Travel shapes man
Pierre is an embedded software engineer at ELSYS Design Grenoble with a truly adventurous spirit. In May 2021, he bought a van and hit the road in the East direction for a 7 month and 25 000 km long trip across 14 countries. Let’s listen to his story.
How did everything start?
The first confinement period was a difficult experience for me. Working from home, alone, with no social life. This happened again with the second confinement period, so I said to myself “that’s enough, I want to live an adventure!”.
How long did it take between this pivotal moment and your departure?
About 6 months. Mid-December 2020, I started to organize everything, and on May 20th 2021, I left France driving a recently bought second-hand Peugeot Partner van.
Were you alone?
A friend of mine also came with me in a smaller van. But many of our friends met us along the way, for a few days up to several weeks. We were sometimes 7 people in my van.
Where did you go?
We started to go through Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia… up to Azerbaijan. Then, on the way back, we went through Turkey, Greece, Bosnia, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, and Germany.
Did you have detailed planning?
I had prepared a 3-month detailed plan, but in the end, we considered it more as non-mandatory guidelines. When we felt well somewhere, we would just stay.
The interesting thing with such a long trip is that you do not consider it as a trip anymore, it becomes your daily life. Your van is your home, you have a strong feeling of freedom, you can do whathever you want as long as you respect your friend’s desires too. Pretty interesting, isn’t it?
I am sure there were difficult moments too?
Sure, plenty. Many mechanical problems because our vans were old, extreme heat (while in Turkey, 49°C outside and 56°C in the van), mosquito clouds, stray dogs when sleeping outside… But the worse situation was to cope with corrupted official people somewhere on the road on my way back. I do not want to get into too many details, but it was not fun, trust me.
Ok, then, let’s talk about the greatest moments!
There were plenty too. I will tell you one that mixes fear and pure joy. In Georgia, we wanted to climb the 5000 m high Mount Kazbek.
We were prepared, as we had done several races before in 3000 to 4000 meters mountains. But while at 4200 m, we were blocked during 3 days under our tent, food reserves were dwindling, there was a lack of oxygen and it was -10°C outside. After that, I did not feel my fingers for 2 months.
In the mountains, it’s better to give up than not to come back…
We did not give up, as we ended up climbing to the top. Among the 100 people who tried on the day we were there, less than 10 achieved it. Weather conditions remained bad; for example, at the top, we could not stand because of the wind.
What about your parents, what do they think about your adventures?
Of course, they are scared. But they know I like it, I need it. I tell them what I do, the way I get myself prepared.
I have always tried to live as many adventures as I can. I started when I was 18: with 10€ in my pocket, I went to Greece and spent a month there. I did about the same later in the USA. Travel shapes youth, shapes man, it’s true. Thanks to it, I found myself today.
What did you find exactly? Who are you?
I know what I want to do. I thirst for adventure, I am a nomad and that kind of life on the road appealed to me a lot.
That is also why I love my professional life at ELSYS Design, being able to change activities regularly. That corresponds very well to me. I was also lucky that Samy and Olivier trusted me and let me go live this experience.
Thanks a lot to them and to ELSYS Design!