Interviews

I want to live in peace…

Jeanne 29 years old 

Could you please describe yourself in a few words?

I was born in Paris, lived 10 years in Loire – Atlantique, then 10 years in Paris. Since then, I move a lot with a “base” in the south-west of France. I work sometimes and otherwise I enjoy life.

Could you explain what you mean by taking advantage of life? Us Parisians have trouble with that concept.

I travel and move around a lot. I like change — meeting new people, seeing different ways of living and visiting new places.

Did you win the lottery?

(laughs) No, I work seasonally and I’m able to manage my budget. It’s a question of organisation.

What are your short-term projects?

I’m in Paris for a friend’s birthday and I’m taking advantage of seeing my friends and family before going back to the south-west. Then I’ll work on my van, and get ready to head on new adventures.

Do you struggle with routine? 

I don’t like routine nor staying locked in anyplace, I got crazy.

what does “freedom” mean for you?

“Freedom” is a very important word for me.

Do you feel free now?

Generally, yes.

Are you an activist?

Not exactly. I have strong values, I don’t eat meat for example, but I don’t consider it activism  — that’s a big word with a lot of connotations, I just try to pay attention to my consumerism, I try most of the time to eat locally and what’s in season. I have fundraised for some NGOs, supported for something like 10 years the organization SEA SHEPHERD, etc.

Are you vegan?

No, vegetarian.

What is the difference between being vegan and vegetarian?

A vegetarian is someone who does not eat fish nor meat, nor any animal; someone who is vegan does not eat any product derived from animals — like eggs, honey, dairy products, etc.

In your opinion, what are the most important causes warranting our attention?

The environment generally. Of course, we should also reduce all the human and animal suffering, inequalities, hunger, give access to drinkable water, education, and health centers for everybody,… All the causes have the same value, it’s impossible to say that one is more important than another one. Maybe everything is linked and ecology and permaculture are a beginning of a kind of solution.

Who has most influenced you in the past 10 years?

I see nobody that has influenced me in particular.. I feel close to Pierre Rabhi with his principles of living, like “sobriété heureuse”, “simplicité heureuse” (which means living with just a little, but feeling gratitude and happy about it).

Who is Pierre Rabhi?

Pierre Rabhi is a farmer, writer, thinker. He fights for ecology thanks to agro-environmentalism. He’s living in the Cévennes, in a dry and rocky place, but he succeeded to grow many plants. He’s fighting to develop this agricultural model in the respect of nature and men, all over the world. Pierre Rabhi has a lot of projects in the Sahel, where we can cultivate, without chemicals of course.

What are your objectives?

I want to live in peace. And laugh (laughs) !

What would you say are your main character traits?

I am someone open-minded, I have no trouble communicating with people, I am curious about meeting other people from different cultures. But I also have my antisocial moments (laughs)! I try to not judge people, be honest, sincere. I think to be mostly calm, but also have craziness moments.

Who are your idols?

I don’t have role models nor idols at all.. If you ask me the actress I like, it could be Melanie Laurent or Marion Cotillard, they are good ones and beautiful I think.

Who is Jane today?

She is a woman who has grown a lot, but I’ve kept my main traits. Thanks to my nomadic lifestyle, I have backpacked a lot, hitchhiked, walked a lot, full of adventures.. Now I am “calmer”, but I keep traveling and enjoying this lifestyle a lot.

How do you manage difficult times? What saves you when it feels like nothing will ever be right again?

I tend to keep things to myself and then explode, but before exploding I try to speak to those closest to me. It will depend who I am with during this time, it might be my mother, my close friends, but if I am abroad it might even be a stranger.

What city most resembles you?

Melbourne isn’t the best city in itself, but what goes on there is truly interesting and exciting. I had such fun times there! Otherwise, I love Amsterdam, I find it so beautiful with all the little canals everywhere and the houses that all seem to be falling onto each other. But do they look like me?! (laughs) I don’t think so. There’s plenty of cities that I like.

Where did this taste for travel come from?

I had a near-death experience and decided to live my life as I want (and travel many other things).

Could you describe it to us in a few words?

It’s just a bad story at the hospital. But it was going so bad that I felt I was dying. Then, life came back and at that moment I thought “Fuck everything, we have just one life! Let’s enjoy”

So is that where the desire to travel comes from?

Yes, that’s when it started. It’s easy to forget we have a life to live when we’re healthy and taking the train in a daily routine. I would feel waste my time , working like slave. Everyone lives his life as he wants and can, of course. So I decided to work just some months a year, try to save the maximum, to be able to travel without working for some months. It is a system that wouldn’t work for everyone but suits me very well, one that I chose for myself.

I will settle down someday, hopefully somewhere warm and sunny. I see myself in the same place six months of the year, and elsewhere for the other six, with a garden and a field with lots of animals, and friends around. But I don’t make any plans, we’ll see what happen!

What do you think of all these social media platforms?

I find them useful to get informed and select the websites that are most interesting to us, a great way to get in touch with people on the opposite end of the planet, which is important and helps us discover new things. What scares me is the addiction people can have about it, or other aspects of it…

At the moment, I am online only sporadically, logging in but once in a while. It doesn’t usually change much for me and I can definitely live without it.

Does the media play an important role in your life?

Yes, like everyone. It depends if I have access to internet, radio or TV. The day I’ll have a home, for sure I won’t get a TV, I prefer so much the radio or internet.

What are you jealous of in others?

I don’t think to be so jealous of something… Confidence maybe? But not too much of it because people who are overly confident in themselves annoy me a lot (laughs).

Is it hard to be your partner?

It can be easy to make me happy, just as it can be easy to get on my nerves. It depends of many things, but also on my menstrual cycles (laughs). My partner needs to understand me, make me smile or laugh. He needs to know to de-dramatize the situation, needs courage and endurance. It can be easy just as it can be very difficult (laughs).

What have you identified as the secret for a lasting relationship?

Communication is key, and not being glued at the hip. Telling each other what is wrong without shouting at each other, growing together.

Where did you get the idea for dreadlocks?

When I did it, around 10 years ago, it was an unconventional hairstyle. So for me, it was just to show that I didn’t care about stupid standards society rules and I didn’t want to ‘fit in’. Kind of “If you want to judge me, go ahead and fuck yourself” (laughs).

Now, with the time it is different. It’s just a part of me, I have less than before. I let them grow, it’s practical, I don’t need to brush them or take care of them really, I just wash them as I would normal hair.

How do you take care of your hair?

I wash them when I think they are too dirty, typically once a week. I cut the parts without dreadlocks once in a while. Sometimes they are a little dry, especially because of the salt in ocean water, which also bleaches them. It’s the only things I do (laughs) The ocean air is really good for you!

Why didn’t you just shave your head then, is that not as simple?

Yes, in principle I would have loved to shave my head, but I can’t. I need my hair to feel like a woman.

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