to be balanced but being able to move out of it without negativity is a nice challenge for me.

I read a interesting sentence about it : " Le bonheur ne s'obtient pas par la poursuite consciente du bonheur, il est généralement le sous produit d'autres activités".

I remember when we were working as a team on the dak projet. We wanted to be our own chief within a horizontality between us. It worked for a while but when we reached the pick of stress and tiredness. The team didn't want to have to think what to do but just wanted someone telling them what to do so they could focus on those goals.

I see kind of an analogy here between those two contexts. We most of the time want to break free from all the structure we are imposed. But beeing on his own require skills and mental strength.

Structure, Interesting how humans hate it and need it at the same time!

I keep being amazed every day by the different sunset!

One day, when they announced that the country would be locked down one more month. I made the count and realized it was already the end of my Visa !

I schearched on the internet, trying to find some infos about the visas during the lockdown. Couldn't find anything... Except the usual regulation, that was saying that you might have a 1500jd (jd is stronger than euro) fine by day you overstated! I freaked out, thinking : "damn I m screwed, it has been already a few days"!

Normally you can apply for a longer Visa at the police office of Amman but right now everything is closed. Anyway it is not a option to go to the capital now.

So I decided to walk to the closest police station, wich is a 1h30 walk one way. After some approximative explanation (you see this mountain ? This one ? No that one. After you go right then left, then you ll see a road) I started my mission 🤠

I found the way without getting lost, but once I got on the road it was strange!

So far, I stayed at the camp because Salaman preferred avoiding troubles. I didn't realize that in the meantime people started to get scared. As a white person I represent the invisible enemy "the corona".

The cars were looking at me and making me signs like "what are you doing here?!", Some even gave me the fingers...

What a strange feeling, this place where you didn't even have to put the thumb up to hitchhike was now the total opposite!

So I walked until the police station. When I got there it looked like a movie. The roads were closed and guarded by police and military cars!

When they saw me arriving, one police walked in my direction. He asked me to stop where I was and we talked with a distance of a few meters between us.

I explained him my situation, he made a few calls and told me that all visas were pending at the moment and that I had nothing to do in the meantime.

So I walked back, released in a way that I didn't get any troubles!

On my back I stopped to eat a ice cream, since that was my only opportunity 😉

One car took me for a few minutes, they were nice but asked me my passport to prove that I was in the country for a long time (as I were telling them) so that I was not representing a risk of contamination.

Kept walking and arrived at the camp pretty tired from this little adventure but happy and released ✌️

This little experience made me realize that even if the countries in the area open their borders again, it is going to be really hard to travel for many reasons. It is probably the moment of our history when travelers represent some of the biggest actual danger!

I left home to experience diffents places, culture, full freedom and liberty of movement around the world. I ended up locked down in a country and categorized as "dangerous". Something Tell me that things really don't go as you planned them !

The next days, Salaman came with a present for the camp : two dogs to guard the place.


We will have to wait a bit before they will guard us 😅

I'm not a dog person but nobody can resist them, so cute!

There are days with it and some without, as always in life. Sometimes for no reason we wake up and don't feel on the top of our mood. Usually I find a technique to work my way out of it.

I started to be tired because many times I cooked Abdullah wouldn't touch the food as a little kid. Or he would enter in the kitchen while I'm cooking and asking questions about the menu worried or telling me how I have to do this and that.

At the beginning I didn't pay attention but at some point it started to hurts me somehow.

So to take some air and change of mood I went to run for an hour. Felt really good plus the landscapes are always amazing !

Problem is that, at the end of my run I started to feel my knee hurting. An Injury that I had back home and I thought was heeld and solved. As a stubborn person I kept running untill the camp, thinking it's just a mild pain.

Couldn't walk correctly for the next two days... 😅

Still didn't loose hope. I rest and did some special stretching. It got better, I hope it won't happen again 💪

One of the next days I was cooking, Abdullah entered and made some comments about the food. I thought I was in a good mood but, I just turned off the stove and told him, "do it yourself". He left the kitchen pissed off.

I kept cooking, then before eating I tried to have a conversation with him. Moussa interfered to cut the conversation thinking he was doing good but it just leaded to piss me off. After that, the mood was terrible.

We finally ate without talking and Abdullah didn't eat the food.

I tried again after eating to have a conversation. It didn't really work and Moussa stopped it again trying to make peace directly. Thinking that it was just better to let it go and keep living as normal. Well, I did not stay a long time around the fire that night.

What a hard exercise for me, I always prefer to put the problems on the table and talk about it. Here, it was impossible for many reasons. I went to bed very angry and sad. Thinking, this is gonna be an awful mood to live in...

The next day Mousa had to go work, he told not to worry and be chill and he will be back soon. So it was Abdullah and me at the camp. We didn't exchange a word except "good morning". Didn't eat together neither. I took the whole day to think about it and how to react in the best way ?

- I started thinking, why he was reacting like this ?

My first thought were that he was bored and depressed. Therefore, he was more easily in a mood of negativity and criticism.

Then I thought, cooking is his last mission and he doesn't like when I take "his place" ? Maybe but it didn't look like he always wanted to cook

- Then why it was hurting me so much ?

That's when it hitted me. Lately I'm trying to mediate every day, I'm reading on subjects related to it. So my thinking and my actions are very much pointed in the direction of doing good around me. But this case was complicated...

In general, I'm a person that try to bring harmony around me. I feel good when everyone is happy where I am. Wich is a good thing in general, I put a lot of energy into the group mood.

When it's not working, I'm one of the first or most affected (I hate conflicts). That's where it started to make sense.

If he doesn't want to make a effort or maybe he's already doing it (in his perspective) and I'm trying my best and it doesn't seem to work. I actually have to accept the fact that I don't have a power on the situation and that talking about feeling is not an option neither(or maybe later).

It seems that he can lives with the situation but not me ?

- And finally, what would be the proper way of being ?

So I can keep to be polite as I am, I can still be nice without making special efforts. But more than everything, I don't have to expect anything from him and not feel touched by his way of doing.

Looking at how Mousa deals with him, gave me a confirmation of direction.

So that is what I have been doing now ! Plus I think he saw now that he pushed too far (maybe without realizing it in the first place). I also stopped cooking (I was doing it to help but I m good without too).

Interesting case/lesson, in a way trying to have everyone happy around me is more egocentric/selfish than not caring too much !

I'm trying to keep my head up and my open to not fall into a bad spirit. 🙏

Geox : Breath as you can !

My Arabic starts to get better and I'm now able to express more things or little story. I still make a lot of mistakes, talk with my hands to explain the words I don't know, use some English words and as I do so well (in every language) invent some words 😅

When Abdullah and Moussa talk together I can pick up some words and the main topic but cannot follow the whole conversation.

It's a interesting exercise to be immerge that long in an environment where you don't understand most of what is happening. Sometimes it's hard, I feel like I'm stupid because unable to express my opinion. I tell myself, " thank God I'm learning Arabic, otherwise I would have been totally isolated from them".

On the other hand I have a lot of time to observe and think. It's almost a type of meditation retreat where you don't talk with people around you to focus on the most important.

Games with words

In French tong and language are the same word, I thought it was the same. I realized lately that it is not the case, I got it know why they were looking weirdly at me when I was speaking about languages!

But the word pepper is the same in English it men's the spice and the vegetable : filfil

The verbs to eat and to say are close at the first person baqol and baqūl. I realized last week that I completely mixed the déclinaison of each one. Again a few misunderstood have happened...

The same happened with the verbs "put' (bahutt) and "take" (baxōd).

I discovered the similitude of those while I was studying : "Search" (badawwir) and "find" (baDawwiع)

Sometimes one letter change a lot, from dog and heart there is one letter of difference !

Then you have some words that have funny similitude with other languages

- the ones they just adapted like : bas, tilifon, bantalon, chukula etc.

- the ones that clearly come from exchange at some point of the history :

Cat : gota (gato In Italian)

The white beans are "Fasulya" ( Faggioli in Italian)

Machina for a car (same as Italian) but apply for everything that has a motor : you can say "machina lihya" (beard), for the electric razors

Bicicletta or busuklet

Maybe with this one it is just a coincidence but he died in Arabic is huwwa māt ( similar to matar In spanish).

I learned the world electricity : " karhaba".

I remembered that in the movie Kirikou, the witch's name is karhaba. Her soldiers are strange little robots working with a magic energy.

If they chosed that name in purpose, there is maybe a meaning behind it ?

Now that I think about it, I would say that the witch represents the western world with the technology and the story shows the bad influence on the African continent.

The only thing is the end, Kirikou saved the witch from a spell she had. Then he sundenlly grew up as a man and they got married.

Africa has to break free the western world to get peace together?

Or it's just a criticism of the influence of the western world on African traditional way of living ?

(You must think : waw, lots of time to think about random things 😅 indeed!)

One time, I had the bad idea to ask a question about vocabulary and pronunciation when we were around the fire. This leaded to a one our discussion between Abdullah and Moussa about the differents Arabic dialects and fusha (classic Arabic). It seemed to be very touchy for both them, as if they were not real Arabs if they don't speak "properly". Plus one studied and the other not, so again sensitive matters.

At some point they were just repeating each one the same sounds : no it's "kah, no it's qah" !

Then they tried to take me as judge of the conversation 😅

I can say now, after a few days things got good again. I did what I say and it seems to work !

Plus, Moussa and Abdullah seem to be complaining about certain things Salaman did (I don't get everything) but it looks like that brought them closer. Somehow that helped the social balance between the three of us.

I hope things will just stay relax, as they announced lockdown until half of May!

As I said previously, I m actually pretty lucky to be here and I m grateful for it 🙏

I heard that they might slowly di-lockdown Belgium. I hope everything will be ok for you over there ♥️

Publié le 14 mai 2020

The rest of April kept going and the mood was good. I stopped cooking and let Abdellah doing his thing. We reached a point of peaceful respect, I doubt we will become best friend but we can live together now.

Life is still sweet here, I keep doing my things and try to enjoy life.

Moussa let the camels walking freely in a spot where there are bushes to eat. But after some time he couldn't find them anymore. He went many times to different spots but no signs of them...

So once, we went for a walk looking for them. We took the teapot with us and stop to drink some tea in the shadow. It was a nice afternoon and felt good to go a bit away from the camp.

It also gave me the opportunity to know better Mousa. I thought he has always been working with camels in Soudan and came to do the same in Jordan. Wich is part of the story but I got the rest of his path.

His family owned a camel farm since a long time, that is how he learned to work with them.

Back in the days he was russeling, he showed a video of a tournament where he won the fight. But his father didn't want him to continue in that direction.

Then, he used the money of the championship to get a job in the police forces.He was a police man for 8 years

After that he fought in the army during the war in Soudan for three years. He saw some horrible things there. He described scenes " where blood was going on the ground as if it was a river."

Tired of all this violence but motivated by the need of money he started looking for work abroad.

He worked in Chad, Libya, other places in Jordan, tried to enter illegally in Saudi Arabia

After he decided to go back to working with camels and enjoy a calmer a life. That's how he finally ended up here in the desert of Jordan.

Now I understand a bit more his life experience and the character. He's always in a good mood, sweet and carrying for others but his eyes are sad. I could tell he saw some hard things but I was far away to guess all of that!

To have water we have to go to the village where there is a purification station that pumps the water for the area.

So every two weeks we have to go get some for the camp. I joined once Moussa to help him with the job . To do so, we have to go with a very old citern-truck (maybe 50 years old) and full the tank.

It looks easy when you say it like that. Of course the engine is old, the battery dead and Salaman to steangy to buy a new one.

So it s a real adventure to drive this truck in the sand. I assisted him to change ( I should say " kick " ) the gears to 4 wheels drive at some strategic moments. it was like : " 1,2,3... now kick!" We also had to stop oftenly to change between the two batteries and turn on the engine again. We finally arrived to the spot. It's just a big pipe where your can freely fil up and go.

On the way back we stopped at his cousin's work he also works with camels here. In his case it's racing camels. Yes there is an arena here and they organize races every weeks as we do with horses!

We stopped to drop him some milk and fill up his water tank.

Of course the engine's truck wouldn't start again. So while we waited, we drank tea and cooked a meal.

They made a dough with flour and water and bake it in the ashes. It gave a type of bread very consistent ( the bread looks good and tasty). Then you break it in small pieces, mix with milk, add salt and olive oil and... Voilà !

The first time Moussa cooked me this I thought he was making me joke and trying to make me eat a random meal. But no it's a traditional dish in the area and they love it !

After a while, a friend came with his car to help us to start the engine again. We finally left and the motor broke down 5 min after. He came again.

We had to go back to the water point ( because of mistake they made while feeling the tank of his cousin). Of course the engine stopped at 5 meters of the water source...

We had to a wait for another truck to come to help us. On the way back we were praying that the truck wouldn't break down again. We finally got back to the camp with water. It took us whole afternoon 😂

If I had the feeling that time was slow, now it has literally stopped! Ramadan has started and the few people that are leaving in the are a being very calm during the day.

It also had a big impact on how the day go by, they are lying around most of the day (me too) and we don't really spend time together until the sun goes down.

Before we were eating together, drinking tea, sometimes going for a walk. So now I'm spending most of my day by myself.

Actually, I'm in a strange position during the day regarding the two others. Even though, Mousa told me straight ahead at the beginning of Ramadan : " don't worry for us, you do your thing. Eat, drink and take what you wish in the kitchen!".

But still, I try as much as I can to not eat or drink in front of them. Now it is too hot to eat in the kitchen that is under the sun.This lead me to find spots in the shadow not in front of them. It's a bit strange but I found my ways. Mousa even asked one day if I was eating ? Because at the beginning he never saw me 🙂

The dayly scenes were already a bit surrealistic but with Ramadan we ve reached a new level !

One day, I heard a noise from a truck close from the camp. Wich is normal since the others camp also go once in while for water supply. But it was very noisy, so I went to see what was going on.

When I arrived, a camel was passing by at this moment (as if he was coming to see what was going on also) and I could see that the truck was stucked in the sand. A car came to help them. First thing they did was all getting of the vehicles and pray. From my perspective the scene was very "décalé" 😀

The good side with Ramadan is that Salaman brought us more food and a chicken every day. So finished with foul period 🙂

Still, the Ultimate hope is to eat "real" meat and not chicken. For them chicken doesn't enter in the category of meat ( it's even in the vocabulary of the language, the word meat describes all the others animal but not really chicken). So is hear Mousa Evey day on the phone talking about "lahma" ( meat) !

The rythmin of Ramadan is nice for the night part, we stay until late drinking tea, eating and enjoying the weather.

I have to say when I look them during Ramadan : Respect, it's not easy at all!

Some days Mousa go working or he even went walking in the sun to go to the village. Even with water it would be hard with this heat. He is still smiling when he comes back!

I can see how it gives them a structure, we are not so use to it, and we don't always see religion and faith as a good thing in Europe. But I have no problem with people that practice on their own path and don't bother anyone.

I'm aware of all the bad consequences from religion in the history but believing in nationalism as a religion doesn't seem better when I look at Europe.

In the daylilife, on humuan scale it gives them a code of behaviour that is mostly about being kind and respectful with people around them.

I would even say that it gives them a confidence in life and destiny that makes them calmer. If you follow the basics of religion you may live a pretty "simple" and honest life.

Plus lately I have been in an environment without alcohol wich I found very healthy. I don't drink oftenly back home but I saw so many people going the wrong way with their drinking habits. It gets easely ugly, it doesn't bring the good side of people (nothing new here).

So here, It increases the chance to deal with healthy humans not trying to get by. You don't get to see the devil out of people that oftenly alcohol brings into light. Of course, there are people drinking in Jordan but not around me here.

Remember the little dogs ? Now the family got bigger !

We have cats that live around the camp and come to eat (they miaw untill we give them something) the rest of our meal. In the end, We started feeding them every day as they were part of the family.

One day we heard a noise and discovered that one of the cat had little kids!

So cute and very funny to look them growing up and discovering slowly the work surrounding them. They slowly explore the area and play all day.

Mousa convinced Salaman to get a new camel : a mother and her child. So now we can drink camel milk every day.

It's pretty tasty, I would say between cow and goat milk. We drink tea with camel milk. It's the Jordan version of the British tea 😅

I got to see also how he takes the milk. It's a good opportunity to realize what it truely means. During the day the mother wears something that blocks the kid to drink. At night we come, take the milk and then let the kid drink after us.

I knew already what you have to do to be able to get milk, but to see it makes you realize in an other way. I'm not even talking about the horrible practice of the milk industry!

The camp is soon going to be a shelter for animals ! Anyway It's brings a nice energy to have animals around us.


I slow down a bit my rythmin too during the day. I was doing much more physical activities at the beginning of my stay. I focused lately more on reading.

Plus the hot season started to kick and it can get very hot during the day. It's not possible to do anything from 11h to 17h! I'm staying in the shadow whole day. You can't be in the sun or inside, it's to damn hot 🙂

Still I don't really understand the weather here. I thought once it's hot, It's like this all the time. But no !

There have been some days where the sun is there but with a lot of wind suddenly coming. So the air is full of sand. You can not be comfy outside or inside. We had a few days were it got cold in the evening and at night.

This last week it seems that the hot season has really started! It's hot day and night. 🌪️☀️⛅

My climbing shoes are dead ! At the beginning I was climbing every day and sand stone is really aggressive. I knew this day would come, it's normal when you are climbing on the rock. Normally, I could be able to fix them in a shop but my only option is in Amman. I tried with all the means I have here (silicone, pvc glue) but nothing stay more than 10 minutes...So now I still go climbing a bit with my hiking shoes but it's not the same. That was a bit frustrating at the beginning.

I had the dilmena to climb or not until my shoes are completely destroyed. Thinking it's just material and I had them for this purpose. I hesitate a lot, in the end I thought I can still save them if I stop now and fix them later.

Took me a while to arrive to this simple conclusion. It's impressive how we get attached to objects and how they can represent something symbolic to us.

If I had to describe the group with actors I would say : Belmondo, Louis de Funès and Bourvil.

Abdellah is a grumpy version of Belmondo, Salaman is Louis de Funès and Mousa is Bourvil.

When they are all together it's the Jordan versions of "la grande vadrouille".

Kind of a "vaudeville" act between them. Talking about each other. Salaman did that, said that blabla blablabla. Abdellah is this is that etc.

Then when Salaman comes at the camp it is all the salamalek. He wants to sit there, then not finally there. And so on 😂

I stay out of it, I fixed my problem with Abdellah, get along well with Mousa and Salaman he's hosting me for free. So I have nothing to say even though I understand what can be hard to take from his behaviour regarding the workers.

Somehow, Mousa and Abdellah found a balance in their common insatisfaction with Salaman. Talking about that brought them together.

Strange how hate can be a motor for "love" ?

Now Issa the cousin of Moussa (the one that made the dish with the bread and the milk) quit his job because his boss didn't want to pay him. So he came to live with us in the meantime he will find work. With corona virus and Ramadan there is this solidarity between people that is nice to see. Salaman welcomed him within no questions!

He is a small man, from far away he looks like a kid but when you look closer you see an adult with the body of a teenager. His face (and the scares on it) also tells that he lived some serious things in his life. He has a serious look but he is sweet and respectful.

When he talked to me about his work and mentioned that also works with horses, I could see stars in his eyes. I get to know him slowly.

So let's make the math, if one comes there is one that will leave.

Indeed, it was a bit complicated between Salaman and Abdellah lately. He's unhappy here but stays because he can eat for free. They talked a few times about the idea for him to go live some places else (he s renting a room in the village with other Egyptians workers). So one day , Salaman came and "suggested" him to go to this house. He agreed.

I was surprised when he told goodbye he was very nice and polite. I was not expecting that from him.

So now it is me and the two Soudannis !

Sometimes I feel like I will never be able to speak fluently Arabic. For sure I have made some progress.

Oftenly, when we improve a situation we are tempt to consider the level that we passed as granted. We forget quickly where we coming from a previous state inferior. This applies in life in general, when a situation improves, we look forward and only think of what we should reach or get.

(I read that about social progress in western Europe. Once we got a new law or right, it becomes in the mind of everybody as if it was always like that.) It made a lot of sense for different life's aspects. It pushes us forward but we shall not forget were we coming from !

Nevertheless, at night around the fire, I always listen to the conversation between them and try to understand as much as I can. Sometimes I m completely lost, sometimes I pick up words and sentences that allows me to get the subject.

Then just like that, there are times I realized I got most of the story and can even comment something!

Now with the Soudanni, I don't get anything when they speak together ! Barely some words and I could even doubt that they are speaking Arabic sometimes ! 😂 They truely have an african accent. When Abdellah and Mousa were talking together They were adapting their language as we would do if we speak French with some people from Congo or Quebec.

When I think about it, in English and Spanish I have a level that allows me to express myself in many situations and have a conversation about a lot of topics. But when I m surrounded by native speakers with differents accent talking about things or people I don't know I can easily get lost.

Well, a Soudanni and a Egyptian talking together is quite a hard exercise 😀

Not loosing hope ! I'm curious to see what will be my level when I get back to the city.

When we talk a bit about the actual situation :

They are thinking : work - money - food

I'm thinking : travel - freedom - adventure

We always understand the situation from our perspective, even if we try to truely put ourselves in the situation of the other. We never really understand his perception of his life.

I m tempted to say that Humans are a strange creature and as all the animals pretty egocentric?

It's just a detail but I realized that when they are talking on the phone and They say who's here with them, they referred to me as Ismael the "foreigner". None of them are from Jordan but they all come from this part of the world, share a language and a religion. Beeing different made me the foreigner even though they are also. Nothing bad about it, just interesting to notice. 🙂

I was thinking the other day about my situation. A lot of my friends and family asked me if I was not becoming crazy here and why I was not coming back home?

It's true that I experienced the limits of loneliness considering that I don't speak the language, have a really a limited access to the outside world (internet and physically speaking) and we are only four people. But I somehow enjoy the calm and my peaceful time here.

Plus my situation in Belgium won't be really better. Of course I would be happy to see my family and friends!

I won't be able to travel around the world like I wanted at the beginning but I can still live an experience and learn. As I learned with the "boat situation" things don't always go the way you planned or wished but it doesn't mean that something good cannot come out of it ? Hopefully, I will soon be able to travel inside of the country!

My guts tells me to stay here and see what the Destiny has for me in the future.

Plus I came to experience a different life away from my comfort zone, discovering new places and living unsual situations with people I m not used to be with (and not "tourists").

Being here in this context without knowing what will happen is kind of a challenge. I think I will be able to remember the patience I needed here to apply it in others life situations!

I believe that when you travel you have to learn to react in a lot of new situations, away from everything you know. This teaches a lot about life and somehow makes you "stronger" when you get back home.

At the beginning of my travel, I had so many options and kind of a " plan ". Now I truely have no idea of what will happen, I m so far away from my comfort zone and I'm learning every day.

Living in incertitude with people that are not tourist is a real adventure from my perspective.

Some nighs we were sleeping outside with Mousa when the weather was good. Falling asleep looking at the stars is the best!

Lately the night is the best moment of the whole day.

You know when it's really hot during the day, the moment where the sun goes down, there is this little brease that starts. The air is still warn but this little "wind" makes the weather sweet, just perfect to be outside!

This last week I saw falling stars every night 🙃🌠

I think I have said it already to different people but it is worth saving it again : thank you so much for this very useful gift !

I read already about 7 to 8 books since I'm here 😅

Here is a text that Nigel (English climber) send me, he wrote for the newspaper of their climbing club. I found interesting to read the experience from someone else :

The Dilemma

To climb [on] or not to climb [i.e. abseil],

That is the question.

You have just finished your fifth pitch and are a bit over two hundred meters up what according to the guide book is a three hundred meter route. However, looking up at the head wall this is hard to believe even allowing for some foreshortening as the route so far has been predominantly slabby, steep slabs with short walls. This perception is reinforced by shouts from two friends, now watching from the sand dunes below, that it looks as though you are only half way up. Anyway it is a relief to have for the first time a decent sized ledge with a huge boulder for the first bomb-proof belay. A chance to have a handful of nuts and raisins, a drink and assess the situation. It is already mid-afternoon, darkness falls sharply shortly after six in these latitudes and the last couple of pitches were a bit longer and trickier which, together with the heat, rope drag, anno domini and that this is a party of three, have all contributed to slow the progress. The book time is two and a half hours but as a rope of three it had already taken at least four.   First instinct, it’s time to ab. off?

Let’s back track a bit. It was not an early start (you could rightly query the competence of this). The drive south from the camp in the desert took longer than anticipated and it had taken at least another hour to walk from the drop off spot, locate the start and get established on the route. The rest of the group are going up the long, complex, scrambly ridge above with the help of a local guide then hoping to do a shorter route on the same face further down the ridge. The ridge is the planned descent. The weather is fine, perhaps a bit too hot in the middle of the day, and rain for three days is not forecast till the following evening. Today was probably going to be the only chance of a climb! The rock is sandstone sculpted by the desert winds; not a familiar environment.

Back on the ledge you are at first taken aback by the firmness of the lead climber that abseiling is not a good idea. Together the three of you quickly review the pros and cons. The belays and runners have been dubious often requiring backing up to give the confidence for a trickier move. The sandstone is often soft so that even a well-placed nut or friend was still worrisome. Three, probably four abseils would be required and there had been no signs of good stances, threads or bosses. There had been plenty of small regosities, in this case projections of the softer rock capped with a harder layer. These had made runners of sorts but some had partly crumbled or snapped underfoot. They would also present ideal opportunities for the rope to snag round when being pulled down, particularly in these off vertical conditions. Reclimbing or prusicking back up to sort out in difficult conditions (possible darkness in this case) is never a prospect to relish! Perhaps a lesser consideration is that your new young friend, though he has proved to be an excellent climber and unphased by the situation, has only climbed before on bolts and never done more than the occasional single abseil. This was clearly going to take some time and involve some risk but presumably your friends would watch and wait and the vehicle headlights might help if darkness fell.

How about the alternative of climbing on? The terrain ahead looks much steeper and daunting but a study of the topo photo on the camera indicates that from now on there are grade 3 alternatives to any harder pitches, initially to the right. Perhaps there is easier ground out of site behind the rib to the right? There must be at least two long, more likely three, pitches to climb. Route finding does not look as though it is going to be straight forward but at least grade 3 should be climbable in the gathering twilight and importantly there should be plenty of gear placements which, even if a bit dubious, would give a greater sense of security. It is also a couple of days passed the full moon and so in due course this might help. However a benightment, hopefully after reaching the ridge, seems inevitable. It will be a cold bivi as you only have light weight gear but it may be possible to find the way down the ridge by moonlight or at dawn. You know from the topo that there is a short pitch of 3 to descend by a huge rock arch but the guides have told you there is a fixed rope in place to assist. You are acutely conscious that this option will likely ruin your friends plans for the following day and hugely inconvenience your host who are fixing and arranging your stay. This now reinforced by cries from the friends below, now joined by the others, to “COME DOWN”.

So what to do? You probably have less time to discuss and come to a decision than it has taken to read this. Also not all the influencing factors might occur to you in the heat of moment. However, I have tried not to introduce anything with the benefit of hindsight but it should be clear that no such detailed discussion could have taken place but rest assured that even if unspoken all this was racing through our minds. Neither option seemed attractive to us and you will have to wait for the full journal article to discover which we chose and how it panned out. At least you know that I am here to write this and none of us will ever know how the alternative would have played. Send your decision to [email protected] with your choice of critical factors. Please indicate if you are happy for me to use and if so if you wish to be anonymous!

I met again the guide that came to help us when we were going down from the mountain. He gave the picture from that happy moment 🙂

It's been more than two months now that I'm in the desert!

Time flies so fast. You always hear it from older people when you are a kid but you cannot truely understand it. It's like the fire, you have to burn at least once to feel it and get it !

I heard Belgium is starting slowly to de-lockdown, happy for you, hope it will be fine !

We should follow soon behind you if everything goes well. Like they say here : " boukra inshallah" ! Wich means tomorrow if God wants. It's THE answer they give when you when ? It can be a day or a year 😅

Peace and love ☮️

Publié le 5 juin 2020

I decided to join them for the last week of Ramadan. On one hand it started to be so hot that I was not able to do Sport or anything else and on the other hand, I felt it could be nice to experience the last days all together.

I think I really made the right call, it made them happy that I did the effort. Plus it was nice to prove myself I could do it.

The rythmin of Ramadan is cool, last week we would eat a small meal first and then later on cook a chicken on the fire 🙂

I liked the privation to rethink the chance you have. Everyday I would go for a walk with the dogs for the last hour before the sunset. So I wouldn't focus on the feeling of hunger and I would finish the day with a beautiful sunset. It was my double reminder of the beauty that was around me ☀️

Here a few different picture of different days

At the end, Moussa told me he was really pleased by my participation at Ramadan. He said: "you don't have the same religion and you have been open mind. I'm really happy!"

This week really helped me to reset and find some new strength. It helped me also to be realistic and listen what were my needs and limits about this whole desert experience.

I started to feel that I ve reached my limit here in the desert. If I listened to myself and if it was possible I would have left by now the camp. I really enjoyed my time here, there has been some really beautiful times, some hard moments also and I'm grateful for the experience I had here. I thought if I want to keep a good memory from it I should leave very soon.

Then the signs came by themselves to confirm this feeling. In a few days I saw different elements that gave me a hint :

First, I saw a scorpion in the kitchen's sink.

Then, One night I heard some horrible sounds. The morning when I woke up I heard the bad news : the camel (that was giving us milk) died during the night. The screaming was the baby crying after his mother. I think I never heard such a sad sound in my life.

There were no explanation for the death. They dropped the body in the middle of the dunes and the baby has been send to a other farm.

Two days after that, I was in the kitchen washing up the dishes. Suddenly I saw something moving in the angle of my peripheric vision : a huge white spider ! It went hide itself where all the pans were ordered.

(I saw in my life some really big and dangerous spiders (California, Australia, Costa Rica) but this one was the biggest I ever saw. Except when I saw a tarantula in the desert in Australia I never felt this frightening fear. I had a real feeling of deadly danger).

I thought I cannot leave it there we will never feel safe in this kitchen. So I started taking pans by pans out of the cupboard and check if it was there. I could hear "tic tic tic" it was ticking on the metal of the pans. Of course it was hidden behind the last one. At the moment I've reached it, it started running around, I chased it until smashing it with a broom. It felt really strong and resistant, horrible feeling...

I left it there to show it in the morning to Moussa. He told me that with this one if you get bitten it's not even worth to go to the hospital ... My gut feeling was right !

After that I started to feel a bit scared of sleeping outside, every insects that I would feel close to me would remind me this deadly spider. I never have been that scared of spider in my life. I think it is a mix of seeing it hidden in "our safe" place (the kitchen) and my level of tiredness to be in the desert.

Looking small on the picture but I swear it was HUGE!!

Anyway those events confirmed that I have done my time here!

I started to try to collect a maximum of information from people. But it was very hard, on one side nobody seemed to really know what was going on : bus, no bus, authorization etc. On the other side I had a limited access to internet, the few foreigners I knew in Jordan didn't seem to know more about it.

Moussa had to go one day to a city named "Maan" to do some banking stuff. I was thinking to join him to go to an other city a bit closer called "Aqaba".

He advised me to wait to join one of those days a car that would go since he was not sure they were buses and he might need to hitchhike.

He came back very late because he had to hitchhike way and back. (It would have been complicated with me since people are still afraid of foreigner in the area.)

The good news was that one of the worker from the camp arrives that day from Amman. He told that he took a bus (from the only company that do Aqaba-amman) with a permit. So there was a way to go to the capital !

Moussa told me that Salaman (the boss of our camp) was planning to go soon to Aqaba. If not I was pretty sure one of his cousin's would go soon. It's the closest city, I knew they go oftenly for differents reasons.

My plan was to go there, renew my Visa to be legally in the country and collect the informations to understand when it will be possible to go to Amman.

The next days I talked to Salaman, explaining him that I need to go to Aqaba and that It would be nice if I could join him next time he's going. When I said that his face's expression closed and he answered me that he never go to Aqaba and I should go with the bus...

5 mins after he was really nice to me again, and he asked me to help him to understand something with his booking app....

At that point I understood he was not willing to help me and even lying to me. I thought a bit about it that evening. I started to realize that I was really stuck, there are no buses to leave the area, people won't be willing to take me if I hitchhike and I don't know anyone else to help me finding a car. Suddenly the feeling of "golden jail" became really big.

I talked with Moussa, he was in a delicate position because the few others people that he knew who might go by car were all relatives of Salaman and they would not take me if he doesn't agree. He was really sorry for me and angry at him but couldn't do much for me!

I went to bed hopping that the night would advice me somehow.🙏

In the morning, I thought I should go to the police to ask them questions about the possibility to go to Amman but it was Friday and it's off day so the chief officer wouldn't be there.

Second idea, I heard there was an American girl volunteer that got stucked in the camp of Salaman's brother. I went there once but never met her. I heard she had a boyfriend in the village so she would probably not be interested to go to Amman but she could probably know something about the Visa issue.

So I decided to go to the camp to talk to her. I walked there got welcomed by the employee of the camp (the brother of Salaman was not there). After drinking tea, I'll explained him the reason of my visit. He went to call the girl.

I saw her arriving in the living room looking very shy or hesitating. I stood up to introduce myself and invited her to sit with me.

I explained her why I was here and asked about her situation.

She started by explaining me that she was in the similar situation for her Visa and also needed to go to Aqaba. Her plan after was also to get to Amman to meet up with a friend.

As we talked I started to pick up a few informations that sounds weird : they never told her I was there in an other camp, she was not talking about any local boyfriend, they were not letting her going anywhere outside of the camp, they have been promising her for two months that they would bring her to Aqaba.

Then I saw a guy coming to the living room, we exchanged a look when he was still outside and I had a strange feeling about it. When he came to the living room he said hello to me but was not very nice.

The employee brought food so we ate all togheter but I could feel something wrong in the air.

After that, the strange guy (named Ahmed) started engaging the conversation with me. We talked about climbing and traveling, the conversation was nice but he seemed somehow upset and I could tell that Payge behaviour had changed since he was there. He was not giving her any attention when she was saying something, as if she was not even there. I tried to bring her back in the conversation but I soon as I did he would stop paying attention to the conversation. After a while I explained him my situation here etc.

Finally he told me: " you know what I'll bring you in two days in Aqaba since you both need to go. I Said : " great!" and heard Payge whispering : " we'll see about that!"

I thanked him and try to organize with him. He told me he would just swing by the camp tomorrow.

On the way back I was thinking a lot about the whole situation and trying to process all the informations.

By the evening I had review all the images and I had a strong feeling that something was really wrong :

He kept saying that he couldn't climb because nobody could belay him. In the same conversation Payge told she was doing a lot of climbing in high school so she knew how to belay him.

It was too strange that they didn't tell her that I was in an other camp.

The fact that they didn't let her walking also etc.

The body language is not a precise science but I saw it on both of them and there was a clear message : she was not doing well when he's around and he seemed like a powerful mind and strong character.

I couldn't know what was really the deal but my guts were telling me to double check it!

You probably think that is obvious when you are reading those line but you have to understand that I am writing after all the events. Plus during the conversation I was dealing between the social interaction and the questions about the visas issue. I'm quite good to read a social situation in general but it's always easier if you're a mostly observing, wich was not my case at all.

At night I spoke with Moussa, I told him what I ve heard and told him about the strange feeling I had. He explained me that Ahmed was the business partner of Salaman's brother, then the co-owner of this camp, and told me a bit more about him. I could understand more who was that guy and he confirmed my impression of him.

The next morning, it was clear I had to go back to the camp and try to talk to Payge in private to see how bad was her situation.

I went back with the idea of offering her to go on a walk with me since she told me she was "afraid" to go by herself. I thought they would "buy" that macho idea and let her going with me. By chance when i arrived she was the only one at the camp.

We talked briefly and I offered her to come with me at my camp so she would know where it was. On the way to I explained her the real reason of my visit and my impressions of the previous day. So I asked her to explain me how was it for her those last months.

She told me everything : how at the beginning everything was great, then Ahmed tried to do a move and she didn't want it. From there he started being mostly awful, disrespectful, ignoring her. Sometimes he would be nice one day to try again an approach. He played this manipulation games for a month and half using the needs she had as a pressure ( going to Aqaba, buying something from the village, making phone calls).

They would treat her like the "cleaning lady" and not even considering her when she was doing something nice.

Some morning she would wake up and everyone had left with no ideas when then would come back, sometimes with almost no food Left at the camp.

Basically, nothing "Horrible" happens in particular but she had been in a social hell with different types of constant pressure on her. She started to loose track of what was acceptable and not and reached a point of extreme lonelyness. This type of mental haressment can really hit you bad in the long run!

She explained me that it took a while to really realized and accepted how bad the things had became. But she also realized that she was without options. She didn't even know where was the village or the police and even if she knew they all know each other in this small community.

They would not bring her to an atm during the whole time so she had no money. She contacted the embassy to ask help and they could not do anything for her. She was really stucked!

Sometimes to see the truth you have to look up ! Do you see it on this picture? 😉

We arrived to the camp I introduce her to Moussa. We sat drank tea and talked together. She was so happy, she said nobody had been nice and polite to her like that during the whole lockdown... We spend the rest of the afternoon talking and exchanging about our lockdown experiences. Somehow we could truely understand each other and it was a release for both.

After that I brought her back to the camp with the objective of running into Ahmed and see if he would still talking about going to Aqaba with us.

We made our strategy regarding our different options on the way. What was clear is that by any means we would get out of here!

I was hoping that I could still play the " friend - male card" with Ahmed and that behind that he would fear what Payge told me.

When we arrived he was not there, I decided to wait until he came back. We waited very late but no sign of him so eventually I stayed sleeping there.

At least, we went up on a small mountain with Payge, she didn't do that the whole time she was there!

In the morning he was surprised to see me and I could see that he was a bit uncomfortable with the situation. I kept playing the polite card as if I didn't know anything

His business-partner arrived, I pretend to go to the bathroom and I stayed close enough to hear the conversation. I understood that they where upset by how things were happening. When I came back they stopped talking. Right after Ahmed went in the kitchen where Payge was cooking breakfast and said : " we are leaving in 20 minutes".

With Payge we had decided that if he would really take us to Aqaba we would take everything with us and not coming back to the desert. Even if it meant getting stucked in the city.

He seemed really upset and was putting his anger on her but we did leave, then we stopped at my camp. I packed everything in 5 minutes. Left a note and a gift to Moussa and yallah!

In the car I was still thinking that it might be going wrong. He was telling me that he called his cousin that works at the police and that it was not sure for the Visa or the authorization to go to Amman. I could see coming the "fake help" to buy his image back.

On me voit, on me voit plus !

On the way we stopped at a police barrage he even knew those one as well!

Once we arrived at the city it was the first time I was seeing civilization after 3 months and facing the reality of corona. We had to go buy masks to be able to enter the police station.

Once we went inside everything went pretty smooth he helped us and was playing it cool with me.

We bought our bus ticket for the next day since we got our authorization for going to Amman!

In the end he dropped us at a coffee shop. The goodbye where a bit odd. Since I was playing the relax card but between him and Payge it was strange. She just wanted him to go away and he tried to get his good image back.

After he left we took a few minutes to realize that we made it and that it worked. She started to feel more comfortable.

From that point everything became super cool. We didn't do 6 steps that a car has stopped and asked us : " what are you doing here ? " He was laughing and wanting to know our story.

He took us to hotel that was half legally open.

This guy was just truely friendly to us, we felt safe!

The guys were super nice over there, they gave us good price. The boss arrived and offered us coffee to welcome us.

After on the beach he invited us to join eating with him and his workers. It was just so nice ! The sea, good people, the ability to move where we wanted.

The bonus was that I realized my Arabic got good. Everyone understood me and where asking me where I learned to speak. I was doing all the talks in Arabic!

We spend the whole day at the beach and kept talking until late in the night. It felt really good to talk in a language where I could express easely. Plus we had a lot to think about, she was starting to realize what she has been through.

The next morning we woke up, ate breakfast and went to catch the bus. It was a long drive but we kept talking all the way.

We arrived in Amman just when the bell of the carfue was ringing. Her friend was waiting for her, we said goodbye super quickly because they had to hurry up. She thanked me and left ✌️

On my side I was alone and back on the road : HAPPY ! 🤠

I had the time to realize talking with her that this could have been really long if I had never come to talk with her. If they were hiding her from other people I broke their plans. I'm glad things happened like that in the end. By trying to help me, I ended up helping her too. "Mektoub" like we saye here ( it means, it was written).

I'm not sure exactly what I v learn from the experience in the desert, this last episode changed a lot my perception of those last months. I probably need a bit more time to digest all of that. But I definitely got stronger and more mindful. I think the Paradox was that nothing really happened most of the days and yet it was the most intense period of my trip!

I'm happy I went through the whole lockdown, I will probably be able to keep traveling a little bit 🙏😎

Now I'm in Amman, I rented a room for a month. I'm in a nice and comfy apparement. My roommate(Ed) is a good and polite person. When I arrived he welcomed with a big ass steak! I felt at home the first 5 minutes 😀

It seems life is starting slowly here, so I will probably enjoy a bit the City before going back on the road ✌️

Publié le 28 juillet 2020

Well, well, well time really passed quickly since I got out of the desert ! It has been already a month and a half.The way I'm using my time and my perception of it changed so much.

So let's see what is to be told 😀

I arrived in this flat that Noemie helped me to find when I was still in the desert. I got to meet my roommate : "Ed". A great local guy with an interesting story!

My first morning, I woke up when out on the balcony to drink my tea. I heard someone calling me from across the alley. It was Noemie! I hadn't told her yet that I arrived and she didn't tell me that her place was just in front of mine! So that was a funny start 🙃

Btw that is not my first breakfast 😀 just a picture of my balcony

When I arrived in Amman there was still a carfue from 19h - 06h, I didn't experience that feeling when I was in the desert. But I could feel that the city had been sleeping for months and that people were tired of it. They decreased the hours of the carfue a few days after. The limit got pushed until midnight. So this night we went for a drive with Ed just because we could. We drove outside of Amman, just enjoying the ride, the freshness of the night with some good music. There was a real taste of freedom in the air ✌️

I realized that I was not use anymore to be around a lot of people. Usually, I'm a pretty social person but my ability to to interact with people was really aleterated.

It took me Some time to adapt to the city and the social life again. I Tried to live the same rythmin as in the desert but it was not working here. Slowly I adapted myself to this new reality. Luckily Noémie and her roommate introduced me to their friends and I got to know a lot nice people. Just like that, I started to feel good In the city, in my neighborhood, hanging out with a group. Life became sweet and chill 😎

Since it seemed that I was going to spend some more time in Jordan, I thought I might as well kept focusing on the Arabic learning. So I inscribed myself for a month of private lessons in a local school. I've progressed a lot in the desert because I had to speak Arabic but no one could really correct me for the grammar. So I thought that a bit of structure should push me forward!

I got along really well with Ed my roommate ! I got really lucky, he is a smart, respectful and interesting person. We have a lot to talk about and his life path is pretty impressive, he came from a poor background and build himself a nice situation. We share interests in books, movies, sports, philosophy but more than everything : "cooking"!

He is a fan of French and Italian cuisine so he already had a lot of good ingredients at home plus some fresh herbs on the balcony. He is doing intermediate fasting, so he only eats once a day beginning of the evening. But he likes to make a proper meal ! So every night we were making real food festival, showing new recipes to each other 🙂

I struggled a lot trying to settle up my Visa situation. It was a mess because of corona plus my situation was complicated due to the desert set up. They send me to differents places, made me do my previous Visa until may just for bureaucracy, had to find an address for domiciliation, and end up paying a fee because with all of this step I ended up getting my Visa after the tolerance period ... Well now at least it's done!

After a while I started adapting again at the social life and found back my usual skills. So I adopted the "yes man strategy", basically every time someone would offer to do something I would answer positively. So after, a few days the girls offered me to they join them with their group of friends to a weekend in the country side. Obviously, I said yes ! For them it was the first time out of Amman after the carfue and for me back to luxury and party environment 🙂

My plan was to go to a farm after a month in Amman. But the contacts I had would either not take volunteer because of corona, either I had back feedback from other travelers. Plus I have to admit that I started Enjoying my life in the city and specially in my neighborhood. I started to bound with the people, getting new habits, so I decided to go with the flow and stayed here!

The group of people that came at the pool party started to become a group of friends hanging out all the time together. Since the mood was really good, they decided to go on weekend in Wadi rum and Aqaba, tough one for me ! On one hand I had a lot of fun with them, on the other did I really want to go back to the desert and that soon? After thinking, I figured what the hell ?! Better go back and have fun over there, so I'll implement new memories related to the desert.

So I went, really appreciated the road trip down there! We took a lot of small roads with beautiful view. I love just driving with music and looking at the sea 😎

We arrived quite late, we went to a camp even more into the desert that the one I was in. So the stars were amazing! We ate, made a fire after and stay up singing and talking until the sunrise 🌞

It was a strange feeling to be back there. The moment to enter again the area, I had mixed feelings coming to me.

Specially when I woke in the morning after a short night of sleep. It took me a few seconds to understand what was the context and where I was exactly. This made me realize that my time in the desert and the experience of the lock down had quite an impact on me. I will never forget that episode of my life!

Well the weekend was really sweet and I had a great time, so it was the right call to go back 😉

I tried to fix my climbing shoes to get back on the training ! Apparently it was not possible anymore, the only guy that was doing it stopped... So it meant buying some new ones. There is only one shop that sell one model at three time its original price. I started looking to buy some online but for some reason Jordan is one of the most complicated countries to order online from abroad. With corona it was not getting anyhow easier... I finally found a way but it seemed like I had to get ready to be patient!

So in the meantime I felt I had to keep training to keep in shape 💪 I kept stretching everyday but that was not enough. I discovered that one of my friend (Barakat) use to do parkour as well, so we started training together and explore the area !

Since I decided that I was not going to a farm project at the moment, it meant staying in Amman. My flat was really confy and my roommate pretty chill but the rent was too high for me. So I had to start looking for something else cheaper. I wanted to stay in the neighborhood cause I started a social life here and the mood felt right. My roommate was also thinking to move out, so he forwarded a few offers of flat that didn't fit his criterias. One looked pretty ok and a lot cheaper than anything else in the neighborhood. I had visited a other place for this same amount and it looked like a crack house so my expectations were pretty low.

I went, the place was really chill, in the same street as my previous flat. I had the good surprise to discover that it was located on the ground floor with a small garden/terasse. The guy that made me visit the place looked really calm and respectful, so good first impression. I was at two days of the end of my contract from the first place, so no time for hesitation. I followed my gut feeling since I had been pretty lucky in Amman.

It was the right call, I love my new spot ! It's clearly less luxurious than the other one but I have everything I need and " Sakhr " my roommate is a great guy as well. So for the few efforts I had to invest, the result was pretty good 😅

The only thing, is that even though I found a cheaper appartement, living in a capitale is costing me a bit to much considering the budget I have to keep traveling after this step. So I started thinking looking for a job.

My first idea was to check with NGOs since Amman is a center place for the international cooperation. Even though, the idea of trying a professional experience in that field made sense for me, I did not want to engage myself for a full time job on several months. For The others jobs the salary were very low so I was bit blocked on this one...

The other day as I was saying to my Arabic teacher that it was my last lesson with her cause it was to expensive for me. We were mentioning the idea of offering conversation table services in French or Spanish if the director was interested.

I was pretty tired this day, so I thought I will come back a other day to talk with him. As I was walking out, one of his co-worker called me and asked me what I was doing tonight ? Their teacher for the English language conversation just cancelled last minute. So she wanted to know if I wanted to do it ? I thought about french and Spanish but not English since they are a lot of natives speakers living in Jordan. I was a bit hesitating, she told me that it was for intermediate level and not too hard to deal with. So I decided to give it a try !

Well, it went really smoothly, I told honestly to the students what was my background to be transparent. But they enjoyed very much their time and gave good feedbacks to the director. So they offered me more work opportunities during the week.

I ended up with a part time job, that will cover my rent plus I get a free Arabic lesson a week 😅

It's a bit challenging for me because I have to review my grammar but I decide I would take it as a challenge !

So far everything was coming from the sky when I was asking for it. It seemed that some Angel was looking after me! I was expecting a bad news to arrive at some point...

Well, the other day I finally got my climbing shoes !!! I was so happy to get back on the rope 🧗 Just waiting the weekend to find a partner !

I met some people playing basketball every week, so I joined them thinking it would be a good idea to do a bit of cardio training. I found a pair of Nike from a previous roommate, they looked perfect for me. I played the whole match without any problems. At the end I realized they were a bit small for me and my feet started to hurt me quite a lot ! When I got back home I discovered that my feet were bleeding but nothing too bad.

The next morning when I woke up I couldn't stand on my right foot! It has been a few days and I can not Walk normally yet... I was expecting a bad news, I hope it's not a huge one 🙏

Except that I m still very grateful for everything that happened to me here ! I surprised myself to enjoy living in the city. It is working because my neighborhood is very chill in comparison of the rest of this big capital. So I will keep enjoying day by day, wainting to see a bit how the world is waking up from this massive crisis. Anyway I can't move from the country yet and even though I could, I want to think smartly my next move! Wouldn't like to be stuck again like in the desert 😉

A funny thing happened a few times my first month, sometimes some sand would appear from nowhere in the apartment. I couldn't understand where the hell that was coming from ?! Well, I discovered that there was a pretty impressive amount of sand that stayed stucked in my flip flops 😂 The desert never goes away!!

A few days passed and it seems that my foot is doing better ! Still haven't climbed yet !!!

My students and the boss are really happy about my work 😉

Seems like life is still good !

It is actually super warm in Amman, it's a heavy sensation during the afternoon but can't complain it's sunny every day, no matter what 🌞

Publié le 24 octobre 2020

Time flew so fast ! I realized when I checked from which period was the last article of my blog.

I thought that not much was happening because I was in the city and somehow less adventures were happening. Is partly true, what I can say as well is that I've lost myself a bit in the rythim of the city's life.

I will try to summarize a bit what happened and share some thoughts and feeling about it.

First My life was still cool 🙂

I kept teaching English, I really enjoyed it and my students were still really happy.

At some point, someone asked me if I taught French as well ? I believed so much in my new character "Ismael the teacher" plus I was doing some table conversation French/Arabic, that I said " yes". Just like that I ended up with 3 news students ! All in all with the French, English lessons, the preparation for it and the table conversation with my friends I ended up with a week schedule pretty full.

On one hand the airport was still closed so I had to stay in Jordan in order to keep my travel going on after. On the other hand, if wanted to stay in Amman I had to find a way of earning some money because my budget was going down too fast and there wouldn't be some money left for the rest of the adventure... Then working as a teacher was one of my best option!

So this is through this paradox that I built my new life in Amman.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I was prisoner of the city, I enjoyed very much my time here. My life was kind of confortable : my appartement and my roommate were very chill, my group of friends pretty cool, started to develop some habits of life and feeling pretty confortable in the Jordanian rythmin.

I m happy I got to reconcile myself with the city lifestyle. In my mind it was cleared that I would never live in a city again or even enjoy to be in one for a long period of time. I went over that feeling thanks to this experience.

At some point, one of the girl of the group had to go back to France. I would say that's when the balance of the group started to change. I wasn't aware of certains tensions between cetains people that started to pop up after she left...

We still went on a weekend with most of them to a weekend in Dana (a natural reserve where I began my trip in Jordan with my hike before going to the desert).

It was a very pleasant and I got to know someone new that made this trip even more meaningful to me☀️

Then one friend that was also traveling around (and stucked in Jordan) booked a ticket to Egypt because they had announced that they would be open again for tourism. The airport on Jordan was still officially closed so it wasn't sure that he would be able to fly away since he has a French passport. But everything went alright and that episode planted the seed in my mind that since it was possible to leave, it would be maybe time for me to leave soon.

I kept living my life, slowly everything started to get bigger : the tensions between certains people, my tiredness due to the rythmin and one of my climbing injury kept going on and off. Plus, hmmm Let's say that I've experienced a lot of ups and down on the love chapter. All of these elements made the idea of living Jordan growing more and more in my mind.

I would stay I stayed enough to start to have a general idea about the Jordanian society. It's as always interesting to discover other way of living but what hit me is that it's still pretty conservative and some behavior are quite complex to read. It's a life full of paradox where what you say and do in the public space is going to matter a lot. It's a bit tiring in the long run.

We never had a real waves of coronavirus in the country. We had a lockdown, they kept the carfue (with differents timming depending the period), masks were mandatory in some places but in comparaison with most of the rest of the world our daily life was normal. At the moment of the second waves in Europe we started to have cases increasing more and more. At some point the government freaked out, closed all the bars and restaurants, declared full lock down during the weekend. Then took it off, to finally declared that it will be on until the situation will be under control! Just like that I started to see people getting scared, the social interaction changing slowly (I guess what you experienced back home). I didn't really felt like living through that mood.

Then the airport opened officially, so it felt like that the moment had arrived. Plus it was cleared for me that I wouldn't spend the winter in Jordan! 🥶

So with all of those elements, It seemed to make sense for me to close this chapter and move to the next one!

There is a strange balance to seek on the road between : discovering a new place, enjoying it, liking it and then leave at a moment where you still happy about the experience. It is a bit like keeping most of the bright side from life but also leaving before the end of the story.

I got use to it because my journey is made of different chapters and all together it makes sense to me to move forward. Plus accepting in life that everything has and end is precious to learn and accept!

But this time it was harder, I stayed enough to feel rooted in the city of Amman. My friends, my boss, my students were telling me to stay. My roommate was even saying that I was going to marry a Jordanian girl and stay there forever 😅

View of the Jordanian valley, to Palestinian border

I don't regret at all this step of my trip, very different from the others adventures i'v lived but in the end on the same level of intensity!

Now that I can take a step back and look at the situation I realize that the way this group built itself and this fast was also due to the " post lockdown effect". People were really looking for social bonds after they had been isolated.

At that time I thought I was joining a existing group of friends, but not at all! Not everyone knew each others, but it felt like it.

From my perspective, I was just so happy to get out of the desert and meeting people again. I really enjoyed the intensity and how we were hanging out all the time. It really felt like summer time as a teenager.

But all good things come to a end... After reaching a climax, this group started slowly going on slippery slope and it went down as fast as it started.

I've built myself a situation and a character here!

At some point I realized that "Ismael the teacher" was taking over on " ismael the traveler".

Really quickly I got back to a city life. On one hand it was a good challenge and a feeling of freedom to know that I'm able to start a life anywhere.

On the other hand I falled really quickly into certains old habits. I realized that I was running most of the days because of work. My schedule and my mind were full. I wouldn't say I've lost my good mood and energy. I was still enjoying my life and most of the aspects of it were still pretty new and exciting. But the time management was not really fitting the spirit of my trip. The noise and the craziness of an overcrowded city were not helping neither.

The calmness I had worked on lately was harder to keep up in this lifestyle. I also felt that the aspects of the city that appealed me in the first place were also the same one that were tiring me in the end. I think it is a classic trap about the city life... At some point you're staying because you feel "that's where it's happening".

I felt like going back to who I was a year ago. Obviously I had not forgotten everything I had learnt during this whole journey but I was not really feeling that staying too long in the city and this lifestyle were serving the mindset and the objectives of my trip anymore.

I would say I've lived a short life very condensed. That brought me a lot of joy, getting to know plenty of nice people but as well the classical desapoitmnent from life : Socialy, culturally speaking and work wise as well. I really feel that only within the few months I have spent in Amman I experienced as much as I would have had in a year back home. The intensity and the rythmin of everything was really crazy, I feel i'v nurished myself with so much that I'm only starting to digest it now.

I still have some lessons to get from all of this experience but here a few thoughts already :

I got hit by the fact that somehow I was tired by the social aspect of life. Eventough I m a very social person and I find a lot of my strength in my positive relationship with other human bein, I got exausted at some point by the complication that we build up in our social life. Sometimes it felt like humans are just good at making things more complicated. It gave me the envy of giving up on this complexity. I'm normally always an optimistic and romantic person when it comes to relationship (friends and love). I can find beauty in the challenge of the complexity of the human's heart and mind. But sometimes by pushing to much or believing to easily we just end up hurt.

Eventually this lead me to a lot of tiredness, still conscient of the need of a social life I just ended up in a strange state of mind.

Eventough there was some tensions between people I found my way to navigate and keeping a good relationship with each one. I don't think I will ever loose this (diplomatic/ compromise) aspects of my personality but I got to realize about the difficulty of this eternal challenge. I think I've learned and truely understood the need to protect myself from the hard balance between hope and désappointement.

A Ice breaker I've done with my students

This new realization about this part of my social experiences made me looking differently at many aspects.

Somehow I realized the weight of the attachment to others people and the freedom of no string attaches.

I'm not saying that it's not a good thing to get attached to people, just I observed how we "hide" ourselves sometimes in relationship.

I was also thinking about the fact that we are sad to leave because of the relationship that we build somewhere.

Specially when you are traveling for a while, you learn that you will meet a lot of people on your way but you know that even though you got really close to them you might never seen them in your life. In my first travels I thought I would stay In touch with anyone I had met but with time you learn that is just not possible.

So why are we so sad when we quit those group ?

Actually I think it's the fear of the future more than the sadnesses of the past. Everyone is a bit lost in his life and when he finds confort around other people why would he loose it ?

In the end we are always alone with ourselves, the soonest we understand this and are in peace with it, the soonest we will be able to have balanced relationship that are not build on fear or need.

For the one that knows me and are reading these lines, you could think what is happening to Maël ?Is he becoming pessimistic ? Don't worry 😀 not at all, I'm just looking at it through a new perspective.

A other thought that came to my mind with all of this chapter was that I'm very Grateful for what I already have. I measure the solidness of my friendships and the beauty of my relationship with my close family 🙏

A other thing that was crossing my mind and striked me is how a lot of people are worried about me leaving alone and see me as the one who is going to face a hard life. When in fact, that is exactly how I feel about their reality....

My friends, my roommate, my students, etc

With the lockdown and my injury I was not able to do exactly all I wished. But I decided I would enjoy my last days chilling, spending some quality time with my different friends. Even managed to organize a barbecue at my place with most of my friends (despite the tensions) we finished dancing all together like teenager. It gave me a bit of hope and good vibes after all these social experiences.

My last days were pretty cool, I was trying to finish a few things and stay relax. But of course my last evening was freestyle, I hadn't finished my backpack that we went on road trip with my friends. Got back, ate/drank/packed and said goodbye to everyone and direction to the airport!

On the road everything is new all the time, no time to get into negativity. I already realized that the challenge lies in the fact of being able to keep that mind set in the day to day life. But still not as easy as I thought... I really tried to keep the mindset in this settled temporary life.

It's a life challenge that I start to really look at a new angle. I really believe one of the key of happiness lies into it. It's normal to not be at the top of our mood all the time and every day but there's definitely a lot of personal work that can be done to be able to find our personal balance within different contexts.

During this trip I had a lot of small moments of pure happiness, I call them "inligheted moment's". It's this few seconds where you look around you and you brain is off, the only thing that comes through your mind is that you are truely happy. Those moments can be a landscape, a sunset, a moment where you are just listening some music with friends, a smile from someone. Basically it's just a moment where you can see the scene from the outside, as a movie. I believe there's is a lot to learn from those small inligheted moment's.

Every time I would come back from my work, walking up to the streets and see the sunset, the prayer call would start and could see the whole city. I would have this feeling of peace about my life here, this was a nice moment of brain off.

Here I am the airport, still not really realizing that I am leaving this chapter. Jordan was a really long and multi aspects step of my journey. I still have to digest certains things to truely understand all of it.

It's a strange feeling that I have, right now : I'm really happy to go somewhere else but it does feel like when I left home. Same adrenaline of going to the unknown mixed with the apprehension of leaving leaving a comfortable life behind me and the sadnesses of the goodbye.

I don't feel I'm running away and that is important to me. I feel that I m moving forward and keep learning a lot.

It has been a year that I m on the road, it could feel like a week or ten years at the same time. It's seems really far away the period when I left home and so much happened in the meantime. But at the same time this year has passed so fast that it feels like yesterday!

I really feel that I've started disconnecting completely with my life in Belgium. It's always with a lot of emotions and love that I talk about back home and my friends/family. Even though the idea of going back home feels like something positive, I'm still willing to live more adventures 😎🎒🙏

Publié le 17 décembre 2020

I arrived safely in Antalya, i didn't really know what to except corona wise, how would be the situation in the city and how different it would be from this weird reality i only experienced a little bit in Jordan.

I realized that I went to Turkey because it was one of the few countries open and easy to fly in. But also because when I was still in Jordan, a friend had mentioned a trek in turkey that he was recommanding.

So I checked the region where it was to have a idea and it was just next to the climbing camping where I went a year ago. I had greats memories about this place that I had found by chance at the beginning of my trip. At the time I was a bit sad that I had not staid longer.

So my plan was to stay one night in Antalya, use the day to get the information about the trekking, do some groceries and go directly to this camping to be in the nature.

After the night flight i was pretty tired but I realized I was not only physically but also mentally tired. Leaving Jordan was very emotional for many reason.

I couldn't get all the information I was looking for and the old city center was pretty relax so I decided to stay and do a longer transition before moving to something else.

I realized I was really impregnated by my experience in Jordan and the Arabic world. My food habits, social behavior, the words that would stay even in while speaking in english,... I also realized very quickly that I was Missing speaking Arabic.

Fortunately at my hostel i met A Iraqi and a algerian so it was pretty cool For me to maintain a bit of that mood for a smooth transition.

Turkey is literally an in between europe and the Arabic middle east area i have been. But it's definitely a different story! It has its own style.

I losted The habit to not be able to communicate with people. A lot of Turkish people do not speak a word of English. So frustrated that sometimes I would speak Arabic to them. Since, a third of the turkish vocabulary comes from Arabic, i had more chance to be understood 😅

After a weekend in the city, hanging out with the guys i had met at the hostel, going to the beach, some drinks i quickly felt i had enough of the "Antalya experience".

So I got my informations about the trail and took the bus and hitchhiked the last part to get to geyikbayiri (the climbing area).

It's funny to be in this place a year after having left Belgium. I see it kind of like a symbolic check/evaluation of the year that has passed.

As i was walking to get in the same camping i was a year ago, i had some flash back of me at the beginning of my trip.

I remembered that my step in Turkeys and specially here was when I felt i was really on the road and the adventure had started.

I realized being there, how much things happened this last year and how much my mindset has evolved. I'm not the same version of myself when I left that I'm now. This is a fact!

After a few days of climbing, chilling in the nature I really started to feel the transition from Jordan. I was trying to keep my positive mindset over there but not always easy...

Now that I m out in the nature, it's so obvious how it calms my soul. It's just so hard to do that in the city.

I'm becoming fully relax again. There is a river next to the camp. I went down there by myself and just enjoyed the calm, the beauty and the noises of the nature.

I really have a Great feeling about here !!! I love the place 🤩 i came thinking i would stay only two weeks. I asked them if they need a volunteer for that period of time

They told me that not really because they already have one, with coronavirus they have less guests plus they normally take volunteer for minimum three weeks. I was not sure to be willing to commit to the place more time. So I told them to think about me like a bonus if needed.

After two days, they called me to ask for some helps, i helped them with a few things. In the end the asked me to really be working as a volunteer in the restaurant.

I work as a waiter in the restaurant (two days on, two days off) in exchange i have food and accommodation. It's a small restaurant and the customers are all climbers super chill. Nothing to do with my previous experiences in this sector. The deal seems fare, plus there are really happy about my work so there are treating me pretty well.

My first days, i wasn't sure how my shoulder injury would react. It seems that on that side everything was alright. I tried not to push to much in the beginning.

Of course I'm stubborn person with high personal expectations. So I was thinking i would have the same level on the rock that my last progress in the gym.

It's a totally different feeling plus lead climb and tope rope are so different (when the rope is already set up at the top or if you setting it up yourself). I ended up quickly pushing myself in routes that were a bit over my level and expecting to flash all of them.

So I took a few falls and destroyed my fingers in my first 10 days. I got really into it and wanted to climb every day! Good introduction ☺️

I realized in climbing there is a nice analogy to life. When you are on a route, you need to be calm , believe your intuition to find your way through. If you are blocked, and start loosing it, you will just scrumble around and hurt yourself.

You need to stop, calm yourself and think that out. You do need to push your limit and gather all of your strength, courage and spirit to go over it. It's a nice mindset to keep in your life.

One night around the fire place, I was talking with someone about running. He was saying that he was doing it for a while but never got hooked. I was explaining how it use to be a big part of my life, as a sport but as well as a way of emptying my head. When my knee injury started to be really a problem and i had to stop i was missing something and couldn't replace it.

At that time one of my closest friend offered me to join him at the climbing gym. Since it was winter and I was looking for a sport to do indoor. I went and loved it. Then kept doing it and got hooked because I found what I need even more than into running.

It is interesting i never thought about starting climbing before. I always loved the outdoor, trekking and always dreamed to go on the top of a mountain. But somehow I never made the connection with sport climbing.

i realized though that conversation i was really sad a the time of stopping running. I really had hard time accepting that my body was letting me down. I would never had been able at that time to see some positive in this situation. Now I can say that in a way the "upside" of that story was that i got pushed into this passion.

A good lesson about unfortunate events in life!

I was thinking lately about what blocks me from trying or doing certains things in life ?

I realized that in my case The fear of failure is one of my biggest enemy! I do a lot of things in my life and in general I successed in most of the things I started. I usually go for challenge but knowing that i have my chances.

Beeing blocked by the potential failure is only human but again related to the Ego. Definitely something I m willing to work on 🙏

I was Thinking it again when I'm on the climbing wall. If you go on a route with expectations and/or fear of failure you won't climb well. When you go relax, embracing any obstacles, that is when you climb in a state of flow. Those are the best routes in climbing and in life!

I started to really make friends and feeling at home. It's really a nice feeling and my life is pretty good here! I know that this kind of happy place always have a "dark side" and I will see it at some point but so far it's a happy bubble.

It's like living in a little village with climbers, hikers and highliners.

After a month i really got into the rythmin of the place. My first 2 weeks i climbed 10 days in a row ! Which is way too much for the body.

It's a bit like the life at the mountains when you are going to ski. You want to make the most of it so you push a bit during your week over there to enjoy fully. But now that I know that I'm probably staying longer, there is no point of pushing. It's a other rythmin to apply if you want to last the whole season 💪

Of course being in that environment is hard to not be tempted. Plus climbing is a very addictive sport but it is part of it, finding the balance with your body to allow you to climb and enjoying your time.

When I use to surf, i was thinking about how much time and energy you put in for just those few seconds of pure freedom.

It's very similar with climbing, when you look at your all climbing session day, in the whole afternoon you maybe spent 30 min on the rock! (More if you trying something over your level) but still it's a very small proportion.

It's amazing when you think about it how much energy and time you put into a practice for a few minutes of pure happiness.

When you stay in a place like here that is filled with climbers. You have such a concentration of people focused towards one direction. It's' beautiful to see all of this people putting this effort.

When I look at the locals climbers living here I'm inspired by the simple life they live. They live in small houses close to the nature, have a lot of time, live in a beautiful area, are in a very good shape and seem pretty relaxed.

You could again compare it to the surfers living a simple life close to the ocean to be able to surf all the time.

Comparatively with surf world i think prefer the mountains environment. I somehow feel that the mood in this environment is less touristy or thriven by ego. I feel that surfers cliche attracts more people and the beach in general is more a place to be watched.

Sport-Climbing seems less popular to me and less impressive to watch specially if you don't really understand the level of technique implied.

Of course ego is still here but it applies to a different ways. Climbing is more a personal route with less of a competition aspect.

We live in a little bubble here for a lot of different reasons. It's a quite place in the nature surrounded by the mountains. People are here on holiday or on a long stay travel and both to climb and chill. Plus during this strange period people are here also to avoid the craziness of coronavirus.

Here we are leaving far away from the city restrictions, we don't really wear masks. The boss of the camping try to keep it a habit and the new guests when they arrived.

Of course we try to avoid to be to many in a closed place without ventilation but even that with the cold coming started to be less and less respected.

Slowly, the masks totally disappeared and a silent general consensus happened. We decided to live and not really face this part of the reality. Somehow it was nice to live "normally". I barely had to face this part of restrictions but a lot of people here are really happy to escape from it.

Then one day, one of the guest called the owner when he was out in the city for the weekend to tell them that he felt sick so he got tested and was positive covid-19. That was the beginning of the troubles in this little bubble.

Somehow nothing to be surprised, Turkey is open for tourism and do not even ask for a covid test to enter. So at some point, it was just a question of probabilities.

From that point, the steps were not very clear. If someone has it, who might have it and what should we do ?

First steps was : the group of friends of the first case had to be tested. In the beginning they didn't want to... Wich create a weird situations since not the whole camp knew at that point.

The thing is that if you are a tourist and you get tested positive, the Turkish government come to pick you up to quarantine you in a hotel.

They finally went after two days of discussion. The results came the day after and the were all positive except one.

So with that news, we decided with the volunteer team to get tested because we are constantly in contact with a lot of people from the camp so we had good chance to have it and spread it in the restaurant.

Starting from that point the whole camp had to know about the covid situation. So it started to be a huge change in the mood. Everyone started to be scared wearing masks, looking at each other like everyone represent a potential danger.

There was a big group of turkish students. They all packed and left immediatly after that news. Some guys were supposed to drive me to the city but then got scared and changed their minds

This crazy episode matched exactly when my brother decided to come to visit me.

So I ended up going to the hospital to make a test and then going to the airport to pick him up. A bit non sense but everything happened so fast that we just had to go with the flow and trying to act smartly!

It was so nice to see him after a year of being away from home. In the car as we were speaking about a bit everything, i had a hard time realizing that he was here around me.

Once we arrived at the camp and could sit relax without mask it was like we had seen each other for the last time the day before. Such a warm feeling 🤗

I had explained him the covid situation that just happened in the camp but it had not occured me that if I was positive, the government would come to pick me up and quarantine me for two weeks! What a bad timing... 😅

So we went to bed praying that everything would be alright. In the morning my results were there and everything was ok 🙏

Some other people got tested after and all negative, it seems that the situation was under control!

From there everything went pretty smoothly, my brother got along with my friends and totally fit the bubble mood of the camping.

I had the pleasure to introduce him to rock climbing. He had already some experience in climbing so it was perfect to start on this basis. He turned out to be really good and persistent, a true lion 😉 No surprises!

Unfortunately my back injury was hurting me a bit so I couldn't climb as i wished but was still really happy to be around and belay him to see his progress and having fun.

This little experience made me realize two things :

First i really enjoyed introducing someone to rock climbing, it inspired me for my future as something I could enjoy do.

Secondly, it was kind of intense experience to do it with my brother. Sure rock climbing represents a risk but when you are responsable for a member of your family, it's a different story 😇

#don't worry mul#

Things were going pretty well here and i could see that the break from the actual craziness happening in the world was doing some good to my brother. Plus everyone was pushing him to stay longer, so he ended up changing his ticket to stay one more week!

I could only be happy to have him around for more time ♥️

The visit of my brother made me think about a few things :

Many people as himself are trying to escape the carfue and covid mood from back home.

A lot of people are here for climbing but specially this year, people stay long term because it's a great bubble to forget the craziness of the actual world.

Beeing in this bubble all the time makes you forget about this reality and even the outside world!

I'm very grateful to be here right now 🙂

This episode also made me realize, i might have been sad or frustrated when the covid crisis started. I got stucked and all my plans of freedom around the world had changed.

The first lesson at that time was to work on accepting a situation where you have no impact on.

Now I'm also realizing that in the end, it was probably one of the best moments to be away from my belgian life and be able to find confort in many other ways. In the end I did not experience that much the covid reality and i made great use of that time.

Plus having no plans at all is pretty cool. Since it's impossible to know where it will be possible to go after, there's is no space for planing. I like to not know where I'm going after, not having to care about it and just enjoying what is coming to me.

A other thing is that I m not really discovering Turkey as i would normally try to visit a country. But I'm in a happy place that fits me right now, That is already a lot !

Seems that I'm going to stay here the whole season 💪 untill March - April !

A last observation about my feelings and impressions is that I'm not in a hurry to come back in Belgium. Of course I miss home and everyone! But i start to feel the results of that experience.

After a year of traveling i can really feel confortable in this experience, i haven't pay attention as much as in the beginning about the "time aspect of being away".

Not that I see myself embracing fully this lifestyle for the rest of my life but it confirmed me in the idea that beeing disconnected from your confort zone for a period of time (longer than the previous travel i have done) really brought me a true feeling of disconnecting with my previous life's chapter.

The goal is not to forget them, just taking enough distance to look at what you have accomplished, who you are now and what do you truely enjoy in life. So the future I'm looking at will be fitting the lessons of this experience 🙏

The other day, a memory poped up :

A year ago when I was in this area, i drew something about climbing and wrote down this sentence next to it :

"I don't want to learn climbing, I want to become a climber"

It's making more and more sense to me now 😉

Publié le 23 mars 2021

I feel that i start most of my article by saying that time flies so fast. Well in this case time feels more like it doesn't exist anymore. The life at the camp is so relax and out of any other reality that it is kind of complicated to keep track of it. Days look very much like each other and if it wasn't for my work at the restaurant i would have no idea of wich day are we in the week. It reminds me a bit the desert episode, i was totally disconnected with the outside world. In that case it was a bit scary because I had almost no means to communicate or to move from where I was. Plus the pandemic had just started at that time, it felt like the whole world stopped and nobody knew when it would start again? Here I'm more voluntary hidding from the rest of the planet 😎

Now, there is the feeling of the outside world going crazy but I have the ability to communicate and leave if i want to. Still, nobody really want to leave this place once they come. It feels like a little oasis of freedom in a scarry world.

I really liked my life there and i started to take a few things for granted, as if things would just keep going like this all the time!

First, it felt like winter would never come. Of course at some point rain and cold arrived. It's a short winter here but it gets quite cold and when it rains it's a huge amount.

Normally the boss said they would put us in bungalows for that time but they changed a bit their strategy and were a bit vague in their communication with us. They ended up putting in when big storms were coming. Then later on when they had something free for a couple of days they would let us use it. I tried many different bungalows!

I was a bit sceptical about their choice between business and confort of their workers. Plus they were with Victoria and me than with the other volunteers wich put me in a uncomfortable spot. In the end they put us inside for a few weeks wich felt good!

My friend Hussein from Jordan, was in turkey for holiday. He came to visit me, it was funny to see him here. Connecting two atmosphere of my travels 🤠

I hang out a lot with Victoria and Tanner, we had a cool dynamic going on. We Went on a road trip together, chilling like a little family 😊

But at some point, Tanner had to go back to the States. It felt like the end of the summer holidays, when you have to say goodbye to the friends you met during that time.

When i think about when i started climbing in brussel, it seems so far away. It's only two years ago! When i started back then it clicked really well with the practice but i was not thinking about the rock. Now the gym would be what it is for : a place to practice and keep in shape untill the next rock climbing session 😊.

Here in Turkey, my climbing skills were going good, my progression was really evolving more and more. I was really happy about it. My first weeks taught me to be patient and not climb to many days in a rough.

My shoulder injury pushed me to learn some specific stretching and warm up for climbers that improved a lot my routine.

Then one sunny day, we were climbing in a hard spot. I warmed up on a quite challengy route. Then i belayed for a long time. When i got ready for the second route i was cold and the sun was out. I tried a move that was quite fingery and overhang and heard "clack" in one of my fingers... I had to go down and was down for the day.

I let a few days passing but it was obvious, my injury was quite serious. Turned out to be a classic for climbers: " one of the pulley collapsed". Nothing to do except waiting. Minimum 4 weeks! This seemed like a eternity in a climbing camping...

It took me a few days to accept my condition. Then i just started using my time differently. Doing the things I felt i didn't have time to do because I was climbing a lot. Reading, working my turkish, stretching, yoga, etc.

The lesson there was about being careful to always be warm when climbing hard. But also again this quest of balance. I had been to obseced with my climbing progression.

Once i passed the frustration the first days, i realize that my ego was pushing me too far. Climbing is and will be a big part if my life but how to do so in the long term. So i had time to rethink my ideal balance of life here. Still working on it but getting better and better 😉

Since I was injured and Tanner was leaving soon, i thought : let's do something special!

Since we were at this camping we always said that we would hike the mountains that is next to the camping. I tried many times to gather some informations but i would always get some diferents feedback : illegal, dangerous, doable but with a guide. Then i talked with lucky a other volunteer with whom i became friend, that told me that he hiked it and knew the way!

So we waited for a day with good condition to plan our little secret trip.😇 We had Vic at the camp as a backup contact in case of. We left very early in the morning and came back late afternoon. In total around 10hours of walk. A good challenge and a amazing view. Unfortunately my knee was killing me on the way back 😦

A few days after, time to say adios to Tanner !

I got a bit use to turn over of people in the camp. At some point you get a bit tired to socialize with each new person. So you "select" a bit more and become closer to certain people. With Tanner gone, i spent more time with Victoria but i felt the need to be around new people. Plus not being able to climb was sometimes a bit hard on my mood, so i was less social.

It matched pretty much the time when i got to know more lucky, the other volunteer. Cool guy that cycled from the UK to turkey.

Then the sun started to be back and the "group" mood waw back in the camp. More people chilling together, winter time was finally over!

After a few weeks, i could try climbing again (tope rope rope for safety) and easy routes with my finger taped. It went pretty good!

So i took the opportunity to practice multi pitch with lucky. Since has experienced he could teach me a bit. I did it when I started climbing but i didn't really know what was going in theory at that time. So we went on easy routes to practice it. It gave some good sensation climbing wise, plus i could learn something new.

The weeks passed but my finger was still improving slowly. Then Vic's birthday was coming and she wanted to be somewhere else than the camp to change the mood. Since i was injured and she was motivated going on a little road trip. 😎 We went along the coast up to Datcja (west side of turkey) quite beautiful and very relax.

Then it was slowly time for me to be able to climb again. I did a few try and it seems my finger was holding. I talked with a few climbers that had similar injuries. They told me that they were climbing a month after the accident but for 6 months kept the feeling of weakness. It's a long process but climbing carefully is part of the healing process. So i did a few sessions without pushing the grades. Hard because tempting!

Before i got injured, lucky and me were evolving at the same speed. During my 5 weeks off, his progression went so quickly to the next step! Not easy for me to saw what i missed, cause i was going in the same direction. But good exercise for the ego and the patience to be happy for him and not frustrated about my situation 🙏

But no time for regret, March was coming and i had other plans for that month! Time to take some fresh air 😀

I was planning for a long time to Trek the lycian way!

I love where I am but i feel i haven't visited much Turkey. So that will be a good opportunity and a nice challenge 🤠

By the way, in order to stay in Turkey more than three months i applied for a other visa. So I'm now a official resident of Turkey 😅


When I arrived in turkey my plan was to stay two weeks in geyikbayiri to climb and then go hiking in the area. Obviously i stayed a little bit longer !

When the owners the camping asked me if I wanted to do the whole season, i said yes but that i still would like to do the hike in the middle of the season. So we agreed, i would do it around March and someone else would replace me during that time.

March was coming and i hadn't really started planning my trip, i had the book but hadn't checked yet.

So i started checking all the steps, in the book to put them on the map and in my map on my phone. Pinpointing where the water point were located. Wich steps were looking hard. I was particularly worried about the one with a lot of path down hill because of my knee injury.

Last time i hiked the mountain my knee was killing me at the end of the day. Mostly because we did the way down really fast and after a long day of physical effort. So i wasn't really sure what my body was going to allow me to do. I did my knee stretching everyday after this hike in order to put all the chances with me.

Here i was a couple of days before the trekking, gathering the last items i needed, thinking what should I bring or not. Finally i put everything on the ground as i did a year and half ago before leaving Belgium. Checking if everything was there and how to pack it smartly in my bag. Finally my bag was ready, a bit heavier than I wished but ok. I spent two days climbing and one day resting before leaving. Said goodbye to the people that would not be here when I'll be back and started my adventure.

The plan : 30 days of hiking, around 550km between fethiye and geyikbayiri !

If i finish everything i will arrive precisely at the camping in geyikbayiri 😅

I decided to hitchhike to fethiye to reach the starting point.

I started without knowing if it would really be a good idea. I was wondering if with coronavirus people would not really be inclined to take hitchkers.

I waited 5 minutes for the first car that got me started, then 15 for the second that put me on the main road for my direction and then half and our for the third one that brought me directly to fethiye.

When I was waiting for the second one, I was thinking why i decided to hitchhike ? There's a bus from Antalya direction fethiye, it's not really expensive. I was wondering if it's not the practical aspect or the money what is it really ?

I guess there's a part of challenge and adventure. It's always the same process of putting you in a position of not knowing and having to deal with the the uncertainty of a situation. It is every time the same exercise but I always go through some similar thinking. 99% of the case i reached my goal in a timing totally acceptable and met cool people on the way.😎

This time i faced a situation a bit strange, that i didn't get in the moment because of language bareer.

When I was waiting for the third car, there was a other guy (turkish) who was also hitchiking. Since he was there first, i waited that he would get a car to hitchhike after him. With what I can manage in turkish, i understood that we were going the same way. So we kind of hitchhiked together. He was sometimes moving to a other spot to see if he would be luckier.

At some point he went to the bathroom, at that moment a guy stopped. He wasn't really speaking English but he was going to fethiye. He let me in the car and when I sat i saw the other hitchiker coming back from the bathroom. He didn't know if coming so i waived at him, he came and talked with the driver. The result was that he didn't take him.

The driver was really friendly, so later on i asked him why he didn't take the other one. He explained me that he was not trusting the turkish hitchikers but only foreigner. Unsual, this kind of generalities are the other way around... The rest of the way went pretty well. He dropped me in fethiye just before sunset.

Time was running out So i took a small bus to the village where the hike was starting. By the time I got there it was dark, i started looking for the path and walked on it to find a spot to hang my hammock. I was walking through a bunch of hotel resort, not easy to find some good trees in the dark. Plus a lot of dogs were barking and i didn't want to get attention from people since I wasn't yet on the path. At some point I found a little shelter, that the taxi drivers use to rest while waiting for customers. Obviously empty at that time of the day. I thought : " perfect, that will do for tonight!"

There was a little bench to sleep on, even a plug to charge my phone. I started unpacking some of my stuff to eat and I saw my fingerboard (object to train fingers strength for climbers) thought I might train a bit. So I opened my hammock bag to take my slings and carabiners. Not there.... I thought, it's dark and late, I might be tired and not looking well, I wit check tomorrow better. I ate and decided to go sleep. It was a hard night, the dogs never stopped barking all night.

In the morning, i realized I was by chance, literally at the starting point. I gather my things and started walking. I was really happy but at the same time really curious and a little bit scared. I had no idea what was coming ahead. Two things were mainly bothering me : if my knee was going to allow me to complete at least a reasonable part of the the trekking and secondly, i read that there was a lot of shepherd dogs on the way that could be quite aggressive.

I started the walk with a lot of questions in my head. It reminded me a bit my mindset when I left Belgium. It's this mix of fear, apprehension and adrenaline. I realized that the fear of not knowing and not being able to achieve what we wish is really a big factor in those moments. To balance that feeling, you have the adrenaline of doing something that you dreamt of and push you over your limits. This weird balance put you on the road and you are just left with one mission : moving forward!

So here i was, walking under this march's sun that happened to be already quite warm. The landscape were already pretty nice and the path not that easy, but happy i was!

I quickly found my rythmin and was enjoying myself. Toward the end of my first day i met Yusuf that made me realize two things :

first, that i was not alone walking on that path and secondly, a bit after that i had lost my phone.

So i said goodbye to him and went back looking for it. Luckily I found it. Here was a first lesson. After that i look for a spot and decided to set up camp after this first day that was already tiring. I checked and no sign of my sling and carabiners.

I couldn't understand i checked all my bag before leaving. My hammock was packed since November. I had not open it, i couldn't understand that a part was missing. I contacted vic and confirmation came, i left them on the trees in the camp...

You see i was sleeping in my hammock only for the first weeks in the camping. When I decided i would stay longer, i switched to a tent that was more convenient for long time stay. After weeks my hammock was still hanging there, so one day i thought I should put it back. Apparently that day i was distracted... So here my second lesson, always check everything, even the things you things you though you packed! So I set up my tarp and no hammock. I tried to start my little routine, wich implies finger board training, stretching, meditation and reading aside from making a fire and cooking.

First night on the trail was alright, i started my second day a bit late, i wasn't in the rythmin yet. I was tired from the first night at the taxi spot. Full of entousiasm i started this second day. Arriving to the beautiful kabak beach i was looking for a small shop to buy food for my lunch. There i met Charlar that was looking for the same. We walked togheter and ate lunch on the beach.

We kept walking together and as we were talking we realized we were both camping with hammock. I told him my story about my hammock and he told me : " i don't worry i don't use carabiners, i can show you a technique".

The challenge was to find not only a knot that was safe enough but that's also easy to untight in the morning after a night of tension. Luckyly i had some extra rope with me, so he showed me when we set up the camp together. The trouble was that my rope was so thin than the knots was slowly moving during the night. Nevertheless, it worked and i could untight it. I slept without knowing if my set up would hold me all night. Hard to be fully relax 😅

I also had some small carabiners with me but seemed to small to trust so i did not use them.

Next morning he started a bit earlier than me and i caught him a bit later and eventually arrive before him to the next village. I waited for him there and had lunch. Afterwords we met Damian, a guy from Switzerland. We walked, all together after lunch. At the end of the day Damian wanted to go a bit further and Charlar and me decided to call it for the day. We set up camp and i had some time to do relax everything of my little routine. The next day, there was two options : one shorter and one longer than was going through some ruins. We had diferents plans so we split up m, hopping to meet again.

As I was walking down to the next village, happy about the different people i had met but also to be on my own again, i faced again some "dogs challenges". I stopped to take some water in the village and realized that there was a girl walking behind me. I kept walking since my envy was more on solitary mood. Through the village there was still a few dogs barking/following me. At one house there was one really aggressive that jumped out and ran directly at the girl that happened to be just a few meters behind me. She was panicking, so i threw some rocks and yell at the dogs and it ran away. I kept my way and was happy about my mission.

Later on, we met nearby the ruins so we had lunch together. So I met Rachel that is from the USA. She had a interesting life story. She also got stucked in an other country during lockdown (Ouzbékistan) so we could share on the experience.

She was also one very interested in the archeological part of the lycian way. So i learned a bit about that interesting civilization. They were a small population that had no interest in conquer others territory, they were a very early form of democracy, happened to be a matriarchal society and had a polyethist religion but we're not trying to convert other people. A lot of different empire attack them along their story but somehow kept existing for different centuries.

The whole hike is name after them and the region. It's quite cool, as you walk you pass a lot of different ruins on your way. There are no fences or paying fee, it's just there. Sometimes it gives a mystical touch to your day. You're walking on the same path as this old civilization and see the remaining of their cities.

As we were walking and talking about our different life experiences i learned that she use to work for secret intelligency of the army, later on became a pshycoterapeut.

We were talking about her spider phobia when she was in Thailand and it put me on the subject of my fear of the dogs. By phrasing it i realized it was actually a bigger challenge than i thought. I knew it would be a challenge for me when I read it in the book but i never thought it would at a level of a phobia.

It Is actually a fear that i kept with me since I was a child, it stayed with me all my life. Even it got better with time, it never went away. Until last year in jordan, when I went hiking and had this bad experience with the shepherd dogs. Since then, it was like if it had gone back to the starting point.

Because I wasn't really in an environment where it was relevant, i didn't really make the connection until this hike. This conversation with her made me realize the importance of that challenge but also that i was capable of facing the situation since I defended her.

We kept walking togheter and set up camp in the same place. At night I cooked a nice meal with some vegetables that I grilled in the fire!

Next day she started a bit earlier than me, I caught her up end of the morning. We walked together for a bit and then I kept going on my own. She was planning to stay sleeping in a hotel in the next village.

So I kept going and found myself a nice spot for camping, stretching and fire making. I improved my hammock set up with some little update I found myself. The technique charlar gave me was good but didn't solve everything. I could finally have a good night of sleep!

Next day, for once I woke up early and started my day with the good rytmin. Happy to be alone again and going at my own past I had a great first half of the day. I went through some nice forest and ruins. The rest of the day was supposed to be flat and easy through a village.

I started walking through this area full of green houses. At some point, i started seeing a few dogs every few houses but my mindset was good and so were my reactions, i even managed to pet some. As i kept going through the village more and more dogs were appearing and my mindset started to be less and less positive.

The way looked like it was never going to end and the dogs were more and more aggressive. At some point i was really on the edge,. I started to be in "stress mode" the landscape were not nice and i was not enjoying myself. So i decide to hitchike to go a bit further on. Someone took me and brought me to the next ruin's, where i had lunch and time to calm myself. So i though if I'm not enjoying the landscape and I'm just having a hard time there's no point. The physical challenge is still the same eventough i hitchike a bit. So i walked a bit and hitchiked to the next village since I could see it was still full of green houses.

Once there I was planning to do some groceries and look for some carabiners for my hammock since it was the first "town" i had seen in days. No carabiners and a lot of street dog. I met a other hiker that looked lost so asked him if he needed some help. We talked a bit and he ended up gifting me a carabiner that he had with him. He was looking for a bus to go to a other step. I had read in the book that my next step was going to be similar as the one I had just done. So i decided to go with him. So i met Andre from Russia.

As we were talking waiting for the bus, we got to know each other. He was different from his apparence. I thought he looked a bit superficial but in fact had a big life change a year ago when he discovered about deep mediation. He changed his life habit and his career. He became some kind of coach life. Helping people to go forward with their life and solving some traumas.

Later on we ended talking about my fear of dogs. And i explained him how i started this trekking challenge thinking that the hard part was the km, the heat, the heavy bag, the night alone in the woods but in fact the real challenge was actually facing the dogs on my own. We talked a bit about my experience as a child and what could actually be the worst for me if something would go wrong. Really cool talk ! He really changed the mood after this hard afternoon. 😊

He was planning to stay sleeping in the village and I kept going in direction of the path. I had directly some dogs challenges to face on my way but did pretty ok. I set up my hammock exhausted from this long intense day and decided to sleep early without cooking.

Next morning i woke up restless, as if I did not really recovered enough from yesterday. Nevertheless I started walking. I was not totally relax, I couldn't enjoy anymore as i was in the first days. It was like my fear came back but worst than the first day.

I was facing some questions in my mind about fear in life, how there are something that we try to avoid as much as we can and when we have to face them we do everything to minimize the importance of it in our mind. I'm someone that is trying to work on himself physically, emotionally, socially, culturally etc but yet I never wanted to or never could realize how big this fear was in my life. The conversation with Andre really got me thinking about the importance of all of those fear/problems that are the main causes to all of our stress, anxiety etc. And everything is happening in our mind!

Now the question was, how could I be able to trick my mind again to overcome this "fear mindset" and be able to enjoy fully the beauty of this experience. I was trying to think about a lot fear i faced in my life and to what are they really related more deeply inside me ( lose of control, feeling of failure, lack of freedom ?). I came up with some ideas but no conclusions yet.

Still the landscape was beautiful!

As i was gathering my good spirits during a break, I saw Damian ( a swiss guy we met with Charlar on the second day) walking down. He walked really fast because I cut one step with the bus i took. He was really happy to see me. We started walking together and talking. We realized we had the exact same experience with the dogs and was in the same mindset as mine now. Trying to free himself from the fear to enjoy again the beauty around us.

He told me that i made a good call to skip the previous store because it was full of agressive dogs. He also told me that in the application he was using, they were specifically mentioning that the last years that part of the hike was getting more and more problematic with the dogs. This information and the day together allowed us to take some distance with the previous day. We had a good sunny day 🙂.

He told me that in the morning he met a local that told him that he was welcome in his house if he wanted to rest. The idea of a house and a shower after 6 nights in camping sounded like a good plan. So he called him at the end of the day. We walked down the next village and met Hilmi. He was with 5 dogs and lived far in a village through a lot of green houses. We both thought oh my god!

But the the way down was pretty cool he was really funny and the dogs were really obeying him. Plus everybody in the village was so nice, we crossed an old lady that offered us some food she cooked and was distributing in the village. We walked past the perfect shop for my hammock set up, i found exactly what I needed. An old guy offered us some chocolate, it was like a happy village!

We went to Hilmi house, had a good shower, went to eat some pide (turkish pizzas) and some drinks. It happens that they both spoke french so funny for me to be in this set up and talking my own language. We had a few drinks and a nice evening. Hilmi is kurdish so we had the opportunity to hear a bit about his reality in turkey. We talked about many things untill we were just about to fall asleep.

We slept like rocks! In the morning we ate a good breakfast with all locals products. After Hilmi dropped us in the next village. Damian decided to rest one more night in a hotel because his feet were hurting to much. I decided to go already on the path to camp.

Since I saw it was going to rain a lot i waited at a cafe (that happens to be closed) before going on the path. The rained was mild but the cloud stayed so i didn't want to take the risk because a big storm was supposed to come during the afternoon. In the end the cafe's owner offered me to stay on his terrace to have a roof. Wich i accepted because it seems that the rain was delayed for the night. I ended up drinking beers with him and his cousin and got a other taste of turkey!😅

Happy to find again my traveler's spirit and getting ready for the rest of the trail. After a week i already learned so much! About myself, about what could really bring me this experience and how it's always good to move a bit a out of your confort zone. I love my life at the camping and enjoy climbing so much but maybe i needed to move a bit to see something else for a while. Let's see about the rest now!

The next morning, i started walking with a good spirit again, wondering if Damian was behind or ahead me on the path. It's a cool balance this trekking on my own because I m having mostly the good amount of the loneliness i wanted but i also met cool people. Each is going on his own rythmin. They are also willing to be on their own so nobody get in the private space of the others and when you meet someone after being on your own it's a cool feeling.

So far i never really struggled to find the path, mostly it was pretty well indicated and maps me on my phone helped me when I had a doubt. But this morning, the path was strange making me going on circle. There was to many signs and then no signs at all. I believe some locals changed the sign to make you walk through their camping to increase the chances to stop there. I bushwaged a bit but ended up finding my ways. I walked a big way up quite steep that brings you from sea level into the mountains. What a good a felling to see the landscape changing through the day!

It seems i talked a lot about dogs and fear but every day the landscapes were amazing, it's so changing from the sea, to some rocky valleys to small lonely villages, flat green fields and pine forest. The flowers, the smells, the birds singing, sometimes a few animals passing by just gave the magic i was looking for!

I was walking on a good path but this etape was a big one. Arriving to one village, i met two guys, Ozi and Yuma (a turkish and a Russian walking with huge backpacs. We stopped to chat and drink some water. They were a funny gypsy team with all their stuff. They were waiting for a third friend (a girl from ukraine, anastasia) so i kept going

I saw i wouldn't make it to the next village, wich was supposed to be the end of the day. So i stopped where i could find some nice trees. I was looking forward for a night of sleep in my hammock with my new gears. I had a good evening relax, cooked a great meal. Ready for the night but didn't go how i wished! A bunch of dogs were barking all night and coming very close from my campground. Plus it was probably the coolest night so far since I was around a 1000m of altitude. I barely slept...

The morning i packed quickly and decided to move quickly to catch up the way. So far i was doing relax morning but now i thought it's time to get in the real rythmin, walking early and fast to have time in the afternoon.

It didn't go the way i wished. The first part was down hill, pretty steep (wich is hard on my knee) and really confusing so i was going slowly, checking all the time for the path. I crossed a village and started going up hill again pretty steep again. I didn't see the usual signs but my gps was telling me that i was on the right way. I took a turn and was a bit hesitant because it looked bushy but i decided to trust my gps.

What a mistake! That's the time i really got lost! I was to far to go back and it was not getting better ahead...

Sometimes when you look at your map, it seems that it would be easy to cut to make it a bit shorter good though a bit of vegetation. There is a reason why the path exists!!! 😅 I don't if you have already try to go through some spiky forest with a big backpack and climbing some big rocks ? It's quite a adventure. I decided to embrace it and going fully in it. I finally made it through after more than an hour of indiana jones style.

Can you see the magic bush on the next picture? 😉

When I found the path, i walked quite fast up hill. Ending on a magical view of the valley where bi was coming two days ago. Then the path was going through some big flats green fields surrounded by spiky bushes. The weather was cloudy and It seemed that i was the only guy around.

Suddenly, a dog appeared. Behind him i saw a herd. I thought : " damn a sheppard dog, it's going to chase me." I decided to try a different strategy. Normally, i always walk with a stone in my pocket because they say it's the way to chase the sheppard dogs. I sat, put my walking stick on the ground to show the dog i was not taking his territory. It looked me and so i called him with a nice voice. It just came to me and I even managed to pet him. I couldn't believe what just happened 🙏 Then the sheppard came, we talked a bit (limited by my turkish level). Then we walked togheter through the herd so the dog wouldn't not bother.

Kept my way trying to find water and trees in this strange landscape. Found almost the only two tress next to each other in all the km i had been through 😅.

After my routine, when i was setting up the hammock. The gypsy team arrived. So they set up camp with me. It was the first night i spent with more than one person camping. It was cool , they had a funny vibe.

The next day was supposed to be a long etape of 7h30 of walking but the problem was that a storm was announced for the night and the next day. There was no shops in the village of the etape so we talked about doing ba double etape that would bring us to Kash. It's a small coast town very relax. But it would mean 10h30 of walking with a way down of 400m down in two km at the end, probably in the dark! Quite a challenge 😉

I slept so well and woke up early with my alarm! First night with a good hammock set up, not cold and no dogs. I packed quickly and said goodbye to the gypsy team that was going on a slow start.

I walked like a machine this day! At some point, I heard some dogs barking behind me coming closer and closer. So i did the same, i stopped and let them coming to me. It worked perfectly, they even did a bit of way with me. 🤗

I had not much food for my lunch but i met a family cutting some wood that offered me some tea, cheese and bread. Coming from the sky 🙏

I walked 11 hours that day, with max 30 minutes of break the whole day. The way was really beautiful but i had not much time to stop. I was facing against the daylight and the storm. There is quite a nice adrenaline when you have to walk fast because you need to be so focus. Checking for your path and paying attention to every step on difficult road without loosing the rythmin is good challenge for the mind and the body.💪

I arrived in kash just when the sun was going down. Found quickly a cheap pensyion to stay. Took a warm shower, " swallowed a huge warm meal and slept like a rock.

Not quite a palace, my room was in the basement but who cares about the seaview when you walked every day with a beautiful landscape. Just a warm bed will do.

Plus getting too comfortable during the break in a city makes it harder to go back on the trail. If it wasn't for the storm i would not stop in a City!

I couldn't not feel my feet at the end of the day. The morning i realized that my shoes were broken... Good timing since I was in the only town of the whole hike.

I tried to find new shoes but there was only two shops selling fake shoes low quality... It was like walking on plastic high heel. I hard time with trusting the new shoes and leaving behind the old ones that are the best shoes i ever had!

So like a good belgian, i made a compromise 😅 i fixed the old ones, good thing that we are in turkey and everything is possible ! And i bought a new pair for back up because I did not think the other would last to the end.

I got along well with the owner of the place, since I speak a bit turkish and got use to middle east politeness/communication they made me feel at home. Good feeling for resting fully. The next day i took it easy, ate, read and chilled. It didn't rain much during the day but i couldn't tell during the night because I slept really deeply.

It was funny because among the different people on the trail we almost all ran into each other but at different times. In kash i met Yuma the Russian guy from the gypsy team that told me they had to sleep up there the previous night and it rained a lot ( confirmation that the rain did happen 🤣) because they couldn't make it in time. I also saw later Yusuf, the guy that i met the first day. He came to check in in the same pensyion as me. Since they were full, we shared my room. Later on came Anastasia, the girl from the gypsy team. So funny to all meet in the same place again!

I spent two nights in kash to leave the storm pass. My plan was to check the next morning, how the weather would be. If not to bad, i would get going to keep moving forward. There was a other storm coming for the next day, so i wanted to make sure I would sleep under a roof again. Normally it doesn't rain a lot except during the rainy season (November- January) but there still a few days here and there that might happen. When it does rain, it's a lot in one day and then next morning, it's like nothing happened, full sunshine ☀️ Should be good for the rest of the month 🙏

The next morning, i woke up relax took my time. I knew the weather cast said it would rain until mid day. So i waited my window of opportunity to start under the sunshine.

My plan was to stop to a village 2 hours away or the next one 4 hours away from Kash.

Trying my new shoes and going slowly without being in the rush with this small itinerary i enjoyed very much this way. I went through some hills and then along the coast line into some small beaches. I walked fast enough to walk past the first village in less time than announced. So i kept going.

The sea was so agitated that i could see the storm coming...

Bad news everything was closed in the next village. Mission aborted 🤔 new plan : 3 more hours to go to get to the next village to find a roof. It was already around 17h wich meant for sure walking in the dark. I started walking really fast like the day to go to Kash. Timing was too stretch. I stopped at some place to take some water. There i saw two guys in front of a little shed drinking tea . I stopped to say Hello and the owner of the shed invited me to have a cup of tea.

I explained him my situation but his English was very limited. I thought i should get going to reach the village. We talked a bit, he explained me that this Land belong to his family and he comes here to work on The olives trees and enjoy sleeping by the sea. We kept talking and he finally offered me to stay for free in his shed, thank God!🙏

Just after that a rainbow appeared 😊 i was so released to have a roof for the storm!

Then he even offered me to stay at his house in kash, so i could wash my clothes and eat a warm meal and drive me back here the next morning. I thanked him but said i was very good here. He offered me some food for my dinner. He told me i could take whatever i wanted in the shed, food, drinks, etc.

We made a fire and stayed enjoying the view together. His cousin stopped by for a moment and they talked a while but i could not understand everything. His cousin was not really friendly.

Then just a bit before leaving i saw him being a bit agitated, like less outgoing. He asked me if I would be confortable leaving any contribution for staying. His plan was to stay but to help me he was leaving and coming back tomorrow to work. I told him i totally understood but i asked him why he did not ask me in the first place ? I would have said yes. I was anyway looking for a roof tonight with the idea of paying for it.

I supposed his cousin told him something to make him change his mind...

When I said that, he apologized and told me to forget what he just said. I felt bad and insist, i said :" look if you need the money, tell me. It's ok, i rather be honest". He told me he was sorry for his bad english (most of our conversation was through google translate), not to worry and to pray for him. Then he left...

I stayed with a weird feeling, wondering what would be the right reaction ? He really looked honest and genuinely nice. I thought maybe to shy or to polite to ask in the first place ?

I had a bit of time to think about it during the evening.

My thoughts were :

It's so nice when you are on the road to meet people that are friendly and welcoming.

It's definitely a good feeling to be outside of the "classics/mainstream" tourism.

It's really cool to be hosted by locals to jump into some realities.

What i want to see in the world as an ideal is not how it should be or simply how is the reality. Sometimes what i projet or what i hope for doesn't match the reality. It's my responsibility to adapt also to each situation.

I'm not doing some mainstream tourism but i am a tourist. As the other tourists I'm here to seek my own happiness/satisfaction.

Traveling as backpackers and trying to seek adventure often rymes with:

being uncomfortable, taking risks, putting yourself in situation where you avoid to pay for services and puting yourself in a position of vulnerability, hopping that people will help you.

Weird mix when you put it like this but this what i have been doing for a while.

Sure i don't want to pay three times the price in a restaurant or in a taxi or even paying a lot for some organized tours but as a young man from a western country, I'm a lot time way more "confortable" in life that the people that are helping me during my trip.

Sure i haven't been traveling in the poorest countries/areas and i have seen a lot of people leaving very comfortably in the countries i have traveled lately.

My point is that, sometimes it's just "normal" to pay for services. Even though I dream of a world out of the money-relationship, we still need some to live. Every time someone offered you or invited just to be nice, not because he wants to sell you something, it's such a warm sensation. But that doesn't mean that when you do pay in certain situations it erases the rest.

So my conclusion was that i wanted to believe the guy in his will of being welcoming but acknowledge the fact that he might need money as well.

I left a bill on the table for the amount of a room in a pensyion.

No electricity, no shower but nice gesture.

It felt right or i just felt better about it afterwards. Hard to say...

I was unsatisfied in the first place about paying and i ended up paying to feel i was doing the right thing 🤔

I slept really well and enjoyed the noise of the sea, while dreaking my tea and snacking.

I heard the storm at night and felt so grateful to be under a roof !

The morning, i left in a good mood, the sun was shining!

My feet were hurting a lot due to my new shoes yesterday. It really felt like i was walking on plastic high heels.

After a hour my knee started to hurt me... First time it hurted like that since the beginning of the trip. I was so happy so far that it never happened but i knew it would at some point. It was just a matter of time and maybe shoes...😐

So i stopped, stretched my legs rest a bit and switched to my old shoes. I kept walking but was paying to much attention to my knee and my mind too focuses about how many days i had left and if my old shoes would hold that much, and what would be my other options blabla blablabla...

Not the right mindset to enjoy the hike. I stopped to have lunch and try to ease my mind, accepting whatever would be the outcome. Also trying to be grateful about what i already had acheaved!

Kept walking with my new conclusions in mind. Then suddenly : A dog watching me!

I was not ready at all, i stopped didn't what were is attention yet. So i sat and try to call him...

He ran at me and licked me on the face. He looked so happy than he made me forget the rest😊

I kept walking and he kept following me. When i met him it was in the forest before a village, he had a neckless but seemed quite skinny to be a "home dog". I was wondering if he belonged to a house in the next village ?

There are a lot of street dogs in Turkey. Sometimes the have a tag on the ear and sometimes even neckless. So hard to say. Anyhow i kept walking and he kept following me. I stopped in the village to take water. I asked some villagers i met but didn't seem to know about it. Went out of the village and still followed by the dog 🐕.

Around the end of my day, i passed through a camping ( a lot of locals built their camping or cafe literally on the trail so you will pass through) i was looking for water because none of the sources i had seen on the map were reliable. I spoked with the guy of the camping that told me there weren't any except three hours away. The dog that followed and the camping's dogs were messing around togheter. So i told him : " sorry about the dog, it's not even mine". He answered me that he knew and had seen that dog before following others hikers.

Asked me if I wanted to stay in his camping and did not offered a solution for a water. I wasn't planning to and even less after the talk.

So set kept walking and set up camp in a place sheltered from the wind because strong winds were blowing that night.

Not super easy to do my stretching and eating with the dog. He's young and wild so he was jumping all the time to play with me. Was starving so really looking forward for food. I managed not so bad considering that I'm not really use to dogs. Never had one before.

I decided that night to not put the hammock because no good tree's and to much wind. So He slept next to me under the tarp and kept me warm during the night. Barked a few times when he hard a animal coming but got back to calm immediately.

He made me forget about my knee, i named him opöchuk (kiss in Turkish)😚

Next morning, the dog was still there. He even met some friends in the morning.

My mission was to walk quickly to find water. When i packed everything, he followed me and we started walking together 😊

So i went from scared as hell to more confident to end up being the "dog hiker" 😂

So far I've been pretty lucky with the environment. My hammock depends on trees and my cooking stove on dry wood. So far i had no problems thanks to the pine forest around me. For the rest of the hike, it looks like I'm going to be closer to the beach or higher in the mountains in rocky environment. We shall see 😉

I'm at the step 16 out of 29, so pretty much at the half. Some steps are a half days, some three days. The average time for the whole lycian way is between 25 and 35 days. I started the 5 in the morning and we are at that point the 16, so far I'm doing good ✌️


I started the trek with differents issues, the one regarding my hammock was a good lesson to adapt. When i finally found some good rope and carabiners i switch the challenge to how can I improve my system?

I really got better at finding good tress with the good placement. Cost me a few bad nights of sleep but now i now how tight my hammock should be. I got faster at setting up everything.

Every day the technique was improving a bit, found some new ideas for tighting my tarp etc.

Also with a long hike like that, the importance of small things revealed his importance. Such as the rythmin of your day. How to plan your water in order to be safe but not carry 3 liter all day for nothing.

Hiking is also about efficiency, time and energy are important to save!

The way my bag pack is organized made sense from the beginning. How to balance your weight, put the things you might need during the day easy to reach and so on.

To set up my camp and cook there is no secret, i have to take out most of my stuff. That is ok, it's the end of the day. But Packing my bag in the morning is a cordinated ballet that i improved a little bit every time.

Next day was really warm and i was out of everything (battery, water and food). I walked to the next village with all the dogs following me, i arrived starving and super thirsty. It was a little port village with a lot of fisherman. Lovely place! I stopped in a restaurant to eat a fresh fish, charged my phone and made groceries.

Nice to chill a bit also, i knew the importance of rythmin for each hike day in order to enjoy. But on a month you should stop in certain spot and enjoy them a bit more 😉

So far all the break i took were because of a storm coming and in a town. I didn't really took the time to fully enjoy a spot. For sure i had lunch in beautiful places, swam in the sea and took break in front of charming views. In the beginning of the hike, the walking days were less intense and physically challenging so i was doing slow morning in order to enjoy a bit the spots and get in the rythmin of walking and slowly waking up earlier.

So i felt it was the good moment to take a break, allow my knee to rest in warm environment. I was walking near the coast and weather seemed good. So i decided to stop in a beach i could see on the map.

It was a long walk to get there and water was really hard to find in the area. I arrived there late, i knew it would be a windy night but should get calmer later on.

I set up my hammock in some of the only trees I could see around. Beautiful spot but very exposed for the wind and the tree were too close of each other. Not my best night...

Still adjusting with the dog and my cooking/eating time but slowly improving.😅

Woke up late but the wind was so strong that i couldn't relax proprely. I prepared some wood for cooking a nice lunch, change spot my hammock that was almost sailing in the wind.

Eventually the wind calm down and i could cook a nice meal : spaghetti with salmon, olive oil and persil👌

The dog is barking every time someone is approaching. He's young and actually wants to play with people. It's interesting to see the reaction of people now that I'm looking at it from a different perspective. When he's barking he's moving his tail and clearly shows a friendly behavior but not everyone reacts the same way. Some people are really scared and don't know how to react properly. Knowing what is to be scared of a dog, i always try to calm the dog and assure the people that everything is fine.

I'm now teaching now to not bark all the time. Anyway, i see myself in the reaction of people that are scared and i can really see what I changed in my behavior. Being on the other side of the mirror is also a good lesson!

On the other hand, people that know how to react and love dogs you can see immediately. Plus opöchuk is young and wants to play with everyone, so when they are welcoming it's always a nice moment 🙂

Anyway that day when i was cooking, a guy passed by and the dog was barking. He reacted really well. I tried to speak with the guy but he was russian and spoke only a few words of English. He was looking for a spot to camp here tonight.

So i met Andre and his girlfriend. They loved opöchuk so it was nice, they were playing a lot with him and feeding him. Communication was hard but somehow with the little english he knew he was speaking in russian i was guessing/understanding and translating in english and we could have some small conversation. There are lot of russian in turkey and on the lycian way. I guess i heard a lot of lately and started picking up a few things here and there. Don't ask me how ? 😅

Plus when russian see me on the path they always assume I'm russian and speak to me in russian!

I enjoyed very much the afternoon, i went in the sea twice, took a nap, read, stretched, meditate and just enjoyed the view.

My second spot was way better for sleeping. Weather looked god so i didn't put the tarp to sleep with the stars view. Really cool 😎 of course it rained a bit in the middle of the night. I had anticipated so my ridge line was already set up and the tarp next to my hammac. I set it up without getting out of my hammock, challenge! 😁

Morning wake up, let a bit my stuff drying, Andre and his girlfriend invited me for breakfast, nice! Some warm tea after the rainy night. They were supper nice, gave me a lemon and some winter tea to stay warm on the way. Packed my stuff, said goodbye and Continued to Demre to prepare for the next steps supposed to be quite hard.

On the way crossed a nice beach, met some scary dogs. There are the Anatolian dogs that are known to fight with the wolfs in the mountains.

But with opöchuk they were playing 😇

Met with an english family leaving in Turkey for a while. They also invited for some tea 🍵

Got lost around some ruins and then started walking along a road. What a shock after all this time relax in the nature. This afternoon the sky was gray and walking with opöchuk in this city environment was not funny at all. I had to tight him to a leach because the concept of road seemed a bit abstract to him..

I stopped to eat some meat in a restaurant and charge my phone. I went to buy some groceries and Left the dog tight up outside. He broke the rope and found me in the super market 😅

So i ended up buying a real leach, some kind of long term commitment between us!

This is supposed to be the place where saint Nicholas is coming from!

The etape coming was a 2-3days hike with no food and not much water on the way starting from sea level and going up to 1800m to go down again to see level!

first step: getting out of the city to be already on the path for the next morning. I walked through an are full of green houses and dogs. I had to deal with a lot of "dog meetings". Sometimes they went well sometime not really... The problem is that my dog wants to play with all of them but some are quite territorial and don't seem really willing to 🧐

So humid that afternoon, i arrived exhausted !

I found a spot next to a sheppard shelter, met the sheppard's son working there. Impressive how young he was but already quite confident for a child. We chatted a bit and he offered me the shelter for the night. I thanked him and told him i would use it if they would be some rain. Went to bed early to be ready for a big walking day 💪

Quite a warm and steep day ☀️i walked up to 1200m high. I was planning to camp before but i could see on the hill a nice pineforest that looked perfect for my hammock. The more i was walking, the more it looked far away. At some point i stopped because I was exhausted and the sun was going down. I set up as i could but being in a big slope with a lot of distance between the trees made it pretty hard!

Not a good night! Pretty cold and not good set up for my hammock.

Started walking early, this top was my birthday present 🎁

Really steep, the path was really hard to find and unfortunately a bit misty that day. Couldn't have a good visibility but the place looked quite mystical like that!

I got lost many times that day, the path was almost none existant and my gps helps me for general directions but it's not precise enough in those moments.

Anyway i managed to go Top and down in one day! Happy about the performance i arrived at the entrance of the town. I got welcomed by a lot of dogs but not nice ones this time...

It started to get dark and the storm was coming at night i was looking forward for a place to sleep well. I had still about an hour through the town to walk. I don't really enjoy those parts plus the dogs were not giving me a good vibe. I started hitchhiking but inside of a town with a dog my chances were very low. I couldn't get in the bus because of the dog. So i ended up taking a taxi (normally not allowed neither to take dogs) 🚖

I arrived in this Motel located on the way out of the town. The place felt old but was pet friendly, So perfect!

Took a long shower, ate a lot and relaxed. I stayed two nights because the storm was spraid out on two days. This Motel and the owner gave the feeling that time stopped. It was like nothing had moved in the last year's inside of the place. Plus the guy had his personal stuff a bit everywhere, you really feel that he got lost in time and space in this Motel. He was very nice with the dog, asked me if I needed things for him and allowed me to take him with me in the room haha!

The shoes i bought in Kas were killing my feet and the other ones were about to die for good. This place was my last chance to find something. I found a shop that had real shoes of "quality". I Bought a new pair and a new t-shirt because the other one was clearly done 😅

My next step coming was along a road for the whole day. Damian, the swiss guy that was ahead of me had recommended me to skip that one. Problem : i could not take a public bus with the dog. So, Next morning i started hitchhiking hitchiking with a dog hopping to make the way in one day.

My first ride of the day was a tractor ☺️ In the end people stopped even though I had the dog. Sometimes, they asked me if it was mine and then when said yes indeed. They would say sorry no dog inside of my car. Culturally, religionsly speaking it could be tricky in Turkey. Plus covid did not help. On the other hand a woman made a big detour to help me because I had a dog 🐕

I Made it to karaöz more than in time. Glad to be out of the city, where the dog and myself could be more relaxed 😎

Walked a bit and slept in a spot called pirate bay. Last stop for the day. Perfect spot with water 🤠

A dog barked literally all night! This next step has no water source during the whole day and I was quite tired but it was one of the most beautiful of the whole hike. The coast line mixed with beautiful rock formation and the patch goes next to it and through the forest.

It was a real pleasure to amire those landscapes!

I Stopped just before adrasan, the little village that closes this etape. This night was very cold. I learned later that it matched a wave of cold winds coming from the north, that the whole country experienced!

I woke up still not totally rested from the previous nights but already a bit better. I walked to adrasan to have a Chill morning drinking tea, charging my phone and taking care of the bugs that had my dog. I talked with the guy from the shop where i drank my tea. Cool guy that used to be a gourmet chef before.

Then it was time to get going to olympos. So i started my walk. It was a bit late to start but I was going quite fast.

It had been two days that i was walking more or less at same rythmin that a group of elder Ukrainians. I made it to the top (wich was the half of this etape) around the end of afternoon and so the Ukrainians. What a Magical place on this top! I decided to stop there for the night.

My Plan was to stop for a day of break in this spot. There was suppose to be some water there and the view was amazing. I had a very hard time to find the source and it was not super clean water but fortunately, i found next to the a fire spot an old tea pot. Perfect to boil my water to make sure I will have enough.

As soon as the sun went down, it got so cold that i felt it was going to snow or something 😅It was clearly one of the coolest night so far!!!

I woke up really late because of the cold during the night. Ate my lunch in the sun and still i was cold. So i changed my plan and left, really tired from the last nighs extremely cold 🥶

I walked around thinking he would just appear like always. But this time he didn't. I had to buy some food before the only shop closes. I went to buy some stuff and left my backpack there to go back looking for him. At this point i realized how much I was already caring about him, i was really sad!

I went back on the beach and i found him waiting for food next to people camping. I called him and he ran to me through the whole beach. Both really happy to be together again! I bought him a little reward at the shop, some sausages that he swallowed 😅

It was getting dark and a bit just timing to get out of olympos and find a place to sleep. We started walking really quickly in direction to the entrance of the national park of chimerea. I was thinking to sleep around there because it was outside of the town and i saw some water on the map. Once i arrived the water was not working anymore and the spot not so welcoming to camp. I looked for water and found some by the entrance of the park. Of course I had to pay to access it... After the episode of the rain i decided not to discuss this time considering the time and that i had anyway to pass by there to reach my path. The guy told me that i couldn't not sleep close to the entrance but further on it was ok. The point he indicated me was like a hour away. I started walking knowing that i would never reach that point before the sunset. As i was walking i was seeing all the family coming back from their day excursion. Nobody was understanding why this gypsy style guy was starting his hike now 😅

The main attraction of this park are the flames of chimerea. There are old as the legend of the Greeks gods. They use to believe there were some kind of god manifestation. Now we know they exist because of some gaz coming out of the earth. Yet nobody can really agree on the explainaton of the phenomenon.

Anyway i decided to set my camp at the first flame spots. It was getting dark and i was exhausted. I struggled to find some good trees for my hammock. There was still a few tourist doing a night tour around the flames. The guards of the park were still around as well. I had a hard time to explain opöchuk to stay calm.

I managed to set my camp without anyone noticing me. When most of the people had left, i went out of my spot to start cooking. At least fire making was going to be easy 😃.

As i was waiting for my food, the group of Ukrainian arrived. They asked me if they could sit with me. Only one was speaking English. So he was doing the interpret with the rest of the group. It was funny it felt like an interview. There were quite nice, they shared some a beer with me, it was there last night of hike. It's funny i realized it was the first time I really interacted with them and yet we had spent the last days really close from each others. They were really fan of opöchuk and found quite funny that i was sleeping in the the national park.

I had to take a little decision for the rest of my way. The next step was the highest point of the trekking or an alternative by the sea. If i wanted to reach the sommet i had to adapt the plans because it's a 5 hours detour way and back. Plus to make it worth you need to be there before 10h otherwise the visibility won't be good.

I Decided to go for the ascension, which meant a long day coming up. I knew I had enough food for the three next days coming so all i was missing was a good night of sleep!

Luckyly it was the case, i slept perfectly and it was warm during the night. I had a very early start, i enjoyed a beautiful sunrise over the sea while drinking my morning tea.

And then yallah ! Because a Big day of walk was waiting for me. I was supposed to camp a bit before the base at the last water point around 1300m and i was at 100m above sea level!

I walked like a machine and i reached a very small Camping after the village around 1300m of altitude.

Guy of the camping/cafe next to my camp was really friendly. I bought a beer to watch the sunset. He offered me a thermos of tea that i was planning to buy. We had a conversation with the few English he knew and my knowledge of Turkish. But we managed 🙂

When he left told me to take what i needed, some bread, oranges etc. So nice and confortable! I cooked on his gas stove and use the rest of the boiled water to make me a hot bottle of water to sleep with! It was so cold 🥶 that i was considering to make a fire during the night!

Slept with literally all my layers!

The Plan was to wake up at 5am and get to the base with enough time to reach to the top around 9am.

Such a cold night, so happy to have my morning tea! Opöchuk was not understanding this early packing. He looked a bit suspicious but followed me in my crazy plan.

We were Walking in the dark for the first hour. I had a hour and a half to reach the base. I could have camp there but would have been even more cold.

Hard walk, pain, cold. Path well marked

So energized i was there earlier than my gps💪

When i arrived i saw a tent, someone craziest than me!

Heard a noise, said " hello" but nothing... so i kept my way. I was going to leave my backpack somewhere and go with the minimum to the top.

Heard : " Ismaël?"

I said : " Andre?"

During the beginning of my trek most of the people i met had ran into each othe but nobody except me had seen Andre. Like if it was a product of my imagination. He had a itinerary and rythmin a bit different because had to stop sometimes a few days to work online. I knew that one of the only place in common of our itinerary was the ascension of Tahtali mountain but the odd to be there at the same time were so small and unpredictable!!

We were so happy to see each other🙂, he was still having breakfast.

We laughed so much plus the fact to see me with a dog after the story i told him.

I was like let's go man ! Just leave your stuff and let's walk!!! We were on a perfect timing but his plan was different. He wanted to go to the sommet. Sleep there and then go down the next day with the finicular. He didn't know about the visibility before 10am. So he motivated himself to come with me.

I helped him packing to go faster. I didn't want to lose the window of opportunity, the sky was perfectly blue, no clouds!

We Started walking, i was pushing him forward. Since he was with his huge back pack and me with almost nothing 🎒

The ascension was amazing, every step the landscapes were getting more and more beautiful!

The path was quite obvious but very steep. At some point we were walking in the snow. It was so cool to see opöchuk playing in the snow. It was like a dream 😎

At some point we were in the valley surrounded by snow and could see so far away, The view was spectacular 🌄

I read there was a finecular to the top but i wasn't sure if it would be open at that point of the season. Anyway it's just not the same that the path we were walking on.

We made it in a really good timing. No cloud's and no one there, the finecular was still closed.

The view was so cool, the sea, the mountains, the snow, BEAUTIFUL!!!!

It was easier than the one I climbed with lucky and Tanner but the view was way more impressive. Plus the Approche and the camping made it very much intense!

We sat and had some tea and biscuits enjoying this perfect moment 🙂

Then the finecular started working and a lot of tourists arrived... There was some photographers with loud music and people talking a million of photos.

It was time to leave for me... He stayed and sticked to his plan. We said goodbye and wish a good life to each other!

The Way down was super cool, sunshine and a feeling of pure satisfaction!

Once i arrived down, i Changed, repack my bag and started the way down to finish the etape.

All in all 6 to 16h a really good score!

I was destroyed and so opöchuk!!!

I set up my camp early, enjoyed Chilling and easy cooking on the fire camp🤠

Next day, i had a slow start. I stopped in the next village to reward myself with a fish and waited a bit for the rain to pass. I was very cold and still tired from the big effort.

I Had to plan the last bit cause it was a very isolated part plus the weather seemed to be really rainy in the next days. I also had to decide if i wanted Victoria to meet me for the end of my trip. She asked me before I left if I wanted to do the last etape with her. At that time i didn't know.

I decided it could be cool to do the last effort with her. Like a reward before the final reward 🙂

So i spent the afternoon avoiding the rain, planning, resting by the wood stove of the cafe i ate and i did a bit of groceries since it was the last small shop before the end of my trekking. I had to think carefully to have enough food until the end for me and opöchuk plus counting that i wanted to spend one day chilling somewhere.

I left with a back pack quite full and set up camp just outside of the village. I had done only a half étape but i couldn't afford to walk under the rain. I was on the edge of being sick. I could feel i was close to my limits. I made a nice fire to stay warm and did my technique of hot stone in the fire to stay warm in my bed😇

Plan for the next day was the other half of étape with the idea of resting in a warm bed. I Had to recover from the last days still feeling cold and exhausted if i wanted to complete the whole challenge!

Next morning, i woke up in a ok state. Started walking looking up at cloud. The didn't look friendly at all. Eventually the storm arrived, I tried to find a shelter but not quick enough and i got properly washed out. I got wet like i had jumped in a river! It was raining so much that i couldn't even check the gps on my phone. 😅

I made my mind that i deserved for sure a night in warm bed. The sun came out and i started drying slowly. When I arrived to the village, i saw a pension. I stopped talked a bit because she didn't want to accept me with a dog and negotiated the price which included a hot shower (hard to find on during the trekking). Thank God, i was cold up to my bones. This shower got me back to life 🙏. I swallowed a dinner and slept like straight 12hours.

The morning the owner woke me up, she was not nice friendly at all. She was pushing me to pack my stuff and go. Plus opöchuk that i had to tide outside had escaped in the morning with the neighbor's dog. I was still not feeling perfectly good but i had to go look for him and had to leave the pension anyway.

I started walking in the village and finally found him playing with the other dog.

Happy to be with him we started hiking but the rain was coming and the clouds were getting really threatening. I knew i could not get washed out like last time because i was on the edge to get sick. I saw on the map a camping. I ran to it and luckily they had some kind of mini coffeplace. I stayed there waiting for the rain to pass. I could feel i was getting sick, even though I was inside with my layers, i was getting cold...

My plan was to reach a canyon approximately 5hours away to have my rest day there. But when the rain stopped, i had at the best 4h of daylight, too short to get there and found a good spot.

I figured that it was too late and found a good spot (later i will discover that was a great call, this spot was better for a rest day and the way was longer than i had estimated). 😇

That night i had a good fire challenge with wet wood. I really enjoyed the Challenge and started looking for the dry wood under the trees. I managed to get a good amount of wood and make a good fire to help me fighting the sickness.

The next day i felt really better, the temperature were lower and I was not so high in altitude anymore.

I started exploring a bit the area and discovered that it was an amazing spot for rest day ! I had a private access to the river from my camping, it was a bit hidden, so nobody really passed by there during the day. I had so much fun running up the river with opöchuk. We were playing a game jumping from rock to rock and i was challenging him to jump further and further. So cool 😎

In the evening a lot of russian hiker's groups arrived. At the point that the whole surrounding were full of people. It broke a bit my peaceful mood plus opöchuk was getting to much distraction and bothering certain groups while there were eating. In the end, I managed to calm him and he got a lot of free food 😅

A lot of Music in the morning. I felt like the moody Grandpa but decided to ambrace the situation. I Packed and went for a morning swim to change the mood.

A lot of russian group in the second part of the hike and specially in that section. I kept meeting big groups. I had a mild day since it was the second half of the last etape i had cut in half.

I made it to the canyon by lunch time and i understood why it was full of groups. The canyon is a tourist attraction that you can visit for one day. It's also a good starting spot for hiker's that have only a couple of days and want to reach the highest point of the lycian way.

Anyway the good news was that i could find a place to by some food. My reserve were really limited and i had already passed the point where i could make a detour to get some more food. Plus opöchuk was getting really hungry these last days.

I Found a lunch spot and quickly the guys were very friendly with me and the dog. They gave him a lot of leftovers were really nice with me. Left there happy and my dog ad well 🙂

I started walking in direction of the last base i was going to walk alone. It was an etape not so easy and water not very available. So i had to pack up. My bag was quite heavy and the walk a bit intense but the landscape quite cool. It was some kind of forest that looked a bit tropical in the beginning and as was going up it was evolving in something more mystical.

On my way i met 3 Russians that were hiking for a couple of days. We were going opposite direction but we stop to talk a bit, i gave them some directions. Then they invited me to snack some stuff with them. At that point my body was happy to get some food at any point haha! They even offered me some dry food for my dinner. Great guys 🙏

I Camped not too high to be not too cold, the spot was quite cool with a lot of wood available to make a good fire. 🔥 I was enjoying my last night alone. I was supposed to meet vik the next day to finish the hike togheter. I started really feeling the tiredness of all the effort i had been doing. As well a great feeling of satisfaction and adventure 🤠

This last part was really not easy, the conditions were quite strange. I was in a big cloud it was humid and the temperature was warm while walking but too cold to stop. I kept going on a regular rythmin enjoying this very calm etape. Almost nobody on the trail again!

Suddenly, i heard a scream far away! Opöchuk was not around... I got panicked, i thought maybe something really bad happened. I passed the corner and found two guys trying to hide up the trail and screaming at opöchuk with a stick. He was super happy thinking they wanted to play with him and they were getting even more scared. I calmed them and explain that the dog was super friendly but they were in pannick!!!

I thought : " oh my god if they are scared of opöchuk, good luck with the Sheppard dogs on the way!"😅

After that it reminded me of my fear at the beginning and how much it changed in a month!

I kept walking, once i arrived to the top i was quite cold. I found the remains of a camp fire that someone had left not so much ago. I re started it and ate my lunch there and dried my shoes that got wet.

I was thinking that i didn't really want to finish this reality, i started to really be into this woods lifestyle. Of course a part was also happy to find a bit of comfort again and to see again Victoria and my friends.

The time i had by myself there was precious and the experiment incredible. I really value the opportunity to do that by myself it was a challenge in many ways. I was also realizing that it was a really nice feeling to have the opportunity to come back to somewhere that has a home feeling, where people that you love are waiting for you. That was starting at the end of this etape by meeting Vik.😊

I had only a way down to meet her but i was a bit late on the time i estimated. Still a few hours to go and i didn't want to make a wait because a friend was dropping her at a meeting point and then leaving. I started hurrying up and catching up on the timing. I ended up getting there in advance 😅

I waited at the entrance of the village, they arrived i was looking like a cave man ! But really happy to see them. We stayed a bit and chatted, the lady that lived there came out and offered us some chicken. A gift from the sky haha 😂

Yedi (our friend that was volunteering while I left) and vik and me left to set up camp. We found a nice spot made a little fire and had a great meal because she brought a lot of food !!! She immediately loved opöchuk and the other way around too.

The next day was a small etape to reach citibi where there is some climbing spots and the owners of our camping have a refuge there. So they offered us to stay there on my back. It was not exactly on our way but the detour was worth it! We had a little cabin with a wood stove and even a hot shower! The weather was really bad so even a better feeling to be there 🙏

Here we go the next morning on our way for the last etape. A 7 hours walk with a constant up hill for the morning and then a constant down hill to Josito camp our final destination! I was a bit afraid about the way down for my knee. But no worries everything went ok, the way was really nice and vik was following pretty well💪

Once we arrived there, everyone was so welcoming and started feeling the tiredness of the whole way. Happy i was 😎

All the people were telling me that i lost weight. I was a bit surprised and didn't really payed attention. Then i went to take my shower and check it out in the mirror and there i realized indeed i had never seen myself like that. Every gram of fat had been consumed during this long effort!

Here i was back in the camping with my new friend opöchuk! 😊

It was Not always easy with him : cooking, eating, carrying food for two

Sometimes he would stop in the middle of the path in really hard ascension and block me.

As well, the interactions with other dogs could be really complicated.

Not to mention, the moments where i had to cross a town or hitchhiking.

But also great partner, always motivated, good mood. He even showed me the path many times when I was struggling to find it!

He Protected me from other dogs, make me feel secure and really taught me to understand dogs.

He was watching me every night, sleeping next to my hammock and back pack.

Plus people really liked him. Most of the places i have been, people were extra nice with me because of him.

He is a silent walker and in that sense a perfect companion to hike😅

When i found him İ wasn't sure if he could walk that much?

He was so much faster than me!

He has no back pack and is going on 4x4 haha!

Here a few other thoughts about my trekking :

It was Really cool to speak a bit of turkish. İt definitely made a difference in many situations. People were being really nice with me, offering me tea, fruits, food for the dog. I was really happy i made the effort to try and I could feel that in a way people were giving it back.

One day, i was walking and i felt something on my arm. I stopped to watch and i saw it was a bee. I have to be careful with bees because I'm allergic... I realized it was sticked to my hair and couldn't move away. It was getting nervous and started to move it's spine. I obviously started to get nervous and wasn't sure which was the best reaction to have. I was about to smash it because i thought it's me or it! Then i calmed myself and put my trust in the situation. I went down closer to the ground and approach a plant until the bee could touch it. Once of its leg could touch the leaves it managed to get unstuck from my arm and gently move away.

I little challenge and a nice lesson of calm and peace ✌️

Towards the end i was pretty tired but people seemed to help me more like if they were supporting my challenge 😅 It was really a warm feeling when random people would help me and support me in this challenge !

Every time something broke or got lost i turned it out in something good 😃

I lost my 1l camping bottle while hitchhiking. Then i bought to small bottle of half a liter. The two bottles ended up being more practical because i could grab them without taking my back pack out. Which while walking long distance was a game changer!

My sock burn one night drying next to fire. I transformed the remaining one into something for drying the sweat.

Plus i had an extra pair of socks that Hilmi insisted to give me. I couldn't through away because it was a gift. I was so strict with things to add to my back pack that i almost through it away. The day the other pair burned It balanced perfectly!😅

I really did the best i could to push all of my gears through time but this hike was the last stop for many of them!

My shoes

My t shirt

My pants

My underwear

My sock

The big winners are my sweat shirt and my hoodie!

My bag (gifted by my father)

My jacket (gifted by mother)

My hammock (advices by victor)

Let's not forget my flip flop bought at least 1 year before my trip with my brother and still they are in the game. Never had this kind of cheap flip flops going through so much!

Interesting balance between planning your trip and day but be ready to adapt.

Projet the next day but be relax about it and not planning.

Signs cool system!

People creating path like this for the hikers community don't do it for the money and create such a nice adventure for all of us! I'm very grateful for it. It's a bit like climbers that bolt routes for the community and keep taking care of them.

A experience where i found a lot of things i was looking for!

A lot of different challenges

Beautiful wildness

Some nice physical exercise

Some positive loneliness

A good feeling of freedom

Some calm and peacefulness

A good shot of adventure

Funny numbers :

One night on a bench

One night on the floor of a cafe

1 night hosted on the floor

1 night hosted in a shed

Two nights on the grass with my tarp

5 Nights in a bed

18 nights in my hammock (goynük yaylasi)

20 Days of walking (4/03)

1 cold shower

1 warmish shower

2 warm shower

3 days of rest

2 storms avoided

1 big rain on me

2 dolmus (small buses between villages)

1 taxi (because of opöchuk, not admit in the bus)

4 times hitchiked on small distance

1 afternoon hitchiking (with opöchuk) to skip a "road" étape

A kilo o rice

A kilo o brown wheat

A kilo of lentils

6 cheeses

6 sausages

6 small pack of dark chocolate

1 kilo of peanut

1/2 kilo of walnuts

1/2 kilo of dates

1/2 kilo of dry figues

A lot of olives

520 km

X km up hill (to edit)

X km down hill (to edit)

Two pair of shoes