An ethical quest, a public action

Path - Philosophy - Ends

Path

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n November 2015, aged 32, I change my life, selling my belongings, releasing my flat lease and quitting a graphic designer job to hit the road on a push scooter, in a quest for « the good life », for an undefinite time and without income (I have 2000e in my pockets then).

Leaving from France, Normandy, I kick the first non-stop tour of Europe on a footbike, solo, unsupported, living from little and sleeping most of the time in the wild, raising funds for a Norman charity, Bande de Sauvages. 1 year of itinerancy, 22 000km on the clock, 27 countries crossed, uncountable human encounters and lessons from the journey.

A relentless observer of the geographical, historical and cultural environments I’m riding through, I’m documenting my empirical exploration with pictures, tales and reflexions, whilst emancipating myself from the dominant circulation patterns of goods and money.

By the time I reach the North Cape of Norway, at about three-fourth of distance in my tour of Europe, I conclude, about this western saga, that it is going to be the first act of my new humble and vagrant life. « A simple life – World Open Tour » is thus the continuation of my humanist and athletic odyssey: a tour of the globe by footbike, human-powered, in order to lead further yet my ethical quest for the good life and a (little) better world.

towards the good life, towards the common good

a discussion between worlds
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kick and live on little, in a quest for the “good life”, by the mean of an active empiricism. A self-propelled wanderer of the 21st century, I move on with what I can carry and push in order to subsist. I generally sleep in my tent.

By this search for felicity in the simple life, my ethics rests on an eudemonism (in which the action leads to happiness) that naturally bears a political activism dimension. Committed in the long-term exploration of another way of life and physical challenge, I’m also trying to be an ambassador for slow and responsible travel, against the nihilism of a production-driven acceleration.

My itinerancy runs through a double ethical and political path: individual pursuit of the « good life », public action of sharing and awareness. Where the living on the road becomes a form of vagabond activism, earthly and humanist, acting as an ethical antidote to a certain hubris of the civilisation (era of the flux, of speed, of finance, capital, experts, of the media, of abstract knowledges, of domination, uniformisation, etc).

I fall in with a long tradition of thinking, considering the individual happiness as reachable only in a community of beings that stand equal in their rights and in their duties. A community of beings acting in cooperative ways (with diverse outcomes) to emancipate themselves from any kind of enslavement, exploitation and leveling of the worlds (worlds of the living, of the things, of objects, of concepts).

In the vein of this political philosophy, the interest of the individual is not opposed to the general interest (of the living, of things, of objects, of concepts), and vice versa, altruism and egoism are one, far from any simplistic antinomy or hierarchy: through this looped union, personal felicity is conditioned by the equality of access for all beings to the conditions of a good life.

As any political utopia, it lays the groundwork for an experimental practice, one of a lifetime duration, towards a virtual end (a goal) that, nevertheless, one knows and wish never witness become fully actual as such, for it would mean at once a totalitarism, and for one does not seek a new messianism. A process of every instant, in a complex regime of historicity and spatiality, wherein the agent deals with its finitude, welcoming the prosaic as much as the poetic.

By all those aspects, this adventure is a solidary dialog between local and global. The individual and the common. The personal search for happiness and the opportunity for all to act towards the good life.

« Fight so that everyone can live that lush and overflowing life, and rest assured that in that struggle nest joys so great that you would not ever find similar ones in any other activity. This is all the science of moral can tell you. Your turn to choose. »

Pierre Kropotkine

A human-powered nomadism

Packing light and well

Another cornerstone of the initiative is the properly lead experience of a journey. Backwards from the just-in-time fluxes, embracing the explorations of a world at a human pace, with human power as its basic rhythm. Rediscovering or discovering that one need not have much to see a lot. Traveling ultralight, subtracting grams in order to add kilometers! Making use of sciences and techniques with conscience, learn and share the tell. Developing alongside the route an ethics of feelings, of simplicity : two wheels, a frame, a body, a driving force, efforts, encounters, surprises, a shelter, a fire, a sky, a sunrise and a sunset.

Homo technicus

For a few thoughts about the relationship to tool and technics, stakes related to 20th century autonomous nomadism, and a glimpse at the gear and setup choices, feel free to visit the gear page.

Those trips won’t be dictated by the unconscious mecanics of over-mobility. They will demand great awareness, a necessary vigilance to wake up, they will provoke shocks (…) Then will it be possible to simply notice the unfurled world spreading around the anchor point that one’s body is.

Rodolphe Christin, “L’usure du monde”, 2014

An open conclusion

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Much litterature can be read about that subject, ethics. But the former once tasted, the latter should then be lived fully as an individual, political and reasonable action bearing empirical lessons. Reflexion and action bloom from the particular of a flesh, of its feelings, its propriety and its aptitudes ; they root in the personality of a body, mysterious shelter of abstract universes, all at once real, symbolical and imaginary ; they then offer synthetical fruits, trying to avoid overhanging opinions, though those do sometimes serve a pamphleteering mood…

Ethics is not an exact science, it is a practice and an exchange, with the other one, human, animal, thing, environment. Through this website, I share the conclusions that are mine, issued from an experience led life-size, « in the real world and on myself », in a perspective of feeding, at my scale, reflexions and actions prompted by the big issues of our times. Amongst them is the question of growth and consumption. Our relationship to technics and labour. The importance of developing alternative socio-economic models, of inventing other ways of life, the urge to respect and preserve the complexity in any form of life and environment.