On the path of a meaningful life

Texts, photographs and videos by Claire B.

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12 November 2019

End of an expedition, end of a chapter

Conclusions and lessons from an Icelandic travel and a five-year journey.
Skaftafell National Park, Iceland © Claire B. - Please do not use without authorization

Five years already. Five years of traveling around the world in search of something. In search of what, by the way? I can not exactly describe it. In search of myself, answers, another life, discovery, adventure, simplicity. In search of a truth. When I left in November 2015 for a trip that I only thought was going to be a year in Japan, I was fleeing the future and personal problems. Five years and seven countries later, I still worry about the future and still try to fight against habits and behaviors that obscured my eyesight. But I do not see them the same way anymore. Travel, by its impredicability, its difficulty, its logical sequence taught me to take things as they come and to privilege simplicity. Or at least I hope so. Very often my little demons still surround me with their asphyxiating embrace but I try more and more to push them away gently.

After Japan, New Zealand, Australia and France, in 2019, I turned thirty. The thirties. The fateful year. The passage to the adult world. I do not really know what it means to be an adult but I felt unintentionally that it was time to face consequences. But I needed a clarified mind. Move away from this permanent background noise that varied in intensity according to my experiences but whose permanent presence drained my energy. So I left for a confrontation. For a physical trip. For a return to the sources. I walked five weeks across Scotland and crossed Iceland on foot and on bicycle. The vast majority of the trip, I made it with my head in the clouds, obscured by doubts and anxieties. It was a lot harder than I thought. My body has suffered, my mind has been racing and I have cursed myself daily for having thrown myself into this ordeal. But below all this background noise, there was a certainty. The certainty of having made the right choice. The certainty of approaching the truth. Some moments, some fleeting moments seemed to me like lights in the night. By contemplating this infinity of incredible landscapes, pushing my body to its limit, accepting the slap of rain and wind, welcoming loneliness, I felt liberated, pacified. And the way forward seemed clear, simple, obvious.

It is difficult to change. Change behavior, habit, way of seeing life. Despite these moments of evidence and truth that seemed to tell me that I was on the path of change, I can not help falling back in old habits very quickly. One step forward, two steps back. But the clarity, the assurance I felt during those fleeting moments was so powerful that I am looking to acquire it permanently. The road is long and full of dangers, as the other would say, but it is the only one to follow.

These last months have appeared to me as a conclusion. An accomplishment. The end of five years of semi-nomadism. A conclusion to an unforeseen world tour. I am not ready to give up traveling, far from it. But listening to my inner truth during these moments of calm, I realized that I wanted to stop. To stop running and face the future. Diving into the future. This is  maybe that, becoming an adult. Knowing when to stop and accept it. Today I want to put my bags somewhere. For a time. And accept to embark on a project for a concrete life. Accept the lessons of my trip, accept the obvious connections and follow the signs. To share my passions, skills, qualities in order to create the future I want. And start a new chapter.

Icelandic horses, rustic and adapted to the harsh climate of the island.

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Chapter V. Confrontations

Ísafjörður, westfjords, Iceland © Claire B. - Please do not use without authorization

Iceland

Iceland is a country like nowhere else. Its landscapes are magnificent and inhospitable and its atmosphere is special.

East fjords, Iceland © Claire B. - Please do not use without authorization

At the pace of Iceland

Iconic landscapes of Iceland. Landscapes of a rough, inhospitable and beautiful island.

Snaefellsnes, Iceland © Claire B. - Please do not use without authorization

Driving on my footsteps

End of my trip to Iceland. I travel for the last time the extraordinary landscapes of the island.

Myvatn, North coast, Iceland © Claire B. - Please do not use without authorization

The large North

Pedaling around Tröllaskagi peninsula and the Myvatn oasis.

South coast, Iceland © Claire B. - Please do not use without authorization

Southern delusions

First week cycling along the south coast of Iceland, from Keflavik to Svinafell.

Highlands, Scotland © Claire B. - Please do not use without authorization

Quick visits

Last days in Scotland. A short tour of Loch Ness following the Great Glen Way and a visit to Inverness.

Skye, Scotland © Claire B. - Please do not use without authorisation

The Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye, located in northwestern Scotland, is the largest island in the Inner Hebrides archipelago.

South Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland © Claire B. - Please do not use without authorization

The Outer Hebrides

The Outer Hebrides are an archipelago of islands east of Scotland that I crossed on foot following the Hebridean Way.

Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland © Claire B. - Please do not use without authorization

Exploring Harris and Lewis

Last part on the Hebridean Way through Harris and Lewis. An end of a hike full of discoveries and encounters.

South Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland © Claire B. - Please do not use without authorization

Windy monotonies

First part of my hike on the Hebridean Way through the Outer Hebrides archipelago.

Highlands, Scotland © Claire B. - Please do not use without authorization

Across the Highlands

Part two on the West Highland Way. The return of the sun, a feeling of accomplishment and the great green mountains.

Highlands, Scotland © Claire B. - Please do not use without authorization

One foot after the other

A week of hiking on the West Highland Way. First part across the Highlands, in the rain and with a head full of questions.

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