How to live our passions in accordance with our deepest beliefs and values? How to participate, at our own level, in the creation of a more humane and united world?
These questions were the base of our project. We weren't satisfied with the life we were leading; we wanted greater freedom and less money-related stress. We noticed a multitude of initatives burgeoning in society.
We set out to meet those who had managed to find their equilibrium, those who proposed solutions, those who were helping to build a more harmonious society. We set off in search of another world.
The meeting with elf Pavlik (episode 1) had a huge impact. His message is particularly rich. It incited us to choose projects which touch us personally, subjects which make us think.
The realisation of each episode is a powerful moment which allows us to evolve and to adjust our way of looking at the world. And we still have plenty to learn...
The blue van was the first step in our quest. Living in a converted van, means fewer possessions and less expense, so greater freedom.
It's more than a means of transport, more than a home, more than an office : it's an open door to amazing encounters. It attracts the interest of the curious, the intrigued, who often direct us to the inspiring people living close to them.
Little by little, we have been initiated into the realm of do-it-yourself, repairs and decoration. With the help of advice from Juan Anton (episode 5) we have added plants, some housed in the spare third place in front and others on the ladder outside at the back. The nomadic vegetable garden being thought provoking, occasionally destabilises, always amuses.
Very soon after embarking on the road, we acquired the equipment necessary for projecting the episodes no matter where we are.
Whenever the opportunity arises, as soon as there is a suitable contact, we set up our screen and are ready for a film show. The episodes, short and to the point, open up discussions, raise questions and often lead to debates.Whether organised or spontaneous, the film shows give rhythm to our journey on the road.
Our encounters have enabled us to collect various materials and supports created by different projects. The magazines, books and DVDs are housed in the kiosque which accompanies us everywhere, allowing us to share these inspiring initiatives with those we meet on our journeying.
In parallel to our journeying in the converted van, the second objective of our quest was to experiment an economique model based on free participation: an open and collaborative functioning.
This model was, and is, experimental. There was nothing to prove it would work. It was our dream. We had the means to test it : we financed the investment with our savings and social benefits allowed us to feed ourselves and to put petrol in the van.
Naturally, the objective in the long term is to not be dependent on the state...
In the first year completely dedicated to Sideways, we had the pleasure of reporting that 50% of the budget had been financed by the ressources of the project itself. In the second year, this figure rose to 96%. It remained at this level in 2016. The objective is to reach 100% (or more) for 2017.
Concretely, we are full-time volunteers for the not-for-profit organisation A Contre Courant (translates as at cross currents) which supports the project Sideways. The latter receives the volontary contributions and pays the costs of the project : maintenance of the van, petrol, food, work equipment and materials etc.
We have made this economic model our own. It works because we don't feel the need for extras, we have no rent and no expenses. We are totally committed to this project which is both our passion and our way of life.
Transparence of the accounts is essential in order to know where the money goes, to understand the functionning and to have confidence and trust...
Thus, here you can find the entire accounts of the project. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
We talk alot about the van, but little about its inhabitants. We are Benoit and Hélène. The paths that have brought us to Sideways are different, but both are connected to a great journey.
Benoit's studies were in film making. Between his two year Master degree, he worked for a year in India for a local information NGO. He hitch-hiked back from Calcutta, a fantastic experience. He was no sooner back than he decided to set off on the road with one of his friends. This was how the Asian Projekt was born. For two years, Benoit and Louis made films in the villages of Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc.
On his return, Benoit passed several years making his own films, certain receiving subsidies. The traditional audiovisual system is a closed circuit network locked into a mercenary logic. After having spent two years researching the subject of his latest film, the production company abandonned the projet ...but retained all rights over the documentary.
Then the idea of an independent and positive project came to him.
Hélène has been passionate about photography since college. In parallel to her studies, she started working for a regional daily newspaper but the realities of the job didn't allow her to treat the subjects she was interested in.
In 2009 she set off for Nicaragua to do a photo report. On her return, her work was shown in twenty or so exhibitions and she also published a book. It was a superb experience which has given her the taste to continue on this path.
She finished her studies in Communication whilst working for two years promoting the photographs of a large Parisien press agency.
Then whilst preparing the next stage of her journey , she met Benoit and threw herself into the SideWays adventure.
You can contact us by email or complete this form.
Our email : info[at]side-ways.net
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Thank you and we'll be in touch soon.