It is hot in the small valleys that surround the Vercors massif. My parents walk in front of me. We have been roaming on foot for ten days. We left Gap, crossed the superb plateau of Dévoluy, bypassed the head of the Obiou, surveyed the valley of Trièvres and now follow the cliffs of Vercors to arrive at Villard de Lans in a few days. It is hot and stormy. My head is like a question marks, my brain is thinking, my mind is overheating. I wonder what the future will be like. The University of Bristol is absent. Gone. We are at the end of July and still no answer. It is almost two months late. Faced with the progression of the coronavirus, which the arrival of summer has not slowed down, the world is living one day at a time. And universities too.
The doubt that had arisen in early June is invading my whole mind these days. The future I envisioned, a year of training in wildlife documentary in Bristol with staff from the BBC, is never going to happen. Everything I have worked for the past six months is going up in smoke. Am I accepting it, mourning it? What was the point of all this? Isn’t there a plan or are we just tossed randomly in the hazards of everyday life? Or was the point of all this to make me realise that another future is possible? Because since Mars and my dive into ideas related to ecology, transition and other ways of life, I spent my days documenting myself on all this and felt myself become extremely interested in everything that touches permaculture, eco-construction, medicinal plants, resilience, autonomy, low tech … I even signed up for a six-month online training course on how to design of buildings in an ecological way. I also wanted to register for training in herbal medicine but the promotion was already full. I hesitate. One step forward, two steps back. I wonder if my future is maybe on that side. Towards a return to earth, to nature, to essential skills: minimalism, autonomy, healthy food, natural construction, health and well-being through plants.
Am I rushing? Am I taking the wrong path as my parents seem to think. To come back to earth, to give up comfort, to live outside the system, is to go back to the Middle Ages! No thanks. Discussions end in permanent clashes and I feel exhausted. Yet I have the impression that this is the right way. Something in my gut makes me feel it. And then to go in this direction is to return to learning, to rediscover the world through the eyes of a child. Full of openness and curiosity. Learn essential skills. Experiment with other way of life. To understand if I am able to live differently. So I decide. Let’s do it. But it is too late to apply to schools, courses are already full or have been postponed. Instead, volunteering, wwoofings, construction sites, short training courses are gonna be my school for a year. And my bicycle will be my mount, my means of locomotion between each place. I contact hosts, organize the trip for the first few months and prepare myself.
Mid-August, Bristol resurfaced and a small email informs me that I was not selected for the course this year. The sanitary conditions put in place by the university made the selection difficult. Well. I suspected it. Since several weeks, England has put in place a fortnight’s isolation for anyone entering the country. I will never know if the coronavirus guided the selection (will only residents be accepted this year?) or if my skills proved insufficient. What a desappointment ! But something grows stronger in my mind after receiving the long-awaited answer. The feeling that I made the right decision. That my future is at hand, towards a return to nature, action and simplicity.
In a few days, at the end of August, I am embarking on a year of cycling through France to discover lifestyles based on ecology and well-being. A year of learning in contact with people in this field in order to discover, understand, learn and then orient myself professionally. I turned 31 years old in June. It is the start of a new decade. Ten years starting in front of me. And I intend to transform them into a future full of discovery, innovation and happiness.
The Dévoluy and Vercors massifs in the Southern Alps. Two very beautiful massifs that we crossed and skirted for two weeks.