Travel journals and transition tales towards an ethical and sustainable future

My name is Claire B. and I have been running Peregrinus Mundi since 2015. This site follows the evolution of my life in the form of chapters. Chapters I to VI mainly present travel journals and photographs. Chapter VII follows my transition process towards a lifestyle based on ecology and well-being through three approaches that greatly interest me, permaculture, herbalism and eco-construction.

Opening

One day at the end of August 2020 I left. My head full of questions about the future of our lifestyles and our societies, I set out to discover and learn other possibilities.
3 September 2020

Texts and photographs by Claire B.

One fine day at the end of a summer that seemed to never end, I left Provence. I left my parents and the sun too hot to get on my bicycle and embark on a new journey. Using my muscles and regional trains, I slowly ascended the landscape towards the north of France.

Crossing the big desert fields where earth is dying in the Poitou-Charente region reinforced my certainty in the necessity of my journey. As I pedaled through the landscape of bare earth, cracked by the sun and washed away by years of intensive farming, I felt my idea turn into certainty.

With eyes open to the crying landscape, my imagination began to invent a different reality. Fields of colorful flowers where ancient grains mingled with meadow flowers stretched out before my eyes. The huge plots had disappeared to make way for small green fields surrounded by magnificent hedges where birds sang. Brambles were laden with blackberries and a hedgehog was walking along the road quietly colonized by weeds. The hubbub of the cars had disappeared and only the song of nature reigned. The cataclop of a horse or the whistle of a bicycle wheel could be heard at regular intervals. The vision flickered as a large truck passed and almost knocked me off the road. The smell of gasoline filled my nostrils and I shook myself. A good pedal stroke to remind myself to the present and I continued my way along the busy road.

I am gone for a year, or even more depending on the opportunities, to discover places and techniques related to ecology and a different way of life. Doing volunteering and training. Depending on the opportunities and my desires. A return to the land, to simplicity, to the basics, to resilience and to learning.

The coronavirus covid 19 pandemic that swept the world at the start of 2020 has shaken up my future and my certainties. The virus has had an impact not only on the world’s population, but also on the way I see the future. Confined in a small room in the Chamonix hotel where I was working in March 2020, I became interested in the future that awaited me. To the possibilities of the future. In all its nuances. From darker to light gray. What possibly awaits us, Homo sapiens, in the face of the looming climate, energy, food and social crisis.

How to deal with the depletion of fossil fuels, the melting of permafrost, sea ice and glaciers, the scarcity of drinking water, global warming, the acidification of the oceans, the depletion of soils, the disappearance of primary forests, the extinction of animals and insects, the massive migrations, the chemical and plastic pollution, the over-consumption and waste, totalitarian and dictatorial movements, the waves of violence terrorists, pandemics, the accentuation of social inequalities, the deprivation of the commons by large multinationals,  the fragility of societies …? How to deal with all these injustices, social and environmental catastrophes that I discovered as the days passed and as covid 19 spread to the whole world? Was it possible to deal with the schizophrenia that had gripped societies since a few hundred years? Would the coronavirus pandemic, which due to its strong contagiousness succeeded in bringing the world to a halt, change things?

My mind wavered in the face of these essential questions. Faced with the immense changes that the safeguard of our species requires to be able to continue living on a planet with finite resources. Faced with my helplessness, I, a single individual, facing multinationals, lobbies and ultra-rich. A huge dark hole, the hole of despair, the hole of madness, opened at my feet. I wanted to dive into it. To leave aside these questions too big for me. Immerse myself in the dark. Thinking about nothing, being free from helplessness and worry, be done with it all before reality becomes too much to bear.

But oases that have started to flourish all over the world in recent years have made me discover their desire for change, villages in transition, more respectful lifestyles, ecological agricultural approaches and construction techniques taking up ancestral practices.

Would it therefore be possible to imagine a world where respect, environment, connection with the earth, shared democracy, circular economy, local, public services, houses built in natural materials, food and energy resilience, low tech technologies, holistic care, biomimicry, plants, minimalism, mutual aid would no longer be bad words but the engines of our development as a species ? Could we rebuild our imaginations and change our global future?

As of September 2020, the coronavirus pandemic still has not gone away. But driven by the law of the economy and the market, people have had to learn to live with it. Two months of respite, no more, under the risk of destroying the current economic and societal system. And that, the jackals who hold the future of our humanity in their hands do not want it at all. So I left. Left to discover by myself initiatives from different way of life. To learn knowledge related to permaculture, eco-construction, herbalism and low tech. To reconcile my life with my values. And to develop my imagination and infuse my best dreams of the future into reality.

Volunteering in eco-construction, Presqu'île de Crozon, Bretagne, France © Claire Blumenfeld

Opening

One day at the end of August 2020 I left. My head full of questions about the future of our lifestyles and our societies, I set out to discover and learn other possibilities.

Expérimenthe farm, Normandie, France © Claire Blumenfeld

An oasis in Normandy

Two weeks of wwoofing in the heart of Normandy to discover within an eco-farm the beginnings of permaculture and another way of living.

Volunteering on a straw house construction site, Crozon peninsula, Brittany, France © Claire Blumenfeld

For a living architecture

Volunteering on the construction site of a house built in straw located on the Crozon peninsula at the end of Brittany.

Volunteering on a straw house construction site, Crozon peninsula, Brittany, France © Claire Blumenfeld

Earth and lime plasters

Application, during a participatory worksite, of lime plaster on the exterior walls and earth plaster on the interior walls.

Le Chalard, Limousin, France © Claire Blumenfeld

Harvesting chestnuts

Discovering what it means to harvest chestnuts in a traditional way in one of the main producing region, the Limousin.

Ferme des Simples, Limousin, France © Claire Blumenfeld

About raw wood furniture

Using wood in a raw and respectful way to put creativity and simplicity back at the heart of our living spaces.

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