Sunday, June 22, 2014

Our 2nd year on the road...

We had just spent one year living in the van, traveling around Europe for rock climbing, highlining, biking, all supported by our wool hats handmade wherever we traveled. We have no flat or permanent address apart from our respective families and friends and the plan was to travel one year and go back to a « normal » life, but we decided that living on the road suited us and was possible so we opted for being homeless by choice : slacklife.
Climbing and highline events are an essential part of our travels because not only do we meet up with friends, and make new ones, but we also spread out the idea of Ewoolution « handmade on the road » with our hats and earn the means to continue the simple life we choose. 
After visiting the 2nd Monte Piana Highline Meeting, we spent some time in the Dolomites before heading to Finale Ligure to participate in the Finale for Nepal ; a boulder event raising funds for schools in Nepal. We helped and sold our hats donating a percentage of what we made towards Nepal.We really enjoyed the people and this area filled with climbing spots, highlines and high class biking trails ; we stayed two months...
Leaving Italy was hard but we had eaten enough pizza and we were ready for some fresh greek salads and some tuffa climbing in Kalymnos. Our van decided otherwise and showed signs of weakness on the way to the ferry until it blew its last breath on the pass above La Spezia, at midnight, 150km from our departure point. After being a kick start on our new adventures, Italy was starting to be our worst nightmare. Our van was towed to two different mechanics in the area, no solution except for a new and expensive engine, so we decided that the Citroen Jumper would have better luck in its home country : France. We couldn't believe the turn of events when we were given the French bill of repair that was higher and higher everywhere we searched. We also kept hearing from everyone that we had better just get a new van, that it wasn't worth it. We persisted thinking that it was, it couldn't end like that.
We were then living with friends, winter was knocking on the door with very cold fingers, so we were making hats. Decisions needed to be made and at this point nothing felt right anymore : physically, mentally, environmentally, and when you least expect it, things can take a whole new turn ; I was pregnant !

night at the airport
I believe that in this chain of events and situation, most would have panicked and maybe seen it as the icing on the cake, but somehow, we reacted calmly as a reason to change our view on everything that had happened. Of course, the « normal » way of life would have pushed us to settle somewhere and prepare for the new coming life, but we felt the need to continue with our travels and get back into our familiar rocky surroundings ; we flew to Turkey.

Arriving to Geyikbayiri is like coming home after a long holiday, we feel at home, we meet our friends, and find our bearings and habits. We were breathing new air, the sun was shining and our motivation was back. We were quite out of shape but we quickly started climbing strong again and though being two and a half months pregnant I was climbing strong but mostly on top rope. Raf had the project to bolt new lines and along with our friend Klaas Willems, they found new possibilities in an already popular sector. I baptized Raf's first route in that sector called « Passenger » 6b with a tricky crux by first ascending it on lead, excited and nervous to be carrying my passenger with me on this new experience ! The next line he bolted in the same sector: "Daddy Cool", first ascent from Klaas Willems.

Allison in "Passenger" 6b, pic K. Willems
Raffa in "Daddy Cool" 8a, pic K.Willems
 Rest days started to turn into bolting days for the guys and I got curious to try it also. With Klaas Willems, we decided to bolt a birthday route for Raf in the most popular sector of the area, a major line : 35meters long, crimpy and technical on slight overhang ; a 7c+ we called Rafsta Games in between Geyikbayiri Games and Olympos Games in the famous and impressive sector Sarkit. 
Raffa in "Daddy Cool" 8a Pic K.Willems
Allison in "Passenger" 6b Pic K.Willems

Raffa in "Rafsta Games" 7c+, pic K.Willems
"Rafsta Games", pic K.Willems

Pic. Klaas Willems
When he was not bolting or climbing new lines, Raf was bolting for the highline festival which expected 18 highline set ups. A whole new sector was equipped giving a large range of possibilities for all levels ; it turned out to be the most popular place to be during the event. We were trying to prepare for a larger amount of participants considering the success o f the previous year and we were pleasantly surprised by 150 slackliners doubling last years' already considerable group. 

Jumpline session at Rido's, pic Bulut Sahin                                 Neco impressing the crowd for opening night, pic K. Willems

Danny Mensik in Anatolia sector, pic K.Willems

cooking at Rido's, pic K. Willems
The vibe and energy of the opening night was so exciting it set the tone for the rest of the festival. Everyday was a mix of highlining, slacklining, singing, eating, dancing, chilling, juggling, giving the area a real festival feeling and intriguing the local Turkish climbers whom really enjoyed participating in the event and giving all of their support for next years' event. We had managed to bring alot of people together which created one of the biggest highline festivals in the world.

Fire balloons exploding for the opening night, pic K.Willems
SlackPro Calm Line Contest in the new sector: Riverside,  pic M. Reza Abaee
Dj Stretch Flo Hansen, pic M. Reza Abaee
Raffa in Canyon sector, pic M. Reza Abaee

"THC" special edition hats, photo by Klaas Willems

Pic M. Reza Abaee

We had two more weeks left in Turkey ; we drove West to a new area called Datca being developed by a friend of ours. During one week Raf and our friend had a bolting festival setting on average two new lines each per day. The excitement is obvious for a climber when he sees so much virgin rock and so many possible lines. I was in my fifth month and wanted to mark the territory also so I bolted my first line alone, which made me want to do more !
We really enjoyed participating in the creation if a new place, putting our mark into the wall to benefit the pleasure for others to ascend new routes and to give the locals a new perspectives on the environment surrounding them.

We had heard of a new area in Sardinia where a group of our friends had a plan to go spend a month in May for bolting and developing the place.
We needed to get our van up and running again to take us there and get Ewoolution back on the road.

old engine out

Raf remodeling the van in Annecy while Allison's making hats..
New engine, new organizing, new interior, the van is ready and we are realizing that it has been a half a year since we've lived in the van. Thanks to our friends and family we've always had a place to stay and feel at home during this time but we are really happy to be back to what we call Home.

No comments:

Post a Comment