Ludi Vojago isn’t some sort of silly whim coming out of nowhere : it is a way to combine several fields of interest. Among them : Game Design; Sharing things; Connecting people (no Nokia pun intended, honest). But above all : Travelling.
This concept is quite messy. What IS travelling anyway ? I’m quite sure if you ask this to 10 people, you will have 10 different answers. Travelling may involve driving, tourism, sleeping outside, fishing, struggling, paddling, meeting people, whatever.
I have my own “travelling philosophy”. For me, the destination isn’t as important as the actual trip. “Travelling” means “discovering”, opening my mind to people or situations I may encounter. Travelling also means “destroying” : I will use some means of transportation, use some specific material such as bags and shoes, use Internet to show some parts of my trip and countless things I wouldn’t have done by staying home. This won’t stop me from travelling, but I keep it in mind every time just in case I would ask myself if something is really worthy.
Back to the topic : my travelling experience is guiding me through the preparation of Ludi Vojago. It is not as big as some bigtime travellers walking, biking, hitchhiking and so on all around the world, but I have some interesting stories to share.
Here are some “highlighted” travelling experiences.
2009 – Walking from Paris to Rouen
Long story short : we were 3 people (Hélène, Amaia and me) walking for about 150km in France, near the Seine river, from the south-suburbs of Paris to Rouen (Normandy). The trip was 1 week long and we slept outside under our tents – hopefully, the weather was absolutely stunning.
We could expect that, so “close” from Paris, the landscapes would be quite urbain. We were wrong. We passed through stunning areas, little villages and a lot of little roads.
We also discovered that people are great. We crossed the road of really interesting people, just by walking around. We were offered to stay in some places, and we even ended up asking for hospitality to a priest in a very rainy evening. He wasn’t even shocked or anything. He just opened up the community hall and left us the key.
Also, we met the grand children of one of our junior high school teachers. 80km from the school. In the middle of a tiny village. Yeah, that happens a lot.
2010 – Biking from Reims to Utrecht
The plan was to bike from Reims to Antwerp with a friend (Amaia, one of the Paris -> Rouen walkers !) then to finish the trip from Antwerp to Utrecht alone, then reach Scherpenzeel to meet up some friends. It ended up pretty well. The trip was something (very roughly… )like this.
The whole trip was a whole different story from the walking tour. Biking is fun and interesting, but also have some drawbacks from walking (I wrote something about it). So, we ended up travelling huge distances while still enjoying the landscape and meeting people during our stops, but had more trouble to find acceptable ways to bike, where we could climb small hills easily while walking.
During my first day alone, I slept in some grassy area. A boy was quite curious about that little tent in the middle of nowhere, and came to say hello. Problem is, he wasn’t speaking English very well, and I didn’t know a word in Dutch, so we had trouble to understand each other. Still, he went away then came back several time to ask me some things, like “Do you need things ?” or “Do you want shower tomorrow ?”, then “My parents are OK if you want come tomorrow shower”. I was, of course, incredibly moved by the infinite kindness of this boy… but I couldn’t manage to find his house the next morning. So I left some little message around the grass, which was a bit pointless I guess.
Little boy, would you read this one day, I want you to know that you lightened up my trip and I can’t thank you enough. Next time, I will write an adress somewhere !!
2011 – Hitchhiking to Finland
I was living in Finland for one semester in 2010. I deeply felt in love with this country and promised myself to come back one day. I kept my promise the year after by hitchhiking there with my best friend Thibault, and a friend of us, Elyse, for the first part of the trip, from Paris to Hamburg.
The trip last 3 weeks – we wend back from Finland to France by plane, as I had some emergency to take care of. We traveled through Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. This time, we were hosted during most of the trip, either via Couchsurfing or friends/family (in Hanover & Stockholm).
I don’t even know where to start with this one. We had so many intense times, we met so many incredible people during the whole trip. So, I’ll rather give some “key advices” from what I’ve seen.
– Hitchhiking in Finland is all right, but very hard in South-Sweden. We may had bad luck, but I’m still wondering why…
– Christiania, in Copenhagen, is a very interesting place. It is also a very bad sign to see armored cops there – my lungs may still have some tear gas somewhere.
– Frankfurt am main is a terrible place to stay during a night only with sleeping bags.
– It is unadvised to hitchhike too close to a Finnish metal festival, because wild, drunk Finnish guys pissing on the road seems to be quite unappealing (but still very friendly).
2012 – The Nowhere event and car-sharing to Hungary
Those two trips were, at the same time, very intense and very conventionnal.
Conventionnal because very organized, involving only car-sharing and quite “comfy” (at least for my standards). Intense because they involved the Nowhere event – the “”European Burning Man”” (the shortcut is a bit rough) – and one day in the Sziget festival in Budapest, one of the largest musical festival in Europe – as well as the magnificent Budapest itself.
The Nowhere is a very enlightning event where a lot of crazy things happen. We set up a “Tea, Tales & Games” camp with some friends, filled up with board games and, well, tea and tales. We enjoyed being part of this strange community and discover a lot of things, mostly on ourselves. Organizing this trip in the desert was an interesting task and taught me some tricks… mostly about delays :-).
Our trip in Hungary – with Thibault, again – was made interesting by the people travelling with us. We found a car-sharing opportunity on the French website Blablacar, which was uncalled for, and spent some days with four fun and easy-going people.
I stayed one single day in the Sziget festival itself, but it was once again an interesting discovery. Its size is unreal, as well as the amount of people there. The amount of alcohol drunk is also really high and convinced me I was getting fonder of small communities and wild nature, not tremendous parties like this. I went forward in my “travel philosophy building” mission.
2014 – Ludi Vojago
More and more, I wanted to travel for something, to share experiences, bring a little “something” to the numerous people I would meet. And I also spent some years to study Game Design I couldn’t use to travel.
So… here we go. 🙂
PS : You should take a look at http://travelwithamission.org. This community/website is meant to gather travellers willing to share something or even building a better world, and people willing to offer them a public to interact with.
In other words, TWAM is another wonderful use of the Internet and could lead to great partnerships between great people.