Texte : Ismael Tlili / Picture : Xavier Rosset – 7sky Magazine
«Alone and remote, you learn to anchor yourself in the present.», Xavier Rosset
After 300 days of solitary confinement on the desert island of Tofua in the Pacific Ocean, the freerider and snowboarder Xavier Rosset shares his thoughts with us. On our office chair that, next to him, seems ridiculous, he exposes his realizations, his understanding, his reality but also his magnificent perspectives. The intensity of his words makes us travel in his feelings in regards to this adventure. A universe where the law of Man doesn’t exist.
How was your daily life set out in your mind?
In an unknown place, you need to redo everything. Your whole routine has to be rethought. In a hostile environment, you are confronted with yourself. Even a businessman ceases to act in these conditions. Even with the recurring thoughts of family and friends, you discover other facets, you surprise yourself, rethink yourself. In this place, you must take a step back; and set your priorities. Little by little your body becomes alert. Some thoughts are deleterious; you learn to be suspicious; you fight your impulses. Feelings can take us very far. They have a destructive potential. That’s why you must imperatively know your limits. My outlet to palliate the lack of human contact was to talk out loud. It allowed me to see my situation with more objectivity. It was also a good way of avoiding conflicts, seeing that in general we tend to agree with ourselves.
How did you see your priorities change?
In the western world, our priority is definitely money. On Tofua, bills are useless. A new system takes shape. You need to find shelter, feed yourself, learn to manage time seeing that in general we don’t have enough of it, whereas on the island you enough to spare. Alone and remote, you learn to anchor yourself in the present. Drowned in this nature, you are but a wisp of straw.
And how about boredom in all of this?
You learn; you accompany it. I came to do things that are virtually impossible in our modern world. I was able to follow a butterfly for two hours. I saw new ideas take form. You let them mature, and then they take on a new dimension. I created ways of entertain- ment with what I had. I made two paths to get to my cabin, so as to create an alternative for my mind. I found a whole new interior world to fill time. I walked through the forest, I climbed a volcano, I used my machete, I allowed myself to do nothing at all. We live in the world created by Man for Man, we modify it in regards to what we expect. Over there, you real- ize to what extent Man is unnecessary. Nature builds our daily life. To find myself in that forest allowed me to feel humble. Everything is to be re-learned, re- thought. You have to make your own experiences with food, listen to your instinct, push your limits. Thanks to that, I could measure how vast our action potential is.
How about comfort?
Comfort brakes you. Your will power is surprising when eating becomes a must. Using ten liters of drinking water is completely reconsidered. It’s hard to abandon your acquisitions. Yet once you have, you realize to what extent human values fill us.
Tell us about your relationship to silence.
With regards to the environment, silence is a sign. Even if on Tofua there weren’t any animals that would have eaten me, the day when silence sinks in, you must listen to it. With regards to my interior silence, in the beginning, my little voice wouldn’t shut down. Then it gave in to serenity. When the only sound that touches your ear is the sound of the wind, you are a part of the current moment. Some people are afraid of silence. Try letting it settle in during a conversation: quickly an uneasy situation is created. But then again, don’t we say silence is golden and speech is silver? Let’s make the most of it. When speech isn’t used correctly, it can destroy someone. Let us use it properly and let us erase the noise around it.
Tell about your future project.
I would like to offer people who have been working for 20 years and who don’t really know who they are, the possibility of discovering a facet of themselves that they didn’t know existed. The first day I help them out, then, slowly I pull back and disappear. Like that the will follow their own path. It’s away from all the attachments we discover for ourselves. I propose the time to do this. In May, it’s the opportunity for around ten people to make this trip with yet another mindset of being completely alone.