Just arrived to Mexico where I am spending the summer holiday. Here is a summary of the past few months:
Back to Paris, strike day!
Where am I?
Second week in Longview School, State of NY. No authority between the adults and the students (5-19 years old), everyone is on the same level. The (private) school defines itself as a “hybrid school”: the students can choose between the academic track (that basically follows the normal curriculum) and the self-directed track (you learn what you want, you can choose your classes and activities). Every year, the students are asked to come up with a list of the classes that they would be interested in.
Exploration in New York where we met the freegans (anticapitalist activists who live eating food from the trash) with my friend from France Meryam. In the city of overconsumption, half of the edible food is thrown away every day. Between the 5 stars hotel (thanks to Meryam’s bank) and the dumpsters, a traveller’s life is full of surprises…
Moving on to Little River School, a democratic school in the North of the US. The school is located in an eco-village : here, people from all ages (from 2 to 63) live together in a democratic organisation with very little money by growing their food and sharing their resources.
Back to the city with Meryam and Noémie 🏙
New trash tour in the dumpsters with the freegans: we’ve got enough food for a week!
“Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class.”
Here are a few travel stories that happened during my hitchhiking trip from Montreal to New Orleans:
– In New York, a driver from the Bronx stops and asks me, in a weary voice: “Are you going to kill me?” (he’s about three times my size).
– In Massachusetts, two grannies full of tattoos tell me about their youth while insulting all the cars on the road.
– In New Jersey, a driver tries to convert Noémie and I to Christianity: “Do you believe in Jesus Christ? You have to.”
– In Virginia, a woman running for Congress for the democrat party tells me about her career and feminist and LGBTQ+ activism.
– In Vermont, a woman who is not going in my direction stops and asks me in an extremely anxious tone: “What’s your name?” “Hmm my name’s Lola.” “I’ll pray for you, Lola.” And she leaves. I am still confused about the relevance of this intervention.
– In Tennessee, a driver looking like he just got out of a rap video stops and asks me what I’m doing. “Ain’t you scared of me?” “No, should I?” He shrugs his shoulders, lets me in and tells me about his life as a drug dealer in the ghetto.
– A young student describes her experience of school in Alabama and tells me about the sex ed classes in high school that were only about… abstinence.
– In Massachusetts, Dominican delivery men teach me Latino songs and invite me over this summer.
– A driver from Mississipi tries to convert me to Christianity again. This shit is getting tiring.
– In Pennsylvania, a mother tells us about her wish to be young again and go back to the Burning man festival to take acid.
– In Louisiana, a former prisoner tells me about his experience in jail and his attempt to escape!
10 days ago, I left Acorn, an anarchist, feminist community in Virginia. A few people bought the land collectively 25 years ago, since then about 30 people (young, older people, families) have been living there, sharing what they have, cultivating the land, selling their products, taking decisions together and getting organised so that they don’t have to work outside.
An ecological, ethical and democratic lifestyle.
NEW LIFE GOAL: Open a school in an eco-community!
(The music is from my last couchsurfing place in Alabama, a musicians’ houseshare.)
Usual Sunday night in New Orleans!
Funny story of how I crossed the US customs last month:
A lovely old lady gives me a ride (she’s just going to the casino to play bingo on the other side of the border). The customs officer asks her who I am: “Oh, she’s just a hitchhiker.” “A WHAT? Okay, pull over please.”
Here we go for a half hour interrogation with random questions such as “what do my parents do?”, “do I own a house?”, “why do I have so little stuff?”, “Where is the rest of my belongings?” and a complete search of my backpack. When they let me go, still looking suspicious, my driver takes out a small pack out of her pocket: “Oopsie… I had weed in my pocket but they did not notice it, did they? Well thank you young lady!”
Moral of the story: to import drugs in the US, pick up hitchhikers at the border.
Apart from that, it’s the schools’ holiday and I’m going to concerts and learning paddle boarding!
Here is the Tree House where I am staying at the moment in New Orleans. A few years ago, three American guys bought the ruins of a house in a ghetto area that was destroyed by Katrina and turned it into an alternative co-op space. They live in the house, the furnished container and the caravan. Food comes entirely from the dumpsters and showers are taken outside under a tree. A few blocks away, you can find the (free) bicycle workshop where the locals take their bikes for fixing. And more importantly, great parties are organised here!
“In this city, people know how to celebrate life.”
(Music recorded during an impro session at the house)
Children from 1 to 7 years old go to The Patchwork School (US, Colorado). Instead of trying to prepare them for elementary school, the school is based on the notion of “emerging curriculum”: the environment and the events of the day become the source of spontaneous learning!
Just arrived to Mexico, feeling already kind of nostalgic to leave the US…
Here are my last American hitchhiking stories, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it:
– In Oklahoma, I get in a car with a couple. They start arguing because of me, the girl is mad: “Dude are you crazy, it’s dangerous to pick up people with what we’ve got in the car!” I feel like I just arrived in a Tarantino movie: I stare at them in astonishment while they talk about the drugs they’re transporting, worried that I might be a cop but literally yelling that they’re drug dealers. Surreal.
– I’m standing on the side of the road in Mississipi, a police car stops. A young officer asks for my passport. To my surprise, he smiles at me and ends up telling me: “It must be so cool to hitchhike, I wish I could try!”
– In New Mexico, I run into a truck driver who went to elementary school with Britney Spears: “She was bitchy and always seeking attention.”
– An old man in Kansas decides to explain to me “the truth about things”. I therefore learn that the Earth is flat and that the Greek gods (the ones from the mythology) really exist, science and
Christianity being a plot of Donald Trump and the media.
– In Colorado, I get in a car with a native American driver whose Indian name is “Invisible fire” and who is writing a book about the reservation where he grew up.
(Song from the video recorded in Alabama with a talented couchsurfer!)