Departure from SWITZERLAND

The departure from Switzerland was hectic.  After a year’s preparation, I flew out on 2 May at the end of the afternoon, immediately after the award ceremony at the Geneva Books Fair, at which I gave the prize of the “Extraordinary Voyages” as godmother, for the Lombard Odier Foundation.

People often asked me this question: How do you start an expedition?

This expedition is – an old dream

We have, as you know, the gift of filing away our dreams in a fine old cabinet at the back of our memory. It is reassuring to have them there where we can easily access them without ever really taking them out of their dusty drawer. This is how a dream ages and becomes an old dream. I decided to take one out of its hiding place …

I began by painting my dream, my deepest desires, on a blank canvas. The inspiration came from within, as for a real painting. There was the first stroke, the first colour and the rest was a question of time, determination and passion.

“Walking is not the hardest … the preparation period is always just as arduous. It is a little like learning to swim for the first time for each expedition.”

And one day, which appeared never to arrive, I found myself at the airport once again with a big expedition bag. Ready for departure …

The race against the clock continued when I arrived in Australia – I had to get my last pieces of equipment and find a knife (one for myself, since I had not been able to bring my own with me in my luggage for security reasons), the fishing items I still needed, a shrimp trap, etc.

A few coffees later and after a few restless nights to recover from jet lag, I set off again by plane to the north – Kununurra ( the gateway to Kimberley) – My destination


Kununurra 8 May, 2015

The plane was in the approach path, I could just make out columns of smoke here and there beneath me.  Fires are part of the natural regeneration system in Australia. They herald the dry season- In the north there are 2 seasons: the rainy season (November – April) and the dry season (May – October), whilst the Aboriginals have 6 seasons:  Mirdawarr, Dhaarratharramirri, Rarranhdharr, Worlmamirri, Baarramirri and Waltjarnmirri

With my nose against the window, I heard the landing gearing come down with no mishap, my eyes continued to be glued to what was below, that is to say a jumble of peaks and deep valleys stretching to the horizon, imprisoning water in the dry season.    For me these crocodile pools resembled mirrors scattered here and there

I sat back in my seat for the landing. I felt energy, calmly and gently rising up my spine to the base of my skull.  My eyes were sparkling with excitement, eager for the adventure to begin …