Meeting with Julien Libert, from « Sentiers du Phoenix »

Meeting with Julien Libert, from « Sentiers du Phoenix »

Have you ever heard of the » Sentiers du Phoenix « , a local blog about the sporting achievements of a nature lover and, more particularly, of the Ardennes? I had the great pleasure of talking with Julien Libert, the adventurer behind this nice blog to learn a little more about him.

Julien Libert is a historian by training that works for the federation of Tourism of the Province of Namur. He is also passionate about trail running and outdoor sports, so much so that he decided to create a blog » Les Sentiers du Phoenix « , where he posts tips for athletes, stories about his adventures, and his impressions of the Ardennes, his favourite Belgian training ground. I asked him a few questions to learn more about his passions.

How did you decide to start a blog?

Basically, it was running that led me to the blog project. I have always loved writing because of my studies as a historian. So I started a running log called » Les sentiers du Phoenix « , which gradually evolved into the current blog where I can express all my different passions. I still write about running, but not only that. I also write about nature and my connection with the forest of the Ardennes. Today, I am more likely to write about travel, adventure, and expeditions; because I listened to my audience and I realized that is what they like.

© Julien Libert / Sentiers du Phoenix

What do you like best about trail running?

Just as with hiking, it is the fact of being able to discover a new playground, new corners and new destinations. The advantage of running is that you go faster than walking, so you can discover more, whether in the forest or on the mountain. You can take full advantage of what surrounds you, the panoramas, landscapes etc.

© Julien Libert / Sentiers du Phoenix

© Julien Libert / Sentiers du Phoenix

What is your connection with nature?

Being outdoors gives a connection of well-being, it is a form of affinity with something very simple that surrounds us and is accessible to everyone, all the time. It is also proven, scientifically and philosophically, that we have a real interest in being connected with nature. That’s what motivates me. My reason for living is being outdoors and discovering new things. I always need to be outside, not necessarily for running but also for walking, hiking and working too, because I work with wood. I have a real attraction for nature and animals, I have a horse and I often need to go riding with him.

© Julien Libert / Sentiers du Phoenix

© Julien Libert / Sentiers du Phoenix

You live in Namur yet you like to come often to the Ardennes, why?

I train often in the Ardennes because I like this region, I have a little peculiar connection with it. Why? I do not know how to explain it, but I feel really good here. With the blog, I now have the chance to travel a little more than before and discover new destinations. But every time I come back, I’m happy to simply go for a hike in the Ardennes. I think it’s a region that is not really well-known and is not given as much interest as it should have.

© Julien Libert / Sentiers du Phoenix

Regarding your sporting challenges, what are your dreams?

I like the self-improvement aspect, which I try to highlight on the blog. At the moment, I dream of making great crossings on skis, on foot or on snowshoes (like the crossing of Greenland or Svalbard) rather than races. I would love to go back to the northern regions because I really fell in love with them.

Concerning the Ardennes, I have a sponsorship from a packraft brand. They make a small inflatable boat that weighs 2 kg with the oars. I did a descent of a part of the Semois with the boat. I ran 15km and did the descent, all with the bag on my back. In early April, I also went down the Ourthe with the packraft.

And with these nice sports challenges, I end this interview, wishing you a lot of success in your next adventures in the Ardennes!

© Julien Libert / Sentiers du Phoenix