Hit the Road Jack!

There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars. On the Road – Jack Kerouac

Have you ever done an epic road trip in the far-flung lands of a country with nothing but a backpack, a camera, and complete freedom?

From all the great life experiences, hitting the road and living like a gypsy is probably one of the most memorable and fulfilling adventures. The feeling of freedom is priceless and it’s worth every little misfortune happening along the way.

Road tripping for a year has been my best therapy after running away from 29 years of a comfortable life and quitting an office job in which I buried myself for 7 years.

I’ve tasted the quintessence of liberty being on the road, with no roof over my head but a blazing sun or a sky full of shiny stars. I have never felt so free and happy. I had the best time living an oblivious life, meeting extraordinary people and experiencing things I have never done before or could not even imagine achieving.

I was desperately in search of freedom, of authenticity, and excitement. Sometimes, the feeling itches me: the urge of hitting the road again and live exciting adventures.

What is the point of your life when all the golden lands ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events are waiting to lurk and surprise you? Something else much more exciting was waiting for me and the time has come to pursue the crazy adventures I dreamed up while I was a young whippersnapper.

******

1st of October 2013, Mission Beach, Queensland, Australia, 5:30 am. 

A soft ray of sun tickles my face. I open my tired eyes, lulled by the song of the waves. A  pink light dazzles me. The sun awakes and offers me its most intimate moment. A stunning sunrise that I contemplate in silence with a smile from ear to ear.

Sunrise

I shake my sleeping bag covered with sand. I fell asleep on the beach, the embers of last night’s campfire are still crackling. I look around and see the shape of my traveling companion Aurélien a few metres away, his entire body buried in his sleeping bag.

Campfire

After spending a month at the farm in Carwell, we have decided to go up north and stop by Mission Beach. Mission Beach is a little beach town of 5,000 inhabitants and well-known for its stunning 14 km long beach bordered with coconut trees. A real heaven on earth.

We have found the best spot to camp. 3 steps from the beach between two palm trees. I feel like living the adventures of Robinson Crusoe. I literally sleep, eat, cook, and live on the beach. Read a good book, have a rest in the shadow of a coconut tree whose perfect shape reflects in the golden sand. Some simple pleasures that make me forget about everything.

Mission beach

Aureliencook

Cookonthebeach

Coconut tree

me meditating

Being on a road trip is a limitless freedom to enjoy to the fullest.

Hit the road, get lost, retrace your steps, find your way back and get lost again a few miles away. Stop to take a photo of the scenery, have a bit to eat, make a campfire on the beach, hit the road again and get carried away by the wind, listening to your whims and living in the moment. Wake up on the beach, lulled by the sound of the waves, or in the middle of the jungle woken up by the birdsongs. A priceless freedom that I will always treasure.

But driving thousands of miles across Australia has taught me that a road trip is a rock solid logistics organisation. It’s a daily logistical brain teaser to enjoy with true joy, lots of laughter, and a little bit of irritation sometimes!

Here’s my random list of the little things about what’s a road trip like. Please feel free to leave a comment if you wish to add any ingredient from your own recipe 🙂

A 5,000km road trip is…

* To check every two days that the car is in good condition;

* To look desperately for a petrol station because there’re only 2 litres petrol left;

* To do your accounts every day;

* To try to remember what you bought the week earlier because you forgot to do your accounts;

* To wonder where all your money went;

* To wear the same old outfit every day and not care about it;

* To appreciate the simple pleasures of life;

* To look for a free spot to spend the night;

* To have a policeman knocking at the window in the middle of the night because you’re parked in the wrong spot;

* To wake up with the sunrise and watch the sunset every day;

* To take off the bags on the back seat, put them at the front to set up the bed at night;

* Do the opposite in the morning and hit the road again;

* To wear your swimsuit every day

* To stop to change a flat tire;

* To do the groceries every day and buy the same cheap food because even on a road trip you still create your own little habits;

* To have drinks and snacks on the beach every evening;

* To see epic scenery every day;

* To live a simple but beautiful life;

* To get lost in the middle of nowhere;

* To encounter some wild animals;

* To fall asleep on the beach;

* To get the food and the gas cooker out, holdalls and plastic containers full of everything three times per day;

* To have barbecues nearby the beach;

* To play endless card games;

* To get a fine because you parked in the wrong spot;

* To lose your stuff along the way;

* To cook and eat anytime anywhere;

* To eat inside the car/van because it’s pouring outside;

* To do the dishes in the sink of the public toilets;

* To sleep on a wet mattress because it rained and the window was down;

* To smell bad effluvium of food in the car that you end up getting used to;

* To spend the night in the middle of heavy trucks at the petrol station so you can shower;

* To get lost for miles and miles without noticing it;

* To make fire camp on the beach and eat grilled marshmallows;

* To cry out of joy while driving because the scenery is incredible and you feel grateful to live this adventure with your best friend;

* To push and challenge yourself;

* To discover deserted heaven of peace;

* To enjoy nature to its fullest;

* To have no privacy;

* To shower every time you find a shower and shower in public;

* To stop and ask for directions;

* To unpack and pack, unload and load over and over again;

* To constantly look for something and not finding it or finding it when you don’t need it anymore.

* To argue and fight with your traveling buddy because even though you love each other, living with someone 24 hours a day is super challenging!

* To listen to the road trip playlist songs and sing like you’ve never sung before

* To feel as free as a bird and live the most incredible experiences

* To put things into perspective and forget about the futilities and turpitudes of life

* To live an extraordinary human adventure, full of memorable encounters and friends for life;

* To create the most epic memories that you will tell your children and grandchildren one day!

Breakiebeach

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Boat sea Oz

Lost

Ford falcon

Noosa

sunset mission beach

red sunset

Now, pack up your stuff and hit the road 😉 !

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Dear Mum & Dad

To my Mum and Dad, without whom I would not be here today. 

Friday 2nd of February 2018, Fuzhou, China.

Dear Mum & Dad,

Today is a rainy, cold winter day in Fuzhou and the sad weather always makes me feel nostalgic about the old times. Maybe because of the yellow and grey colours that give the surroundings a vintage look and feel.

I’ve never told you why I wanted to write a book about the memories of my childhood, but it seems pretty natural to me that the main reason comes from you. I owe my beautiful childhood to your loving parenting and deep in my heart, I want to pay tribute to the most meaningful moments of having been this shy little girl of yours.

I want to remember the child I used to be. The little things I used to do, the walks in the woods with you Dad, the smell of your perfume Mum, or the love letters I used to write to a boy who never noticed me at school.

Despite my bold decision to leave everything behind and go venturing on the other side of the world, the woman that I have become today has never ceased to love you and think of you.

I know the worries that I have caused when I left and I try not to think about it too much because it makes me very teary-eyed. However, by giving me your unconditional love and support, whatever my decisions are, you have helped me to fulfill my dreams and to be at peace with myself.

Sometimes, I wish I could travel back in time and get to know your young selves. Fleeing a country at war in your twenties and building a new life so far away from your homeland is the ultimate act of courage. I can’t imagine what it was like, and I feel so lucky and grateful for the life you’ve given me.

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WechatIMG117

My heart will be forever filled with gratitude and admiration for both of you. As parents, it is hard to let your children spread their wings and fly. You’ve allowed me to be a free bird, exploring the world to find my own tree and build my nest.

You’ve respected my decision to choose a different path for my life. Even though I would have loved giving you what most parents expect from their children, somehow, you knew that I was different. A safe path and safe choices were not goals to fulfill anymore. What is the point of your life when all the golden lands ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait to lurk to surprise you?

Sometimes I feel selfish for thinking about my own happiness. But this is the price to pay to enjoy my freedom to the fullest. I feel the urge to enrich my life with as many experiences as I can. I am passionate about learning, discovering and facing new challenges. This is the fuel that makes me move forward and keeps me forever young. I want to share my appreciation for life with people, and spread inspiration around the world.

I know you want me to settle down and I am, but at my own pace and staying true to myself. Don’t worry too much about me because everything I do, I do it with a good balance of wisdom and boldness. I am using what I’ve inherited from both of you: Dad’s voice of reason and Mum, your romantic heart. The mixed culture I’ve been brought up with has had a huge impact on my perception of life. The wisdom from my Asian heritage fused with my passionate French free spirit have shaped my mind clearly. I’ve always loved and have been inspired by my Philosophy class at school. No wonder why I got my best mark writing an essay about Liberty.

Freedom to me is being able to live my truth and listen to my instinct and my guts. It has led me to live the most enriching experiences so far, the kind of adventures I will remember until the day I die. It has helped me to be stronger and brave. From this shy and reserved little girl living in a small French village, I’ve become a determined and fearless woman exploring what the world has to offer.

I hope you are proud of me as much as I am proud of you. I want to thank you for everything you have done for me and for our family. Even during tough times, we all stick together to face and overcome the challenges of life. I might be far away, but my heart will be forever with you, no matter where I am in the world.

I love you both deeply.

Your loving daughter,

Julie