On of my current favourite writers is the French traveller Sylvain Tesson.
In the book Tesson describes the six months he spent on his own in a cabin on the shores of Lake Baikal in the middle of the Siberian taiga.
He philosphises, reads, drinks vodka, smokes cigars, hikes up mountains, skates on the frozen surface of the lake, visits Russian neighbors (a day’s hike or more away) and sits and watches the weather and the taiga.
Ah, sounds like a veritable heaven.
It is a wonderful read, so good I’ve read it twice already.
Since this is all we have of Tesson in English I’ve been using my (pretty poor) French to translate recent interviews and articles about the great man.
In one of the articles, from linternaute.com, Tesson is asked:
‘How do you like to travel? (‘Que préférez-vous dans les voyages ?’)
This is his answer in French:
Me retrouver seul, au soir tombant, avec un cigare et un livre de poésie, après une étape harassante, devant un coucher de lune, allongé dans mon hamac que j’aurais tendu entre les deux branches d’un bel arbre accueillant. Belle position pour méditer sur le bonheur d’être sur le chemin et sur l’immense beauté du monde.
And here is my (probably pretty dodgy) translation:
I find myself alone, at night, pitched, with a cigar and a book of poetry, after an exhausting stage, before a setting moon, stretched out in a hammock strung between two branches of a welcoming, pretty tree. A good position from which to meditate on the joy of being on a trail and on the immense beauty of the world.
So it is with great pleasure that I add Sylvain Tesson to my list of quotes in praise of wild camping.
Publishers, pull yer finger out and translate more of his books ASAP!
I found a video of Tesson’s Siberian adventure. It’s all in French but don’t let that put you off, grab some vodka (and possibly a cigar) and prepare to feel very envious.