Elsewhere is her engine, and Others her fuel. Since she was a child, photographer, writer, traveler, member of the French Explorers’ Society and film producer, Priscilla Telmon, has been walking, running and riding in her dreams, as well as confirming that they are just as beautiful at the other end of the planet.
Everything seemed possible. After studying ethno-medicine, the young Parisian followed her heart and took off to make her dreams come true. After secretly crossing the Dolpo in Nepal at 22 years old, climbing Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and crossing the Atlas on foot and horseback in ’98, in ’99 and 2000 (accompanied by Sylvain Tesson, writer-traveler, novelist and geography graduate), she undertook a ride across Central Asia. This is to be the first continuous horseback crossing of western Turkistan since the end of the 18th century.
This crossing resulted in two books: La Chevauchée des Steppes (Crossing the Steppes – 2001) and Carnets de Steppes: à cheval à travers l’Asie Centrale (Diaries of the Steppes: on horseback across Central Asia – 2002). A six-month cavalcade, certainly no easy ride, over nearly 3,000 kilometers, in tribute to all the missionaries and explorers who have crossed the country. Six months in the tracks of the steppe “scraper people” who opened up the unknown horizons of old Turkestan. And in a country where everything starts and finishes in the saddle, horses were needed to hit the trails of the ancient Silk Roads: from Kazakh pastures to Kyrgyz mountains, from the turquoise domes of Samarkand to Tajik caravanserais (roadside inns), from the Desert of Red Sands to the Karakalpakia wetlands to the point of arrival – the Aral Sea. In their saddlebags, the travel tales of explorers that they read in the saddle: Ella Maillart, Jean du Plan Carpin, the monk of Rubruck, Ibn Battûta, Armen Vambéry, Nikolaï Prjévalski and Marco Polo.
Priscilla Telmon cultivates boldness and wonderment, an indispensable breeding ground for knowledge, and defends almost chivalrous values, such as respect, the duty to be patient and the imprescriptible right to dream. Values of which our modern era has greater need than ever. It is hardly surprising that her motto is drawn from Ecclesiastes: “Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes”. As long as Priscilla is there to demonstrate, alert, warn or guard against, we will feel a little more human.