The football stadium

“Where are you from, what’s your name, where are you going?”

The bus taking us to the airport is empty – it’s just him and I. That guy, who insists on talking while all I want is to SLEEP FOREVER.

Can’t say hi, can’t chat, can’t focus. Can’t rack my brain for yet another conversation. This new life this new country this new everything. The trips the stories the events the meetings the calls the emails. It’s been intense. I’m very tired.

“Wait, I’m going to sit next to you so we can chat.”

He insists. He talks, talks. Tells me his name, speaks of his family. Asks me where I come from, where I’ve lived, what I’ve done. Keeps on talking.

When the bus driver takes a break near the Allianz Arena in Munich, he wants to go see it “up close” and asks me to take a picture of him in front of the building.

“I’m a big football fan,” he says. He smiles a lot.

He – a 60+ man with a long career, two sons to take care of, a retirement plan to think of.

A senior, someone who’s lived twice longer than me on Earth, yet looks at that stadium like a kid seeing snow for the first time.

A man 30 years older than me, yet 30 times more enthusiastic, more animated. 30 times more alive.

Shortly after the bus dropped us at the airport. We said goodbye, he smiled some more, and that’s when I realised I was done with being tired. I hate this grumpiness anyway, and it’s not actually fun to act like you’re overwhelmed. From now on I want to look at all things the way Angel, 60 years old, looked at that football stadium on a Thursday afternoon.

The football stadium


I’m standing in the empty field facing the main stage of the festival. Radiohead are 10 meters away, rehearsing their evening gig. The sea breeze blows, my hair flies around my head, Thom Yorke keeps singing, screaming, whispering, his words going straight to my heart. No filter, and no phone, no camera allowed – just the authorisation to stand there and listen to the sound check of one of the BEST BANDS ON EARTH on a windy, dusty Saturday morning.

Suddenly they stop and leave the stage, a clean cut that leaves me breathless, wondering if it really happened. 10 hours later, I’d be one of the tens of thousands dancing and crying to their music, losing all perception of what is work and what isn’t, losing all sense of the exhaustion of the past weeks, highs and lows mixed in an emotional blur.

That night I went to bed wondering how many experiences, how many feelings I can grasp that I can truly enjoy.

London said, “I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.”

He also said, “The function of man is to live, not to exist.”

But how much can you truly live, I wonder.

Maybe it’s the accumulation of the years, the fact that each day brings its new lot of memories, but I just find it overwhelming sometimes. Maybe it’s because I love experiencing something, but I love reflecting on it even more. The moment you sit on a train after a trip and look out the window, your mind still lingering in the places you just saw… or that time of the day at dusk, when everyone comes together and you drink to the adventures of the day. The dawn after a big party. The end of a run, of a skiing day, of a long hike. Saying goodbye after a great weekend, taking a nap after a big meal, cycling back home after a good evening. Looking back and thinking, yes I did this, we did this, and it was wonderful.

Or maybe it was utter shit, but that’s not the point.

For the past months, I’ve been like a squirrel, saving all these emotions, all these sensations. I’ve put them aside, thinking I would reflect on them once I would be back home, back to a more normal rhythm.

And I have. The minute things slowed down a bit, I looked back and smiled at the frenzy of the past months, the travels, the stories, the networking, the brainstorms, the parties, and I breathed.

But at the same time, I think I’ve realised something. If I want this to carry on, and if I want to be happy carrying on with it, I want to embrace the madness as it happens. Make the meteor metaphor mine.

'kelly watches the stars' and i look at the #sunset

A photo posted by Agathe Armand (@agathearmand) on


My five Ws

Your days are long but your time flies by. Your rhythm is intense, your focus, constant. And your brain is restless.

Welcome to your late 20s, darling. In a new job, a new country and a new self – the “am I a grown up yet?” self.

I don’t really know who that is. I want to party and not be hangover. I want to joke and be taken seriously. A dumpster bike that won’t break down. Endless runs that won’t hurt. A nice flat, with a low rent. A big car, without the parking part. A free schedule, a year-long hike, a transatlantic – and a life plan.

Limbo. I’m no student anymore, no junior, yet incredibly so. Ten projects, ten lives, tackling a world that only becomes bigger.

What, where, when, why, who with?

As the questions keep coming, I think I may have found some answers. Only a couple of bulletproof convictions. I don’t know the details, my exact ambitions, my exact locations, my exact companions, but I know what matters most to me.

And whatever comes next, I only hope it brings more questions, more answers – and a better bike.

“As the years went on, I realised that what I really want to be, all told, is a human. Just a productive, honest, courteously treated human” – Caitlin Moran

My five Ws