I was born and raised in the Paris area, but I never felt anything for the place. Instead I wanted to escape, to have the freedom to go elsewhere. For this reason my companion and I and our young daughter weighed anchor one day and set off on our small sailing boat.
The sea rattled me about, shook me up, engulfed me, overwhelmed me, and made me sick, but it also rocked me, tamed me, made me a more balanced person. I learned how to understand, learn, endure, stand up to things, persevere, adapt, and to be disciplined. The learning curve was steep, but exciting.
For 12 years we sailed the seas, navigating and getting lost, wandering about in complete freedom. Whenever we got tired, bored or impatient, we made land on an island or on paradise shores where we would invariably be made welcome, taken in, feted, adopted, and invited to share the wonderful lives of the locals who were so independent, simple, hard-working, courageous and ingenious, so much in harmony with life.
One day destiny swept us up to Massat where I disembarked with my two angels. The journey had been a wonderful one, a true initiation.
Here I found oceans of green, an abundance of sweet water, a kind, welcoming and friendly population, and plenty of fertile soil in which to sink roots. And for quite some time I participated in village life. All this time, though, I was looking for a place where I could be more private - when somebody gave me the use of an abandoned house in a small hamlet where the wilderness had already taken hold.
The house was old and decrepit. I moved in with what means I had at my disposal. People came and helped me out for the most urgent things, such as plugging the draughts in my room and giving me a wood stove. In this way I had a shelter from the winter cold. Running water and electricity were not essentials. A stone house built a long time ago, I enjoyed putting the place back into shape, hoping that maybe I was gradually creating an ever-growing “oasis” (Pierre Rabhi proposes such a thing). Every day we progressed, the oasis and I, slowly but surely - but in a natural way.
Today I have managed to recreate the same lifestyle I enjoyed in those distant places I visited, content in the knowledge that I can have the same simplicity that I saw and appreciated. There, there was nothing that money can buy. What was essential for the island inhabitants was to get by with nature’s bounty. Everything was magical, and this environment is my source of life and profound well-being.
After having battled with the brambles and the nettles in my vegetable garden, I discovered edible wild plants. Every day when the weather is good, I gather what I need to make a wholesome green salad - leaf by leaf. And between these edible plants, I grow other vegetables. I live mainly on what nature has to offer - sunshine, firewood, anything I can gather, fruit, the garden and cool fresh water.
“Determined simplicity and sober happiness” is my motto.
Balanced, content and happy, I can in turn give, appease, inspire, encourage and initiate any particularly sensitive and appreciative young ones who come my way.