In 2015, Renaud Meyssonnier travelled from France to Asia. He was arrested a few months into his trip for using counterfeit money at the India-Nepal border, and was sentenced to one year in prison. He served his first month in Bhairahawa before being transferred to the Katmandu prison. Renaud learned about his imminent release on 28 May 2015. This is the story of his final days in prison.

"So when can I go?" — “Oh... In three hours or so,"

I watched the Nepalese leave in the rain with a smug smile on their faces and a rolled-up mattress on their shoulders. Others stared at them with envy.

The prisoners who thought I had left believed they were seeing things. Everyone was staring. I had to repeat my story 15 times before the message got through.


Today, when I think of Nepal, I think of prison. In my everyday activities and even when I meet Nepalese tourists. Given that I've never toured it freely, for me this country is synonymous with jail.


Renaud Meyssonnier

I have a degree in history and a Professional Masters in Heritage Trades (master professionnel métiers des patrimoines).
I travelled around the world in 2015. I began in Bangkok without flying, by way of Russia, Mongolia and China. With a detour through Southeast Asia, I completed almost 20,000 kilometres of walking, hitch hiking, and taking buses, trains, taxis, boats… Then I took my first flight to India where I travelled around for a month before being arrested at the Nepal border for having counterfeit money – money I had exchanged on the street before going to Thailand.
After going back to square one, I resumed my world tour. I flew to Bangkok to continue my flightless trip for the second time. I went as far as Flores Island in Indonesia. Then I was due to fly to Australia and New Zealand. I am now in French Polynesia. At the same time, I am working on my book Pour une poignée de faux dollars, in the hope of getting it published. Some excerpts are online and translated on the Prison Insider website. I wish to thank Clara Grisot and the whole team for welcoming my testimonials.

Translated by Marg Mac Millan
Edited by Tanya Solari