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Across the border #1

From the Buurtbrief December 2023, by Hilde

W1555 resident Hilde wanted to explore what it is like to live as a troubadour. Since a guitar was too big to walk with in the woods, she bought a ukulele and traveled to Belgium and France.

When: a few weeks in June and August 

Where: Belgian Ardennes and High Vosges in France

Slept in: my little tent, in the wild or at camping sites

Transportation: hitchhiking and by bus

Who is Hilde: a jack-of-all-trades, interested in nature, agriculture, music, climate activism, peace activism, sustainability

What was life like as a troubadour? 

I really enjoyed being in nature so much and having to survive. It was also fun to sing in villages and towns. Most people became happy with my music and story. While traveling in Belgium, I earned more than I spent. Traveling as a troubadour did a lot to my status: some saw me as an unemployed or tramp; others saw me as an adventurer or heroine.

What was it like to travel alone?

Traveling alone with my little tent gave me extreme freedom. Delightful! At the same time, I was solely responsible for the consequences of my choices. If I ate or drank too much, my reserves ran out too quickly which could be dangerous. But if I took too much, my bag became even heavier. I could give many more examples like that. I couldn't shift responsibility to anyone. That made life very clear.

"Some saw me as a tramp, others as an adventurer”

- Hilde

What place have you visited that you can recommend to everyone?

The forest. I like the forest very much. I had a lot of time to reflect on freedom, money, identity, status and being fearless.

Do you have a funny anecdote?

I had many beautiful encounters with people but also with animals! I saw martens, a fox, chamois in the fog 7 meters away... One day I went to rest at the edge of a large meadow. Across the way, I saw two deer. I observed them for three quarters of an hour. At first I hid because I didn't want them to discover me. But after a while I realized that they had long noticed me but they knew: that woman is not dangerous to us. The performance in front of the village school was also great!

Was your research succesful?

Definitely! I now know that I can do this and like it very much. It was a mixture of being a traveler, musician, nature lover, journalist, game picker, philosopher.... It made me very happy!!!

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