A world tour without plane with Julia Jaquet
I met Julia in retreat Yoga & Ayurveda in Pralognan.
We immediately sympathized. He is someone I greatly admire for these principles and his strong alignment with his values.
She’s been flying around the world without a plane since the beginning of the year. She has already crossed the Atlantic by boat, first to Guadeloupe, Martinique, then the Grenadine Islands and then to South America. She is currently in Ecuador and plans to descend to Ushuaïa. His goal is then to sail across the Pacific to Oceania. That’s all!
In this interview she explains everything about her approach and how she did it.
Learn from it 🙂
The practical aspect :
What triggered this desire to go around the world without a plane? (The genesis of your trip)
I had been working for 5 years for a multinational on a management position and like many I believe, I lost the sense of what I was doing on a daily basis.
I had this feeling of living the days/weeks on autopilot, without taking a step back from my life and what made me vibrate.
I had a lot of plans in mind but the habit, the fear kept me from starting.
The trip appeared as an opportunity to take a break, leave everything and above all allow me to relive the novelty every day.
Not flying is a choice that allows me to live my dreams without denying my convictions. I believe that as westerners, we bear a great responsibility for current and future climate issues. Everyone must do their part and stop waiting for the government, businesses or their neighbour to face something. Limiting air travel (such as not eating meat) is a simple way to get closer to the 2-tonne CO2 per person target. We no longer have the luxury of jumping into an easyJet for a weekend in Barcelona. The good news is that there are plenty of great alternatives 😁
How long are you planning on leaving ?
I had planned to leave for 9 months at the base, now it is one year. I will do the update on the evening of December 31 to see if I have the desire and energy to continue crossing the Pacific to Asia (6 months to 1 year more)
How long did it take you to prepare for this trip?
The project went on for two years in my head and then the technical aspects were managed in 9 months. (Quit my job, rent my house, manage the admin…)
How do you finance this trip? Have you set a budget ?
My house is rented, it finances me half of the month, the other part thanks to my savings. I spend between 700€ and 1000€ depending on the countries and comfort I choose or need.
How is the boat stop going? What boats can you take ? Is it difficult to find places in these boats ? Tips or applications to recommend for those who want to make a boat stop ? What are the most important risks ?
I met my first 2 captains (co-owners of a sailboat) on the crew purse and my second captain on a pontoon in Cape Verde. I target individuals who need help on board to navigate or just want to share an adventure (the case of my first boat).
There are a lot of people and a little less space but it also depends on the season and the place, anything is possible. I was very lucky because I made my first crossing without experience, which in theory leaves less chance, but I was very flexible on the conditions and dates of departure and super motivated. (I did 10 hours of train to meet them one afternoon)
I recommend to embark with more experience than me both for myself and understand what this entails, but also for the captain and give himself every chance to find a boat.
There are many FB pages intended for the search of crew members and boardings. (crew finders are the best known), but the door to door on the pontoons also works well and allows to build a small network of sailors.
Be flexible also on departure date and destination, all roads lead to Rome 😄
The sea is an environment that can be dangerous and unfortunately there are evil captains. The latter take advantage of their crew’s lack of experience to put financial or sexual pressure on the latter, most often women. Never board alone with a man, ask for references from previous crew members, ask about the person and equipment of the boat (for example, is there a satellite phone on board to contact my family?). Meet the person on earth and listen to your instinct. In case of doubt there is no doubt and adventure is not worth putting yourself in danger.
Where do you usually sleep ? When you’re not on a boat ? And on boats, do you have space for yourself ?
The first 6 months I lived in the two boats which were a kind of floating roommate. I was lucky in both cases to have my cabin!
Since I have been in Latin America, I have mostly been accommodated via meetings, couchsurfing, at a friend’s house and I sleep in my tent in the wildest places.
How do you feed ?
I was able to share a lot of meals with families who invited me and when I can’t cook I eat at the markets. It is the best place to capture the atmosphere of the city. As soon as I can, I cook to keep a balanced vegetable diet
Are you planning all your trips in advance or are you feeling ?
I get the feeling, I often do not know where I will be in two or three days but that is also the interest. I remain open to opportunities and meetings.
Have you met many people on your way? Beautiful encounters? Less beautiful encounters ?
Enormously, for a few hours or weeks, I met exceptional souls, who helped me, taught me… It is difficult to quote them all in writing.
Martin and Sylvain, with whom I sailed on the first boat. Noémie opened the doors of her sailboat to me as well. Michel, a 70 years old solo sailor who became our surrogate dad for a few months (our boats followed each other from Portugal to Guadeloupe). And very recently Roberto, an Ecuadorian I met during a hike, he invited me to his house the following week, I did a tour of his city, invited him to dinner with his family. That was great.
What are the most important setbacks you have experienced on this trip ?
I spent a month and a half in Guadeloupe and Martinique the time to find the next boat, while I thought I would stay 2 weeks. It was an interesting experience to live because it sounds like a dream but I was so absorbed in the next stage that I was stressed out and couldn’t enjoy it. Not always obvious the long time and acceptance of uncertainty.
Fortunately, I was able to count on my captains who left me the cabin in the sailboat while my plans were being refined. They were great.
Concerning the less beautiful encounters there have been but I often avoid them because I impose nothing. I don’t speak where I don’t spend time with someone who doesn’t inspire confidence even at first glance and I remain very cautious in the city.
The personal aspect :
You went solo, were you apprehensive before leaving ? On the trip ? How do you manage that ?
Not really, I think I had so much to deal with on the practical side that I didn’t have time to project myself. In general, I am introverted and lonely, I already had no worries in France to make a bivouac or a solo restaurant and I had already travelled alone.
During the journey solitude brings true freedom, you are the master of your days but you have no one to rest on for the organization or feel safe and it is sometimes tiring.
There are obviously tougher days than others when family and friends are missing. I have long remained in a form of silence about this but for a few weeks I listen to myself more. We call each other and I take a step back. At any time I can go home if the balance pleasure/ constraints no longer suits me.
What does this journey bring you personally ? Do you feel yourself changing personally, emotionally, physically ?
I think I will become more aware of this when I return from my trip. I sometimes have trouble realizing what is happening. But already, the fact of having made a vacuum, freed me for many other projects that I did not dare to carry out. I feel I can start my own business when I get back. I never dared to do that.
I was already independent but I am even more convinced that we build our happiness in an individual way, we do not have to rely on family/ his or her partner/ his friends to make us well, it is a personal step.
I also take a huge step back if the things I can’t do anything about. The weather, transportation delays, hazards… I tend to think there will always be solutions.
I imagine that crossing the Atlantic by boat is not an easy task. How did you experience it ?
It was intense! The hardest part was not the crossing as such but the fact of going along the coasts to Cape Verde from Brittany. The weather was cold in January and the speed (position of the boat depending on the wind) was uncomfortable. It was not easy to get used to the rhythm of restless nights of sleep interspersed by the watch shifts, but I could count on great teammates.
Do you have any anecdotes (funny or less funny) about trips to tell us ?
When we landed on a small island in Venezuela, we sympathized with the head of the port who invited us to a dinner. While conversing, I realized that the people around me were Venezuelan jurors “The voice”, heirs of a multinational, niece of the Prime Minister, owner of a palace in Caracas, owner of a television channel… I wondered what I was doing there 🤣
Otherwise, on January 10, after 12 hours at sea in Brittany, we found ourselves in a storm that lasted nearly 30 hours. I had never sailed before and I found myself in the middle of waves of 6 meters, in a terrible din, after a few hours, everything was wet, we could barely eat between the movements of the sailboat and the cold. I lived the 2 longest nights of my life but with hindsight, it is now a unique memory.
The rest of the trip :
You have already crossed the Atlantic Ocean to South America, you are currently in Ecuador. What are your next destinations ?
I’m going down to Ushuaia to spend Christmas there via Peru and Bolivia. And in January I will advise, if I still have the mental resources, I will try to cross the pacific by sail ⛵️