December 1, 2021

The wonderful encounters of Anne-Sophie Mauffré

"As a child, I had a turtle friend, I was told that on an island - the Galapagos - they lived in the hundreds and very old (older than my great-grandmother), and I thought that when I grew up I would live there. " That's where dreams start. That of Anne-Sophie Mauffré consisted in going to see these famous turtles. Her trip took the form of a world tour that she recounts in a travelogue entitled Recontres.

She gives herself to it with so much authenticity that one has the impression of knowing it for a long time. The familiarity is immediate when it is joined to a terrace of sunny coffee on a beautiful summer morning. Very endearing, she speaks spontaneously. Nearly three years after her world tour, she is able to recall the smallest details of her adventure. "I left just after the attacks of September 11, 2001. My grandmother, whom I was very close to, passed away and the Galapagos suffered an ecological disaster, my dream caught up with me and I felt like an emergency. In one week, I had a sabbatical year with my employer and borrowed 15,000 euros from my bank to leave ... I who had almost never traveled from my home life."

The chance of meetings

A.S. Mauffré - DR
"I did not plan anything, I wanted to be free to travel." She chooses to leave by train from the Gare de l'Est: "That's where I left to go see my grandmother". She embarks with a ticket to Turkey, his credit card and passport. Aim of this first step: to find three children met while she was "helping" after the earthquake in the Izmit region in 1999. As much as searching for a needle in a haystack. She travels through Europe for three days during which she has the time to dream, to watch, to see the landscapes and faces change ... an introduction to trip in short.

Once there, little miracle: Anne-Sophie manages to find these children and their families. Unspeakable memory that still gives him goose bumps just to evoke. "It was a huge emotion when they realized that I had traveled three days to find them.What I remember from this is that when you believe it, you get there. encounters when you are totally naked. "

A trip initiatory

A.S. Mauffré - DR
The following leads her to Iran, Nepal, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Chile and Easter Island, Bolivia and Peru. A trip a year, pretext to discover the world but especially to discover oneself. The story of Anne-Sohie skilfully mixes social observation (poverty, the place of women in certain societies, corruption ...), ecological and personal quest. She explains how difficult it is to be a tourist while she wants to be a nomad. "My definition of trip : to be nowhere and not just happen somewhere. "We understand that this trip was also initiatory. She experienced pure emotions and was totally transported by them.

But the road had to stop one day after a final symbolic stage in the Galapagos: just to close the loop and keep its promise.

Drop everything to live his life

How do we come back from such trip ? "I've changed a lot, I've put limits on my surroundings - something I did not do before - and refocused my life on the essential. "She continues:" To live with love and fresh water for a year has given me confidence in man. I developed an aptitude for happiness and an intolerance in the face of frustrating situations. "

As soon as she returns to Paris, she is reintegrated thanks to her work. "I resumed my life no problem but after a year it scared me. I had all dumped - career, family, friends - to live my life. I did not do it for nothing! "Especially since the desire to become a photographer devours her, she leaves her job and arouses the misunderstanding of those around her." I had the impression that people did not understand not that I made this choice to be happy and free. "

A.S. Mauffré - DR
She goes around the agencies with the pictures she took during her trip. And clashes with their rejection coupled with a certain cynicism - which is interested in the life of these populations on the other side of the globe? The disillusion is terrible but Anne-Sophie can not stop there.She wants to pay homage to all those she met who gave her so much. "I owed it to them, they had welcomed me to their homes, it was my turn to make them a place in my country, I changed thanks to them: they opened me to the life. I could not give them up. "She then works on writing her story, thanks to the little notebooks she has blackened for a year, which she illustrates with her own photos and decides to publish the book at her own expense. self publishing, a crazy bet that allows us today to deliver this slice of life extraordinary.

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