"He always thinks that by moving on, he will also change his life"
Lidia Jorge (The soldier's blanket)
Tenth trip : 1995. Once more I took to the road. My ruckback was filled with new provisions : a mosquito net, a water filter, a first-aid kit and extra large sketschbooks : I was off to India. The journey of all journeys ! My shoes had carried me across the desert, Poland and Italy... I realized, when I landed in Madras that these journeys were only rough copies, some sort of appetizers. After six months of intense journey I brought three hundred drawings and heaps of notes. It took me six months more to write the story. It is called "Au Corps de l'Inde". It is the hot on the spot vision of the drawer and the cool reflection in the narration of the writer. Now I had to find a publisher.
Eleventh trip : 1997. Jaunting across the great Cordillera on horseback with my father, Don Quixote, Sancho Panša, Pablo Neruda, Pancho the flute player and Gordita, The centauresse. Madness or no ? Chile, Argentina, volcanoes and horses. Result : travel sketchbook's father and son. And then an exhibition which happened to be a roaring success. I have sold everything.
Twelth trip: 1998. India again ! Like a new buster shot : I travelled with a lovely friend in Pushkar which is the most important Camel market of Asia, and then to Benares on the river Ganges. The bug is a its peak : I fell in love with India and yet I can't get used to it.
Thirteenth trip : 1999. At last, "Au Corps de l'Inde" had finally come out after several years of struggling and was a great success greeeted in "Le Monde" by Jacques Meunier who wrote :"This is the birth of a travelling writer." I was on cloud nine but I was already off somewhere else...
Forteenth trip : 2000. Two months in China, first with a companion, and then alone; the classics : Beijing, Xian, Canton, Kunming, Yunnan. At last, "L'appel du Bleu", my unruly child came out. A total flop !
Fifteenth trip : 2001. Back to the Sahara for the fifth time and I have my book "Saharas"published. Travel books are now all the rage !
Sixteenth trip : 2003. Another two months in China. With the shocking environmental experience : chinese towns have become completely stifling, therefore what was marvellous was dipping my paint-brush in a soupbowl in the chinese countryside among the Yaos, the Dongs, the Miaos, the Hans. When the sketchbook was published, I was invited to radio talks on France Culture, articles appeared in newspapers... Self-indulgence !
Seventeeth trip : 2004. India, for a second booster shot. The sketchbook I brought back from Rajasthan were received with a hearty welcome all over France... To publish or not to publish ?..
Eighteenth trip: 2005. Two journeys on the opposite side of the world. One in China, the other in the Parisian suburbs (the price of the ticket is cheaper). I founded the association called "The Carnettistes Tribulants" with about a score of other members because I believe in some sort of collective genius. We started our first trip... Two years touring around Paris. During all these years, I keep on painting, and forget to say that I also did two books with my friend the poet Patrick Audevart.
Nineteenth trip: 2006. Our collective book was released : "Banlieue nomade" and was a great success, so we immediately set about a second opus. I worked on the writing of my book Rajasthan... Then I had to go through my most painful journey : in Cachan (the city where I live), the Gymnase was taken over by three hundred people with or without identity papers.
Twentieth trip : 2007. Budapest and Berlin. "Dans les Mains du Soleil", carnet de voyage amoureux au Rajasthan", was published in september. If only it could be translated in english...
Below : night scene in Cachan