Yann and Anaïs (Le Portoloin)

Today's Explorers

Yann and Anaïs (Le Portoloin)

November 30, 2023
min read
Charles Forman

Where are you from?

France, Marseille, Touloun

When did you start your interest in exploration?

We started in 2017 (Yann) and 2018 (Anaïs)

What is a brief understanding of your background story up until you started seeking adventure?

We both met in 2017 when we joined the Air Force, before that we used to live the "southern style life", giving too much interest in our possessions and finally live to have more than having to live.

What special skills do you have to help with your explorations?

I (Yann) am a pilot so I can cope easily with the navigation, I also have mechanical skills (I perform all the maintenance on the 4x4's) and finally being in the military gave both of us the opportunity to perform survival training that helped in every trip.

Where have you explored so far?

French and Spanish Pyrénées, Basque Country, Charente, Auvergne, Landes, Var. Mainly we discovered beautiful places in France to understand our taste of exploration, and also because before going elsewhere to discover, we'd like to discover our country!

What is a brief understanding of your adventures so far?

Our main goal is to isolate ourselves from the world, being on an adventure means that we have this natural rhythm, we don't suffer the social pressure of a timetable. We listen to what we need, not what the social pressure forces us to do, to have... An adventure means a break from the "classic" and socially "normal" lifestyle we can't abandon, but we can forget about sometimes.

What are the top three destinations you hope to explore next, and why?

A Scandinavian tour: we'd like to discover how the people there adapted to such a cold climate, it's a whole other culture not that far from us and so different at the same time.

Canada : I lived there and just "explored" Toronto, an off-road trip across the country. We think Canada is so interesting because you can cross big cities, big fields, areas, then be in a gigantic forest and finally discover gigantic mountains and lakes.

Africa: More precisely I'd like to visit from Kenya to South Africa, we are not sure of any itinerary at the time but the goal of the trip would be to see those wig natural areas and discover the most difficult roads in the world.

Where would you recommend others visit?

Come to France, we have a lot of things to discover: beautiful mountains, 3 hours drive far from the mediterranean sea where you can visit "les calanques" close to Marseille... We, with a touch of Jingoism, think that France is the most beautiful country in the world!

How do you primarily travel on your adventures today?

We used to have a Land Rover Defender 110 from 1998 with a 270 awning, folding shower cabin, WC, a diesel heater (we like cold countries...)... but we just sold it and bought a Land Rover Discovery 3 from 2007 in which we built a camping box and we are building a whole new camper based on a 1978 Land Rover FC101 that used to be an ambulance. The work is still in progress !

What are five pieces of equipment that you always travel with?

A knife, an axe, tactical boots, rope, and a source of energy (tinder lighter)

What inspires you to explore more?

The other cultures, to adapt to the local lifestyle and the taste of this "controlled" recklessness. Face the unknown but with all the tools to avoid the adventure to go mayhem. We also love the fact that nothing happens the way it was originally supposed to be, giving us the opportunity to always adapt, improve and overcome the situation !

How do you engage with others?

We force ourselves to go talk to local people so we can break this barrier and we also like to share moments and tips on social networks or on the road with other explorers too, we think we're supposed to always help each other. We learnt that a helping hand can be the beginning of great friendships!

Why is it important to embrace global cultures?

I think it's important because it's a great way to understand the complexity of the world, we're not alone. Our culture is not the only one and sometimes discovering other cultures can even help you rediscover and understand your own culture.

What are your goals when you explore?

The first goal would be to forget our regular and boring lives during the exploration, the second one is to live clearly like the locals. We want a 4k experience, with all the pros and all the cons of the place we're in!

What are some challenges you have experienced?

The first off-road experiences were funny and also very challenging, you don't really know the limits of the vehicle, this is also narrowing your own limits and it can result in "we won't do it" situations. And the main challenges we faced was the organisation challenge. We used to go reckless into our adventures, this resulted in a night in the snowy mountains in the middle of winter without the sleeping bags... and just without anything to keep us warm. After this we decided to use check-lists as I use in aircrafts!

What has been your most meaningful moment so far?

Our first awakening in the mountains (and the very first with our Defender), opening the gullwing and admiring the marvellous panorama, being still in the bed (freezing...) was the moment we knew exploring was the good thing for us.

How has exploration changed you?

It changed the way we live in general. We got rid of our useless possessions, we live a simpler but happier life every day thanks to that. We learnt, thanks to the constraints in a bivvy, how to manage ourselves, our energy, our water. In general the adventures showed us that life is easy when you get all you need, and that all you need is not as much as you'd like to believe ! Less is really more.

What is the number one lesson that you have learnt through your exploration?

Adaptivity. It's like the main theme in our jobs, but exploration made us even more versatile at work.

How do you explore locally?

We try unknown roads and hope that something nice will be in the woods, in the mountains, close to the water... We rent a house but spend half the week sleeping somewhere near our house just so we get to learn to know our region even better. It usually leads to nice surprises and allows us to have a variety of spots for our nomad friends when they come to visit!

What does the explmore mantra mean to you?

Explore more everywhere. We waited a long time before filling this form because it's meaningful, as the mantra is. In general you want to explore more of your limits, other people, other cultures, other places... Explmore is universal.

What advice would you give to others who are seeking life changing adventure?

If you think about it, just do it ! Life will never be perfect, but going on an adventure will certainly make it better.

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