A young French couple, Florent Carral and Sandra Baratte have decided to travel around the world in seven months. Their ambitious plans sounded even more ambitious when we learned that Sandra uses Flexyfoot crutches to get around – so when they contacted us offering to test our new ferrules on the trip, we were delighted.
Florent and Sandra are documenting their travels on their blog where they wrote about the reasons and inspiration for this amazing undertaking:
“To leave the comfort zone and to apprehend the unknown, to go ahead and to leave the head of the routine to open up to the world – this is what we expect from this journey. To live the present moment, something so difficult to do at times, one is constantly has to foresee tomorrow, to think about yesterday … Living for oneself, to realize some of his desires and not to live through others or only for his work and for the maintenance of his routine. To enjoy life as long as one has the means and the health, to realize that life gives so many possibilities of discoveries even when we are confronted with health problems. These are the main reasons for this experience.”
They embarked on their grand adventure in February, travelling from their home town in Haute-Savoie via Heathrow to Sri Lanka. Sandra and Florent made a leisurely circuit around the island on buses, bicycles, scooters, tuk-tuks and train, meeting locals and getting to know their way of life on the way.
“Beautiful temples, villages in the heart of the tea plantations, markets with colorful fruits and fragrant fish and time to observe the inhabitants. And we start to think about ourselves, to decompress … We realize that it’s weird and it’s good to get out of Western routine. The majority of people live with little, in dwellings which in France would be at best unhealthy. Religion also has a very important place, one sees reserved places for the monks in the train, temples with enormous amounts of incense everywhere. The days of full moon are sacred here, no alcohol and holiday! And drinking alcohol and smoking are prohibited in the streets. Calls for prayer on huge speakers for followers of Buddhist and Muslim faith both.”
From Sri Lanka they flew to Vietnam, starting their overland tour in Hanoi. “We lived at the rhythm of the night markets and took the time to land on the street to eat a traditional pho (rice pasta soup) or a barbecue plancha.” A cruise in Halong Bay followed on a Silversea ship, then onwards to the hills, where they enjoyed a homestay with a Hmong family still leading the traditional way of life. They learned that “women are very active outside their village. It is they who most of the time work on the outside and know how to speak English and it is the men who stay at home to take care of the home and children and work in the fields.”
Florent and Sandra crossed over to Laos, where they travelled mostly on boats and canoes. “We have paddled and along the water we have lived to the rhythm of the quiet nam or karstic mountains, teak fields, jungle, buffalos, small villages, fishermen – collectors of the famous alga which then are eaten like crisps after drying.” After visiting the old capital, Luang Prabang, and seeing marvellous temples, they went on to Cambodia and flew to Australia last week. They plan to rent a campervan to do a road trip from Sydney to Darwin.