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Simple life doesn’t mean easy life

December 16th, 2013 (by Steve)

What if we were doing our trip, but for 3 years instead of 1 and covering not just Europe, but all the way to China… and possibly beyond? Well, sadly we’re not… but we have met some people who are doing just that; Julien + Anaïs.

When we arrived at the hot, sulphurous springs of Thermopile near Lamia, the first thing we spotted was a French campervan and our immediate reaction was “great, another campervan, we’re safe to stay overnight here”. Having had a brief wander to check out the springs, we were just turning Bertha around, when up bounded an enthusiastic guy who introduced himself as Julien and asked whether we were going to bathe. We explained that we were just turning around the van, then we’d have a dip, but we’d have a chat with him later. Julien pointed out the best place to get into the springs, then left us to it; a lovely soak in the stinky water.

springs

After soaking for as long as we dared in the fumy water, we returned to Bertha, dried off, ate some dinner, then pondered our next move with the French couple… should we knock on the door of their camper and invite them to Bertha for a cup of tea? We were eager to get to know them, but didn’t know how to make the first move. We didn’t have to – Julien appeared at our door and invited us round to Balthazar (their van) for a drink… but warned us we might need a couple of extra jumpers. As Bertha was warm, we suggested they came round to ours… so they did.

Julien + Anaïs (or “Jongle et Aiguille”) are about our age, with a van older than Bertha and they’re 5 months into a 3 year trip towards China. What’s inspiring is the way that they’re doing the trip… they’re so much more laid back than we (i.e. me… Kiri can be pretty laid back!) could ever be. Whilst they have a plan, their philosophy is that if someone suggests that they should go somewhere, they go there! They’re also so much bolder; they are willing to park almost anywhere (they parked on the road next to the presidential palace in Athens for 4 days!) and they will talk to anyone, which has led to them making lots of friends and being welcomed into people’s homes along their way. It’s also giving them some amazing stories to tell. Annoyingly, we were enjoying our time with them so much that we forgot to take a picture of them in Bertha… however they took a picture of all of us in Balthazar later:

With Julien + Anaïs in Balthazar

After going for another dip in the springs in the dark with Julien + Anaïs, we went around to Balthazar to hang out and chat a little more. If there’s one thing that we envy (yes, we know that envy isn’t a good thing) about the way that they’re travelling is that they have time on their hands. I think because we’re trying to fit visiting the whole of Europe into one year, we haven’t allowed ourselves time to fully appreciate countries; we’re just getting a taste. Maybe that’s a good thing though, in that it leaves us wanting to return? We certainly don’t think 10 days in Greece will be enough to take it all in. The main thing that we can learn from them though is to talk to people. Approaching strangers doesn’t come naturally to either of us, but their stories show how much it pays dividends when you’re on an adventure.

And the blog post title about a simple life not meaning an easy life? It’s something that Julien said that stuck with us, because it’s so true. We’re loving a simpler lifestyle; working with fewer resources, carrying fewer belongings and being more in tune with natural rhythms. However it comes with its own complications… you have to work hard to conserve what you have, there’s no routine or normality to fall back on, you’re constantly in new situations and learning new things. And even though you may be having a great adventure, there’s still washing up, clothes washing, tidying, finances and other mundane things to do!

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Simple life? Yes. Easy life? Maybe not. Good life? Definitely!


All posts about Greece

Up Pompeii

Touring, not tourists

Simple life doesn’t mean easy life

On the shoulders of giants

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