travel

D-4 : Travel bags & prototyping material

Today was one of the most important days of any trip : the packing day !

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Yaaaay !

I’m not sure anybody likes packing. I’m always afraid of forgetting this-very-imporatant-thing. For a long term trip, I look at every item and think “hey, couldn’t this be useful ?” – and then “hey, is this really THAT useful considering I’ll carry it for 6 MONTHS !?”. Especially for a trip such as Ludi Vojago, considering I also have to carry some rather unusual (and somehow heavy) stuff. So, how am I organized ?

The big backpack : here goes the heavy stuff

The main backpack is a 70+10L “Forclaz” from Decathlon. It is an old friend of mine, as I did almost all my trips with it.

It is also a heavy friend. Some travellers prefer 60 or even 40/50L backpacks to carry things as they are lighter, which counts a lot in these kind of trips. Also, 70L is an overkill for most trips as most usual things can fin into a decently-packed 50L. If you take more, it is probably unnecessary things.

…unless it’s a bunch of board games. You can see them in the bottom part of the backpack. I carry 12 games. Most of them are obviourly quite light (especially Tête de linotte and Pile poil) but bags tend to fill rather fast.

Plus, I’m carrying this.

SacsMateriel

So I believe this big backpack isn’t actually THAT big !

What’s inside the bag ? It’s rather usual actually : a sleeping bag, a mattress, a small pillow (this is actually luxury…), a survival blanket, a lock, a gourd (I dislike plastic bottles), some stuff to write, a mug, a knife, a fork, a small plate, a tupperware (if I manage to cook something – lots of money saved here !)…

The small bag for the clothes

This is a technique I’ve learnt from fellow travellers such as Ludovic Hubler (who hitchhiked around the world during 5 years and also created Travel with a mission) : carrying a second, small backpack in front of you. This lighter bag is used to carry light things such as clothes, as well as some things you’re glad you can access easily (i.e. my camera).

I’m taking a rather large amount of clothes to my tastes, but I prefer carrying more clothes and be absolutely sure of being CLEAN for my workshops for obvious reasons. I’m taking 2 T-shirts, 2 shirts, 2 trousers, 1 bermuda, 6 pants, 5 socks + 1 pair of heavy socks + 1 pair of Merinos socks, 1 light sweater, 1 swimsuit and my trusty heavy rainjacket (with a large sweater included).

What about extra material ?

I obviously can’t carry material for my whole trip. Fortunately, I have a very lovely and helpful mother back home who is eager to send me material packs during my trip. So I prepared some small packages ready to be sent, so I’m sure to have the right amount of material at every moment.

Matos

Work in progress (this picture misses the WINK games)

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D-6 : Travel with a mission : the side (and awesome) quest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(No French version today, but if you wish to read something in French, you may have a look at the article about Ludi Vojago on the blog of Travel with a mission !)

Just a quick article today, not too related to Ludi Vojago itself, but to an awesome initiative : Travel with a mission.

What is it ?

Travelling can be great. If done properly, it allows people to discover new cultures, connect each other, share visions about life and so on. However, travellers sometimes feel like they could share more things, or to more people. Let’s say you are a Turkish fireman : you could share knowledge about your country, about firefighting, about first aid and so on. But how are you supposed to do that when you are just travelling from place to place ?

On the other hand, people in various contries are craving for people to come and bring meaningful knowledge to other people. Let’s say you are a teacher in Cambodia. You know people are coming from all around the world in your country. You’d like to invite them in your school to give a lecture about anything to your students, but you can’t really reach them !

The lack of way to connect travellers and structures together wastes a lot of potential mind-opening and discoveries. Fortunately, this is precisely what Travel with a mission is trying to do : connect travellers with a “mission” (or “TWAMers”) and people eager to give them a way to share their knowledge (or “TWAMhosts”).

How is connected to Ludi Vojago ?

Now, let’s say you are a Game designer trying to encourage the creation of multiple games all around Europe. Let’s say you’d like to work with several different structures and allow them to set up workshops on their own after your departure. Let’s say you are deeply convinced that creating games is a wonderful thing, very interesting and enlightening.

…see a pattern here ?

AureTwam

What will I do ?

During my trip, I’ll be at the same time a TWAMer and a TWAM ambassador. Being a Twamer means I’m going to use TWAM to contact Twamhosts on my way and work with them. But if there’s no Twamhosts in the vicinity, it might be simply because nobody has heard of Travel with a mission… which is where my Ambassador duty starts !

So I’ll try my best to allow people discover this not-well-enough-known community to improve it as much as I can.

By the way, I hope you guys have created you account on the website now ? Because we need you ! It’s simple to be a Twamer (you even can do a day or some hours it while on a summer trip) and a Twamhost – and if you don’t have access to any structure, feel free to tell your friends ! 🙂

D-7 / J-7 : Which way to share the project ? (comment partager le voyage ?)

(French version below – click here)

So that’s it. We are getting closer and closer to the departure. Almost 6 months on the road meeting people, animating workshops, discovering cultures, sleeping in random places, eating whatever I can, struggling to somehow speak English/German/Italian (so far, I can only say “I don’t eat meat because I’m vegetarian”)… you get the picture.

Right now, my “To-do” list is long and keeps getting longer. Actually, I think it can turn endless if I really try to take on everything – so I’ll rather discard most things and take some time to share this trip preparation with you guys. Sounds logical to you ?

Let’s quickly answer a crucial question : how am I going to share my trip and discovering while on the road ?

Board games and electronic devices

Let’s go back 15-20 years ago. Cell phones were a curiosity, Internet was slowly rising (in France, we mostly had 56kbps modem with limited connection time), but people were actually already travelling. Things were simple : if you wanted to call your family, you had to use a cabin phone of actual written mail. Nobody asked himself questions such as “should I take a laptop or a tablet ?” or “is my smartphone enough to share pictures on Facebook ?”. I like travelling unburdened. No longer than 3 years ago, I went on a hitchhiking trip around northern Europe with a non-smart cell phone and a small compact camera.

But today is a whole different story. Today, I want to share my trip with you guys. I will post some Facebook status from time to time, take and share some pictures/videos of the workshops, check incoming structures on the Internet. So I had to think a bit about my choices here. I’m still not used to mobile devices and I’m not sure my choices are the best ones. I’ll have to adapt.

Here are my device choices and why.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10″ : versatile companion

I suppose tablets are “THE thing” nowadays in our countries, but I wasn’t really attracted by it. I’m a long-timer of classic PCs (thanks to my mother probably – I kinda felt in love with motherboards when she shew me how to dismantle & rebuild a computer when I was 8 years old) and I’m not super fond of tactile devices.

Still, I specifically bought a tablet for this trip. Why ? There’s actually 3 main reasons :

1) Weight and size

Man, those things are small. I can carry it in my small side bag and I (almost) don’t feel it. This is a major asset in a long term trip – travellers know what I mean. After some weeks of wandering around, every lost gram is very welcome. And I can carry more board game material !

2) Travel apps

This wasn’t my initial plan as I think everything is pretty much optional and can be found easily during the trip… but still, some apps are rather useful, such as city maps (if the tourist office is closed) and translators. I probably won’t use it much, but who knows.

3) Board games apps

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I guess this needs no further explainations. This is the main reason I bought a tablet…

I choose the Galaxy Tab 3 because I didn’t need anything with more performance. The 10″ are a great addition to be together around it. I’ll use it to update this blog, post statuts on social networks, upload pictures… I just have to learn how to type properly. I just have to find Wi-fi spots somewhere – cafés are nice places, maybe the home of some Couchsurfers. Oh, and it’s great to do some Skype calls. Hello mum, hello Stéphanie.

 

Sony Ericsson Xperia “Something”

I am actually still hesitating between a smartphone and a non-smart cell phone. So far, my thoughts led me to an old friend.

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This is actually my current phone. It’s 2 and a half years old and, I hope, counting. The protection has countless scratches and the phone sometimes randomly cuts communications. It also randomly reboots from time to time. The battery is getting weaker as time passes despite my battery saver app.

So, why do I take it ?

1) Because my tablet can’t handle What’sapp, and this app is pretty sweet when there’s Wi-fi around;

2) Because I don’t want to throw it away. What’s the deal with throwing things away those days ? This phone matches my needs (What’sapp, text messages, emergency calls, time  display, alarm clock, torch light), I just have to switch it off when I don’t use it to save battery.

Nikon Coolpix P520

coolpix

I won’t get into the details about how I chose this particular camera. In a nutshell, it can take pretty sweet pictures without extensive photography training (I don’t know much about how to use a camera) and can take good quality movies. This will probably be useful to share everything about the workshops.

I considered taking pictures/movies with my tablet to spare myself from re-adding the weight I suppressed by taking a tablet instead of a laptop. But unfortunately, the quality is simply not high enough to the standards I set to the project…

 


 

Le moment du départ approche de plus en plus. 6 mois sur les routes à rencontrer des gens, animer des ateliers, découvrir des cultures, dormir où je peux, manger ce que peux, parler du mieux que possible Anglais ou Allemand ou Italien (bien que je ne sache dire que “Je ne mange pas de viande car je suis végétarien” pour l’instant)… m’enfin vous voyez l’idée.

Pour l’instant, ma “To-do list” n’en finit pas de s’allonger. En fait, ce genre de liste a la capacité de s’agrandir à l’infini si l’on essaye de l’attaquer de font : plus l’on fait de choses, plus il y en a à faire. Alors je préfère en négliger une grande partie pour prendre le temps de partager la fin de ma préparation de voyage. La logique me semble imparable.

Attaquons alors une question non négligeable : quels dispositifs vais-je utiliser pour partager mon voyage tout en étant sur la route ?

Gadgets électroniques et jeux de plateau

Revenons 15-20 ans en arrière. Les téléphones portables étaient encore assez rares et la démocratisation d’Internet était dans ses balbutiements – rappelez vous des modems 56k avec un temps de connexion limité (genre 50h avec AOL ou Infonie). Pourtant, ça n’empêchait personne de voyager ! Un voyageur voulant joindre ses proches passait par une cabine téléphonique ou une lettre. Personne ne se posait des questions telles que “devrais-je prendre un ordinateur ou une tablette ?” ou “est-ce que mon smartphone est suffisant pour partager des photos via Facebook ?”. D’ailleurs, j’aime bien cette philosophie de ne pas se sentir enfermé par la technologie. A peine 3 ans auparavant, je voyageais autour de l’Europe avec un téléphone (pas “smart” !) et un petit appareil photo numérique.

Mais maintenant, les choses sont très différentes : je veux partager mon voyage avec vous tous. Je veux pouvoir poster des statuts Facebook, prendre des photos/vidéos et les partager rapidement avec vous, voir en amont dans quelles structures faire les ateliers etc… Alors j’ai du réfléchir un peu différemment pour déterminer les meilleurs choix possibles. Je ne suis pas du tout sûr de ce que je fais, mais je m’adapterais en fonction !

Voici donc mes choix.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10″ : le couteau suisse

Il sembleraient que les tablettes soient des engins très à la mode ces dernières années, mais elles ne m’ont jamais vraiment attirées. Je suppose que cela est du à ma très longue utilisation de PC fixes, particulièrement depuis que ma mère en ait démonté un devant moi avant de me demander de le remonter. C’était il y a bientôt 20 ans je crois.

Pourtant, j’ai acheté une tablette spécifiquement pour ce voyage. Alors pourquoi ? Il y a 3 raisons principales.

1) Poids et taille

Ces engins sont vraiment compacts. Je peux transporter ma tablette dans ma sacoche sans la sentir (ou presque). C’est un avantage conséquent dans le cadre d’un long voyage – toute personne ayant transporté un sac de randonnée plus d’une semaine comprendra aisément de quoi je parle ! Chaque gramme gagné est le bienvenu, surtout pour Ludi Vojago : moins d’encombrement = plus de place pour du matériel de création…

2) Applications pratiques

Ce n’était pas vraiment prévu. Tout le contenu des applications de voyage peut être trouvé sans grande difficulté pendant un voyage… mais certaines restent quand même parfois pratiques, comme les cartes de villes (si l’office du tourisme est fermée) ou les dictionnaires. Je ne pense pas m’en servir intensément, mais qui sait…

3) Jeux de plateau portés numériquement

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Ais-je vraiment besoin de détailler ce point ? C’est la raison principale de mon achat en fait. Impossible de transporter Smallworld et Mr. Jack dans un sac !

J’ai opté pour la Galaxy Tab 3 parce que je n’avais pas besoin d’une tablette plus récente ou performante. Les 10″ sont utiles pour être plusieurs autour d’elle lors d’une partie. Je l’utiliserai pour faire à peu près tout : poster des statuts sur les réseaux sociaux, mettre à jour le blog, charger des photos… Je dois juste apprendre à taper correctement sur le clavier tactile et trouver des spots Wi-fi ! Beaucoup de découverte de cafés en perspective…

Ah, n’oublions pas qu’une tablette est bien pratique pour passer des appels Skype. Coucou maman, coucou Stéphanie.

Sony Ericsson Xperia “Quelque chose”

A l’heure actuelle, je suis toujours hésitant quant au choix du téléphone : smartphone ou téléphone classique ? Pour l’instant, mes raisonnements m’ont mené vers un vieux compagnon.

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En effet, il s’agit de mon smartphone actuel. Déjà âgé de 2 ans et demie, sa protection part complètement en lambeaux. Le téléphone coupe parfois en pleine communication, et d’autres fois, il redémarre aléatoirement. La batterie est de moins en moins résistante avec le temps, malgré une application destinée à l’économiser.

Alors… pourquoi le prendre ?

1) Parce que ma tablette n’est pas compatible avec What’s app, et que cette application est quand même bien pratique;

2) Parce que je ne vois pas l’intérêt de le jeter, ni d’en racheter un autre. Nous jetons beaucoup trop de choses beaucoup trop vite à mon goût. Ce téléphone a beau être assez peu pratique, il correspond à mes besoins : What’sapp, SMS, appels d’urgence, horloge et alarme, lampe torche. Il s’agit juste de l’éteindre pour économiser la batterie !

Nikon Coolpix P520

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Appareil compact ? Compact expert ? Hybride ? Reflex ? Bridge ? Beaucoup de possibilités. Je pensais m’orienter vers un compact expert tel que le Sony RX100, mais suite à une opportunité en magasin, j’ai finalement opté pour ce bridge. Assez compact, il prend de belles photos sans un besoin de connaissances précises en photographie (je n’y connais rien…), et peut aussi prendre de belles vidéos. Tout ce dont j’ai besoin pour vous partager le contenu des ateliers.

J’ai envisagé de prendre les photos/vidéos avec ma tablette, mais la qualité n’était vraiment pas suffisante à mon goût pour un partage via Internet !!

 

 

Workshop material : pawns, dices and Tout pour le jeu

Creating board games only requires some time, maybe some basic theories of board game design and a little material.

Most of this material can be made out scrap : take an old piece of cardboard and you have a board, draw some rectangles on a sheet of paper then cut it : you have cards… Most of the time, prototyping doesn’t require good-looking or fancy material, as you may throw away half of your creation to improve it anyway.

Ot at least in theory. There’s still a couple of problems :

– Some material, such as hourglasses and dices, can’t be easily made from scrap;

– Seeing some material can improve creativity by “triggering” something in one’s mind (ohh, I could use THAT !).

 

Fortunately, several companies are dedicated to create board game material, which is very handy for designers… and people animating board games creation workshops ! One of them is Tout pour le jeu, which means “Everything for games” in French. Based in the east of France, this company was kind enough to accept a simple partnership :

* They give me a hell lot of material I will carry during my trip

* In exchange, I allow people to discover their actually awesome selection of various pawns, dices, bags, hourglasses etc… via their official website or flyers I’ll give during my journey.

As for the carriage of this material, I’ll have a small pack in my bag during my trip, but most material will be sent from Frence by my greatest help : my mother ! 🙂

D-35 : what’s going on before the departure

It’s been a while since I didn’t post some news about the project so far, even if the departure day is getting closer and closer. A little bit more than 1 month before the first trip, I may have some things to settle down, but there has been a lot of exciting news.

Let’s do a little recap.

 

Workshop presentation

The workshops lacked a short and clear presentation (nobody likes Walls of text). Here it is.

Feel free to use and share it to any structure which could be interested by such workshops ! 🙂

FlyersPrezProjetEN

 

Translated Mechanicards

Remember the Mechanicards, those little cards describing board games mechanisms, skills and material ? Well, they are finally translated in English, so people from all around the world will be able to use them.

Feel free to use them as they are on Creative Commons Attribution. You just have to somehow mention me at some point, at least by highlighting the link to my website on the bottom of the cards !

MecanicartesPrintEN

I will put them more clearly on my porfolio as soon as possible, but so far you can download the PDF here.

 

Schedule scramble

The two first months of the project are going to be everything but what I initially planned.

* I’m starting my trip the 2nd of September. My first destination is Auxerre, where a workshop will take place the 3rd.

* Instead of reaching Besançon the 1st of September, I’ll be there the 6th to launch the project at the CRIJ. Then workshops will take place several times during the following week in different places (more information later on the post).

* I will most likely spend some days in Lille after Besançon.

* My next stop is Brussels from the 22nd of September for 1 week. Yes, Brussels – which means I’ll actually travel to 10 countries now. I couldn’t find any structure in Mulhouse unfortunately.

* Then I’ll travel to Munich to be up and ready the 6th of October.

* Finally, I’m going to the Essen spiel festival from the 16th to the 19th of October.

 

Confused ? Maybe a couple of screenshots will help you then !

 

Week1Planning  Week2Planning

 

Besançon workshops

So far, 3 workshops will take place around Besançon. I’m still looking for more (with a huge help from my friend there, Evelyne, who pretty much contacted the whole city – which for I can’t thank her enough), but for now, here are the workshops :

* Tuesday & Friday evening with the board games association Doubs you play. They are usually playing games thoses evenings, but they kindly accepted that I animate workshops at the same time. They are located here.

* Saturday, I’m going to animate a full workshop (playing then creating) at the “Maison de quartier” Montrapon, a place for young people to come and do… fun things.

 

Lots of board games material

Toutpourlejeu, an awesome company selling board game material, kindly accepted to sponsor the project ! So a pack full of board games material is coming in a few days. I’ll keep you informed (these guys totally deserve a full article).

However, I also bought some extra material on Spielmaterial to be able to do some workshops as soon as possible.

MatosLV

Holidays

Ok, that’s not really related to the project, but I’m going in holidays for most of August ! So I’ll try my best to leave you some scheduled articles beforehand to keep you hyped 😉

Spotlight : Essen, the city of Spiel

Some of you may remember the concept of Spotlight : shedding a light on a city I’m planning to set workshops in. So far, I’ve been quite lazy and did only one of them : Innsbruck, the Bridge city !

This may be explained by one simple fact : I wasn’t absolutely sure to go through each city, as long as I didn’t have every structure to host the workshops. Everything could change because in a blink if I had a different opportunity.

And this is exactly what happened.

I was planning to go around Stuttgart, in Germany, right before Munich. But things have changed, and I’m now actually going to Munich first, then to another city in Germany, named Essen. Let’s have a look at this city !

 

SpotlightEssen

 

 

Essen, which may not be one of the best known cities of Germany outside the country, is nonetheless the central part of the Ruhr, which is basically a huge urban area bordered by the Ruhr river (hence the name) and Rhine. 5.3 million people are living in the area, so Essen may play a very central role for quite a lot of people.

 

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Couchsurfing-wise, 4,183 people currently have a profile marked as living around Essen. Way to go ! I’m going to Munich to Essen, then I’ll go to Innsbruck afterwards.

…Wait. Isn’t that a very ankward trip ? First I’m going from France to the south-east of Germany, then I’m coming back to the north-west, then I’m heading straight to the south ? Does it makes much sense ?

Well…

That’s right, something very special takes place in Essen : the Spiel festival. Spiel means “Game” (and “Play”) in German, a very fit name for what’s simply the largest board games festival in the world.

It takes place from the 16th-19th of October and I will go there to set up some workshops, so I thought it was worth a little change of plans !

Games I’ll give to the structures : Wink and Tête de Linotte

The first part of the workshops will be dedicated to playing actual games. I’m trying to achieve several goals :

– Breaking the ice between the attendees, who may not know each other yet;

– Giving attendees references of games themes & mechanisms so they’ll be able to use them afterwards, when creating their own games;

– Creating meaningful links between the players and the structure hosting the workshop : if the structure keeps the game, the players will be able to play it afterwards, then coming back on the site.

This last point can only be successful with some actual games to give. So I looked for interesting games to carry and give, and kindly asked some board games publishers if they could give me 12 games I could leave in structures.

Two publishers agreed and gave me games : Letheia Editions and Flip Flap Editions (which you can find on my Partners page).

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Oh hello.

The 2 games I’ll leave behind me will be Wink and Tête de Linotte. Wink is a fun game where you basically have to wink somebody else to tell him you have a card he’s calling. But if your wink get caught, you lose points. The game is quite international and was taken in India by the association Inter’Lude.

Tête de linotte is a wicked memory game, where you have to memorize different animals of different colors, then give the right answer about a card revealed some time before. More cards are piling up, so the game becomes increasingly difficult. The game is very small, easy to carry and understand !

Spotlight : Innsbruck, the Bridge Town

And here comes a new category of posts : the Spotlights ! My goal is to share some very basic knowledge I have gathered about the key destinations of the trip.

Obviously, Ludi Vojago is not supposed to take place only in big cities. I am perfectly open to smaller places as long as people are actually interested in playing and creating board games 🙂

But I have to start searching somewhere, and “WHOLE COUNTRIES” is a bit too large. So, after deciding the key points of my itinerary, I’m currently searching places to be hosted around big cities. I take the cities, find out what’s going on there, then search in the smaller towns around, say, a radius of 50kms or something of sorts.

But as I’m considerating passing by those cities, better do some homework about them, right ? I don’t know most of them, so I only gather minimal knowledge meant to be completed (or totally  discarded) by actually going there.

Let’s start with Austria, and the city of Innsbruck !

SpotlightInnsbruck

Innsbruck, actually meaning “The bridge over the Inn River“, is a city close to mountains. By “close”, I actually mean “very very close”.

The city is between München and Verona, two other cities I’m planning to visit. Couchsurfing-wise, 1,974 people currently have a profile marked as living around Innsbruck, which is not bad at all :-).

About games : there’s a café full of board games in the city, the Café Weli. There’s also a video game studio, Still Alive Studios.

Also, the city is quite touristic, and it’s quite easy to see why by looking at some pictures of local buildings.

And finally, some capital information from Wikipedia :

“In 1929, the first official Austrian Chess Championship was held in Innsbruck.”

Way to go !

Being hosted and meeting people : Couchsurfing, my love

On the road, there’s basically three ways to sleep :

* Rent a room in a hostel or whatever;

* “Whatever works” : sleep on the ground, possibly with something (sleeping bag, hamac, tent, sleeping mat…);

* Being gently hosted by people.

 

Each of these solutions have pros and cons. Renting a room somewhere is obviously really comfy and a good way to “charge up batteries”, but often lacks some social contact (although this is not entirely true in hostels) and isn’t free. Sleeping anywhere works wonders in some places and is absolutely free, but you should find a place you feel safe, you need extra effort to wash yourself and it is not always legal.

I’m really a big fan of the people-hosting, mostly because of it’s greatest specificity : you meet people, spend time with complete strangers (who are not strangers for long in most cases !), discover new ways of life as well as points of views about the place you’re staying you couldn’t have obtained otherwise. It is also really heartwarming.

Then, how are you supposed to find somebody willing to host you ? It sometimes happens randomly : some people offered to host me when I was simply strolling around a city or after offering me a lift while I was hitchhiking. You can also ask people in the street, which is something some neat TV shows like J’irai dormir chez vous or Nus et culottés can show.

But then, Internet.

Internet changed a lot of things for a lot of people. One of the most fascinating communities I’ve met so far with Internet is the group of people on the website Couchsurfing.

 

CS_LogoOrange_lowres

The idea is very simple : people create an account on the website, tell some stuff about themselves and say whether or not they can host people in their house/flat/room. Then, they can search for fellow couchsurfers in some place they want to go and send them a message to ask if they could host them for some days.  Thus the term of “Couch Surfing” : it is mainly a “couch-borrowing” website.

Couchsurfing is not only a hosting website however, as people can create groups, various events so travellers and locals can meet up, or even just offer travellers passing by to take a coffee or visit the city.

The entire website & hosting process are entirely free, although it is adviced to bring a little something to your host, may it be a present, a knowledge, a cooking receipe or whatever. But this is usually very natural, as people are usually quite friendly (well, they accept to share their home to begin with). Each surfing experience is very different, depending of the people involved in the surfing exchange.

 

Back to Ludi Vojago. I suppose it is quite clear Couchsurfing is my sleeping way of choice, as well as a way to meet people in the places I’m passing by, may it be players or diverse people curious about my trip. This isn’t meant to be the sole way tho, as I could have to rent a room or sleep on the ground in places with no available Surfers, but I’m quite optimistic about the “hosting” part of the trip.

I also think everybody should give it a shot. I’ve seen really various people on CS : young and old, single and married, grand-parents with little children, big houses with several students… So, why not you ? 🙂

Egotrip : some info about my precedent trips

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

The first “biggie” is also the one with the most information. If you can read French, you can find some pictures & description on my old travelling blog : HERE and HERE.

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.