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Eliott Schonfeld : The genuine single-handed adventure


His name could be the one of a Spielberg hero searching for a very ancient treasure … But his El Dorado is simply the planet. Traveler by nature, he longs to approach the unknown, to explore remote areas and get back to the origins. Curious and attracted by new horizons, Eliott gives up his first year of graduate study, at the age of 19. Thanks to casual jobs, he finances its first solitary escapade in Australia in 2011: a trip in the wild lands, far from the civilization. Rookie explorer, He realizes that it is possible to meet no human being during ten days and often difficult to sustain himself. Despite all this, he likes it! Finding its way   Back to France, it seems difficult to resume his studies. He does all sorts of jobs and joins the big Northern Canada in 2013 to work during six months with sled dogs. In extreme conditions, living as a trapper, he learns autonomy. Eliott should have made scientific studies. He had the talent but not the will. During his Canadian stay, he starts to enjoy deep thinking led during walking hours and takes pleasure to note all the details and feelings of the adventure. That’s it! He will begin a Bachelor of philosophy while becoming an adventurer! The courses please him and the university timetable leaves 4 month from May to October to escape. In 2014, it will be Iceland crossed from south to north in 3 weeks, in the cold despite the season.     2015 will be the year of his first long trip in Mongolia. Three months to travel kilometers on foot and by horse in steppes, get through the test of the Gobi Desert, avoid dying from thirst and hunger, meeting nomadic families… He comes back with a few scars, couple of pounds lighter and fabulous memories in head. And the real legitimacy to confirm the proverb Water is life. He will change of latitude and atmosphere in 2016. Eliott decides to go down the Yukon on a canoe and then join Artic doors on foot. The adventurer suffers from pouring rains, faces swamps and hostile forests and meets bears who give him scare to death. For the first time, the idea to give up occurs but he will not. "I stood firm. I became self-sufficient and I had the feeling to have adapted myself to the nature".   Drawing its own route   Eliott says that the adventurer is a selfish man. But by sharing his explorations through movies and travel narratives, he can change our look on the incredible beauty of the planet, testify and inspire. His experiences help him to get confident and call of the wild is stronger than anything. We live fully every event, every emotion, every meeting there. The virtual has no place here. "The first two weeks are difficult then that fades. I often felt as living at the origin of the world ".   Since the Mongolian escapade, movies and narratives help finance his expeditions and allow him to share natural marvels and acquired knowledge. Eliott Schonfeld became a professional adventurer! Through his breakaways, his ideology of the journey also evolved. As shown by his Himalaya crossing in 2017. Four and a half months, from Indian Kashmir up to the region of Kathmandu.     The journey began in India with the crossing of Transhimalayan. At an average altitude of 4 000m, nothing grows, there is only rocks and desert. During long weeks, Eliott yomped and even celebrated its 25 years with for only traveling companion his horse lovingly nicknamed Robert.   Beyond mountains, the height gives way to a luxuriant jungle up to the river which constitutes the Nepalese border. Eliott wanted to build a raft to float up to the planned entry point in Nepal. After one and a half month of solitude, he was happy to find a village where inhabitants helped him to assemble his raft of bamboo. The Nepalese border patrol did not take the same view. Confiscating the bamboos, they threw him in a bus. Determined and discreetly backtracked, he will wait one week to build his raft and be able to face big rapids which often spilled him. The last stage of this Nepalese adventure consisted in meeting the Rautes, last tribe of hunters-gatherers in Asia. Eliott took 10 days to locate them. Small, hardly dressed and building their huts in trees, they are instinctively suspicious. "At the beginning, I was not welcome. But I returned and was finally accepted by the King of the forest ".     Meeting the Rautes was the opportunity to take up a new challenge planned from the beginning: get rid as much as possible modern objects that every explorer uses to replace them by natural alternatives and get back to roots. Goodbye lighter, tent. He replaces his backpack by a bag in weaved bamboo, uses goatskins to make clothes and a sleeping bag. "I made of the fire by friction with bamboo, as the prehistoric men. That learns patience. Soon, I shall learn other techniques of fire, new methods to make knots, ropes".     Desire to return to sources, need to go away from an everyday life where the virtual too much overrides reality and desire of a favored contact with the nature. Such are the motivations of the nomad Eliott. Down from his 25 springs and with an outstanding experience, he asserts that “traveling, it is diving into the unexpected, being freed from the tyranny of calculation and foresight". No doubt, Eliott is a true adventurer and philosopher. Eliott Schonfeld plans his next expedition for winter, 2019. He thinks of returning to the big North with a crew of sled dogs and building a canoe to join Rocky Mountains, in total autonomy of food and equipment, of course. In the meantime, he will validate his bachelor and will offer us the narrative of his beautiful Himalayan breakaway.   Thousand Thanks Eliott! So Inspiring...   If you want to read more about Eliott or get in touch with him: His Website Eliott's facebook Page
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Thomas Philip Kolstrøm  - Living beyond the Arctic Circle

Non classé

We call him Philip. He chose to live in family in the Alps of Lyngen, beyond the Arctic Circle. An extraordinary living place for a simple but not ordinary man …     Philip knows the region like his back pocket as he explored it by walking, running and skiing since his youngest age. Ancestral Norwegians, his parents were born in the north of the country. His father very early transmitted him the love of wild spaces, by skiing in winter and fishing in summer. "I really love long runs in the mountains and this feeling to be free, in tune with the nature". As a paradise all white in winter and green in summer, the Alps of Lyngen offer unforgettable sceneries, between sea and mountain. A patchwork of frozen lands free of human presence, changing colors of the fjords never freezing, thick forests of pines and birches. Adding that these majestic summits are only 5 minutes far from his home, Philip feels proud and happy.       He has not always lived here in Lakselvbukt next to the blue waters of Sorfjorden where people come to see Northern Lights. Maybe 300 inhabitants spread out for something like twenty kilometers; Let imagine the space they have! Having studied fisheries economics at the Artic University of Norway, Philip worked for a big Norwegian bank and lived in Tromsø, the regional capital, with his girlfriend and their first son. He already had in mind to find a place of really natural life for his small family. He stays amazed to have been lucky enough to find here an old house to buy, a new job nearby for his girlfriend who works as a nurse and for him, a post in a bank 40 minutes from home. They just had to wait for the birth of a second boy. The children are 4 years and 1.5 year old today.       Every morning, Philip opens eyes on this Arctic landscape with changeable sky, so moving in the midnight sun. He lives every day in this pristine landscape that so many skiers and walkers dream to discover.   Philip admits that these last two years were naturally dedicated to restore the house. He also had to take care of the babies, especially when their mom had nightshifts. Fewer time to devote to his passion for skiing but he assures that the family passes at first. For him, Lakselvbukt is not so "far": grocer's shop, house for the elderly but also a school, a day nursery, fjords and mountains. He worries little because the nursery welcomes only 9 children. "Lakselvbukt is a magic place for our boys. They will be skiing, running and maybe hunting in autumn. It would be a pity that the school close, it is an ideal place to grow up ". And a place where the word share takes all its sense, as shown by the group of inhabitants who made together wooden spoons while waiting for the arrival of runners to the check point during the Ultra NORWAY Race 2016.       Philip is athletic and has moreover won a local race of 3 days with impressive drops in 2014. Running seems to be an affair in the Kolstrøm family and now Philip returns to his passion: next February, he will participate with two of his sisters in one ultramarathon in England. He intends to be modestly classified among ten first ones.  "I needed a new short-term goal. As the boys will grow older, I hope to keep motivation for running and explore the surroundings. There is so many summits that I did not achieve! And I have big projects …"   Child of the Far North, adventurer by nature and thoughtful father … Philip is ready to meet all these challenges, convinced that living in this magic set is an opportunity, even a necessity.   Thanks Philip!
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A travel diary: 6 months in Asia


How about a 6-month getaway in Asia? We met with Rebecca and Damien, a couple of adventurers who went travelling to do volunteer work and discover this fascinating continent. Here’s what we learnt from them:     What were your motivations to travel in Asia for 6 months? Why did you choose this continent in particular?   Damien: The decision to leave came naturally. Professionally, I felt I had reached the end of a cycle and then I wanted to start a new project. Rebecca was in a similar situation and we also wanted to find a new apartment to settle down more comfortably. Before embarking on these ambitious common projects, we decided to travel abroad for several months.   Rebecca: I had never travelled outside of Europe and I wanted to experience different lifestyles. Firstly we opted for Asia for logistical reasons, as it is a relatively cheap continent where it’s easy to travel as a backpacker. But most importantly, it was also the continent we knew the least about and where the cultural choc would be the strongest.     Regarding the logistical aspect of such a long trip, were you focused on planning every detail or did you leave room for improvisation?   Rebecca: I worked two jobs until the very last minute and stopped working only four days before we left, so I neither had the time nor the courage to plan the trip. It was also a choice to not do too much research in order to keep an element of surprise when arriving in each country.   Damien: I discovered Asia when I arrived in Bangkok. I hadn’t done any research before leaving, I neither knew the places worth seeing, nor the traditions and cultures of the countries we were planning to visit.     What route did you follow once in Asia? Was there a specific destination you enjoyed most?   〈We arrived at the beginning of January in Bangkok, Thailand. We then visited the South of the country and crossed over to Malaysia by bus. Afterwards, we flew to Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), then Vietnam, Cambodia and we finished with the Philippines. We loved every one of them but the one that will remain dear to us is Myanmar. Since the country only opened its doors to tourism five years ago, the people are very happy to welcome travellers. Furthermore, it’s in Myanmar that we had the opportunity to do volunteer work in a school specialising in teaching English. We lived with young Burmese for a week, which allowed us to understand their way of life.     What struck or surprised you the most during your journey?   Rebecca: It’s hard to pick something in particular because the cultural gap is so massive, that everything surprised us when we arrived! Hygiene conditions, safety: it was light years away from what we were used to!   Damien: The most striking for me was to see these chaotic mobile markets offering incredible quantities of food in questionable storage conditions. These places are filled with smells we never had had the chance to smell before.     Asian culture seems to be light years away from our Western culture, how did you adapt to cultural differences?   Damien: I had never left Europe, so I was shocked by the cultural gap between our continent and Asia. It took me a few weeks to get used to the food, and sanitary and safety conditions. We were so used to our sanitised environments that it was a real shock when we arrived in Asia, everything was scary! But after a few weeks, what was once inconceivable became commonplace. After a bit more than a month, we stopped paying attention to futile details and started focusing on the human aspect of our journey.       Did you get a chance to meet the locals of the countries you visited? Did you keep in touch with some of them?   We had the opportunity to spend some time with locals in Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam thanks, in part, to our involvement in the management team of Ultra ASIA Race, a running event that takes place in the Mai Chau Mountains. We’ve kept in touch with them on Facebook and Instagram. Every once in a while, we chat about our daily lives, which are rather different!      A 6-month trip abroad can be overwhelming for a lot of people… Did you have any doubts or fears during the journey?   The first few weeks of the trip were a bit tough. Finding yourself far away from your family, your country, and having no point of reference is definitely unsettling. You even start wondering what you’re doing there, whether you’ve made the right choice. But once you meet other travellers and locals, this feeling goes away. Encounters are what makes a journey beautiful and allows you to enjoy it to the fullest.       Do you have any advice for our readers who are preparing a long journey abroad?   More than anything else, try to do volunteer work: these experiences help you meet and spend time with the locals, share unforgettable moments and discover new cultures. Our time at the school in Myanmar and organising the Ultra ASIA Race in Vietnam are the most beautiful moments of our trip in Asia. These two experiences undeniably taught us a lot more about Burmese and Vietnamese cultures.     Thousand Thanks!   For more information about how to prepare your Backpacking trip And another guide here
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