When asked where I live, people are often surprised when I answer them that I’m living in French Guiana. At first because It’s a region of France they’ve never heard of. Secondly most of the friends and family I left in Italy couldn’t imagine to leave their city to change of region. Let alone changing continent.
So why have I moved 8 000 km from home?
That’s a good question. I think I got lost between school education and building my life after that. But even thought I abandoned the academic path, at the dawn of my 30s I can look back at my path proudly. I have a good job, an amazing and supportive family, and I recently discovered the joy of being a mother. I can safely say that I’ve found myself in French Guiana, probably because from the critical teenage years I became an adult and that’s also the reason why It feels home.
When I first arrived I was supposed to stay only for a three months period, then I stayed 3 more months, then 10 more, and well today I’m not faraway of my 9 years stay anniversary.
French Guiana is a country of many faces and ethnicity, people are often very willing to meet and open to newcomers. My first 6 months I was always invited to carbets in the amazonian forest or parties with my new friends. Then I met my future husband to be and since he was willing to stay we decided to move in together. At that moment la Guyane became my stable home.
It’s like living in summer all year long
I started to enjoy a more calm and relaxed lifestyle. The weather is always around 30°, it’s like living in summer all year long. Although Christmases have a different taste at hot temperatures. French Guiana wins another massive point If we talk about life quality: there’s not smog, the local fruits and vegetables are sooo good, fish is so fresh you may see it moving on your dish and there isn’t car traffic. I drive 20 km in 15 minutes every morning to go to work.
If you like adventure movies you probably have seen Papillon. The historical drama, which was NOT filmed in French Guiana, contributed to create the myth of a savage and dangerous land. Even though the penal colonies, that were active for over a hundred years, were not a vacation place, French Guiana evolved into a safer and more accessible country. Today the ruins of the prisons are visited by thousands of tourists every year and together with the Guiana Space Centre, they are a MUST when visiting the region.
And last but not least, the Nature.
Situated between Brasil and Suriname, its surface is covered for 96% by the Amazonian forest. It’s one of the richest ecosystems on Earth based on 5 500 different types of plants and trees, 700 bird species, 500 fish species, 177 different mammals and 109 amphibians.
I’ve had several hikes in the virgin rain forest and every single one has It’s own incredible story. It could be because of an animal we spotted, a waterfall we dived into or simply the feeling of energy that a walk in the forest can give you. The sounds, the smell, the colours, you can feel surrounded by the purest and most powerful source of life. It’s one of the most amazing experiences I ever had, and what I’ll always bring in my heart the day I’ll leave it.
Nature, weather, lifestyle and people. These are the reasons why I love French Guiana.
What about you? Have you ever visited it? Are you going to? Let me know in the comments, also you may be interested in why French Guiana should be on your bucket list. For more travel inspirations follow me on Instagram. And continue your reading here.