Tales of a Global Pilgrim Stars Stars

My name is Ben Viatte and I'm just like you: I'm not quite sure how I got here.

My search started six years ago, when I opened my eyes for the first time: I saw that I was free. So I started travelling the world in search of a new mindset. My current pilgrimage is bringing me from Europe, through the age-old middle-east, to holy India.

This blog describes my search for truth: my life travels since the start of my global pilgrimage in my 18's, and what I learnt from them.

sonia

Albania, July 2016

Finally, another walker!

This is Sonia from Germany, the first walker I met on my road. We happened to cross paths at a very special point: she had walked 1800 km in 2.5 months across the Balkans, and I had walked 1800 km in 2.5 months across the Balkans. The funny thing is,there’s an unwritten law: when you meet someone travelling at the same speed, you’re always going in the opposite direction!

vrmac tunnel

Montenegro, July 2016

Carbon Monoxyde

Do you notice anything hanging from the ceiling of that tunnel? Neither do I, and that’s because it has no ventilation. How long can a man breathe carbon monoxyde instead of air? Crossing these 1.6km by foot took me 31 minutes, considering my cart was often wider than the sidewalk itself! I crashed it countless times, and did struggle a bit for my life. At some point, I thought I might never breathe air again, to be honest. Getting out on the other was liberation. Breathing has never felt so good!

Every painful experience is meant to teach you something. So don’t forget, guys: enjoy every breath, and you will never suffer again.

snake story

Croatian Coast, June 2016

A kind of Snakey Story

One morning like any other, I woke up. I moved one of my bags, and realized I had spent the night with a 1m 20 snake! Non-venemous, super nice, we then chilled for a while before I saw it get out. But I have, to this day, not the slightest clue how it got in without me noticing!

serbian mines

South Croatia, June 2016

Serbian Mines

My road was pleasant. The evening light shone warmly. Circumstances were perfect, and I was visited by an emotion I had long forgotten: boredom. Thankfully, the universe is always listening, and decided to pull me from that state by sending me an all-new challenge… mines! These explosives were scattered by the Serbian Army during the Croatian War of Independence. And they still work! I saw this sign just before 8pm, precisely when I needed to find a place to sleep. Lol, life!

If you see this article, that means destiny was generous towards me. But I have to admit, you spend quite a special night when you think that every time you turn in your sleep, you might just explode.

croatian-war

South Croatia, June 2016

The Croatian War of Independence

Until 1995, Croatia went through a war with their Serbian neighbors, leaving countless villages in ruins. Today, you can still cross these ghost towns: no one has the will nor the means to repair the mess. For me, that meant days of walking without meeting anyone, or being able to find food. Tough!

austrian bench

Austrian Wechseln Pass. May 2016

The other side of the Alps

Crossing the Wechseln pass officially got me on the other side of the alps. It was the biggest roadblock in my journey: it took me one month of travelling just to go around this giant chain of mountains! Napoleon and Hannibal agree. Next destination: Mediterranean beaches!

help always comes

Southern Czech Republic. May 2016

Help Always Comes

On a sunny forest morning, the axle on my not-so-indestructible cart bent. My cart struggled alongside me for 15 km with a sideways wheel, before I met an awesome blacksmith who took care of it all. I tried to pay him, I really did. But he wouldn’t take a penny!

A few days later, I realized this wasn’t the end of my problems: I now had issues with rust. If my components start rusting so early in this trip, how can I possibly make it all the way to India? As these worries were dancing around in my mind, I crossed a village where I had long-forgotten Czech origins. I met an awesome uncle Jirka (middle of the photo) who just happened to be a professional in a stainless steel factory. He spent a whole day welding and mounting a new frame entirely out of stainless steel. I couldn’t believe it! May my bones whither away, this frame will outlive me for sure.

Thank you Jirka! And Thank you Aunt Anicka (right) for your infinite generosity, keeping me well-fed and warm for 3 days!

Learning to Walk

Czech Republic. April 2016

Learning to Walk

Why did I wait 24 years before learning how to walk? Now I’m coming to my senses, and I’m loving every bit of it. I refuse any other transport than my own two feet, making my speed sway between 6 and 7 km/h, and my daily distance between 30 and 40 km. That’s slow enough for me to see every stunning detail nature has to offer, see every face, answer anyone’s curious questions. It is beautiful beyond words.