Pilgrimage to India founders in France
Times OnlineMark Boyle, 28, and two companions had the noble idea of making a pilgrimage to India. By not taking or spending any money they hoped to show that it is possible to achieve goals without depending on cash.
Armed only with his backpack, 3 tins of soup, a bag of trail mix and a chocolate bar, the plan was that human kindness and generosity would provide their food and shelter.
Unfortunately, the first country on the itenerary was France.
It seems the French thought they were a bunch of freeloading backpackers and gave them no help at all.
Writing on his blog, Mr Boyle said that the optimistic philosophy behind his project had somehow got lost in translation: "Not only did no one...speak the language, they also see us as just a bunch of freeloading backpackers, which is the complete opposite of what the pilgrimage is really about."
"That really scared us, and given that we now were pretty much out of food, hadn’t slept in days and were really cold, we had to reassess the whole situation."
They were advised to head for Belgium where people might be more inclined to speak English, but baulked at the three-day trip to hike to Bruges, and so turned tail and went home.
The story is less an indictment of French lack of charity or accomodation of foreigners as it is an indication of Mr Boyle's lack of preparation for the trip and absence of intestinal fortitude.