Joachim has been traveling around the world. He left Paris on his 25th birthday, came back one year later in 2010. And you're here on his travel blog.
Since he came back, he started writing a book: 360 in 365 »

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360 in 365 – Joachim voyage autour du monde

360 in 365 – Joachim voyage autour du monde

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Pause in San Pedro de Atacama

As you might know, I’ve been in San Pedro for one week.

One week of doing nothing, taking coffee in the morning sun, drawing postcards, trying to get the hostel’s Wi-Fi signal, buying a tomato, and avocado and some mortadella for a healthy lunch salad, and an empanada for an incredible meaty dinner, reading books and speaking with friends over the Internet, watching a movie when everybody’s sleeping in France, and watching the sunset outside of the city until the first stars appear above the blue-pink horizon. A week with days costing less than 10 euros.

This pause wasn’t planned but now I gladly welcome it. People say, you have to take pauses within the pause. Well, the trip’s not a pause. Sure, it’s a free time between two bits of everyday life… but there’s another everyday life to the travelling. You remember looking for the right bus, searching for a good hostel, wondering what place you’ll go next… And the people you meet, one week later you don’t remember them, just a few pixels on a Facebook. Meaningful encounters are rare on trips. Every few days you discover a new bed, you have to get used to other languages and banknotes, you’ve got to know by yesterday what you’ll do tomorrow, the plan, the planes, what you want. You can manage it a few months, it’s all right. Travelling’s not a big lazy pause, but people are right saying you need pauses in the trip.

I took some time in Guangzhu or Singapore, lazed around San Francisco and had a glimpse of the life in Buenos Aires. But I was always preoccupied by when I would leave, where I would go, and as soon as I got in the next bus/plane/train, the travel routine came back in full intensity, not leaving me time to ask the good questions. So yeah, I see now I had to take time and I have to say, San Pedro has been good to me for that.

San Pedro de Atacama is in the middle of the desertic region of Atacama, 2500 meters or so above Sea Level, in the north of Chile. It’s one of the driest place in the world. The city is between mountains and volcanoes, and there’s a stream but you don’t know where the water’s coming from. Everything is the colour of earth and dust, this pale mix of ochre and pink that’s so very bright in the hours before sunset. The rare tree makes a link between the land of yellow and the sky of blue.

The big blue sky invades everything, tints the far away mountains, turns pink and orange and red and low yellow when the sun sets behind the sculpted horizon, and then turns to a darkness so bright you can walk without the need of a light… I saw skies like that in Mongolia or Laos, but more than anywhere else I’m lost in that sky. The stars that might be familiar to me, the constellations are much more difficult to read without the dippers to guide me. The only familiar sight is Orion, reclining on the horizon, like an empty Moka Express espresso coffee thing…

Orion and me, it lasts from way back, he followed me in the transsiberian train, then in Asia, and he was besides me in the plane from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires, and then right here.

But well, Orion has nothing to do with me staying in San Pedro. I have to stay here because of banking things. Simply put, I thought I could use some money I have somewhere, but I might not be able to because the somewhere cannot be unlocked until 2015 unless, well, unless I try. I’ve got to tell you, it’s quite a drag to have to wait until I know for sure if I can get the money, or not.

When I know, I might have to reconfigure my plan. If I can get the money, I have the possibility to continue my trip as planned : Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Texas, New Orleans, New York and Montreal. If I cannot get the money, my choices are less big : right now I only got enough money to change continents. And it means that I can get find a job wherever I can, like in Australia (meh) or Canada (the visa might be harder to get), or in Paris. But I don’t really want to come back to Paris that soon.

No decision has been made, I just have some nice time right now. Under 10 euros per day, of course.


  1. Ce serait trop bête qu’un banquier fasse capoter l’aventure.

    Comment by Laurent — Jun 10th, 2010 @ 01:10 PM
  2. Passer de l’Amérique du Sud à l’Amérique du Nord, c’est changer de continent ou pas ?

    Quoi qu’il arrive, j’espère que ta gentille banque va être chouette et te laisser accéder à tes thunes (comment ça je suis un bisounours ?).

    Pourquoi “bof” pour l’Australie ? Bon OK, niveau Web c’est un peu lourd parce qu’il faut payer cher pour avoir de l’illimité, mais Melbourne est une ville vraiment sympa !

    Sinon, le Canada c’est cool aussi !

    Ou sinon les US… raaaah ! New York !

    En tout cas, content de voir que tu as été contaminé par le virus de l’étranger, et que tu ne souhaites plus trop rentrer en France. C’est un sentiment que je comprends totalement et que je partage !

    Je croise les doigts pour que la suite de ton projet se passe bien !

    Et si tu bosses à l’étranger ensuite, tu feras une suite à ce blog ? :)

    Comment by Pierre — Jun 11th, 2010 @ 10:32 AM
  3. coucou Joachim je te souhaite bon courage pour la suite. Je viens de passer 2 heures sur ton blog très intéressant et je n’ai pas tout vu ! Demain j’y retourne. Continue Bon courage !

    Comment by Corinne — Jun 14th, 2010 @ 02:44 AM
  4. Entre nous, je ne veux pas une carte postée de France pour le jour que je finance ; c’est pas Fun !
    Tu dis à la banque qu’il te faut des sous pour tenir tes promesses ;-)
    Allez, tous en coeur :
    Ne laissons pas les banques s’interposer entre nous !

    Comment by Alban — Jun 15th, 2010 @ 10:48 PM
  5. Jojo,

    Je croise le doigts pour que tu puisses continuer ton aventure comme prevu.


    Comment by Tiziana — Jun 17th, 2010 @ 09:49 PM
  6. Tu peux aussi avoir un Working Holiday Visa pour la Nouvelle Zélande ou le Japon.

    Bonne chance pour tes problemes de banque

    Comment by Naga_ — Jun 21st, 2010 @ 05:10 AM

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