The wide imagination

By Sylvain

Last February, “L’avion, plaisir coupable de l’écolo-voyageur” is published in Le Monde (1). I come out of the lecture with the bitter sensation of suddenly having a theatre light focused on my secondary role. “The Balinese getaway”? We’ll experience it in three months as part of our long-term trip. Lyon-Montreal (equivalent to Paris-New York cited in the article)? I took it 4 months ago to visit my brother. With Cléa, we are also concerned and actors to preserve the environment as much as possible in our daily lives.
But speaking about “guilty pleasure” or “schyzophreny” of the traveler seems too strong to me, there is something to debate …

Last May, from Sulawesi in Indonesia I finish reading the essay “Travelling” (2) with the feeling of being straight in my boots. We have been backpacking for more than a month without planes, even if we “loose” long hours using local buses and ferries. Like the two authors, I experiment slowness, relativity and uninterrupted land (or maritime) connection. It is a pleasure, undeniable, much more than to borrow the alienating plane and its poison of climaticide kerosene. Besides this hierarchy, in no motorized transport, the plane like the others, I feel no candid enchantment. If I allow myself to go this or there, it’s because I consider the discovery or experience more inspiring and growing than the means is harmful to the Planet. A pharmacist would talk about a positive benefit/risk balance, at least I definitely wish it is and hope that nature does not suffer in any way from my passage. It’s selfish but it’s sincere.

July is coming, it’s in Thailand that we begin our second week cycling and I believe that this time, finally, I can talk about pleasure without guilt. We are free on bikes and we consume nothing but our own calories. Sur we experiment air pollution but we don’t participate in it in any way. Neither for carbon impact, excluding food. If, as french writter Colette said, “travel is only necessary for short imaginations” then on a bicycle we experience and largely assume the need to dream.

Of course we could have, like repented Sylvain Tesson (3), walked and satisfied ourselves with the black paths of France. But that’s another story and we want to take part of it when we’ll come back home… then, as those who have rightly displayed it for months on their demonstration signs during climate protests, as long as ncessary, we will give up with appeasement the madness of sky traffic.

(1): The article, for subscribers only, is available in full version on

(2): “Travelling” by Tanguy Viel and Christian Garcin, J-C Nattes (2019)

(3) : “Sur les chemins noirs” by Sylvain Tesson, Gallimard (2016)

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