On the road: a new way to a happy life

On the road: a new way to a happy life | M6 | Zone Interdite

In France today is it possible to live in some other way? Perhaps leave the settled way of life and take to the road and become a nomad? Without being a part of the great circus family or that of the traveller, more and more people are trying to break away. On foot, in a caravan or a converted truck, they are trying to create their own free space, outside a system that they consider fossilized. We followed them for over a year. Before chucking his job as a packer and his apartment, Nono, 27, had a “knot in his stomach”. That was until he met a gang of punk backpackers and decided to follow them. In the early days he experienced the street, begging, hauling his backpack and his dogs from squat to squat. That was five years ago. Since then he’s bought a truck that he converted himself and he earns his living by doing the Tour de France of the farm harvest season. Always in a gang, they go from money problems to mechanical problems, but are always happy on a road where nothing ever happens quite as you expect. A road on which Nono was to meet love in the person of Aurelie. A young, 27 year-old punk who finances her backpacking life by working as a nurse. Nono also shares the road with his “kid sister”, his best friend Jimica. She hasn’t found her place either in what she calls the “commute-work-sleep” world. Like Nono she is from the provincial middle classes. With her Bac in her pocket she decided that his truck would be her home and, like Nono, it’s now been 5 years. Joel is 49. For 25 years he worked as a truck driver. He had a home and a family, but also a serious alcohol problem. An addiction that lost him everything. Despite treatments and spells in hospital, nothing worked. One day he decided to play his final card by realising a childhood dream: to live in a caravan with horses. He built it himself and set out right down the road. That was two years and he hasn’t touched a drop since. Thanks to income benefits and the generosity of the people he meets, he now travels from village to village with Tim, an apprentice caravan builder. The road has many fine tales to tell, but also some shipwrecks. Pierre-Anael, 28, dreamed of the nomadic life, but after six years of drifting from odd jobs to squats, his road is now limited to the pavement where he begs. When we met him he was worn out and had decided to finish with it and fall back into line. He now dreams of an apartment, a job and a family, just like everybody else. But it’s easier to drop out of the system than to get back into it. This is the journey with the uncertain end that we filmed over the period of a year.