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Carcassonne: she leaves to do Santiago de Compostela alone … and without money

Leaving her native village in the Meuse on February 24, Sylvie Christophe, alias “Sylvie de France”, was passing through Carcassonne, her adopted city, before continuing her journey. She took the opportunity to tell us about this challenge, aimed at highlighting authentic human encounters.

“I leave in the morning, I don’t know where I’m going to sleep at night. I’m a free person.” Sylvie Christophe no longer bothers with the questions she asked herself for years, while she was leading her professional life and the education of her children. Until the day when, her offspring flying with her own wings, the interested party also felt the need to set sail, to see new horizons.

The one who has been in Carcassonnaise for ten years likes to go where the wind takes her, renaming herself “Sylvie de France” on social networks. “SDF”: initials that she claims, also symbols of her attachment to going to “invisible” and reach out to them. A few months ago, Sylvie launched an online kitty to finance the purchase of a motorhome in order to help out people in trouble. Today, it is through a well-known pilgrimage that she is working to put people back at the center of the game.

“I had gone back to see my mother, in the Meuse, when I spoke with a woman who had just done Santiago de Compostela. I thought it was a good idea.” What indeed motivate Sylvie, a big sportswoman who is experienced in running and bodybuilding. “On the other hand, I had never hiked”, she tempers. Whatever, his decision was made. On February 24, the person concerned thus took the road from her native department. She was back in Carcassonne on April 24 to do her duty as a citizen during the second round of the presidential election, then had to go through Pont Saint-Esprit, Avignon, Miramas and… Italy. “I want to go see the Pope, at the Vatican. Just out of curiosity!”

I who am nobody, who have no money, I wanted to know what I could still bring to the other during my encounters

It will have been understood: the pilgrimage of “Sylvie de France” is unlike any other, but corresponds perfectly to a personality attached to going where she pleases. “When I was working and raising my children, I dreamed, as I approached fifty, of leaving one fine day without luggage, just with my backpack. That’s what I’m doing today!” Because unlike most pilgrims, the Carcassonnaise has planned her trip very little, even to the point of carrying out her journey “without money”. A daring approach but which responds, here again, to a certain philosophy of life.

“I who am nobody, who have no money, I wanted to know what I could still bring to the other over the course of my encounters.” It is thus less the destination, in Spain, than the many people encountered along the way who guide Sylvie’s steps. “I have slept under the stars, in the forest, but when I arrive in a village, I try to get to the town hall before 5 p.m. to find out about a place to spend the night. And very often the mayor finds a solution! I even slept in a castle, but above all I met great people.”

This is the whole point of the adventure, which pushes Sylvie to reach out to her neighbor as much as possible. “If at some point I had to speed up, I would hitchhike… but I won’t take the train!” It is probably not given to everyone to dare such an experience. Sylvie is not about to trade her freedom for extra comfort.

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Giving voice to the forgotten

Attached to sharing, Sylvie wants her trip to help highlight all the people who may have crossed her path. Anonymous to which the Carcassonnaise wishes to give the floor. “I would like to put on a kind of show where everyone I’ve met, and who has helped me, could come on stage and talk about themselves. Whether it’s tramps, waiters… I want to highlight these categories people you end up not noticing.” The interested party even begins to see further, imagining to transport this concept of “scene while walking” through a tour of Europe. “It’s giving voice to people who, on their own, would not dare to take it.” One thing is certain, we can’t stop it.

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