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14

Le Touquet Page 3
13th- 22nd Aug

After my trip to Paris, I was looking forward to getting back to my van, having some privacy and space again, after sharing a room with 7 18-25yr olds. Sleep would be a good idea too as I was exhausted. The short trip had certainly taken it out of me. I had 5 days before I was heading off again to Amiens. So I finished off all my loose ends as things were more or less mapped out until the end of December. Also it gave me the chance to reflect and contemplate giving me a lot of clarity concerning my experiences in Paris, how I felt about them and just generally where I was at, presently and the way in which I may see the near future panning out. It also allowed me the opportunity to makes sense of some things I had been contemplating for a considerable amount of time. It was a very important and valuable few days for me. Indeed had I filled this space with something, I initially planned to return immediately to Paris to work in the soup kitchen before my trip to Amiens, then this opportunity would have been lost. With this I learned a very important lesson.

On my last night in Le Touquet I went back to Jeans Bar. A slightly touristier bar but I had become friendly with the staff there. In Particular Loic, whom had been helping me with my French and so far holds the 'quote of the trip' trophy. (See Le Touquet photos) It was a pretty full evening and left me delicately driving to Amiens to meet George and John the following day. To make matters worse after being stationary for 6 weeks my van wouldn't start. Fantastic! The battery was flat, as although I had been using electricity provided at the site I had the internal switches set in the wrong position for the solar panels which kept the batteries topped up. It wasn't long before there was a crowd of helpful campers gathered around and finally the police, who seemed to be at the site frequently, jump started my van and so I was on my way to my next little stage. After that I made sure that I knew which the correct switch positions were.

So what have I learnt so far? That by making the effort and applying basic interpersonal skills, irrespective of language, people are extremely friendly, helpful and welcoming and many connections will be made. From there things will just 'happen'. Which makes the whole experience slightly more colourful. Yep, there were scrapes along the way but these were few and far between and nothing that couldn't be handled relatively easily.

However, from my time here, if I could take just one thing away, it would be that the "Not Doing" is just as important, if not more so as "Doing". It feels as if I need to slow down a lot but above all, create space to allow time for 'other' things to come through. I should not continually be putting myself in situations where my natural tendency to push myself 100% of the time will take over. Hence, I need to plan in down time. So whilst I am happy to get involved with various 'activities', for instance voluntary work, outside of these times I feel it is important to have periods of doing 'nothing'. So periods of doing interspersed with not doing. This will be my time to regroup, repair and maybe grow in the process. So the creation of space seems like it is a very important part of my journey.

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