Still Alive: Lagorce

So I went to Barcelona, and stayed in an abandoned ice cream factory with a variety of people who do such things as fly on the trapeze and put on medieval shows for the community around. After only two days, though, I started feeling the pressure to get moving to a different country. I definitely gave Spain its fair allotment of the short time I have – three whole weeks. That leaves me only two and a half weeks to share between France and Italy! Preposterous.

I managed to hitch in an almost straight shot to Lagorce, France, which is not the sort of place you’ll have ever heard of. It takes several turns down successively smaller roads before you even find the name of this village on the local road signs. But I was on a mission, coming here. There’s a website called HelpX, where people can put notices that say something along the lines of: “Come help out on my farm/hostel/house/whatever, and I’ll give you free room and board while you work.” I found such a place there, but I couldn’t actually contact the people running it, because I didn’t want to pay the 20 euros to become a member, and then use the site only once before leaving Europe. So I decided to take a chance and just go to Lagorce and try to find the couple running this place.

I feel like I’ve reached some sort of Zen level of traveling where everything turns into serendipity. In hitching here, I got my first ride on a motorcycle, as well as a ride with a guy who had just returned that morning from a kitesurfing vacation in Brazil, and a family who went several miles out of their way to get me to Lagorce. Their son asked me what the specialty American food was, and when I got off, he gave me cookies and two lumps of sugar – this must be tantamount to the widow’s mites. That night I discovered from posters around the town that the following day there would be a festival all around the village. I also explored a little bit. What an incredible place: all the houses are medieval stonework, all crowded congenially onto a tall ridge overlooking fertile valleys.

Today I went to the festival, which was all about how to improve the world, starting at the local level. Some people from a local organization that saves heirloom seeds and donates them to Africa and the rest of the world knew the couple I was looking for. For a while there was a question of whether I could stay and volunteer – not because I showed up unannounced, but because they actually had two previously arranged volunteers showing up at 2:00 today. But they made a space for me, and now I’ll be here for about a week. Which is I think the longest time I’ll have spent in a single place since I started journeying.

Anyhow, what is this place? It’s a nascent “bed and diet” – differing from a bed and breakfast in that it’s going to cater specifically to people who want to go on vacation and still follow the paleo diet or one of the various diets like it. How perfect is that? The couple are Martin and Nina, Danish and German respectively, and the other volunteers are two Calgarians named Marian and Addy. We’ve already talked a lot about the paleo diet and how much sense it makes and how many problems it can solve. I plan to do some serious learning here. And of course, some work for them. And some good eating as well. And it’ll be nice to not be constantly in motion, too. Just having a home for a week in this tiny French village. Here, imagine me heaving a deep, relaxed sigh.

By the way! I’ll be here Thanksgiving Day, and I’ll have a stable internet connection. I don’t know about a camera, but when I think of an idea of what I can do, I’ll write something about it here.

File under: Year of Adventure, Still Alive, food, hitchhiking · Places: France


Dad

History

Well, you know that we will be eating the dinner at the church. We will all be back at Nana and Papaw's that evening. Try to be available on Skype. There are a few people who would like to hear from you. You can FB message me to set things up since I have a Blackberry I can get messages over the phone network…presuming I have a phone signal.

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Anonymous

History

Glad to hear from you, All is well here. Perhaps you will have a chance to sample some fine wine while you are working/traveling in France. I agree that the houses in many places in Europe are quite unique and built to last a very long time - thy ave a very interesting look to them. See you soon

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Anonymous

History

You have acheived homeopathic ninja tourist status. Who wants to read another boring story about the Eiffel tower, and the lunch that followed at some nice little cafe. Yawn.

Your travels are actually interesting!

Dave

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Chuck

History

Let's see, what time would be good? Keep in mind that I'm six hours ahead, but I think the hours surrounding midnight could probably be worked out. Maybe before dinner would work better? Depending on the schedule. Skype should work, apparently.

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Anonymous

History

I looked it up and you're in Ardeche. i've never traveled really close to there, and I'm glad you are seeing such a wonderful place.

You know what–i'm heaving a sigh along with you, knowing you are in France. I'm just guessing that you are already speaking French and getting a rating of 9 out of 10 from the natives. (Inside joke)

Will be looking forward to hearing more. Your mom is due here any time for dinner. She can look at this, too.

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Chuck

History

Aw, I just missed you. I was on Facebook getting ready to start chatting, but then one of the other two volunteers here got a Skype call and I had to vacate the computer while she explained to her family that Paris is a pit and when they come to visit her they should get away from it as quick as possible. I disbelieve her. Anyhow, we'll chat sometime soon, probably!

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Chuck

History

As it happens, I have unlimited free internet at the moment, in the Apple Store underneath the Louvre. The trick is that (1) it would look kind of conspicuous to take out my journal and start copying out of it about Rome, and (2) the French keyboard is the most disorienting one I've used this whole trip, so it would probably take me three times as long. But not to fear! Within a week or so I'll be at Sean's house, where, if it doesn't strain his hospitality too much, I'll be able to write full-size blogs freely. And I've definitely got material.

Come on, look at this:
AZERTYUIOP
QSDFGHJKLM
WXCVBN,;:

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