Saturday, November 03, 2012


EN: I went to Koln to see the EOFT screening. I met with Clark Carter who with Chris Bray crossed Victoria island back in 2008. The film is called The Crossing.

FR: J'ai été à Cologne voir la séance du EOFT. J'ai rencontré Clark Carter qui avec Chris Bray a traversé l'île de Victoria en 2008. Le film s'appelle The Crossing.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ecrans de l'aventure 2012

EN: For the fifth year in a row, I went to Dijon's international adventure film festival. Here are the winners : Awards Dijon 2012

FR: Depuis 5 ans je ne manque pas le festival international du film d'aventure à Dijon. Voici le palmarès 2012.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Photokina 2012

EN: I went to Photokina in Cologne to check out the new products from manufacturers, test them but also try to make contacts for future sponsorship. Check out this superb invention the camera belt clip from PeakDesigns (photo)

FR: J'ai été à Photokina à Cologne pour voir les nouveaux produits des constructeurs, les tester et aussi faire des contacts pour développer un partenariat. Allez voir le clip pour caméra à la ceinture de PeakDesigns. Un produit innovant.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Poland Trek film trailer

Click on the image to watch the Trailer of Poland Trek. This expedition across Poland from Summit (Mount Rysy) to Sea (the Baltic sea)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Into the Wild – he died 20 years ago

This August it has been 20 years since Christopher McCandless died inside bus 142 in the Alaskan wilderness. Most of you have seen the film Sean Penn directed in 2007 based on the story of Chris “Alexander Supertramp” and I do believe some of you have also read the book INTO THE WILD written by Jon Krakauer. I won’t do like other articles (plenty on the net) about the subject and retrace in one short page the summary events from his donation of life savings to Oxfam to his death due to starvation.

I feel more to write about my personal feelings about it and what I believe has changed or not in the past 20 years when young people go to the wild. Why I am somehow connected to Chris? Why my need to write? Why taking these photos on the bus?

It all started back in 2006 where I went for a second year to Australia in order to organize my four first expeditions. I did my first 2 on Australia’s mainland and wanted to do two other difficult treks in Papua New Guinea. My best friend Cindy told me not to go to PNG and so before going back to Belgium I decided to visit again Tasmania during the summer months. I started to plan what is still today the most insane trek I have done: A solo unresupplied traverse of the Tasmanian wilderness from North to South and doing some peak bagging of famous mountains. I had compiled a list of 15 must do climbs and thought it would take me 40 days to walk the entire distance; using official bushwalking tracks and off track bush-bashing through the forests to link those tracks and connect to all Mountains.

At the end of the journey, for the last 16 km to reach the sea, I got lost as I couldn’t figure out exactly where I was on the map. I was off track since day 36 and it took me 13 days off track to reach the civilization, hence safety. Underway I broke the GPS, tore my clothes, fell several times from steep cliffs, got taken many times by cold rivers trying to wade across them and on top of that contracted the trench foot disease. If you count properly I had an estimated 40 days of food (700 gram per day) with me and was away for 49 days. I was many times dehydrated; I got had to cut my food ration into two and was really starving. This led to 2 occasions during the 13 last days where I actually couldn’t find the mental motivation to move out of my tiny tent and stayed 36 hours in it from the evening of a day to the next day after. I once made a delirious dream and woke up without knowing the different between reality and the dream as I was bush bashing and fighting inside my sleeping bag.

I abandoned the idea of climbing the last of my 15 must climb peak but I had summited the most prestigious of them: Federation peak. The local bushwalkers told me not to go, it was foolish, and I would never go really far. One of them, an experienced bush walker even said I would become a legend and enter history as I would or make it or die. That was very frightening to read on the Bushwalkers’ forum. And indeed, I had numerous close calls. I didn’t get unlucky. And yes, it was insane, very risky and I probably deserve the nickname “crazy Belgian”. I entered the wilderness in December 2006 and finished early February 2007. I reached Cockle creek just a few hours after the alarm was raised about me being missing for too long. An explorer friend and I had decided to set 45 days as the maximum time I should be in hell. This hell, which is also paradise as it true untouched ancient and gorgeous wilderness.

At Cockle creek I took a bus and arrived a few hours later in Hobart. My camera died on day 48 and the forest took my beany and my watch many days before so I had no real idea of the time during the day, meaning it was impossible to know when the darkness would come. At a backpacker’s hotel, I bumped into a German traveler I knew from Sydney and she took the first photo you can see here:

One week later I was back in Belgium, still very week and starting to heal from the trench foot disease with a posology of 16 different pills to swallow every day for 6 weeks. My parents and my friends could not believe of my weight loss. I have lost the feelings in my toes for 18 months and today I am still not 100% recovered as the infection and swollen legs have destroyed the micro-circulation in my toes.

End February 2007, my two best friends took me to the movies to watch a film about nature and Alaska they told me. The film’s title was INTO THE WILD. I had no idea what it was about before entering the cinema. We all were shocked at the end of the film as apparently 2 weeks before I was looking like the actor portraying young McCandless. This is the reason I feel connected to McCandless: I had chosen to go alone in the wild; I had heard the experts and their warnings. I was lucky to be alive.

Last year, I drove back home and saw from the highway a roof of an old bus far in a meadow. I never saw it before. Perhaps the grass was cut shorter that allowed me to see it. Instantly it made me think of bus 142 and thought I should try to see this bus, find the owner and ask for permission to shoot some photos. I did so end of July as I just had watched the documentary “The Call of the Wild” about Christopher McCandless and noticed August would be already 20 years he died in Alaska.

This comes at the same time I decided to go again traveling for a year. Like I did twice in Oceania and Australia, I now have the idea to visit South America and head to Patagonia. I will pack of course a few adventures during this trip. An easy comparison with Alexander Supertramp is that I do tell people where I go. I’m not disappearing from anybody. I just feel this pull to go back to intense moments into unknown countries. He was heading north; I will head south, normally starting in Ecuador. The most common I have with Chris, according to the film, is that I want to live a lot of new experiences. It’s about seeing, feeling and doing. And like his quote about what he read somewhere… “How important it is in life not necessarily to be strong... but to feel strong”. I completely agree with this. We all know we cannot beat nature but there’s a strong feeling I have that living or being in the wild for a long time gives you a strong feeling you are part of it, like allowed to stay. It’s a mixed up feeling between being part of it and feeling able to master it, to be able to pass all natural elements and challenges.

Nowadays, we can go into the wild safer. Technology allows us to have energy with portable solar panels, use a GPS, satellite communications and carry an EPIRB or a position tracker. According to the documentary, some cash and ID documents were found in Christopher’s hidden pocket in his backpack. This means he wanted to go back, he had no intention to stay forever hidden. I do believe some people do still go today off the records in the wild, away from the press or blogs when doing outdoor adventures just for themselves. As explorer and adventurer, I like to share my stories afterwards, which brings me satisfaction. I respect those who go without telling anyone their trip details but I think it’s a form of respect to tell where you go. It’s certainly the first rule we should all know and follow before going to the wild.

The best quote of the film he gives to the young girl is to me this one: “When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it.” I don’t know if I will travel alone or be in the wild alone but if possible, I’d be of course pleased not to be alone sometimes. Is “Happiness is only real when shared”?

So if you want to follow my adventures going south, you can come and visit this blog starting early 2013. I am currently setting up several bucket lists: an adventure list, an experience list and a fun list. I will also interview people for My aim is always to connect with other people who are inspiring. It must be related to exploration, adventure or ecology especially if it deals with wild life and water preservation.

I hope my journey will inspire and will drive you away from the currents bad news happening in the world like the world crisis, the wars in North Africa or the Middle East…

Photos of the bus in Mouscron by Natalie Hill. Photoshop to remove the trees and add sky by Thomas Verkest.

PS: Being into the wild if of course being out of its comforts zone for most of the Westerners. There are still millions of people living with no technology, electricity on this planet mainly tribes like some parts of the Maasia in east Africa, Nenets in northern Siberia or the Chipayas in Bolivia south of lake Titicaca.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Meeting in Munchen & ISPO Bike

EN: I drove (again) to Munchen to meet Cameron Smith. I found him on the net in 2009 while preparing the Iceland Trek summer part. We've been in touch since then emailing and skyping numerous times. I got lucky to finally meet him as he is for a few weeks in Europe. We talked about a lot of things and he showed me the surf place Munchen near a park in the center of the city. I also met a radio amateur I was in touch with but I cannot tell you more why I have met this other person. I took the opportunity to also visit the ISPO Bike and had the chance to see Danny MacAskill doing some stunts. If you haven't seen Danny's youtube hit videos, here they are: 2009 video and Way back Home video.

FR: J'ai (encore) été à Munich afin de rencontrer Cameron Smith. J'ai trouvé cet explorateur en 2009 sur le net alors que je préparais ma traversée intégrâle de l'Islande en été. Après des emails et conversations skypes nous nous sommes donc enfin rencontrés. Il m'a montré un spot de surf Munich en plein parc dans le centre de la ville. J'ai également rencontré un radio amateur mais je ne peux pas encore vous dire pourquoi. J'ai profité de la journée pour visiter le ISPO Bike et j'ai pu voir le show de VTT trial de Danny MacAskill. Voici déjà un rappel des 2 meilleures vidéos de Danny: Vidéo 2009 et Way back Home.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Book How to get to the North Pole

How to get to the North Pole
 ...and other iconic adventures
EN: Last year, I was contacted by Tim Moss, who was writing a book about how to do extraordinary adventures and plan them safe. I became a contributor to this book alongside other explorers and I'm happy Tim has made it as the book is just out: How to get to the North Pole ...and other iconic adventures.Well I have some small idea about the North Pole but I'm pretty sure that if I really want to save some time and get advice, I'll read it in the book.
You can buy it here or on Amazon
UPDATE July 2012: I received a copy of the book and I really like the approach the author took to introduce the book. The book is a good start but will not replace real experience. But for sure it will save you some time in preparations hence it's a reference.

FR: L'année passée, j'ai été contacté par Tim Moss qui écrivait un livre sur comment organiser des aventures extraordinaires et les plainfier avec sécurité. Je suis devenu un contrinuteur de ce livre tout comme d'autres explorateurs et je suis très content que Tim ai réussi car le livre vient de sortir (titre traduit): Comment aller au pôle Nord... et autres aventures remarquables.
J'ai quelques idées pour le comment du pôle Nord mais je suis certain que si j'avais vraiment besoin de bosn conseils, je les trouverait dans le livre. Vous trouverez le livre ici  et sur Amazon
MAJ Juillet 2012: J'ai reçu une copie du livre et j'aime l'approche suivie par l'auteur pour introduire son livre. Le livre est un excellent départ mais ne remplace pas l'expérience réelle. Mais c'est certain que c'est une référence pour faire gagner du temps dans les préparatifs.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Highest summit of the European countries

EN: I met Jonathan Frewen (UK) in Brussels after bumping into his peak bagging site while searching info for the Grauspitz (see previous post). I wanted to go to the highest point of Belgium or the Netherlands but out schedule were tight and not the same.

FR: J'ai rencontré l'Anglais Jonathan Frewen à Bruxelles après avoir trouvé son site de grimpes des sommets Européens alors que je cherchais de l'information pour le Grauspitz. J'ai voulu aller avec lui aux point culminant de la Belgique ou des Pays-Bas mais nos agendas respectifs étaient incompatibles.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Outdoor Show - Grauspitz Liechtenstein


EN: This weekend I went for the first time to Friedrichshafen at the Outdoor Show. Mostly the same brands as at ISPO are coming but I met a few brands I never heard of like KayLand. I start to meet brand and marketing managers who recognize me from the previous years at ISPO like the team at Polartec.
After the fair, I drove to Switzerland across Liechtenstein as my aim was to summit on sunday Liechtenstein's highest summit, Mount Grauspitz. Well, I got to meet friendly Swiss who invited at their home for the night and I woke up early to take the telecabin at 7.15am to start walking to the Mountain at 7:30. Nothing really difficult with the terrain but it had rained and everything was wet and slippery. I reached the second highest summit Mount Hintergrauspitz (or Schwarzhorn) at 11:30 and because of the mist (couldn't even see the Grauspitz) and lack of time, I turned back and went down to take the telecabin at 14:30 back to my car. First time I really failed but happy I took the decision to go down as it started to snow and hail on the summit ridge.

FR: Ce weekend, ce fût ma première visite à la foire de Friedrichshafen au Outdoor Show. On y retrouve presque toutes les mêmes marques présentes à ISPO mais j'ai pu découvrir des marques que je ne connaissais pas. Et puis on retrouve aussi des personnes que l'on commence à revoir plusieurs fois comme l'équipe de Polartec.
J'ai filé après la foire direction la Suisse en passant par le Liechtenstein et mon but était de gravir dimanche le plus haut sommet du petit pays: Le Mont Grauspitz. J'ai eu la chance de recevoir le logis de la part d'un couple de suisses très sympa. Je me suis levé tôt et j'ai pris le télécabine à 7h15 pour commencer la marche d'approche à 7h30. Rien de bien difficile sauf qu'il avait plu et que tout était glissant. Vers 11h30 j'atteignais le deuxième plus haut sommet du Liechtenstein, le HinterGrauspitz et j'ai fait demi-tour à cause du manque de temps et du brouillard sommital. Arrivé en bas au télécabine à 14h30 et 15 minutes plus tard j'étais en bas à ma voiture. C'est la première fois que je n'atteint pas un sommet voulu mais je suis content d'avoir fait demi-tout car il a commencé à neiger et à grêler sur l'arrête.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Olympic Torchbearer in NewCastle

EN: Just one word about the experience: Fantastic!
FR: Un seul mot pour décrire l'expérience : Fantastique!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Ecrans de la mer

EN: So I'm back from the Poland Trek expedition and you can find all about it on the site and more photos on the Poland Trek facebook page. Today I've been to the second edition of the World Sea Film Festival in Dunkirk like last year. Very few adventure films but La voie du pôle, my favorite won 2 prizes including the one from the youth jury. Thierry Robert did a really good job with the images of Sébastien Roubinet and Rodolphe André.

FR: Revenu de l'expédition Poland Trek. Vous trouverez tout le site ou la  Poland Trek facebook page  avec photos. Je reviens des Ecrans de la mer deuxième édition, le festival mondial du film de mer. J'y avait été l'année passée. Peu de films d'aventure mais La voie du pôle, mon favori, a gagné 2 prix dont celui des jeunes. Thierry Robert a vraiment fait un beau boulot avec les images de Sébastien Roubinet et Rodolphe André.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Trek and kayak in Poland - Marek Kaminski

EN: I'm leaving this Saturday to Poland. On Monday I should start this new expedition POLAND TREK across the entire country from south to north. I will be the first week with Tomasz, a local adventurer, then continue alone on the Vistula river for about 1000km in packraft then kayak. But there will be a film crew on boat to film the journey and meet with me a few times per day. Of course I'll meet the Polish people of the river and other enthusiast kayakers to share moments on the river.

FR: Je pars ce samedi en Pologne. Lundi je commence Poland Trek, une nouvelle expédition à travers tout le pays. La première semaine je serai avec Tomasz un aventurier local. Puis je continuerai seul sur la Vistule, cette longue rivière sur environ 1000km dans un packraft et en kayak. Mais une équipe de tournage situé sur un bateau me rejoindra régulièrement. Evidemment j'irai rencontrer les Polonais de la rivière et les kayakistes enthousiastes pour partager des moments de vie sur la rivière.

Update: At the end of the Expedition I could meet Polish explorer and adventurer Marek Kamiński.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Roots and Shoots KayaClean action

Trash removed during the morning
kayak initiation. All together.
EN: As Jane Goodall Roots and Shoots ambassador, I initiated the KayaClean action. I was very fortunate to find motivated Jane Goodall Institute Belgium volunteers, a kayak club (MAVA Liège) with Belgian Slalom ex-champion Jean-Pierre Lespineux and 7 teenagers who dropped out of school and volunteered to go back on the right track. We had a fantastic sunny day. Half of the teenagers fell in the cold water but in the afternoon everyone helped to get a mass of 30kg of plastics, trash out of the river and banks. Now the idea is to inspire more days like this in different locations and get the right people together to have it organized at least yearly per location. The day was divided in 3 parts: learn kayak & tour, prepare a BBQ together, paddle along the river banks and removed as much of trash we can.

FR: Puisque je suis ambassadeur du Jane Goodall Roots and Shoots, j'ai initié l'action KayaClean. J'ai pu trouver des volontaires très motivés du Jane Goodall Institute Belgique, le club de kayak (MAVA Liège) avec l'ex-Champion de slalom Jean-Pierre Lespineux et 7 jeunes en décrochage scolaire et qui ont décidé de se remettre sur les rails. On a passé une journée fantastique et ensoleilée. La moitié des jeunes sont tombés à l'eau froide mais l'après-midi ils ont tous donné un coup de main pour récolter 30kg de plastiques et déchets retirés des berges et de la rivière. Il faut encore inspirer à organiser d'autres journées dans d'autres lieux et rassembler les bonnes personnes pour réaliser cela au moins une fois par année et par endroit. La journée s'est divisée en 3 parties: initiation au kayak & ballade, préparer le barbecue, pagayer le long des berges et retirer le plus de déchets possible.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Plastic Shores

EN: I had the opportunity to see the film Plastic Shores in its full length tonight at the Goethe institute in Brussels. It shows the horror of plastic in the Oceans caused by our bad consumption. It also shows some of the positive actions we can all take.

FR: J'ai eu l'opportunité de voir l'entiereté du film Plastic Shores ce soir au Goethe institute à Bruxelles. Film qui montre vraiment l'horreur du plastique dans les Océans du à notre mauvaise consommation; ainsi que les actions positives réalisables par tous.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

At the London 2012 Olympics

EN: I have been selected to carry the Olympic torch on the 15th of June 2012 during the relay. This is a great honor given to me and encourages me to continue doing expeditions focusing on sharing the beauty of places while inspiring to preserve the water worldwide.

FR: J'ai été sélectionné pour participer au relais de la flamme Olympique des JO de Londres 2012. C'est un immense honneur qui m'encourage encore plus à concentrer mes messages d'expéditions sur la beauté de notre planète et inspirer à préserver l'eau au niveau mondial.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Long Walk

Bartosz Malinowski
EN: In Brussels, I went to see the talk and film "The Long Walk". Bartosz Malinowski and Tomasz Grzywaczewski were present and gave a deep insight of their journey in the steps of the Gulag escapees. In 2004, French writer and adventurer Sylvain Tesson also retraced the journey from the book written by Slavomir Rawicz. No one really knows if Slavomir is the real hero of the book or Witold Glinski who is interviewed in the documentary. What we're sure of is that people have been able to flee the gulags.  

FR: A Bruxelles, j'ai été voir la conférence suivi du film "The Long Walk". Bartosz Malinowski et Tomasz Grzywaczewski étaient présents et ont conté leur parcours dans les pas des évadés du Gulag. En 2004, l'écrivain aventurier Français Sylvain Tesson avait également refait le trajet décrit dans le livre écrit par Slavomir Rawicz.Nul ne sait s'il est réellment le héro du livre ou si c'est Witold Glinski qui est interviewé dans le documentaire. Ce qui est certain c'est que des personnes ont réussi à s'échapper de l'enfer du gulag.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Tintin Lectures series

EN: I went to the Tintin lectures series at the Conrad hotel in Brussels. It was organized by the London Speaker bureau and HelmsBriscoe. The speakers were John Bruton (former Irish prime minister) and Paul Rusesabagina, the real life hero portraited in the film Hotel Rwanda.
During the talks, artist Tim Casswell made a live artwork showcasing what what said by the audience and of course the speakers.
FR: J'ai assisté au Tintin lectures series à l'hôtel Conrad à Bruxelles. C'est organisé par la London Speaker bureau et HelmsBriscoe. Les conférenciers furent John Bruton (ancien premie rministre d'Irlande) et Paul Rusesabagina, la vrai héro dont l'histoire est racontée dans le film Hotel RwandaPendant la conférence, l'artiste Tim Casswell a réalisé une oeuvre artistique en direct relatant par le dessin les dires des conférenciers et du public.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

ISPO Munich 2012


EN: Like last year I went to ISPO in Munich to hunt for Sponsors. Some photos I took of nice new products or product showcasing.

Friday, January 13, 2012

London Outdoors Show

EN: I'm 4 days in London for several visits. The outdoors show (including bike show, travel and boat show) is a yearly event to see new products and for me to take the temperature about the UK market. First thing to catch my eye was the Torpedalo, a pedal boat designed to cross the Atlantic, like Jean-Gabriel Chelala did in 2008 except his boat was not beautifully designed like the Torpedalo. Yesterday I found out they had a few speakers and I rushed not to miss Ed Stafford. Most of you have read about him when he hit the news in August 2010 after completing his expedition walking the Amazon. For the last long end of the trip he was accompanied by Gadiel "Cho" Sanchez Rivera who is now in England learning English and will soon get education, which is great.
Today I went to visit the Royal Geographic Society. I had been there in 2009 but this time I could visit the Foyle Reading room, which  is a mecca of information like a collection of maps or books.

FR: Je suis à Londres pendant 4 jours pour effectuer diverses visites. L'outdoors show (qui fait aussi le vélo, les bateaux et le voyage) est un événement annuel pour voir les nouveaux produits et pour moi prendre la température du marché Anglais. Ce qui m'a intéressé d'emblée fût le Torpedalo, bateau conçu pour traverser l'Atlantique comme l'a fait Jean-Gabriel Chelala en 2008 mis à part que son engin était beaucoup moins profilé et techniquement beau. Hier, je remarque qu'ils ont quelques intervenants dont Ed Stafford.
Beaucoup d'entre-vous ont du lire dans les nouvelles en 2009 à propos de ce gars qui venait de terminer de descendre l'Amazone à pied. Pour la très longue et dernière partie il était accompagné de Gadiel "Cho" Sanchez Rivera qui apprend en ce moment l'Anglais en Angleterre et va bientôt commencer un cursus scolaire. Ce qui est fantastique.
Aujourd'hui, j'ai été visiter la Royal Geographic Society. J'y suis allé en 2009 et j'ai enfin pu accéder à la Foyle Reading room, qui est une réserve inépuisable de cartes et de livres.