Interview with Sylvain, blogger LesDeuxPiedsDehors

Mondassur met up with Sylvain, who tells us about his travel experience in Polynesia and his rather atypical background. Sylvain has launched a blog, Les Deux Pieds Dehors, traveled around Southeast Asia, discovered Mayotte and New Caledonia, and now lives in Polynesia. A path strewn with beautiful discoveries and a blog where he shares his travels around the world.


Could you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Sylvain, I’m 34 years old as I write this and I live in French Polynesia with my wife and 3-year-old son. As far as my career path is concerned, it’s a bit disjointed, you might say. In a few words, I’ve had a passion for geography and discovery ever since I was a kid, so I naturally studied geography and then natural hazards. I started working in New Caledonia, then on the island of Mayotte. I then backpacked around South-East Asia for 1 year with my wife, a superb experience. After returning to Mayotte for 2 years, I’ve now been in French Polynesia for almost 4 years!

What made you decide to travel?

I think the triggers for my first trips were my college professors at the time. I was at university studying geography at the time, and my teachers were teaching me about the geomorphology and geology of the world through the magnificent photos they had taken during their travels. It was really great to see where they had traveled. My first trips, in 2006, date back to that time, when I was delighted to discover the farthest reaches of Norway with a friend, or the island of Martinique with my wife!

What information do you present on your blog?

Since mid-2017, I’ve been blogging about travel and photography, my two passions in life. I really enjoy helping people travel more often and guiding them in their choices. I’ve been talking a lot about Polynesia, where I’ve been living for a few years now, but I’ve started writing quite a lot about my year in Asia, and in particular about Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. I spent over 3 months in Thailand and 1 month in Cambodia, and really enjoyed discovering this part of the world. I share my tips for itineraries in specific countries, as well as practical advice on the best periods to visit and how to assess your budget in each country.

How do you balance travel and work?

I have to say it’s a difficult question to answer, and I’m thinking about writing an article on the subject myself. Finding a balance between your desire to travel and discover the world and having a steady job that allows you (financially speaking) to live. As things stand today, my previous studies have enabled me to find a job in the field of natural hazards. Despite the fact that I travel quite a lot in my current job, especially to Polynesia, I have to say that I often find myself lacking in travel. I often feel like I’m stuck with these poor five weeks’ vacation. It’s far from enough, but for now I’m making do. That’s also why I started this travel blog, I think: to try and fill that void I often feel deep inside. Even if I don’t physically travel all year round like some people, I still feel like I’m immersed in this world with the blog.

What was the biggest difference between traveling alone or with your family?

In fact, if I speak frankly, I’d say there’s not that much difference. I was already traveling a lot before I had my child, 3 years ago, and it was out of the question that I wouldn’t travel again when he was here. So it was without too many worries that my little one took the plane at the age of 2 months and a dozen times in his first year, across Polynesia and Easter Island. Now, traveling with a child is more expensive, that’s for sure, but in the end I think we travel better, more slowly, more calmly, we simply adapt and take our time…

Which country or trip has made the biggest impression on you?

I often say that one of the most beautiful trips I’ve ever made was to Iceland, back when the country wasn’t as developed as it is today. In terms of landscape, this is a country with a lot to offer. It’s hard to choose, really. In terms of experience, the year spent in Southeast Asia was superb. What can we say about the 15 days we spent deep in Tanzania discovering wild animals and the island of Zanzibar? How can I forget the island of Madagascar, which I have had the opportunity to discover on many occasions? An endearing people, a magnificent country, which very often gets under your skin…

Have you thought about moving there?

It was an obvious choice for me, having completed my 7-month end-of-study internship in Nouméa, New Caledonia. I was delighted to discover life in the tropics, where the temperature is 28° year-round. I would then continue with two expatriations to the island of Mayotte, lasting almost 4 years in the end. I’ve been living in Polynesia for 4 years now, and to be honest, I don’t really want to go back to France!

Have you ever been ill or had an accident abroad?

Yes, during my trip to Southeast Asia, I fell ill at the bottom of the island of Sumatra, in Indonesia. My wife and I were in a pretty remote area of the island. Fortunately, we had taken out private travel insurance at the time and, after an initial repatriation to the nearest hospital, a battery of tests, etc., we managed to get repatriated to Paris. In the end, ten days of antibiotics to treat a parasite endemic to Malaysia, and we were back on our feet!

And finally, what’s your travel motto?

Take your time and enjoy the present moment: Carpe Diem… as they say. There’s no point in running and wanting to see and do everything (as we hear a lot these days), I prefer simple, authentic moments, far from the tourist crowds.

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