My story

My story begins with that of my parents, who were travelers themselves. The original family trip dates back 7 decades…

Before I was born

In 1951, my mother set off for Tahiti. This was the family’s original journey. The first to become part of our collective imagination!

At the end of the 50s, she became a flight attendant with Air Algérie. She flew on DC3, Constellation and the first Caravelles. She was based in Algiers during the country’s struggle for independence. Air transport still had a whiff of adventure about it, and onlookers flocked to the terraces at Orly airport to watch the planes take off.

My father was also a parachutist! One evening, in the Toulouse airport parking lot, he asked my mother to marry him.

So, from the very beginning, flying, nomadism and travel were part of our family heritage.

The ’60s

I was born in Strasbourg. There, storks – migratory birds between Africa and Europe – bring the babies! I like this legend J

Then I moved house after house. By the age of 12, I’d already moved home ten times to follow my father’s engineering projects around France. It’s said that I was always at peace during our drives on French roads in my father’s Peugeot 404!

I remember, with great detail and emotion, my first flight on an Air France caravel at the age of four. Our family traveled up from Marseille, where we lived, to introduce my newborn sister to my grandparents in Paris.

And like many children of my generation, I played with a remote-controlled Concorde and electric trains. ” Je m’voyais déjà “, or “I could already see myself.” as Aznavour sang!

The ’70s

After a brief stay of a few months in Belgium, we moved to Algeria, to Skikda to be precise. My father had promoted this trip to us, his two children, as something exceptional that we were going to experience. So it was that my sister and I, in a state of overexcitement, made our way to Paris Orly airport to board a flight to Annaba. The captain was a former colleague of my mother. As an 8-year-old boy, I found myself on his knees operating the Caravelle’s broomstick, and my vocation was born! I wanted to be a pilot!

In Skikda, we lived near an airport that had just been abandoned. I could also ride my bike on the airstrip. But in my head, I was flying! Although my parents had given me limits that I shouldn’t cross, I soon set off to discover the cork oak forests that stretched into the distance. For the vacation, we were going to visit the country. My discovery of the desert at Touggourt remains one of my highlights. The urge to explore planet Earth was already there. I used to spend hours deciphering the Air France timetable.

Then we were back to France, in the Paris region. My father changed jobs to head up the works department at his company’s head office. As his job sites were located all over the world, he traveled a lot. Each of his arrivals was a celebration, with the many anecdotes he would tell us about his travels. There was also the wait during his absences, as means of communication were very limited: no internet and no mobile phone!

During the 70s I also stayed with families in Great Britain and the United States. Learning English and a different way of life.

In 1979, my father was transferred to Aqaba in Jordan for three years. My sister and I had stayed in France for our studies and we went there for vacations. Discoveries included the Wadi Rum desert and the Nabataean city of Petra.

The ’80s

It was the decade of my university studies and my entry into working life.

By an extraordinary stroke of luck, I landed a job as a sleeping car attendant. Almost every weekend, I worked on night trains to Copenhagen, Rome, Bourg Saint Maurice in the French Alps, Nice or Madrid. In addition to discovering cities in Europe, this enabled me to meet many new people, both customers and colleagues. It was a wonderful human adventure that left a lasting impression on me, perhaps even more than my studies!

During the vacations, I accompanied groups for the travel agency “Nouvelles Frontières” to Egypt, then to Yemen, Kenya, Tanzania, and Greece. Confronted with demanding customers, the experience was sometimes difficult for a 20-year-old novice, but it immediately got me into the swing of long-distance travel.

Finally, the last year of my studies was spent in the United States, in Philadelphia to be precise. A new expatriation, but this time without my parents!

My childhood dream should have been to become a pilot or steward. A hearing disability prevented me from doing so. But thanks to my business-oriented university education and my tenacity, an airline hired me as a marketing executive. And not just any company but UTA French Airlines! UTA French Airlines had just 11 aircraft but flew to Africa, Asia and Oceania. Dream destinations.

In September 1986, I started at UTA’s cargo department. My first assignment was to conduct market research in New Caledonia, on the other side of the world from France! My eyes were full of stars.

At the age of 22, my sister took a year-long voyage of initiation to Asia. In May ’89, we met in Tiananmen Square and witnessed a major event in China’s history.

The 90s and 2000s

These two decades are similar. In my thirties, then in my forties, these were the years of my professional life in its maturity. I held several marketing positions in both cargo and passenger operations. I was lucky enough to go on many duty trips around the world. I also made the most of the travel benefits offered by Air France, which had become my new employer by taking over UTA, to discover our beautiful planet in my spare time.

My father died in 1993, a little too soon, at the age of 62. A landmark event since I was only 31.

In 1995, I met Jean-Philippe, my future husband. As passionate about travel as I am, we’ve done some extraordinary things, like crossing Siberia by train, hiking in the Andes, cruising on a schooner in Indonesia, or flying on Concorde!

My sister started as a freelance photographer. From her travel photos, she creates imaginary landscapes, the fruit of her observation of the world’s evolution.

The 2010s

The last part of my airline career. In the end, professional life is just a journey. We arrive at our destination a little too quickly!

Two expatriations marked this decade.

The first in Sweden for Air France and KLM. I fell in love with Stockholm at first sight, which became my favorite city along with Paris.

Then came Amsterdam, where I stayed for five years as Brand & Communications Director for SkyTeam. A final, exciting position in which I had been exposed to many different cultures, thanks to the 19 member airlines of the alliance. My role was mainly to reach a consensus between people as different as the Saudis, Argentinians, Russians, Chinese, Americans, Dutch, Kenyans, and French!

The 2020s and beyond!

It started with a big change, as after 34 years of air transport I left Air France and SkyTeam. This departure coincided with the arrival of COVID-19 and a crisis of unprecedented scale and violence for the transport and tourism industries.

In search of new professional opportunities, I created this travel blog. It’s an adventure in the making, with pages yet to be written. And I’m still traveling but in a changing context.

The decade ahead will certainly be very different from those I’ve already experienced, but it promises to be just as rich! There is growing talk of reviving night trains in Europe. The means of transport that accompanied my youth is back in fashion. An encouraging sign for the senior citizen I have become!