After seven months of adventure together in Asia, it is time to introduce you to my friends - Tiphaine, Adam, Thomas and Vasilis - the crazy team I'm travelling with.
• Tiphaine is my French partner in crime, she took a gap year from her studies in artistic communication to explore Asia with us.
• Adam is American, he's been on the road for a while now. This year, he brought together four of his friends who wanted to travel on the same adventure in Bali.
• After two years of working in Malta, Thomas felt like it was time to travel further and live new experiences. Asia sounded like the right place to start.
• For Vasilis, this Greek sunshine had never been out of Europe, so he decided to explore what was out of his comfort zone.
I met all of them during my Erasmus year in Malta and we decided to meet-up again two years later to travel together. After five months in Southeast Asia, we split for a month (so that everyone can get a taste of solo traveling) and reunited where it started; Indonesia (well, most of us).
I have the opportunity to be surrounded by talented people on this trip. We are a group of creatives in different fields, inspired and elevated by one another. This combination of experiences & skills pushes us all upward - allowing us to create bigger projects together (like The Lost Years on Instagram and Youtube or The Chance Project website).
Over the past few months I have realized how much my friend circle affects my creative work. The only other time I've ever felt this way was in Malta, where we all met. Coincidence ? I don't think so.
Besides their creativity, each of them want to make a difference in the world and that's what makes them special. They are travelling the world today because they haven't settled for what society told them to do. Instead, they've taken the risk to follow their intuition, their passions, and to chase their dreams.
They say you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with? Then I'm lucky I've spent a year with these four.
You want to know more about them ? Here is my first interview:
What is the most important thing in your life right now?
- The most important thing in my life at the moment is continually trying to realize how special this moment in our lives is. It never gets easier to realize the enormity of this adventure we’re on and how improbable it is that five lives spread across the globe have converged into one amazing story in Asia.
Time is of the essence and, yet, soon, this entire journey and all the memories will be lost in time. I just want to remember every detail of it while it lasts.
- It’s definitely the hardest question. Beside my family being healthy, the most important thing for me, right now, is to be free. Free, independent, self-sufficient, able to take my own decision without anyone else around me, just not giving a shit about others and do what I really want. I realize how incredibly lucky I am to be able to move to another continent, to live there and to travel around without any difficulties and I say thank you everyday to be able to do that and being free to live this experience.
- Since the virus outbreak, priorities have change. The most important thing right now is everyone I know to be healthy and strong. Sticking close to the people I love, since I am far away from country, these would be my friends Lo, Tiph, Thomas and Adam. Difficult times but we will overcome the situation together. Never lose faith.
- Travelling while being surrounded by friends that inspire me everyday with their creativity and push me to go outside of my comfort zone by always trying new things.
What’s your talent?
- Communication : When travelling I discovered that I was quite good at creating easily a link with people I don’t know and put them at ease.
- I do not recognize any talent on me. What I am keen on thought is motivating people to break their comfort zone, start traveling and live a life off the hook. I do that by making my videos and hopefully they will work out for the most.
- I could easily answer this by telling you my talent is writing. I think that was what you expected. But recently, someone I met told me I have a knack for bringing people together and I prefer to have a reputation for this – whether it is true or not. I like the idea of connecting people to other people and ideas. It seems like a more relevant virtue than having a passion for writing.
- I’ve been well thinking about this question and I think my best skill it’s always being surrounded by artistic, creative, kind, helpful friends. I attract good people who become my friends after. It’s been 3 years now that when I take a time to have a look around me, I realize who really are my friends and how pure and loyal they are. I don’t know, maybe I attract good people, but I’ve always been grateful to find these kind of friends on my way (France, Belgium, Asia) and I really think this is my best skill. Ok if you are a really good journalist, singer, photographer, you’re the best in your field, but what if you don’t have anyone around you to support how my friends support me in any situation ? At least I can say, my karma about my friends is the best.
What is your mantra ?
- Definitely my favorite one: Comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there.
- Recently, I’ve been driven by the existence of time and that the clock is forever moving – but more-so the idea that time drives us. And along with that, how the world has evolved through time. I’m constantly inspired by photographs and memoirs about places I’ve been – to see the transformation that has taken place. To be able to see how places have changed through time; it makes traveling to the places we’ve been seem more important – because 100 years from now, we won’t be able to see the world we see now.
The source of my inspiration from time comes from two quotes – both with different sentiments. This quote from Paul Bowles focuses more on the time spent immersing yourself in where you are:
“He did not think of himself as a tourist; he was a traveler. The difference is partly one of time, he would explain. While the tourist usually hurried back home at the end of a few weeks or months, the traveler, belonging no more to one place than the next, moves slowly, over periods of years, from one part of the Earth to another.” – Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
The other, from Paul Theroux, focuses on the essence of the evolution of a place:
“There is so often an experiment with time. In third world countries I felt like I had dropped into the past, and I never accepted the notion of timeless anywhere. Most countries had specific years. In Turkey it was always 1952, in Malaysia 1937; Afghanistan 1910 and Bolivia 1949. It is twenty years ago in the Soviet Union, ten in Norway, and five in France. It was always last year in Australia and next week in Japan. Britain and the United States were the present – but the present contains the future.” – Paul Theroux, Kingdom by the Sea
• Live your life like every moment is the first one
• Keep moving forward ;)
- The less you care, the happier you will be. Clear, simple, effective.
What is your dream?
- My dream (besides one day having my own Wikipedia page, selfishly) is to start something to benefit others in need and grow it into something important and worth people’s time. I have no doubt that on the track I’m on and with the people I’m surrounded by, that will come to fruition in my lifetime.
- Oh man, I have no idea. I wrote on a paper in Bangkok that my dream was to “Travel alone”. I’m actually living my best life realizing this dream and I would just say I want to keep going like that forever. I have no plan for the future, I actually hate thinking about the “future”, I prefer enjoy the right moment and wait what karma has in store for me.
- I try not to dream, I put all my effort towards visualizing where I want to be and what I want to succeed. That would be traveling the world and inspiring people.
- Being happy, I know it sounds classic and cheesy but yeah.
More practically, I would love to be financially independent and teach stuff wherever I will live or travel.
Who are your biggest influences? Why?
- On Internet, I couldn’t pick out someone/some people in particular and say “She/He is my inspiration”. Actually I try the most as I can to don’t have role models because I know it would be the opposite effect on my own person, even with people around me. I mean, I’m already struggling to achieve what I want to create, to share .. and I know with this kind of “influences”, I will always unconsciously compared my work to theirs and it’s not the purpose.
On the one hand, If I have to say at least one name I would pick TheLineUp, 2 asians girls who created their YT channel few years ago. I love the universe around their work, they came on Youtube with an original concept on the way to edit videos and photos and I have to say, they kill the game with their outfits. I also would like to highlight an other artist which is Elisa Parron, french photographer, who started by taking photos of musicians, she made her success alone when, few years ago, there were not all these way to succeed. I wish one day I could meet and work with her. On the other hand I love seeing visual works, but it’s always remind me that I could never get this level and get me a lot of anxiety and I think that’s why I care more about hearing work, as music. Artists, bands, concerts, festivals, acapella, acoustic, alone, crowded, lyrics, instrumental, this is my best influence.
- I don’t have role models or influences but one of the most important thing for me in life is to be surrounded by people that push you to the top.
- I have two role models, besides the obvious (Mom, I hope you see this.) My role models are constantly shifting, but these two have remained at the top over the entirety of my adult life.
First, a guy named Matty Healy, who is so artistic, so creative, with such a passion for using his art for the good of the people. He is also the front man of my favorite band, The 1975. In my favorite song, “Love it if We Made It”, which I believe deserves recognition as the song of our generation, he describes actual confrontations we are faced with in our world without solutions but with a hopeful outlook saying in the chorus, ‘And I’d love it if we made it’.
In an interview, Matty was asked what his solutions were to the problems he highlighted in the song/video. His answer was perfect to me: “I’m just the artist. It’s not my job to come up with the solutions.” That answer, his job as an artist to bring awareness to what needs it, has inspired me for some time.
My second-but-not-least forever-role model is none other than my 79-year-young Grandad who has set an example for me to strive to be. His ideas, his free-spirit, his willingness to help, and his ability to connect with people are all things I hope I can grow into.
I was even able to drag him to sub-Sahara Africa as recently as two years ago; for two months during which time we almost hated each other several times, but after the fact, were brought together even closer. I can’t begin to explain how much he means to me.
- The people that influence me the most, are the people I have chosen to be around me. They say «a man is known by the company he keeps». You cannot choose your family but you can choose your friends and you better choose wisely.
What did you learn from this trip in Asia ?
- Asia is totally different than Europe. People live simpler and surprise! They interact each other. Sad thing people in Europe and USA are mostly focused on their selves and their jobs trying to make more money and travel after retirement. That is terrible advice, you should avoid that. One thing I’ve learnt is that materials do not make you happier. Go for a beer with your friend, talk to a stranger, look the people in their eyes. Try to act as kind as you knew them for ages. Give respect to people and they will give respect back to you.
- This trip has taught me a few things – besides the fact that, contrary to my initial believe, it is possible to travel in a group of five and not want to kill each other by the end.
This trip has taken me back to my travel roots, in some aspects. I’ve gotten to experience traveling through the eyes of people who are just beginning their journeys and the wonder of it all. It has reminded me of the spirit I used to have for new sensations and risks. I was able to ‘re-live’ my glory days of traveling, I think, and I really appreciated that aspect.
- I’ve mostly learned about myself but I can’t say no more about this part right now, probably at the end of my journey.
I’ve learned soooo much about Asia, their culture according to different countries, their way of life, the difficulties they face, the difference with France. I actually understood a lot about how French people complain constantly when we have everything, I no longer want to be associated with this France. Actually, if I could choose, I would never come back there.
Anyway, Est-South of Asia is so surprising and I wish I could learn more and more about this part of the world.
- My answer for the 2nd question works also for this one. I also learnt to be more comfortable with myself and enjoy more being alone.
If you had to pick one person who inspires you and deserves to be recognized, who would it be?
Adam - I would like to take this opportunity to bring attention to my own brother, Matthew, who is an aspiring family man with a hell of a talent for rapping. He’s been working on his craft for over five years now, and though it isn’t the biggest focus in his life, he continues to get better and build off what he learns.
I’ve seen him grow from a high school frat rapper to a serious artist with unlimited potential. He goes by the stage name of “Hesher”. You can find him on any social media platform: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or even follow his latest stuff on Spotify.
- As I said earlier, I’m really not comfortable with people who “inspires” me but I met someone 3 years ago, and I don’t pick this person because she impacted a lot on my way to create but also because she is fucking talented on everything she works on. She probably doesn’t know yet but she is destined to succeed, anyway everyone around her knows it so she just needs some time and in few years she will be on top. Don’t forget her name, Lola Delabays, she is not like other artist, she has this thing.
- I am not able to pick one person, everyone has something that inspires me. Everything that people do that I'm not capable of doing has always amazed me and I wish the world to be able to see it as well.
- Hmmm picking just one person would be unfair for the rest. Everyone should be recognized by the effort they put towards the world and my friends are doing it with their own unique ways. Writing blogs, shooting videos, helping strangers, be an online geek making peoples life easier (that’s you Thomy haha don’t put it online Lo) *oupsy* all contribute towards building a better, more fair world. They all spread the right message and I am grateful for being my friends.
What do you want to accomplish this year?
- Being financially independent by the end of the year and inspire the maximum of people through our chance project.
- This year, I have already accomplished more than I thought I would. We, as a group, have already accomplished more than I ever thought we would. I’m so proud of us.
Moving forward, I want to keep the progress going on the projects we have started. With everyone in different countries after The Split, I don’t want to let the momentum die on what we’ve already put so much work into.
Perhaps, these projects aren’t the ones that will really explode and make a difference, but I know we are on the right track and I don’t want to lose the spirit of this group.
- That would be definitely financial freedom. It is important because it lets your hands free and allows you to make your own choices, being absolutely responsible for them. I love taking responsibilities.
What does success mean to you?
- For me success is between you and yourself. You fix yours goals, you work on it and at the end, if you’re satisfied, happy, proud of what you worked on, that means success for me. Only you can decide if you succeeded or not. At any levels you fix to yourself, if you want a simple thing, make a lot of money, travel the world, create a company, the goal is always the same. If you’re not completely satisfied even when everyone tells you that you did it, it’s because you have not 100% accomplished what you worked so hard for, and you can not say “I succeeded” yet.
- Living your life by your dreams.
Which question would you like to be asked and what's the answer?
- Q: What is the biggest Paradox?
A: "I know that I know nothing". – Socrates (and Vasilis)
What does freedom mean to you?
- This question is fun to answer because this is the same question I wanted my first blog, Wanderway, to be about. In one of my favorite songs of the time, “Spotlight” by Machine Gun Kelly, he asks, “What if money wasn’t a part of success?”
This lyric struck a chord with me back then, and it still does to a degree. I realize now, success doesn’t mean freedom to everybody. I wanted to write a blog that inspired everyone my age to quit the traditional route of society and runaway to somewhere that made them feel more alive, like I did in Malta.
As much as I wanted to believe it did back then, I don’t think freedom means success to everyone. But that’s what it means to me.
Doing the thing that drives you deeply without thinking of what people could think about it.
Where does your inspiration come from?
- The people I meet.
- My inspiration comes from everywhere – all different things – just as I’m sure every artist would say. The hard part – and where I think true artists shine – is finding out how to connect all those inspirations into a cohesive piece or project. I’ll figure that out sooner or later.
How do you put yourself in a position for new opportunities ?
- Everything is possible in life, If you want something even if it seems impossible, go for it.
What impact do you want to leave on the world?
- A small one as long as it drives the world a step forward. If everyone does this, then our world will be a better place for the next generations. «Leave this world a little better than you found it».