Seasons of Travel ("Saisons du voyage"), by Cédric Gras
Seasons of Travel is an essay about travel in the 21st century. How do we define the modern-day explorer? What is their purpose? There are many questions, all of which Cédric Gras manages to answer.
A travelling writer
Cédric Gras, who was born in 1982 in Saint-Cloud, has loved travelling since childhood, thanks to parents who took him on journeys around European in a van. It is only natural that as an adult he became a prolific traveller and writer about his adventures.
Cédric Gras began studying in geography in France, then continued his education in Omsk, Russia. Having fallen in love with the country, he stayed there and established the Vladivostok Alliance Française. Then left for Ukraine and created the Donetsk Alliance française. He was awarded the médaille d’honneur for Foreign Affairs in 2014 for this cultural engagement.
Cédric Bold has published seven travel narratives, including Vladivostok: Snow and Monsoons (“Vladivostok : neiges et moussons”) (2011), Winter on Their Heels (“L'Hiver aux trousses”) (2015), Anthracite (2016) and Seasons of Travel (2018). He also writes for the magazine Geo and the newspaper Le Figaro.
The art of travel
In Saisons du voyage, Cédric Gras asks himself about the different ways of looking at travel in the twenty-first century. If his ancestors have already discovered all previously unknown territories, what role can the traveller fulfil today?
In recounting his travels across Eurasia, from Pakistan to Mongolia, Cédric Gras offers several answers: could the traveller not be a poet, a loner, a modern-day adventurer, or simply someone who wants to discover and learn from other cultures and languages?
Exploring in the 21st century
The starting point of Seasons of Travel is a regret of the author’s: not having lived one or two centuries earlier, at a time when the discovery of new countries was still possible, when travelling was not synonymous with mass tourism.
Seasons of Travel is an intimate and personal account of the way we travel today. With a certain amount of melancholy, he skilfully addresses the theme of solitude, an exhilarating and necessary experience for today's explorers.
Cédric Gras is more than just a solo traveller. He participated in an exceptional 4,000-kilometer journey from Paris to Moscow in Sylvain Tesson's sidecar.
Faced with the hostility of the cold and snowy roads, the two comrades followed in the footsteps of Napoleon when he retreated from Russia in 1812, two hundred years later, almost to the day. A journey through history that pays tribute to all the soldiers of the “Grande Armée”. This adventure was transcribed into two travel narratives, Winter on Their Heels by Cédric Gras in 2015 and Berezina by Sylvain Tesson in 2016.
Selected for the Institut français Stendhal Hors les murs programme, Cédric Gras lived in Albania in 2017.
The Stendhal Residency programme allows French authors or authors living in France to travel to a foreign country and work on a writing project related to that country.