Homeless travellers or travelling homeless

by tkos on August 14, 2012

Post image for Homeless travellers or travelling homeless

Determined to find somewhere to wild camp, we realise that we are either going to have to go inland for quite a while, and frankly that means going the wrong way and up hills, or we are going to have to be a little more brazen as to where we camp.

It’s starting to get dark and we find a beautiful park overlooking the sea, somewhere between Canne and St Tropez. There are a group of people enjoying some wine and playing (the French game where you throw the ball) and it looks like there are some other cyclists. There is nothing discreet about it. It is totally open to the road. It is complete ¬†and utter vulnerability. We approach the other cyclists who appear to be ‘well seasoned’, for lack of a better word, and have a lot of possessions, including three dogs. Bit odd, I thought. Turns out that they’re more homeless than cyclists, but right now, we are pretty similar people.

Through broken communication, they suggest we stay in the park if we’re only there one night. They advise we pitch tent late in the dark and get up early in the morning to avoid the authorities. The view was amazing. The space was abundant and there was a nearby toilet block that had paper. Whilst cooking dinner, one of the men came over and offered us a loaf of bread. We were so touched. He even said that this style of bread was good for a few days. He must know this because it seemed like it was at least a week old already, but that’s not the point. We graciously accept and spend a moment thinking about how we ended up on the opposite side of a charitable donation from a homeless man.

the shoreline of the south French coast

We eat dinner and then open a packet of chocolate biscuits. We really should give them to our new found friends. They look absolutely delicious. They are such a treat and I could not imagine the last time these guys have had such an indulgence. The packet sits on the table between me and Kimmi as we decide what the right thing to do is. Actually, we know what the right thing to do is, but we have to decide what we are going to do. I decide that as we are the charity, we should go and offer our friends a biscuit before they go to bed. It is the right thing. The humble thing. I go over and hold the pack like a tray. As he sees me approach, he realises what’s in my hand. His face lights up. It must have been like Christmas for him. Such a joy. Such rich chocolate biscuits to take him back to his childhood. Such memories. I hold the tray of treats open for his choosing and beam proudly at my generosity. Our first kind act to a random stranger. And then, the homeless man goes to take the whole tray! “Just one!” blurts out of my mouth uncontrollably.

The moment of sheer awkwardness and embarrassment lingers in the air. I think we need to work on the charity side of our trip a little more.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: