Citizen of the World speaks from Experience.

Florian Goffin was born in Belgium and consider himself a world citizen. He is travelling the world by cycle to Central America for about 3 years to contribute in social/environmental projects and promote the societal changes to inspire people to make the world a better place.  Florian talks to Abhijit Ganguly about his travelling around the world on his bike.

When was the moment when you decided to change your life for good?

When I realized that I was not happy with that routine of life where I was a slave of a system that destroys us as human beings and destroy the nature we need to survive. That there were no reasons to be scared to listen my instinct to try to build my own project of life regarding my values.

What sparked your instincts for share by bike?

The wish to be free, live my life and follow my feelings rather than everybody else, the society, while doing something for others in the same time. Trying to experience everything I do… The main feeling is to live in Central America (Latin culture and tropical area) and build another life based on in-dependency and freedom of all ways for everyone, sharing and respecting nature and humans. I think living there, with all I will do and make my deeper feeling come true, will not push me to travel much more after, especially if I want to avoid taking planes. Also, I felt that I have to go to India and Canada before (2 big steps of the project, 6 months stay each).

My previous experiences of travelling in the usual way, by plane/car/walk, compare to my recent way to move only by cycle/train/car sharing in Belgium pushed me to do this project in a responsible/experiencing way. Bicycle reduces expenses and pollution, so more freedom and more respectful.

In Belgium, with the experience of organized/participated events in alternative initiatives (work to make things different/better) I realized that many people out of that other world under construction are, of course, asking for these things but don’t know where they are, where to look, where to start, … It was one of our task in the community that I was in Belgium (international community : “Transition network”), share, make awareness and bring the information to people to be able to make the first step if they want to.

So the sharing part, is quite the same, bring some of all the richness of the world that we don’t see if we don’t look after it… To most of the people I meet, the events I make, the interviews. The alternatives lived on my way or not, videos and websites from all over the world to help people to go further in their choices/actions. Plus, the travel by cycle (“slow travel”) and the beauty of the nature and humans around the world.

What's the most inspiring story you've discovered on your travels so far?

Everyone is inspiring with his own story but if I had to choose one, it would be “Project potential” in Bihar that is really close to my next project. A campus for youth to learn by experience and freedom how to build independence of life, sustainable development, etc.

What are the scariest experiences you've had?

Maybe few minutes a couple of time when I was camping, I heard wild elephants or some other unknown noises. I know I won’t have problems but too much television by the past make you think wrong sometimes… More experiences I have, less scared I am but I keep being careful and listen my instinct that know better what to do.

What has surprised you most about the trip?

The most amazing is the beauty of humanity that we don’t specially realize when we don’t travel and interact with locals, mostly because of the wrong ideas people shared in many places, so I listen my heart, not the wrong judgments.

Have you ever felt like giving up?

Yes of course I wonder sometime why I am doing this, and then I think about my freedom, the magic of life, the beauty of this journey with its all new experiences, all the things I can share with people. I have to do what I am doing the way I do it because I feel it to, an important journey to experience for me to go to the next step… Respecting the feelings coming from my inner self, have respect for others and nature as much as I can in my actions. If I don’t make it for me, nobody will and we live only once this human experience.

What is your advice for today’s youth who are aiming to embark on an adventure to promote a cause as you do?

What I say to everyone, no matter what they want to do, stop listening your fears and other people and start to listen to your heart/instinct that tries to tell you where to go in your life and never give up.

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