... So, there I was, nerves completely wrecked, stepping on the gas pedal, almost running away from Monaco where "my" mother probably wanted to suck me back into her womb under the pretense of motherly care and love, but really because of (the lack of) her own safety - to insure herself against the possible loss of (false / illusory / apparent) security.

At this point I should repeat that a man, a Being, can't possess objects, neither people nor other living beings. If you are wondering why is that, there is an answer: If God created everything, then everything is God's or Godly. Therefore, using the pronoun „mine”: "my son", "my daughter", "my mom", "my dad" ... - all of these phrases are unrealistic and can only serve us to the extent that we understand each other with better ease, but we should never take them verbatim. As for the notion of security - I dare to write that security and the effort to "insure" are the source of many manifesting evils. We insure ourselves and seek security because of a feeling of fear, and at the same time we avoid facing that fear and overcoming it / getting rid of it. However, security does not exist in this dimension! The dimension we live in is a dimension where any form of security is completely false and illusory!

Let's take a stonewall house as an example, a house that is seemingly solid and stable. While the notion of a solid house creates a sense of security in our mind and in our hearts because it protects us from rain, snow, cold or heat, let's say an earthquake occurs and our house collapses on our head and kills our Body... That is also an example of transience – nothing lasts forever! Everything is transient in this dimension!

I have already explained this in my previous travelogues, videos, publications and artistic interventions. You can follow my work on my social media profiles... (I am calling my work "Mine" for the sake of easier and better understanding!) Now let's return to France...

The plan was to visit Marseille. I was drawn there by desire and intuition, but I changed my mind at the last moment and headed for Montpellier. I travelled only using side roads throughout the whole so-called Azure coast, that is not azure at all. The Azure Coast is grey, paved in concrete and overbuilt with countless cars and motor vehicles, creeping ever so slowly on the roads, creating a constant traffic jam. The French Riviera has many detours, it has three and four track roads, but it doesn't have a cure for greed!

The cartoon „La Linea” always fascinated me as a child, so I really had to record this motif from the streets of Montpellier!
The cartoon „La Linea” always fascinated me as a child, so I really had to record this motif from the streets of Montpellier!

Even so, I have to admit that in each of the places I passed along the Cote d’Azur there was still a lot of carefully nurtured and preserved green gardens.

After passing Cannes, I began to climb a hilly, winding serpentine that ran through a cork oak forest. I was enchanted! It was the first time in my life that I’ve seen such a large cork oak forest. I remember that I always admired these trees in the parks of Opatija and Lovran as a child, because they are quite rare in Liburnia. A couple of years ago, I discovered a cork oak forest just outside Pula and I remember the enthusiasm that filled me upon that discovery. I also picked some chanterelle mushrooms in that grove!

The traffic on the road became sparse, and I could enjoy the view of a few villages on the surrounding hills that fit perfectly into the landscape. I drove towards Frejus where I got lost for the first time, but somehow I managed to guess the direction and continued towards the destination. I got lost a few more times that day because I had a Croatian SIM card that sucked up all my money in Monaco because Monaco isn't a part of the European Union. Before I left Monaco, I made a "prehistoric GPS", as I like to call it.

prehistoric GPS
prehistoric GPS

I consulted Google Maps and wrote down the larger places on the way from Monaco to Montpellier on a piece of paper, then followed the road signs, but I have to admit that in Provence the traffic signs weren't very good, and the traffic was often diverted due to roadworks. I had to take breaks to ask the locals for directions or at least to confirm that I was on the right track.

But, in fact, we are always on the right track - even when we feel like we are going the wrong way! The whole process of finding the right path is actually much more significant and important than the goal itself, because of the obstacles that teach us much more by overcoming them, than what we would have learned just by smooth sailing.

Provence was beautiful, I found it to be similar to Istria or to the island of Brač or Korčula, but mostly to Istria. The ratio between the urban and the rural was optimal. The forests weren't cut down, they were preserved, overgrown with vineyards, olive groves and orchards. The towns and villages were moderately large and solid, with minimal littering; there weren't any garbage bags piled up or scattered on the streets.

Although I only knew a few words of French, and the French didn’t really speak any English, somehow we always managed to understand each other and they helped me a lot to find my way to the right track.

What accompanied me mostly on that long part of the journey was the feeling of transience and being alone. Not loneliness, but the feeling of being alone. The feeling of transience was much stronger and more intense than anything else. I also became extremely aware of my own "inferiority" or "smallness" and remembered the good old poem by Antun Branko Šimić: „Be careful not to go, small as thou are, under the stars." Transience manifested itself as the temporariness of time, the ephemerality of space, the impermanence of the body, all together while landscapes, vehicles, towns and villages passed me by, mountains and fields passed me by, all the kilometres of roads passed me by - my Twingo and I devoured the asphalt!

That evening I booked an accommodation in a prefabricated hotel in the suburbs of Montpellier, more precisely in Maugui, next to the airport. It was called Fasthotel. I couldn’t remember until what time I could check-in and it bothered me. I was afraid that my reservation would fail and then I would have nowhere to sleep. But I acknowledged that my stupid little fear of losing the 10 € that I paid for the reservation was an unfounded product of the mind, that creates mental images that can be so easily eliminated and driven away with regular practice. I was upset by the fact that I could not stay calm and composed, and that I had lost my cool and yelled at my mother because she did not believe in me.

I finally managed to get to Montpellier. It was already around 8 p.m. It was night. I stopped at the parking lot in front of a McDonalds and asked a family dining there where my hotel was. Their son found it on his real, modern GPS, so they directed me to the highway / detour where I got lost, where I got pissed off, and I lost all hope on humanity and wished plague upon the French. I stopped at a resort and asked a young French guy for directions. He sent me back to where I came from. I had to pay for both directions of the detour, of course - fucking capitalism! But then when I had already cursed all the French people, I found myself at a gas station where I asked a young French guy refueling his car to show me the way. This young man turned out to be my guardian angel because he offered to show me the way. Thus he broke all my prejudices about French people and confirmed my everlasting belief that there are idiots everywhere, but that there are good people as well!

There is always golden wheat among the weeds!

And so my Twingo and I escorted the Frenchman to my hotel. I wanted to invite him over for a beer, but he didn't have the time, so I gave him one of those chocolates that "my" mother had supplied me with.

Thus finally ended my 11-hour agony of travelling from Monaco to Montpellier!

Before I got to Montpellier, one of those times I got lost, I stopped at a resort. Night has already fallen. In fact, I don't know where or when it happened exactly because my memory was all mixed up with pain, fatigue, stress and nervousness. At that rest stop, I met a truck driver who didn't speak any English and very little French, so in an attempt to establish communication one of us uttered a few Slavic words and then we were delighted to find out we could converse in Russian as if we had known each other for 100 years - just as warmly and fraternally as our Slavic tradition dictates! And, naturally, we addressed each other with “brother”! And what a difference it made! Little events like this can completely shatter all the negativity that had accumulated in me, and he laughed with such sincere joy as well, glad that he was able to help me. I’m just sorry we didn’t have the time to grab a beer together!

There was a very sweet, somewhat plump Pakistani man working at the reception of Fashotel. He had an extremely polite way of letting me know that my reservation had not failed and offered me a shot of whiskey. Since I'd never been a fan of that drink, I refused at first. I settled into my room, took a shower and then went back to give the whiskey a try. I rolled a cigarette with some homegrown tobacco from my homeland – the sort of tobacco grown by families in Slavonia, Podravina and Herzegovina, to be sold illegally all over the country. I prefer that breed of tobacco to any other! Not just because of the taste and smell - but also because it is illegal and underground! Whiskey never tasted better, and the Pakistani man didn’t even charge me for it! What a wonderful gesture! I was starting to like France more and more now!

I locked myself in the room, set the cameras in different corners of the room, made dinner and recorded video monologues that you will surely be able to watch on my YouTube channel and other web profiles ... I am editing them as we speak, as I intend to turn them into a documentary art film.

Along the way, I continued to "argue" with my mother on the phone because she didn't understand what I was talking about or maybe she just refused to understand. Or maybe she did understand, but she didn't care at all about my thoughts or feelings regarding her actions. The most important thing for her was to feed her fears and feel a false feeling of safety, which was probably as important to her as getting to Morocco at any cost was important to me, no matter what anyone thought about it?!

That evening I talked to Deki from Hum, the smallest town in the world. Deki is an incredible person who took us in as guests in 2016/2017. during our "Eco-art caravan around Učka" where we decided to turn Rockwool into Hempwool - as a culmination of the development all the villages and towns of Ćepić field! He calmed the turmoil of my emotions sharing stories of similar traveling experiences from his youth.

I decided to stay in Montpellier for a while and take a break from the family and travel trauma, but I spent most of my time in my hotel room. I kept imagining erotic scenarios taking place in the same hotel room, because apart from the Pakistani man, there were some fine ladies working there ... But to my and to your regret, the scenarios didn't come true - because I would be writing about them right now!

I liked this plant planted in a hole in the concrete a lot - from my romantic point of view, this seems like an action of civil disobedience, someone planting this little tree on their own volition! Wonderful! I’ll do the same thing soon in my street, only I’ll be planting chestnuts!
I liked this plant planted in a hole in the concrete a lot - from my romantic point of view, this seems like an action of civil disobedience, someone planting this little tree on their own volition! Wonderful! I’ll do the same thing soon in my street, only I’ll be planting chestnuts!

The wildest thing was that, just that first night, a couple was making love passionately in a room next to mine or above mine. Their passion could be heard clearly in my room; it was almost as if they were in bed with me - because that plastic hotel had very thin walls. And so I fell asleep surrounded with a symphony of aroused female sighs, but without even smelling a woman, let alone touching her. It happened so close, yet so far away, that it still created a sense of comfort in me despite my loneliness and unfulfilled desires.

In the morning, I went for breakfast which cost 5 € or so, and I ate really well. Breakfast consisted of 3-4 types of food, coffee and tea, and of course, as a true Balkan man, I filled my pockets with food for later! Just kidding, but every joke has seriousness in it and every serious statement has a little humor in it! It's always like that with opposites and amplitudes! I didn't really fill my pockets, but I definitely took a muffin for later because they were really delicious, or maybe 2... I don't remember...

Anyway, that day I got the logo of my bronze sponsor in my e-mail so I was looking for a place that could print stickers to stick on my Twingo. As it usually happens, God immediately sends me solutions to all my doubts and needs: I found a huge printing lab just a block away from my hotel! I immediately transferred the graphic design of the logo on my USB stick and headed to the printing lab. I brought a camera and my emo-new-age canvas bag that I usually wear, filled with all the necessary and unnecessary things meant to make me feel like a real emancipated man or a warrior of the Light in full armor.

On that short route, I observed that particular French suburb of Montpellier, a semi-industrial-semi-rural zone built of giant warehouses — companies fenced with high fences, surrounded with sliding ramps and sliding gates. It was a flat plateau in the past where fields and orchards grew, and in some parts of it you could still see a few small olive groves and newly planted orchards, maybe owned by a person who did not want to sell the land to the Man and continued to defy the big players. This is just a guess and it sounds romantic in my mind. There were some construction workers nearby, still building something, among all the concrete, as I passed under the pines and almonds full of fruits. Those beautiful trees scattered their fruit on the grey asphalt for me to pick. I just have to tell you that people don't harvest fruit trees in France either! The French "don't have the time" to harvest their fruit trees because they have to work for the owner of a company in a semi-slaving relationship, after which they don't really have the strength to go to their orchard and pick their food. It’s easier for them to go to a huge shopping mall and buy peeled almonds and pine nuts there, rather than picking their own and crushing them when they feel like it! But well, what can you do! Supply creates demand and vice versa! Just watch out, supposedly God condemned laziness as a mortal sin. How stupid must a man be to allow the fruit from his trees to go to waste and to buy unripe, sprayed, and perhaps GMO fruit from shopping malls ?!

The construction workers were digging, leveling and paving a part of the road nearby. What caught my eye at that very moment was that a worker was leveling the road with a construction machine pounding on the ground - that's where I saw how much more advanced the French are compared to us Croats and / or people from the Balkans. In Croatia, our construction workers have to hold a machine like this one with their bare hands and suffer the effects of the vibrations with their whole body. This unnatural vibration shakes their whole body, but mostly their joints and bones. In France, a builder doesn't use his hands to hold the machine! He walks a meter or two behind the machine, controlling the machine with a remote control. That way, the worker doesn’t get hurt at all by the awful, heavy vibrations, and the work gets done all the same! So the French have brought some segments of construction work to such a level that a worker can feel like he is sitting in an office and getting the work done just by pushing buttons! He didn't even break a sweat, yet he leveled the whole road "by hand"!

Montpellier is full of artistic-activist interventions - this one especially caught my eye because the trumpet player is giving out hearts as a gift, and they blend with architecture and with nature alike. The nature is a part of architecture so they coexist perfectly together!
Montpellier is full of artistic-activist interventions - this one especially caught my eye because the trumpet player is giving out hearts as a gift, and they blend with architecture and with nature alike. The nature is a part of architecture so they coexist perfectly together!

I finally got to the printing lab, only 200-300 meters from my hotel. That lab blew my mind! It was a huge plant where everything and anything was printed, of every size possible and on every material imaginable! And here I came with a USB stick and the desire to print only 20 stickers of my sponsor so that I can stick them all over the place and on my faithful Twingo. There was a nice French woman who was a top expert of her job and spoke English as well. I spent maybe 10 minutes with her in front of the computer in her office, and our interaction was so pleasant and fluid, professional, and yet somehow natural and friendly. After the consultation, she sent out the printing materials and we walked together to the cash register, where I slipped my card and paid a small bill of about 15 €. The next day in the morning I picked up the stickers and glued them happily in the following days...

There was another event with the same graphic editor: I had forgotten my green notebook in her office. The same notebook I write these travelogues in, so it was important to me. Before I went back to pick it up, I packed a small gift for that hardworking girl in my hotel room. I packed her some Croatian garlic from my garden in Opatija. It wasn't just any old garlic, it was the best garlic in Croatia – the „brsečki” kind - which I grew together with the Association "Brsečki češnjak". I added some genuine Dalmatian almonds and a herbal tea blend from my native Liburnia, consisting of plants that I picked, dried and sorted. So, here I was, reentering her office in search of my notebook; she was already busy assisting another client, a little shocked to see me again, but her face lit up immediately when I handed her the gift. We found the notebook and thanked each other...
I went back to my room and continued working on my project ...
A new episode is coming up soon, and until then, stay safe!

Yours truly,

Nikica Karas

Some videos made on the road:

Warm welcome by the Spanish police on my 1st day in Barcelona:

https://youtu.be/afml6PZC7yo

1st connection on my trip happened with the girls from Circo de la Luna Barcelona:

https://youtu.be/Lyu6QaBODmo

Watching skaters at MACBA, Barcelona:

https://youtu.be/_mpOqFsZl0Y

Interview with Dera Sol from Circo de la Luna Barcelona:

https://youtu.be/ENJXibQQMLI

https://youtu.be/ENJXibQQMLI

https://youtu.be/DBtkFthP6ps

https://youtu.be/BiAUh5Ucnd8

Wild mangel & asparagus in Tarragona:

https://youtu.be/z6vahRf3qVM

Boarding the ferry in Algeciras:

https://youtu.be/cZCMI4cX5jg

My 34th birthday celebration party:

https://youtu.be/5wUIkbnfaGc

Celebration continued next morning: https://youtu.be/m4_fkEPgLyI

New connection with Amos Shein: https://youtu.be/XNZlZvvLRjk

Arabic flamenco:

Moroccan safari w/ Renault Twingo

Nina fire poi show:

My sponsors in front of La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain Select

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Silver sponsor – Gole Sport

https://www.facebook.com/golesport13/

https://gole-sport.business.site/

https://www.instagram.com/gole_sport

Bronze sponsor – Čisto Čišće d.o.o.

http://cistocisce.hr/

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My social networks profiles:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karasartravels/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/careassphoto/

SteemIt: https://steemit.com/@careassaktart

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/CareAssful

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My accounts for donation:

GB90REVO00997069208926 (Revolut; BIC/SWIFT: REVOGB21)

HR4224020063101337107 / HR9524020063208285831 (Erste; BIC/SWIFT: ESBCHR22)

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Fundraising campaign:

https://fundition.io/#!/@careassaktart/kv6b04cv6

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Photos of art on Twingo:

https://bit.ly/2QmxVTA

https://bit.ly/39eoCOs

https://bit.ly/2QmLRx9

https://bit.ly/39bJxBI

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Media publications:

KanalR (Rijeka): https://youtu.be/jXS9BCP-KWs

Poriluk (Rijeka): http://poriluk.com/emisija-poriluk-25-2/

http://poriluk.com/za-maroko-konacna-odluka/

http://poriluk.com/prvi-putopis-venezia/

http://poriluk.com/od-venecije-do-genove-putopis/

http://poriluk.com/od-genove-do-monaca-putopis/

Regional Express (Istria): https://bit.ly/2QcL2Xq

Torpedo (Rijeka): https://bit.ly/2SpZPAV

https://bit.ly/2PUyFk6

https://bit.ly/38otX4j

https://bit.ly/3bmdKiH

Pod Učkun (Opatija): https://bit.ly/39bJqGi

https://bit.ly/35ZtncK

https://bit.ly/36ca92K

https://bit.ly/2H2GS0l

https://bit.ly/2H2GS0l