Solenn, 21 has come to Brighton visiting a friend over Christmas. She comes from a town in the south of France called Toulouse. She goes to university there, studying sociology and anthropology which she passionately enjoys to learn about as she finds it opens her mind to the different structures of life and cultures across the globe and across time. Solenn hopes to one day, travel as a reporter, meeting all varieties of people to write and learn about. She finds the contrast of different societies in different cultures utterly bewildering. The diversity and different ethnicities of the world are beautiful to learn in depth about. “You need to be able to be conscience that what is normal in the society isn’t necessarily normal. For example, someone who hears voices in our society would end up being called crazy and put in a psych ward, somewhere else in the world, they could be a shaman!”
Solenn also has a little dog called Ginni who she loves with all her heart! Ginni is a Maltese, little white fluffy dog who accompanies Solenn wherever she goes. She has a special love for cushions which she enjoys sandwiching herself in. She’s cuddly, adorable and she is very much aware that she is cute enough to get away with anything, especially stealing your food !
She also takes part of an association Amap called ‘Eco solidaire’ which means she works with local farmers to reduce the pollution caused by transporting vegetables through mondialisation. This association has the specific purpose of designating university students to take part, to encourage them to eat organic and seasonal vegetables for a healthier lifestyle.
“The most amazing thing that I’ve ever done was going backpacking, hitching and couch surfing through France, Germany, Austria and Italy with my lovely friend this summer!” I wanted to know what she had found so enriching about the experience. “I discovered that the world isn’t as awful as the news and media want us to believe, that we don’t have to be afraid to leave our home, that theres so much to see out there and so many inspiring people to meet. And that you CAN travel pennyless!”
Wouldn’t you have preferred your trip if you had prepared a proper budget? “Not taking money with me meant that I got to see the world from a completely different angle, I was able to put myself in a discomfort that meant that everything offered to me was a glorious present, I appreciated everything that happened so much more than I would have if I’d planned the trip with a real budget. It has taught me a lot of the value of money. I believe now that it is isolating in many ways, to travel with money. You have your tickets on your plane, train or whatever, then you go to your hotels and you stay in your safe little bubble. I didn’t have a choice, either I met people, or I didn’t have anywhere to sleep or shower or whatever so.. I can’t tell you how great it is to build up your confidence to go up to so many strangers and have them all be wonderful and share your journeys of how you got where you are. The traveling community is so beautiful.”
Hitchhiking, Solenn travelled with a colourfully painted card board cut of a phrase “Say YES to life!” Encouraging passers by to not be afraid to have a new experience, and to share their car with her and her friend. “People are so manipulated by the media, we were two young little girls, what was scary about us?”
What have you enjoyed about coming to Brighton? “People are so smily and welcoming its so warm and genuine, I love it ! The lanes are so colourful, the little boutiques are quaint and completely unique. I love the thrift shops! The style of every different individual here is so creative, colourful and original and makes me feel like I want to add some more colours to my wardrobe! And I love the parks too!”
“Brighton is magical at Christmas!”