Just for the sheer heck of it!
And so, I’ve made it 10 weeks. 9.5 more than expected, and than most of the bets placed on my longevity!
In that time I have survived (and passed) both Hassleholm and Hoor, split with the gf, attended a TT Pissup, HC meetup and FT kickabout, been shot at in Bosnia, bitten by a dog and Pickpocketed in Romania, crapped on by pigeons and seagulls in several countries and eaten by more mosquitoes than should even exist. I’ve slept on a balcony and in a tent (both alleged hostel beds), boats moving and stationary, a bus, some trains, a hedge, a park bench and a huge assortment of couches as well as the more traditional floors and beds, including one in (allegedly) the most polluted city on the planet. I’ve played football a couple of times (recovery after first time – 5 days), chess and numerous card and board games, mostly very badly, and discovered a penchant for climbing hills in searing heat for no reason. I‘ve been shouted at by irate people in several languages, been given the wrong ticket in Srpska, conned at a currency exchange booth in Riga and queued to see a dead person in Moscow who, perhaps unsurprisingly, is just as dead as the last time I saw him.
Met a huge assortment of utterly amazing people (both randomly in hostels/traveling and more deliberately through HC and CS, both as great hosts &/or tour guides and including some incredible parents/families who spoke no English) and a few very strange, changeable and down right unpleasant ones. I’ve encountered a future Zimbabwean tennis superstar, a Russian independent film director and a Lithuanian TV presenter/reporter. Radio DJs in Bosnia and Slovenia and even some of my own customers in Croatia, whilst being offered 4 jobs, appearing on live TV and Radio a total of 7 times that I know about and attending the opening of a restaurant who’s chef used to work for one of Europe’s most corrupt and feared dictators. I’ve seemingly come across every Melbourner on the planet and an unusually large contingent of English and central Canadians (or Canukistanis) for no apparent reason, plus representatives from New Caledonia and the peoples republic of Seattle…
I’ve encountered potentially new and lucrative careers including VW Golf importer in Bosnia, Arm doctor/splint maker in Croatia, Window cleaner/concrete salesman in Romania, Scaffold suppler and Strawberry monopoly in Poland, dark glass specialist in Moscow and an extremely lucrative opportunity for somebody with a coffin and a cape as Dracula photographer at Bran. Discovered London Buses in both Belgrade and Moscow, realized that Vienna announces which transport lines are subject to ticket inspections on their website and radio and come to the conclusion that the gapping hole in most European fast food markets could easily be filled by the introduction of Cevapicci, Burek, Pierogi, Peasant Potatoes and Zapiekanka amongst others. I’ve been stalked both by my own private thunder cloud (and I do miss him now he’s on vacation) and coloured cows, and concluded that Dubrovnik’s huge cat problem and that of the Dog populations of Bucharest and Sofia could easily be solved by opening a few Chinese restaurants. And that the Salt used in the souvenirs from the UNESCO listed Wieliczka salt mines doesn’t even come from Poland!
All the cars seem to have dodgy drivers in Romania and breaks and tyres in Poland, whilst coach drivers are generally pyschotic and suicidal, especially on narrow hilly coastal roads in Croatia and main roads in the Baltics, and you don’t ever want to encounter a Russian street cleaner. Everybody drinks lots of beer on the streets in Russia and coffee on the pavements of Bosnia, which is a country lucky enough to have not a single McDonalds.
Update of assorted other friends on the road/planning last I heard…
Markey has become a Central American revolutionary and is desperately trying to make up for wasted years as a vegetarian by eating as much steak as possible; Em has split with John and is moving south from Cairns; Morten is terrorizing South Africa and Namibia, but without the Landy; Laura was trying (I believe unsuccessfully) to sell Russell to the Thai sex trade whilst Matt is running a school to teach Thai Air Stewardesses but is thinking of heading to Argentina; Katherine has left Japan for the summer; Joe was last heard of somewhere in the Haiti but has since disappeared (anybody heard from him?); Lil J is in finally preparations to finally leave the country for the first time, although Eve looks to be delayed until the New Year; Bev should also be leaving shortly; Tim, Daaaaaisy and the gang were in Ghana a while ago, but should be getting towards the end of their cross Africa journey; Jose is halfway around the world; Erika is returnng to Sri Lanka again, this time via Singapore; Aldo is in the States for a couple of weeks, where he’ll then catch up with Slobo who’s got to return to Chicago. But this time is taking no luggage whatsoever; Tina was in Bromley on her way to Spain; Ala and friends are off to Mongolia and I’ll hopefully catch up with them on the way; Andrzej is on his way to Portugal, Ivana has got a trip to Belgium and the Netherlands and Juste to India; the worlds least likely German speaker Colin has even now found a real job in Austria, Carlie and Steve’s second child is due any day, whilst Shan and Luke have made it to Melbourne to live, and Mjeh and Evgenia are moving to Xiamen, Vaida to Denmark, Josep to Caracas, Marta to London to study and Mike and Claire to Eynsham…
And I’m still loving it. The bank manager has yet to complain (too much), Ticket Stop Maps have yet to reoccur and need ignoring and – whilst admittedly coming extremely close – I’ve yet to be deported from anywhere. And so of course, the journey continues.
Missing photos will follow when i can get them up. Hope all well with everybody, and I’ll be in touch wherever I happen to end up next