Where it all began
At 18 years old, and accompanied by three friends, I undertook my first big trip: exploring Senegal. Together, we went to the four corners of the country. From the very popular island of Saint Louis to the Bedick region, living in the small hut of a village high up in the mountains. After long bus journeys, bush-taxis and a lift from a Malian truckdriver, we finished our adventure in Casamance, a region at war since 1982.
I then flew to Australia where I spent six months. Due to my lack of experience and preparation, I repeatedly found myself in situations where I had to find ways of surviving. For instance, I ended up walking for eight days on Fraser Island, with a loaf of bread and a pot of Nutella as only rations. I thought that I was going to be able to buy food while crossing the island. I lived on three pieces of bread a day.
This expedition was also marked by my encounter with saltwater crocodiles, the largest in the world. I spent months searching and observing this animal across northern Australia, where there are tens of thousand roaming free; although, it is probable that they were the one following and observing me. There is a very reassuring aboriginal proverb which says: “when you see a crocodile, a hundred are looking at you”.
Going from one hemisphere to the next, in 2013, I ended up deep in Canada.
There, I worked as a dog-handler and then as a musher in the camp of a friend, lost in the middle of the Quebecoise forest, two hours away from the closest village. Previously acquainted with Nordic dogs when I worked with them in France, it was mainly the climate and the way of life which were challenging.
With temperatures dropping to -38°C, I had to learn to survive in an environment where nothing is easy; fishing under the ice, placing snares, being able to build a fire quickly and in any condition, and most of all, to guide clients and dogs through the magnificent Canadian forest.