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justine jan
Justine Jan

Baroudeuse and writer

Solo travel as a way of life

My parents are travellers who have always loved the adventurous and the unexpected. When we went on trips as children, we didn't always know what was going to happen. We didn't stay in hotels but travelled in a Land Rover. In the summer months we travelled the roads of France and Spain.

That was the first contact I had with travel and with the discoveries made along the way. You meet new people. You eat unknown things. When you're young, you don't necessarily have the perspective on these things and you can be resistant.

In my third year of study, I went to Malaysia alone. I had always liked solo travel, but this time I was in the deep end! You are bound to meet people when you travel solo. This first international experience allowed me to discover things about myself, my abilities and the multiple opportunities that one can have abroad. It opened me up to the outside world. 

I am a fairly solitary person but I enjoy meeting people on my way and being able to exchange a few words.

These meetings allow me to enter their personal lives and get to know them. When you travel with several people, you don't get to meet the locals as much, because you are on your own. You don't necessarily want to reach out to others.

My parents insisted that I get a Master's degree. Even though it wasn't my goal, I'm glad I did it. I knew that I was not going to give up this passion for travel. I agreed to finish my studies knowing that I would go abroad again. I learned so much from my travels!

I'm glad I discovered solo travel. A lot of people have preconceived ideas about travelling alone, going to the restaurant, the cinema... They think: "oh poor girl, she has no friends". I see it more as a moment with oneself, as a pleasure that you give yourself. At the restaurant, I sometimes chat with the table next to me.

Getting into writing

I have always been a determined person. When I have an idea in my head related to writing or travelling, it can hardly be taken away from me. I couldn't imagine going on a trip without a notepad and a pen to take notes, even though I now work with a Dictaphone.

When I travel, I record everything that comes into my head. This allows me to capture the emotions of each experience. Writing has been a big part of my life for a long time.

I believe that every life has its share of interesting things. Sometimes a word can bring us a lot, or even change things in our life. Certain life experiences can also make us aware of how lucky we are in life. This awareness of being incredibly lucky has helped me a lot in my writing. For example, many people are not lucky enough to be able to study business and travel so much.

My father often advised me to write a book. I didn't feel like I had much to write about because a lot of other people travel too. I didn't have any particularly crazy stories to tell. But when I was told that my book was great, I realised that my stories were appealing.

It's no small thing to write a book and see it in print. I think: I did it! I think it's great to have my own book and to have it at La Galerne bookstore.

I thought it was crazy that I was contacted to be published! I have lots of book ideas in my head, especially novels. I love to tell stories.

Developing manual skills

My course at EM Normandie gave me a good grounding in business. I use this knowledge a lot in my books. Originally, marketing or management were not my passion, but they are now useful in my own business.

Many years ago, my father told me that to be successful in your business, you have to be able to do something with your hands. I think this idea has always stayed with me. I discovered the world of pastry and chocolate making. I learnt to appreciate great chocolates as one appreciates great wines, to discover the different flavour notes and the origins of great wines.

I have ideas of "travel" in my head but you never know what life will bring.

I had not planned to go into pastry or chocolate at all. It's all about adaptation. I'd love to be a chocolate traveller but at worst I'll be able to make great cakes for my guests!

I would love to be able to travel and become a chocolate traveller. I haven't seen many people doing that. I would also like to be able to write about this experience and develop this business. When I go abroad to discover the flavours used in different places, I can reuse them in my pastry. I love being able to discover new things when I travel!

My parents helped me a lot during my studies, especially when I was in Paris. Today, I want to be completely independent. I have always financed my travels alone by saving on my salaries and internship bonuses. Having a tidy life does not make me dream at all. Having a "home" is a temporary thing. I am not materialistic either and could sell all my things overnight.

I also like to go against what people say and not listen too much to their opinions. Some will try to discourage you, others will be jealous or not approve of your project. I try to keep things to myself and keep moving forward with my projects without relying or trusting others.

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