Childhood & Departure

Claude de Marteau was born in Uccle on July 8th, 1935.

He was the last child of four in a petty-bourgeois family.

He grew up in a happy and loving environment – was supposedly the favorite child – but lacked discipline which caused him to drop out of school at 17 years old.

When he was eighteen, he enrolled in the army, as it was mandatory in Belgium at the time. His headstrong impulsiveness did not fit well with military strictness. He struggled to follow orders and spent much of his time in confinement.

When he was discharged, he had not figured out what he wanted to do with his life. He decided to take a road trip to the United States, where his aunt lived.

The itinerary, which was supposed to be straightforward, turned into a yearlong initiatory journey around the globe. From Europe to Africa, Asia and America, he discovered cultures and people that will forever change his life.