You Know What They Call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?

Yes, you may have guessed it. It’s a Frenchie speaking. But don’t worry, I am not rude, I don’t always complain, and I am not looking to start a strike on the trail!

Anyway, welcome to my first-ever blog post!

My name is Titouan, and I am a 25-year-old photographer/filmmaker. I currently live in Bayonne, in the French Basque Country near the Pyrenees, which is a nice area for hiking! However, I was born and raised in Paris and spent most of my life in and around the area until I turned 19. With this first post, I hope to tell you the story of how I got to where I am today to the best of my (writing) abilities.

It’s called football!

I grew up playing soccer… I’m sorry, let me rephrase that: I grew up playing football! I was a goalkeeper and had big plans of having a professional career in Europe. For most of my teenage years, I lived and breathed football. I even left my family and home at 12 years old to enter a youth academy and pursue my dream of playing in the league. But like with any plan, life often tends to come in and disrupt everything.

The American Dream

At 19 years old, my football career was going nowhere. After being released from the youth academy with my high school diploma in hand, I wasn’t really sure what to do. I wanted to keep playing, but I also wanted to get a higher education. Two things that weren’t compatible. Well, in France, at least! So, after some thinking and planning, I finally told my family one morning: “I am going to America! I am going to play football for a university and get a degree!”

If you had told 12-year-old me that one day I was going to leave, voluntarily, overseas to a country I have never been to and don’t speak the language of, I’m pretty sure I’d have told you, “Screw that!”

But at the time, it felt like the right decision for me. And it was! Not only would I be able to pursue my two goals, but I would also get to live abroad, see new places, meet new people, and experience a different way of life. This was the change of horizon that I needed in my life.

Hiking? Really mate?

Fast forward a few years later. I’m in the middle of my Junior year and fully enjoying the college experience. Studying abroad has made me a new person, more positive, more open-minded, and eager to try new things. I know that next year, my Senior year, will be my last year playing football. After 16 years of catching a ball, it’s time to hang up the gloves. “What’s next?” I wonder. I need to find something that I like to do, a new passion, to fill this void I know football will leave once I retire.

Like most college students in their free time, I am in my dorm scrolling through social media. I know, “Damn Gen Z, always looking at their screen. Go outside!” Well, funny you say that.

After a few minutes, hours, (or days?) of looking at YouTube videos, I stumble upon a video that somehow catches my eye.
“How the Appalachian Trail ruined my life” by the famous Darwin OnTheTrail.

“What’s the Appalachian Trail? What is thru-hiking?” I ask myself. My interest grows exponentially as I navigate through the videos on his YouTube channel. “Wow, people actually do that!”, “It’s so cool!”, “It’s so beautiful!”, “I want to do it!” I binge-watch his whole PCT series (have you ever tried binge-watching hiking videos? It’s way better than binge-watching Netflix), and a few minutes into the first episode, I already know it. This is what I want to do.

As a photographer, I had always been attracted to beautiful landscapes and wildlife. But growing up in Paris, mountains weren’t a part of the landscape, and the only wildlife you’d see was pigeons. And with football, I didn’t have the time, energy, or even awareness necessary to explore this passion that was hidden in a corner of my head. Now was the time to do that.

“Hiking? Really mate?” was the reaction of some of my friends. “It’s just walking in nature! Where is the thrill in that?” But to me, it had everything I needed. On the one hand, it challenged me both physically and mentally, and on the other hand, it allowed me to see beautiful landscapes and wildlife, meet awesome like-minded people, and capture all of that with my camera to feed my creative hunger.

In 2019, I had my first real experience with hiking when I completed the GR20 in Corsica, France. Those 10 days on the trail confirmed my passion for this newly-found activity. Over the following years, I gradually built my hiking resume, alternating between day hikes and multi-day treks. In 2021, I section-hiked about 60 miles on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. Last year, I did a multi-day trek on the GR10 in the French Pyrenees, during which I also summited the Pic du Midi de Bigorre (El. 9,439 ft). And now, onto the big one: the Pacific Crest Trail!

À Bientôt!

If you made it to this point, I thank you. Writing a blog post is definitely out of my comfort zone, so I hope that you enjoyed reading my first-ever blog post and that it allowed you to get to know me better. I am truly excited to share with you this journey I am about to embark on and hope that reading my stories will entertain and inspire you.

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Comments 5

  • MP3 (Jeff Stone) : Jan 8th

    Comment dit-on <> en français? You never told us what they call a quarter pounder with cheese in Paris.

    • Dave Purych : Jan 8th

      Good luck on the trip. I’m looking forward to following your journey!

      • Titouan Le Roux : Jan 9th

        Thank you Dave. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about my journey!

    • Titouan Le Roux : Jan 9th

      It was a movie reference (Pulp Fiction) haha, but to answer your question using John Travolta’s words: “They call it a Royale with Cheese!”

      • Milos : Jan 10th

        Not angry?


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