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.

jacob

Evia, Greece, October 2016

The Story of Jakoub

The Algerian man you see here is smiling, bright, and full of love. Like many of us, right? But when you hear what this man has been through, you’d be amazed he can smile at all.

In Algeria, 2015, he was locked away for religious reasons by a group of extremists. They tortured him for 5 days, tearing out all but 4 of his teeth and leaving permanent damage to his brain. He somehow escaped, barely alive, and ended up on a boat to Turkey. His situation there was hardly better, so he risked his life in 6 attempts to cross over to Lesvos, Greece, and saw his friend drown in his own arms.

But why am I telling you all this? Because every negative story has a bright ending. Such is the way of the world. After finally making it over to the island of Lesvos, his situation radically changed. At the refugee camp, he met a spiritual man named Pau who decided to take him under his wing. Pau raised money for a 40’000€ tooth operation conducted by the world’s leading doctors. You can check out the crowdfunding campaign here, if you’re feeling generous. The operation is halfway there, and the future is bright for Jakoub. Pau gives Thai Massage courses at the Sunshine House, so he also chose to bring Jakoub there and give him a taste of eastern spiritual practices. That’s where I met Jakoub. And where is he now? Starting a new life in Germany, with a brand new European passport and a BIG smile! And if you ask him what happened to his teeth, I swear to you he laughs about it.

Lesson learnt: next time you catch yourself complaining, remember how lucky you are to have all those teeth! Jokes aside, remember that some people have real problems, and even they manage to push through with positivity and love. Hats off to you Jakoub, a true inspiration.

sunshine-house

Evia, Greece. September 2016
mailbox

Sunshine House

Who would’ve expected such a spiritual Ashram-style community in the middle of a Greek Orthodox Village? Walk through the gate, and welcome in India. Buddha’s quotes line the walls, Amma’s face smiles to you with loving eyes, countless traditional instruments sit together, begging to be played. Renowned teachers give Thai Massage courses, Acroyoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and just about every eastern practice you can think of. Some are teaching, some are following, some are serving. But everyone trusts everyone, from the first day to the last, and everyone is on the path.

After 3200 km of walking, this is my first break, and it will last a few months. Here’s why: with such a lifestyle, I need to follow the seasons. I can’t expect to cross Turkey or Iran by foot in winter due to snow-blocked roads. So my winter will be Greek, thank you very much, and early Spring will set me on the road again to Turkey. My deepest gratitude to you, dear Sunshine Family, for sheltering me during this time of need, and for your role in making the universe a little more peaceful. Shanti Om.

a blessing

South-East Greece, September 2016

Blessing for me, blessing for them

Countless times have I been blessed by synchronicity. The world gives just what I need, just when it deems I need it. But this time, the divine clockwork has turned, and the world is using me to answer the prayers of someone else! This deeply spiritual couple living near Athens needed their roof fixed, but could not even consider paying for a new roof. “May a roofer come to our doorstep” was the wish sent out to the world, and fair enough, the world brought me there. So, needless to say, I fixed the roof, and no one got hurt!

Photo: A sacred Datura plant growing in the backyard.

greek east coast

South-East Greece, September 2016

Up the East Coast

I just finished crossing Athens, where I spent 10 wonderful days at a long-time friend’s house (thank you Athena!), I ate heaps of fresh fruit, and am now heading up the east coast of Greece. East means rising sun: I now get amazing mornings where the sun rises out of the sea, like a giant nuclear turtle popping up it’s blazing head and belching yellowistic hues all over the hemisphere. It’s pretty cool. you should see it.

freedom in greece

Southern Greece, August 2016
mountain-camping

Free cows. Free pigs. Free men.

In Greece, freedom reigns for all animals, including campers! It’s the first country I encounter where you can camp wherever you want, at the gas station or the public beach, no on cares, they do the same! Even the cops don’t give a damn! Cheers, Greece, I love you!

albanian-folks

Albania, July 2016

Albania: country where kindness rules

Ever since my first steps in this never-ending walk, Albanians have been the most generous, the most welcoming people. Half of my meals were offered to me, half of my “purchases” were given without accepting any money! Even the cops are nice. I happened to be sleeping in the grass alongside the road, right near a police car. As I wake up, they simply wish me a nice day and watch me walk away.

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!