Mondassur met Sylvain who gives us his experience on travel and Polynesia and his rather atypical career. Sylvain started a blog Les Deux Pieds DeHors, traveled South East Asia, discovered Mayotte, New Caledonia and now lives in Polynesia. A journey strewn with beautiful discoveries with a blog where he makes us share his travels around the world.
Could you introduce yourself and your background?
My name is Sylvain, I am 34 years old at the time I write these few lines and I live in French Polynesia with my wife and my 3-year-old son. Regarding my background, it is a little disjointed you could say. In a few words, passionate about geography and discovery since I was a child, I naturally studied geography and then in natural hazards. I started working in New Caledonia and then on the island of Mayotte. I then travelled to Southeast Asia for a year with my wife in a backpack, a great experience. After a second return to Mayotte for 2 years, here I am for almost 4 years now in French Polynesia!
What made you travel?
I think the triggers for the first trips were my faculty teachers at the time. I was then in geography school and my teachers taught me the geomorphology and geology of the world through beautiful photos they had taken during their journey and their displacement. It was really great to see where they had been able to travel. My first trips, in 2006, date back to this time, when I discovered with pleasure the depths of Norway with a friend or the island of Martinique with my wife!
What information do you have on your blog?
Since mid-2017, I started a travel and photography blog, my two passions in life. I really enjoy helping people travel more often and guiding them in their choices. I talk a lot about Polynesia living there for a few years, but I started to write quite a bit about my year spent in Asia, and especially about Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. I spent more than 3 months in Thailand,1 month in Cambodia and I really enjoyed discovering this area of the world. I share my advice for routes in countries, but also practical advice on the best times depending on the country and how to evaluate its budget in each country.
How do you balance travel and work?
I must say that this is a difficult question to answer and I myself am thinking about writing an article on this subject. Finding a balance between his desire to travel and discover the world and having a fixed job that allows (financially speaking) to live. In the current state of affairs, my previous studies have allowed me to find a job in the field of natural hazards. Despite the fact that I travel quite a bit in my current work, especially in Polynesia, I must say that I am often short of travel. I very often feel like I’m stuck with those poor five weeks off. It’s far from enough, but for now I’m doing with it. This is also the reason why I started this travel blog I think: trying to fill this void that I often feel deep inside me. Even if I don’t travel physically all year like some people, I feel like I’m still immersed in this world with the blog.
What was the biggest difference between travelling alone or with your family?
In fact, if I speak frankly, I would say that there is not such a big difference. I was already travelling a lot before I had my child 3 years ago and it was out of the question that I would not travel anymore when he was there. So it is without too much trouble that my little one flew at the age of 2 months and ten times in his first year, through Polynesia and Easter Island. Now, travelling with a child costs more, it’s a certainty, but we travel better I find, more slowly, calmly, we simply adapt and we take our time …
Which country or trip has marked you the most?
I often say that one of the most beautiful trips I have had the opportunity to make was Iceland, at a time when the country was not yet too developed as it is today. In terms of landscape, this is a country that has a lot to offer. It’s hard to really choose anyway. For the experience, the year in Southeast Asia was superb. What about the 15 days spent deep in Tanzania exploring wild life and Zanzibar Island? How can I forget the island of Madagascar that I have had the opportunity to discover many times? An endearing population, a beautiful country, which takes to the guts very often…
Have you thought about moving abroad?
It was a no-brainer for me, having completed my internship in Nouméa, New Caledonia, for 7 months. I was enjoying my life in the tropics, at 28 degrees a year. I would then continue with two expatriations on the island of Mayotte for almost 4 years in the end. I have been living for 4 years now in Polynesia, and to put it bluntly the return to France does not make me want too much!
Have you ever fallen ill or had an accident abroad?
Yes, during my trip to Southeast Asia,I got sick at the bottom of the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. We were with my wife really not well in a fairly remote area of the island. Fortunately, we had taken out private travel insurance at the time and, after a first repatriation to the nearest hospital, we managed to get repatriated to Paris. In the end, about ten days of antibiotics to treat a parasite endemic to Malaysia, and we were back on our feet!
And finally, what is your travel motto?
Take your time and enjoy the moment: Carpe Diem… as they say. There is no point in running and wanting to see and do everything (as we hear a lot at the moment), I prefer simple moments, away from the crowds of tourists and authentic.