My workbench

My workbench

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sitting in the office...

First, a short excerpt from a conversation with the awesome Smidget:
me: I've been doing some thinking...
me:
(One is more short-term, while the other is significantly longer-term thinking)
Val: with you i can't tel which is which
Val: well, that's why with you i can't tell
most people i'd expect girl long term

I'd write more, but I'm pretty lazy. I have been thinking a LOT about the PCT, and reading TONS. There's so much to learn, so much to do, so much planning...I don't think this is something I can go out and run half-cocked. We'll see.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Getting bogged down

Learning. It's a necessary part of life (Personally, I believe it is the reason FOR life), and it is not without risks. Like landing in two feet of fresh powder, still clipped in to a snowboard, on a flat. Yeah, I ate. Part of the backside opened up today, and I was able to sink my board into some seriously smooth fresh powder waiting for openings. While I was unable to get a good rhythm going, I managed to carve out some nice turns before finding small rocks and plenty of low-growth trees. Still needs a bit of cover in spots.


Other than that, last night was a night of firsts, and consequently lasts. I won't elaborate, save to say that I had a good time, and someone intentionally (drunkenly) tore one of my favorite Dead shirts in half, while I was wearing it. I am proud of how restrained I was, taking no action at all. That being said, a few people have asked where I hid the body. Such a silly question. I am now down to three, all hole-y. That's about all for now...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Aniversary

December 15, 2007, 09:00:15

Now one year later.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New phone number

406-209-1722

That's my montana cell phone. It should work prettmuch everywhere, the service is Alltel, and I've got a few hundred texts free, so that would be my preferred mode of short communication. I will try to send out email to people whom do NOT read this, but if someone asks for my number (for the next few months), that's it.

Oh, and when I woke up this morning, it was -20. Before wind-chill. Yeah, I stayed in, cooked pancakes (saved for dinner), attempted to do laundry (machine was busted), and cleaned up a bit. I now have bedding, pillows, a privacy shield, a fridge, and some idea of what I'm doing. Oh, and a snowboard and skis, cold-weather gear, snowshoes, crampons, an ice axe, and four months of freedom. Yeah, life is good.

Monday, December 8, 2008

POW!

So today was my second day of skiing here at Big Sky, and MAN was it a good one. Roughly a foot of fresh powder got dumped last night and this morning, and despite waking up a lil on the late side, I took full advantage of it! My $200 skis are great, and I should be able to get hooked in to a board package for about the same price (or a lil less). I'm definitely feeling hella out of shape, but that will fade as I keep on it.

I can't wait to give snowboarding a run tomorrow. Or the next day. Or sometime.

Work is going well, most of the duties are fairly basic (ok, a braindead chimp could probably do them). I am itching to automate some of the more menial tasks, though I want to make sure that I have a real handle on them before I start doing any of that. Of course, once i do, it should be fairly trivial to write a conversion program in AutoIt to chow through the translations.

Otherwise...I still have an anomoly with the roommate situation, though I finally met John. He seems to think that he's signed up here, even though it wasn't registered on the computers...I really need to find that housing manager.

Well that's bout all. Got the chance to talk to a friend whom I haven't chatted with earlier, that made my night. I hope she can avoid making the same mistake I did.

Friday, December 5, 2008

made it

I am sitting in my bed in the Mountain Lodge at Big Sky. Had my first night of work last night, my boss and co-workers seem pretty cool. Met my roommate (Can't remember his name already), he's from Louisiana. Seems like a pretty cool guy. It gets COLD here at night, around 0 or so. Jacket is holding up well as long as I'm not standing still in the dead of the night. My room is great, need to wait for someone else to pick up some of their stuff so I can unpack a bit. The mountain is hurting for cover on some of the rockier parts, but looks AMAZING. I am going to forgoe skiing for a day or two as I get set with a cheap pair of skis and hunt for a board/bindings. I'm in no hurry, I've got the entire season.

WAHOOO.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Photos

Just a friendly reminder, I have begun posting my pictures over at my flickr site.


www.flickr.com/photos/llipschutz

Not complete, undoctored and mostly uncensored (mass-uploads). They should, however, be appropriate. Shoot me a message if anything should be taken down.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Loose ends

I am in Dublin, just had a pair of beers at Temple Bar, met some Aussies and Amerks, back at my hostel relaxing, debating going back out or getting to sleep early (need to rise around 6AM to get my flight).

I am having trouble booking my flight, but need to do this when i get home. I will be flying from LGA to BOZ via COL. Found a room at the Royal7 to stay for $45/nite for the first night, can check in to housing after that (I should actually check and see if i can check into housing on the evening of the 3rd...Hmm). OK managed to book the ticket, arrive in Bozeman at 11:45PM on the 3rd, leaving LGA at 5:30PM.

Need to hit REI, get some new shoes, new clothes...Need black pants for work at Big Sky.

Need (or should) get a netbook...Order online, have it delivered, or drop it at Big Sky? I think I should have it delivered. Gonna Newegg it now. That's all, see some/many of you tomorrow, or in the next few days. Caio for now!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Twilight notes from Amsterdam

First of all, it is noon. I have been having a great time travelling, meeting new people, exploring new places and everything that comes with it. I can't say for sure what my future will hold, but I am sure that the adventure which I have thrust upon myself will not be ending anytime soon. From Cork to Dahab, Berlin to Uig, I have had the most enlightening experiences of my life; so far. I will be returning to the comfort of family and friends, the normalcy of home, and then just as quickly swept off to another untold adventure. Thinking back, the past six months have been an unparalled learning experience; years of advanced EM fields, Analog design, and unending mathematics don't hold a candle to hitch-hiking through a foreign land on your own.

I have learned more about myself, both as a person and as a[n] (occasionally dissident) member of society than I could have imagined, and yet the most important lesson is that I have yet to scratch the true surface. I look forward to spending time in Montana, and will continue to utilize this blog, though less frequently as my day-to-day activities will be somewhat routine.

I have already begun planning next spring/summer's PCT thru-hike, and though I am somewhat aprehensive of my own abilities and have begun questioning my motivation, I smile when I imagine embarking on such a trip.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The end of egypt

What a better way to end my trip then standing in a line for two hours to find out my flight has been cancelled. Found a direct flight with egyptair, which alitalia set up for me. One last hurdle and i am outta here. No more touts, cheats, liars or thieves. Well, not so many.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Out of money

So, I ran out of money in the desert.

Well, I ran out of cash. And there are, of course, no ATMs in the middle of the western desert. No surprise there. I am apparently a bit too used to the connected world, as well as not anticipating the cost of an overnight safari into the white desert. It was worth it (cost about $100), but left me with barely enough cash to pay for a bus ticket back to Cairo. So, once again, I am back in Cairo. This place is starting to grow on me...somewhat like a fungus. I will post a writeup of the desert and whatnot, as well as finally posting a TON of pictures (some of which look amazing), but for now, I am headed out to the citadel.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Back to Cairo

Heading back to Cairo tomorrow, booked a hostel for the night, thinking of heading down south to some other oases. Really not that interested, but Idon't have anything better to do. A lot of what I have seen and experienced in Egypt has given me new insight into my destinations and desires in travelling, and also some of my predjudices towards other cultures. Additionally, I feel perfectly justified in saying that while the American culture is one to exploit natural resources, the mass tourism culture here exploits prettymuch everything. Oh well. Can't really wait to get back to the 'States.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Safari!

So I went out ona bit of a Siwan safari into the great sand sea today. It was a blast. Nothing terribly inspiring to write about, save for my own little thoughts on Politics and whatnot (Finished the book. Fascinating, and giving me a whole new perspective on the American Government. Not for kids. Well, great for the disenchanted...) Anywho.

Will hang out here for another day, maybe two, then head down to Bawati, hit a few more Oases, and then Luxor. From there, either to Aswan, or if Herb has gotten in contact, I will head back to Sinai and see him.

That's about as far as I can plan for now...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Made it to Siwa

So I punched up a long post describing my trip out here, but Ican't seem to find wireless anywhere, and I am too lazy to transcribe it. Anyway, 24 hours later and I made it from Dahab to Siwa. And now it's time to rest.

Happy Birthday Dad! And tomorrow (Well, 30 minutes from now, here), Uncle Marty aswell! Assuming my cell phone works, I'll be a'callin!

Crossing Egypt; No good men left

I left Dahab at 23:30 last night. The bus dropped me in Cairo, where I split a cab to Ramses station with a Czech couple, whom were ao heading to Alexandria. Upon arriving in Alex, I was beset upon by a student whom offered to sgow me to the bus station, two kilometers away. I assumed, unfortunately correctly, that he was going to rip me off somehow. The tea was nice.and he was a fun conversationalist. The hundred pounds he grabbed to pay the bus fare (<$20) was somewhat of a test; he asked if he could have twenty pounds for taking me, which while riddiculous, I was curious and said fine. Obviously he dissapeared, though I doubt his karma will be bothered much. Eh, it's only money, and sometimes you have to put some faith in strangers. This reaffirms my feelings around here, unfortunately. Got in to Matrouh, apparently just missed the bus, an enterprising cabbie took me for a wild ride in an attempt to catch it. Failure, but reaffirming again my feelings about the Egyptians I have met.

So now I wait for the bus which noone but the bus dispatcher and other passengers thinks exists, leaving at six-thirty. Then I will be in Siwa, and need to find some kind of accomodation. I am curious about the origins of my Lonely Planet, as almost all of the information has been wrong, from times to maps to prices, further jading me against them. Oh well. I do not plan on travelling in quite the same way again, but it was a lesson worth learning.

Other than that, need to make a few phone call. I am not confident that I will find a hotspot when I get to Siwa, but with the time difference I think it will work out perfectly.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Update

Made contact with Herb, will connect with him when he is back from Israel and see him

Need to book my flight (aerlingus) from A'dam to Dublin, and find a spot in Dublin on the night of the 23rd (Debating CS or Hostel, as my flight leaves at 09:00 the morn of the 24th, might skip both and simply hang w/friends/CSers/other backpackers/random Irish)
Compiled a gear list for my time out west, inc PCT...Looking at around $750, plus or minus...Probably plus.

Headed back to Cairo tomorrow evening, should arrive the following morning, and then take the train to Alexandria, bus from there to Siwa...Then exploring the Western desert area for a while. Passed up on the change to head to Jordan with Joe, Ed and Kyle for this, hope it was/will be worth it.
Well, one way or another, I will make it worth it. In the meantime, I need to relax.

Oh, and I am loving a book: "A people's history of the united states" Fascinating! Hightly reccomended.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Decision

So my plans to visit Reese is canned, I would have liked to, but my priorities lay elsewhere. Shame, but that's the way things go.

Now, need to find a flight to Dublin from somewhere in the netherlands.

Confused

So, I might be a bit screwed in my planning. Not really sure yet, but it looks like it may be very difficult for me to get BACK into Egypt from Petra. Expensive as well. I would like to head out w/Joe and the crew, but it just looks like too much of a pain. Egypt is interesting, but might be a bit wearing on me. Being slightly ill and almost getting in a fight with some Bedouins last night/this morning does not help any, though in all fairness I don't need to buy a blanket from them to sleep.

Anywho, I am trying to figure out how to see Leigh, George, and Rees in 9 days when I am back in Europe. Oh, and getting to Dublin somehow.

So, working backwards:

Need a flight from Amsterdam/Eindhoven to Dublin on the day/night of the 23rd
Need to be back in A'dam on the 19th or 20th (latest).
That leaves five days to get to copenhagen and den haag. Barely feasible, and a serious toss-up. Oh choices.

So, do I try to crunch everything, or bail on either Rees or Leigh Anne?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

PADI cert

So I got my PADI Open Water certification yesterday, need to send in the paperwork when I get to Amsterdam, and the card should be sent to Greenwich. I am debating hanging out in Dahab for a few more days, or moving on after a trip up Mt. Sinai tomorrow evening. For those unaware, the dollar skyrocketed (well, everyone else's currency bombed) so that the Euro is 1.25 to the dollar, while the pound sterling is 1.58. Freaking brilliant, what a bad time to leave Europe! Oh well. And no, the Egyptian pound hasn't changed one bit. But it still costs LE20 for dinner (or a hair under four bucks).

I am having a blast, apologies for not calling much, but the internet and phone services around here are spotty at best. I am going to pick up an egyptian SIM, which in theory should make calls back to the 'states cheap. I hope. Anywho, other than that, I need to call a few 800 numbers to can bank accnts and whatnot, and otherwise things are looking great. There was a small riot here last night (next hotel over), but it didn't affect us. A bit of adventure, some rocks thrown...I was safe up on the roof overlooking the fight.

The more I think about it, the more interested I am in doing the PCT this comming spring/summer. I just looked up the distance, and I had thought it was a bit shorter than it actually is (2650 as opposed to my thinking 1900), which adds a month or so on to my plans. So it looks like ~4 months or so of hiking, leaving in mid/late April, getting out late August/mid Sept. This may be perfect to then travel aroudn the States for awhile, and then head back to a resort for another season of boarding. Of course, my plans change constantly, and I am not sure that I won't fall in love with another place and dissapear, but for now this looks like the most appealing plan.


And yes, I am still planning on heading to NZ, OZ, and SE Asia, but I think I would like some time doing serious long-distance hiking before I head off on these. For now. There will always be time.

Love y'all, can't wait for T-day and seeing everyone.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dahab

So I have been hanging out with Joe, a 25 year old vet whom enlisted at 17, and got out in July. Wierd to think about. We got a discount for signing up for PADI open water certs together. So by thr end of the week, i should have my open water cert.

Thats prettymuch all.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Arrived in Dahab

Just got in to Dahab about an hour ago; not impressed. Granted, it is almost 1am, but I am starting to get sick of the Egyptian approach to tourism (or toutism as it should be called). The place where I was looking to stay for about LE 15 wants LE80, still not much ($16), but wayyy more than it should be. Besides, camping for a night on the beach is awesome, and I doubt it will rain. How many people will try to steal my stuff...that is another question. But enough of that.

I went to a CS meeting last night, and have come to realize that the community I had grown to love is becomming nothing more than another social networking site. I am sadly siding with the hitchhikers, and thinking about moving on. Caito itself was dirty, lod, hot, annd crowded. Being one whom is not terribly impressed with urban life, I have little desire to return except to fly out. I will attempt to contact Herb again tomorrow, I realize that it may simply take a few tme to get properly connected.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pyramids

Today I was somewhat more productive thsn yesterday. I explored the very limited Cairo metro, and took a bus to the pyramids. As I had been warned, the were somewhat underwhelming, but I took a bunch of pictures nonetheless. Went out to eat with some british guys, relaxed, and I am currently munching a pomegranate, chilling. Bedtime soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

first day in cairo

I arrived at Cairo international airport around 1am. Wandered around for a while, caught three hours of sleep or so in the new Terminal 3, and set off to find the correct bus into town. Wow, they were right about the touts at the airport, I actually had guys following me trying to get me into a cab. Finally found the correct bus, and off I went. The drivers and pedestrians here are like none other, and command a healthy amount of respect and fear. There are no crosswalks, stop signs and red lights are optional, and there are no lanes, much less painted lines. I truly is a free-for-all.

So, made it to my hostel with only minimal intervention from some touts, napped for a bit longer, and set off to explore a bit. Being a bit weary still, I hit the Egyptian Museum, only a few blocks away. Underwhelmed, but glad that my student ID still works (half off). VERY disorganized.but some fascinating stuff. Walked around, did some reading, planning, repeat, etc. Great dinner, for $5 or so. Relaxed, worked on some flash cards for Arabic, and got some info on my next destination, Dahab. I will head down there (unless/even if?) I contact Herb in a few days. Tomorrow I head to Giza, with the possibility of al getting to Memphis to see the step pyramids. I am actually not so keen on man-made stuff, and think I will enjoy Dahab and the western deserts a lot more.

That's about all, Robin still has me thinking a lot about wind turbines, and most recently I am wondering how many parts can be salvaged from a normal stand up fan. Hmmm, migt be something to consider. That's all for now, my posts should be more regular as long as I am near inet connections.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Future

Well, Egypt here I come! I am about to hop in the shower before my flight to Egypt departs Amsterdam. I have three days sorta-planned in Cairo, need to contact Herb when I get in, and am deciding about going down the Nile (Train to Luxor ), into the desert (Wadi), or to the Sinai (Dahab). And then of course there is Petra, in Jordan, and Israel, which should not be very difficult to get to. And flying back from Cairo on the 15th of November, I return here to Amsterdam, though plan on heading to Copenhagen, and then down to brussels via den haag, (possibly stopping in luxembourg, simply to say that I have been there), and flying to Ireland, visiting Cork if I have enough time, surfing a night or two in Dublin, and then flying back to NYC on the 24th of December. I still need to book my flight out to Bozeman, MT on the 4th of December, and at some point need to stop by REI to pick up a very specific jacket (size unknown), and pack up my winter toys. If all goes well, I'll be in Montana until April, at which time Mom has made mention of a trip to Yellowstone, which I would certainly oblige.

That's about as close to planning as I can get, but I think it's fairly concise and yet flexible in places.

Hooahh.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My recent comments describing the past, present, and future.

Well, I'm in Amsterdam, I've been here for almost two weeks, and I have a flight out tomorrow to Cairo via Rome.
I've got a return flight on the 15th of November.
So I have exactly one month to see whatever, wherever, in the middle east. Hooahh.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fun in A'dam!

Amsterdam. It's a lot of fun. Staying with Robin (from 888) and co at Casarobino. I picked up a flight to Egypt for a bit less than $600. It's worth it. 15th to 15th. Between now and then, I am either going to a hitch-hiking comp in Ghent with someone(s) from the house, or head to Diskmiunde (sp?) beer festival, south-west of Brugge.
Went dumpster diving today with Kasper down at a local market. Also went out last night, but was too tired to do much. Oh, did I mention I actually jogged to the market while Kasper biked? Good times.

I am planning to go visit Leigh, and then (or sometime thereafter) head up to see Rees in Denmark. I would like to be able to spend a bit more time in Germany, but perhaps I can do that when I get back from Egpyt.

Speaking of Egpyt, I am thinking of spending a day or two in Cairo (Calling Herb on the first day, just to let him know that I have arrived and my plans sans him). I will head to Sharm (A few of my European friends have suggested hitching...I thought about it, but at ~$15, I might not hitch this one. From Sharm to Dahab (50Mi), and from there...to the beach. Fun in the sun, snorkeling in the red sea, eating, relaxing, climbing if I can find some nice rock...Yeah, that doesn't sound too bad. I would like to head out to Petra, in Jordan, but for that I need to find out if I can get a ferry from Egypt to Jordan, or if I will def. have to pass through Israel. Either way I would also like to go to Israel, but if I can do it on my own terms regarding borders (I do have to fly out of Egypt), I would be happier.

Well, that's about all for now, need to head out to the store before it closes. See Y'all (well, most) in Philly!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Choose your path

I am extremely fortunate; barring massive head trauma, I should always have a profession to fall back on.  Most of the people I have met travelling do not have this luxury.  It makes me wonder: what if I had, indeed, chosen differrently?  Going out and travelling instead of getting a job after university, or getting another job after the Qimonda layoff, or even not working so hard during my time at RIT, and instead focusing on things like backpackng and climbing.
My mind immediately turns to the first two engineers I knew growing up.  The second is Steve, obviously an amazing success born through amazing hard work, night school, and a love for what he does.  The consumate engineer.  The first engineer I ever knew is also one of the happiest.  Marty graduated with highest honors from MIT, and went on to work at NASA.  He now runs a successful paintball arena, and gave me one of my first real jobs.

Thinking about these two men, I cannot help but draw parallels to my own life.  Those whom knew me during my last nine months of RIT saw a man possesed, obsessed with completing goals and enjoying every moment of it. Those whom have met me over the past four months cannot imagine that I ever worked in a cubicle. Ever.

I am not on a 'trip,' per se.  This is my life.  I will make plans, and I will break them.  I will head in one direction, just to end up heading back the other way.  I am unable to tell you where I might be tomorrow or for the rest of the week, but I am planning to settle in one place for five months soon. 
I might squat in Denmark, share a house with friends in Amsterdam, explore turkey, tour morocco, climb, hitch, and camp everywhere, or I may head to Egypt for a month of snorkeling and diving and laying on sand beachest without a carre in the world (for $10 a day).  Am I wasting time?
I am doing what I want.
Because I can.

That is freedom.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Memorable memories so far...

While I sit at the train station in Trapani, slowly chargin my tablet, heree are a few absolutely unforgettable memories.  Just becauuse they are.
My first european hitch, from paris to strasbourg in a day, and then skunked the next day completely.
Climbing from thun, to interlaken, all the way to gimmelwald. 
And then up the schilhorn(sp?).
Making deliveries with an Iranian trucker in Italy.
888
the paris catacombs
fort william (for a month!)
Enliightenment from Annie
Berlin. Ahh, berlin
beachsurfiing in croatia
and many more.



~Home is wherever you may roam

Monday, September 29, 2008

It's been a month

Wow, has it realoy been a month since my last update? Oops. Well, I've spent that time well, hanging out in fort william and doing as little as humanly possible.  Hiked in the mountains a few times, but nothing significant.  I am currently in marsala, scicily, italy. I hate italy.  Not with a passion, but with a strong dislike.  The people are so friggin rude.  Anywho, saw my parents, was supposed to go climbing (bad beta), and so i have got anothher day and a half to kill in one of my most disliked places.  My plans for the future are a bit shaky, only as i do not know for sure if i am going south East or West... Leaning west right now, which means morocco.  Egypt looks like it may simply be too expensive at the moment, but we shall see. 

Have i mentioned that i hate Italy?

So in the long term, I have a job working in montana for the winter, and will be returning to the states on the 24th of november.  Work starts the 4th of dec, so i am not sure how many people aside from family i will be able to visit.  I wonder if there are any jews in scicily? I doubt it. I am flying up to bremen on the 1st, and might be picking up a hitch-hiking partner to head to munich.  If not, probably head to amsterdam and relax for a few days, then up to denmark.  Who knows from there... Back to berlin? Visit friends around the netherlands, then head seriously south to mallorca for some DWS, then on to morocco?  I need to sit down and establish some plans for wherever I am going, as I seem to be getting a bIt lost just wandering.  Who know.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Relaxing for a bit...

So I didn't realize that one of my posts got lost, and that bites, because it was decently long and (I think) well written. Anyway. I am in Fort William, grabbed a bit of work at a hostel for a week, giong to see the Ben Nevis race (think Mt Washington marathon, without an auto road) on the 4th. Then it's off to Skye to check out the Cullins, and then who knows where. I just got back from a short 25 mile hike with Ella, a polish woman whom I met at a gear shop in town a few days ago. I had nowhere to stay, she reccomended a spot and it happened to be next to the only spa in town. So I spent two hours in a combination of saunas and steam rooms, and then simply relaxed in my hammock. Met a few people in town, dissapeared for this hike, and boom, here I am. More importantly, we had an interesting chat...
So Ella is a NOLS instructor. This is something which Val has mentioned to me before, and I have had a few friends take NOLS courses (www.nols.edu). Becomming an instructor for NOLS is apparently fairly easy, once you have taken the instructor course ($4k, a month), and have a WFR certification. It is, however, an application process, and as such I would like to grab more experience before jumping in. The benifits, however, are a contract-driven lifestyle and what sounds to be relative freedom. I am heavily considering this type of lifestyle, as it has obvious appeal. You don't make a ton of money, but who really needs a ton when you have no expenses and are having a blast in the outdoors. That is consideration number one.

Also, my boat plan fell through for November, so I am going to have to buy a ticket to Thailand. The more and more I hear about it, the more appealing NZ sounds. I am actually considering getting my NZ work permit, and simply dissapearing to that climate for a year or so. $765, which is actually cheaper than getting to Thailand from some areas. However, this means avoiding any kind of travel during the winter in Europe, which I had also wanted to do. Oh the decisions....

All is well, healthy, wealthy, and wise beyond recognition.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Update 2

So the update last night was a bit hurried, as i was headed to meet someone.  We are now planning on going on a wee backpacking trip around the area, thursday and friday, looks to be a fun little adventure. I am thinking about staying a bit longer in fort william, dumping some gear (excess clothes, toiletries, electronics, etc) and hiking around some oof the more scenic trails. Then its on to the Isle of Skye, to visit the Cullins and hike about a bit.  Apparently there  some great scrambling in this area.  Fiona wpuld love it (sadly, i lack a partner, rope, helmet, boots, and knowledge of the area). But cool nonetheless.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Headed to the highlands

So i am in oban, and headed on the walk to fort william and ben nevis tomorrow. Wih me luck, with the weather, for i should not needaany other.  See you on the flipside.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hitching through england

So I have been hitching through england for a few days, and its been quite an experience.  While the actual hitching has been amazingly slow, the people have been the worst anywhere.  People have done driveoffs, cursed, things have been thrown at me, and I have gotten some of those worst and most aggressive reactions.  BUt I have also talked to some awesome people, and I have had some fun making my way up from London.  I camped at a rest area near Birmingham the first night, because I had a spot of trouble getting out of London, and then a bit of fun getting lifts out of leeds after walking around for a few hours.  I haven't actually had any serious trouble in getting where I want to go, and after hitching for a few miles out of newcastle yesterday I walked for five hours or so to get to Edinburgh.  Once I got near the scottish border it was much easier to pick up rides, though agin I was dropped off seven miles out of town and walked for two hours or so.  Managed to contact the aussies whom I had met in Romania, and I am staying at ther flat in Edinburgh for a day or two.  I am utterly lost, insofar as I dont know exactly what I am doing while I am in Scotland,  But at least I made it.  I have spoken to a number of people about travels, and as I dont think I really want to work while I travel in Europe, I think I will do a fair spot of lond distance hiking up in the  highlands,  I found a flight to Palermo for 10 pounds, though with evrything ryanair tacks on it will come out fo 40 bucks or so in the end,.  Still not a bad deal, though I do not know exactly where I will go from there.  I Am tempted to ship some of my stuff to a friend and fly without my bag.  BUT OF COURSE THE STUPID RESTRICTIONS of not returning to the UK mean I cant simply leave my stuff here. 

So I have also determined that I really dont like the ENglish.  Not the scottish, just the endlish.  Specifically, londoners, but almost everyone I met from down in that area was rather unappealing.  BEtween their waste, misues of resources, crass and crabby attitude, and everything...I just dont really like the people I have met down there.  Most of the working class people have been the best, however, much nicer than those upper class blaise assholes I have met travelling.  BUT enough of them, I dont need to bother with them anymore.

I am wondering about my sustainable travel ideas, and how it might be possible to travel the way I want and for as long as I want, possibly indefinitely.  The same way a number of the people I have met travel around europe, I think I might like to give it a try in the US.  Moving from place to place, stay somewhere for a few months, a short term job, and then move on to somewhere else.  I still need to call Herb, mostly because I am a slacker and hadnt solidified plans yet.  I have gotten rave reviews of travel in Egypt, though I still think it's amazingly hot for me.  I still want to head back to some areas, and I am thinking of spending my final time in Europe (october and november) in the netherlands, germany, and then over to Poland and possibly the ukraine, though that is still up in the air.  Dan offered to travel with me, a few other people have mentioned that, and unfortunately because I dont know exactly where I am, I cant be ready to travel in an organized fashion until I get over to southeast asia.  OF COURSE, at the rate I am going that will be sometime between january and march of next year.  Until then...who knows.  But whatever happens, it'll be fun.
If anyone wants a call, drop me an email to let me know a good time and I will try to get to everyone.  Dont forget the time difference.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Quick england update

I am currently in newcastle, i have a few hours of light left so i  thinking of crossing the scottish border tonight.  Edinburgh is only 140km away, the border a mere 60km. Here is to victory.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Made it to london

Finally made it to london. That is all.

OLD post

So i have been in paris since thursday afternoon, stayed one night at jeromes and then two camping with 50 other like- minded hitchhikers at the champ de mars.  Some awesome people, i have met tons and might grab omeone to explore the uk with a bit. Ludovic spooke yeaterday about his travels, and a number of us shared stries from the road. By all account, it fedls so normal to do what i am, to be free, and to just live. I am trying to stay on this side of the law, though it sounds like i can push much further than i have been.

Oostende was fun, i like hangibg out at the beach just reading and relaxing, but i feel like i need to keep exploring.  I need to find out if i can get into the uk, and then set up a serious expedition. I can feel the mountains calling, and if do not get into the uk i will return to switzerland.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Just some insight

So i am sitting amidst dunes at a beach in Oostende, belgium, enjoying the shelter afforded by my hasilty erected tarp to protect me from the soft patter of mild rain.  The sound of waves rolling in from the black sea to crash upon the beach is a steady reminder of home, and brings back the eternal question of Why?
Why travel? Why not sattlle down? Why scotland and not switzerland? Why anything?

Lately i have been qondering about this, questioning the choices i have made, not because i think they are wrong but wondering what else i could have done  I do not consider myself a special person, and yet the more people i meet, the more i realize that i have been given a special insight.  Ih ave realized .that the world is completely open, and anything is possible.  Think about it.  It is this thinking which has lead to many of the greatest discoveries of all time.  Many motivations have been used to jutify this insaitable this for adventure: greed and charity being the two standing tallest.  What of men etting out during the gold rush of the american west? Of European heading east, to a land unknown?  To paupers and proletariat alike crowding the ports of the american coasts for a chance at a different life?

By comparison, i am simply a spoiled youth too lazy, scared, or unmotivated to truly strike out into the world. I have realized that i do not know exactly why i am travelling, which has caused me a lot of confusion and indecision.  Some of my plans have changed.  It was actually because of my problems at the port of calais that i came upon an important piece of information, which may well shape my travels for a time to come. For now i will attempt to enter the uk, enjoy time in scotland, and mee parents in palermo.  Afterwards i will return to the balkans and eastern europe, enjoying the compay of friends and hopefully shooting up to germany for a ber festivals or three.  I will viait herb i egypt, make my way to morrocco and see the tip of africa.  For now, only i will know where i plan to go from there.

Monday, August 4, 2008

JUst a quickie from brugge

So i decimated my budget over the past 24 hours, spending about €50 between an extremely good dinner, ice cream, beer and tourist stuff.  But it is really all worth it, no complaints and i am having the time of my life.  Headed to oostende in a bit when laundry is done, probably didn't need to do it, but it wil be nice to have fresh clothes.  Soon to paris, then to try my luck in the uk with a valid ticket and some planning.  Wozzers.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A new experience

So last night, and again this morning, I was blocked from entering the UK.  Apparently the answers I provided to the immigration officer were not sufficient, and without a return ticket nor proof of funds, I was not allowed to enter.  I was detained, fingerprinted, my belongings searched and interviewed multiple times.  Last night was a bit of a learning experience, and all in all it did not turn out poorly.  Then this morning, proof of funds in hand, I returned to face a very different customs oficer.  Pardon the language, but he was a fucking asshole.  I explained my travels, moving around the world, and yet I was still barred from entering, without a specific ticket back to the US.  This sucked.  Fortunately, I realized two things.  One, I still have seven weeks left on my schengen visa, not including the undocumented time I spent in switzerland. 
Two.  I can buy a fully refundable ticket back to the US.  Hah, I will dance on their skulls.

So without any real reason to stay in Calais, I naturally hitched to...Paris.  Eh, I got one ride which put me within 50km and a second got me right downtown.  However, with a week to go until 888 and unable/unwilling to hitch all the way outside of the zone just to return again, I am doing the only logical action.  Screw those wozzers, Im going to Belgium to drink the worlds best beer.  Yes, I am going to take a week long beer trip to keep my spirits up, my wallet empty, and my figure full.

Oh, di I mention the worlds BEST beer? And a week long music festival somewhere, supposedly.  Need to check on that.
Oh yeah, also met a pair of aussie musicians whilst sleeping at the port last night, they invited me to a festival up in scotland at the end of the month, guest passes and all.  So like I said, all in all, not too bad.

I am currently in Gare Montparnasse charging my n800, and eventually I will either sleep (which I have not done a lot of in days) or go hitch to Brussels.  Tough life, eh?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

To berlin!

Made it to berlin yesterday morning. I spent the weekend in the netherlands, it was nice to see sophie and to catch the end of the 4daage festival.  I had a host in nijmegen on sunday night, but she decided to bail and so i decided to push on to berlin. I picked up a ticket to hannover from arnhem, mostly because it was raining and i was not really thinking. I also sent out an emergency CS request to see if i could score a host.  Most fortunately, a host txted me at 23:30, a minute or so after i had decided to go and sleep with some backpackers in the hbf.  Not only did he give me a spot to crash for the night, but he also drove me to my hitching spot early next morning.  Amazing.  So ihitched a ride to the airport near berlin and took public transit in. 

My host Marie is simply awesome. She came back from studying to let me in, showed me around.   One slight problem came up, her boyfriend had just arrived home from touring, and didn't really want me in the flat.  Marie arranged for me to stay with her sister and so off i went.  I actually only met the sister's boyfriend, but then i was off to finally meet Laurie and Alex.  We had a nice (well, my food was nice) dinner, and then it was off to meet marie, her sister and boyfriend.  After some fun at the pub, we all went back to sophia's (the sister) to sleep.  I also got a chance to talk to mom, and realized that i have still not sent them the email i composed.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Nijmegen

So I finally made it to the netherlands.and got in at nijmegen to catch the final celebrations of the 4daage (4day) festival.  This is a festival which apparently involves walking 40 km a day for. . . Four days!  Anywho, at the end the city basically turns into a giant party, which I attended
along with my host Carolin, another cs host and her sla...err, couchsurfer.  Good times, and I am currently researching ways to get to berlin inexpensive but reliable.  And still need a place to stay.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A most interesting night

I managed to hitch my way as far as Frankfurt last night, with a bit of a twist.  From Nurnberg (A3 rastplatz), I was picked up by a russian trucker for a ride to Frankfurt.  I mentioned that II was headed to cologne, and on to the Netherlands, and after some discussion (he spoke NO enlish), he said that I would stay at his house, amd on to Cologne in the morning.  Well, his wife and daughter were understandably surprised at my unanouced arrival, and after a shower I sat with the daughter and her boyfriend Viktor to explain my situation.  I have not felt scorn like that for a long time, since I last saw Ryan at Sara's.  But we talked for a while, and I think (hope?) that she relaxed a bit afterwards.  Meanwhile, I have never in my life felt that kind of hospitality, being brought into someones home and fed, housed etc.  It is absolutly inspiring to realize thatpeople are still capable of such kindness in their hearts.
Unfortunately, his house was in the middle of nowhere.so and his wife was so pissed that they are not going to cologne today.  So for €15 I am taking a bus to cologne, which is at most 150km from Nijmegen, where I will see Sophie.  Life is certainly full of adventures when you are not in a hurry.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bavaria

So, I just parted wayswith my awesome bavarian host Elizabeth (Marcushadto go to work), and bosrded a train for...Salzburg? Yes, i am going south to go north, as this will allow me direct access to the autobahn and skip Munich entirely.  Plus I can walk around Salzburg a bit, in the rain.  I really had a blast here, Elizabeth took me al
around sightseeing, and loaned me Marcus's bike to do a bit of touring. I made dinner last night (veggie ssalad and a stir fry, oversaturated the rice), and spent yesterday talking to Uncle Herbert,  He gabe me a map of Berchsgarten and wants to go climbing  when I return to the area (may be a little while). He spoke very little english, but I am fairly sure that I understood most of the Bavarian.  Aside from that, I am now an international courier, carrying a book to the Netherlands and a pair of sunglasses to Seth somewherein northern France.  I will see Sophie this weekend in Nijmegen, and just now realize that I have agreed to stay with her AND a CS host.,I need to fix this.  Otherwise, things are going well, I have been lookinga backpacks and waterproof duffels from Globetrotter (Germany's REI), made contact with Laurie, and stilll don't have a host in berlin.  But all things will come in time.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Contact

Just got an email from mom, but i don't actually have contact info for either laurie nor alex, but mike emailed me so i should be able to get it.  However, if someone could send me a message at my addy llipschutz@gmail.com it would be nice.  I am searxhing for a host in berlin from the 20to the 251th, so there should be ample opportunity to meet up.

Budapest

So, I had a blast in Budapest.  I managed to hitch a few rides from Sibiu to buda in one day, but failed to secure a couch .  I slept one night in the city park, and after that booked two nights in an overpriced hostel in the center.  Having nothing to do at night, i hopped on to couchsurfing and found out about an indie rock concert and a party/dj. Met some cool couchsurfers, a few of whom offered me a place to stay, sadly i had already paid my hostel.  Then last night a few dozen CSers and we hit up the French fesitval.  I had some good conversations with an american expat, danced for a few hours, and got an elbow to the eye socket from a slovenian girl (but her friend assures me it was an accident, and she is really interested in me. Sigh, youth).  All in all a great time.
I am currently in a panel truck with a romania driver, attempting to have a conversation in a mix of bad enlgish, german, italian-to-spanish, and some romanian.  But this single ride is getting me from budapest to munich, where i will spend the night and then head to a CS hosts in a small bavarian town.  Remember: it's all good.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Backpack falling apart

So this sucks.  My bag is falling apart at the waist belt. Glad i bought it at REI, hoping to be able to ship it home with family or whatnot.  Pissed would be an understatement.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Face
Everything
And
Recover

just something I felt like sharing.  There was an interesting article posted on a forum i frequent about vagabonding, and how it can keep you away from those you love.  I love to travel, but hate to leave.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

New experiences

So i am on my way out of Timişoara and I took the express bus.  Sure enough, I got controlled.  Unfortunately, the two-way tram ticket  I had was not valid on the express bus.  100-200 lei fine. Or go to the consul and pay 50 lei today. I talk to the guy, he says maybe I can pay now.  I think I overpayed with 20 lei (about 8 bucks).  This is the Balkans, everyone can be bribed.  Oh well, it doesn't destroy my budget, maybe I will drink an extra beer tonight to celebrate.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Newish plans

Not to be confused with jewish plans...but i am thinking of changing plans slightly.  So I have realized that coucsurfing and hitchhiking simultaneously across large (>100km) distances is difficult at best.  Therefore i am alternatiing hiching and surfing, to maximize my exposure to random people and freedom.  I am thinking of hitchhiking to Oradea, staying a day or two, the heading to Cluj, again spending two or three days (this brings me to the 7th of july), from there bus or train to braşov (csing for two or three days). Then to sibiu on the  11th and 12th. Htch or bus to timişoara, where i can get a €15 train to budapest (unless the train straight from sibiu to szeged is inexpensive). Thus begins my exit.

Szeged to budapest on the 16th
buda to bratislava on the 18th
to praha on the 20th
to berlin on the 22nd
each hitch is 300km or less, and should get progressivly easier towards berlin.  This enables me to (hopefully) see laurie and alex, and from berlin I will hop towards the netherlands to see sophie, and to return a book (and visit) lizz and amber.  Thats a lot of plans, they will undoubtedly change, but they look good for now.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A test

I he some time to kill, just spoke to the parents for a half hour, wish more people used skype, and testing a mail to blog setting to make posts easier and shorter.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bosnia

Slept by the water in Dubrovnik, didn't get disturbed though a few people did drive and walk by. Snagged the 8:00 bus to Mostar, where I had planned to stay the night but i have already seen the bridge and old town, as well as been harassed by local beggar children. I am currently sitting in a cafe where for about five euros i had thitch if they are expensive, which i cannot imagine to Sarajevo. Spend a night there, contact Vanja, and if it works out visit here in Be lrade, otherwise pass straight thr rough to hit timisoara and finally see romania. I am blown aay by all of the abandoned buildings in mostar, most likely a result of the 1999 war. Anyway, more later.ers and possibly the best chicken pita of my life.

A few hours later...grabbed a train ticket from mostar to sarajevo for 5 euros, so i can't really justify spending hours in the 35 degree sun hitching. I jumped into the river for a quick dip, and now i have a few hours to kill waiting for the train. Contacted some more CS hosts, both in belgrade and timisoara, as well as shooting a message to Vanja. Everything seems to be working itself out, the bugbites and irritation from sleeping in my boxers on the ground is dissapearing (jo did apologize for stealing jelenas leeping bag, though offering mne may h.a. Moving on...probably wont see sophie in ireland, though i will def visit her in the netherlands. Tats all for now folks.

And more updates since i have been in sarajevo, but only a quick one. Met some cool dutch girls, med students, going to visit them in a few weeks or so when i make my way back up north. Had two good nights, ran into Roberto and will probably see him in belgrade tomorrow, headed to the pyramids of visoko for now. Still healthy, things are going well, and i love what i am doing.

Another poem

A toast.
Here is to fortitude,
Insight, intelligence, tact,
All those things I never had,
Or simply thought I lacked.

They are not missing,
Neither hidden, nor gone.
These things which I've sought,
Have been with me all along.

I don't mean to boast,
Proud grinning aside,
You must simply realize,
I never knew what was inside.

And so here is a toast,
Borne today out of pride,
To what I am made of,
And what you may have inside.

Dedicated to all those people whom have yet to realize how wonderful they are.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Just a quick test

I just want to me sure my little python coded program still submits to my blog properly. In dubrovnik, headed to mostar tomorrow.

oops, missed a post (or two)

So apparently I've missed a few posts...dunno why they didn't get posted, but oh well.

Anywho, I am in southern croatia, a but croatia-ed out, and heading down to Dubrovnik to catch a bus to Mostar, Bosnia. From there I plan on hitching up to Romania and doing about a month's worth of couchsurfing/traveling to unwind and re-orient myself. This does, however, mean that my awesome plans to see family are scuttled. I am dissapointed that I won't be able to see everyone, but at the same time, I simply can't take the head and humidity of this area right now, and I have a real serious nagging urge to get up to Scotland and Norway and do some mountain climbing. I know everyone will understand, it kinda bites, but it is, after all, my trip. Loves ya all!


-Matt

Monday, June 16, 2008

Switzerland update

So, I am in Interlaken staying with Lara (last night and tonight). I really think couchsurfing is a brilliant idea, and this trip would either be much more difficult or much more expensive without it. I just finished unpacking and repacking my gear, trimming down a few things I dont feel that I need, and will hopefully be sending back to mom and dadś´place soon (i am headed to the post office and laundromat later this afternoon). Gimmelwald was amazing, though the 20+ km hike out without food yesterday was trying...especially on only four hours of sleep. But it was worth it. Made some cool friends, had a blast, and after a looong night of sleep last night, I am good as new. Sore as hell, but good as new. I know Mom doesnt´like the mountains so much (well, the height aspects), but I think this would be an awesome spot for a family vacation, if we could convince dan to do something up here (no pubs, no clubs, plenty of farms and hiking//climbing trails). Ah wel, some other time.
Hereś´a quick rant: I got a response from EMS, basically saying that unless I had the original reciept, they would ëvaluate the useage¨on the boots and determine if they could/will do any sort of refund, credit or exchange. BUllsh*t. I am quite literally never going to EMS again. I wouldnt have had this problem with REI, but now Ivé learned. At least these were not horribly expensive (well, 100 or so isnt´cheap!) Boots, but they should have lasted more than 100 trail miles (if that many). I think I am going to switch ro Chacos and waterproof/goretex socks...with the reductions in my load, the additional ankle support given by boots is unnecessary as Ishouldnt´be doing any more serious hills until Scotland.
One thing I relaized on my hike down yesterday is that I *may* have been a bit ambitious in my RTW ¨Plans.¨ I think I will skip any more mountains on this time around, and focus more on the people and places. Next time, I can bring good mountain boots, poles, and all the necessary gear to do some more serious climbing. Like an axe. Yeah, that would have been smart. Oh well.
So, from Interlaken, I am going to try to get over to Slovenia tomorrow. I am not totally confident that I can make it in one day, but thatś´why I have a tent and a hammock. Actually, that is one of the other things I have been debating...I am having a hard time justifying carrying both, except that i know when I hit Croatia and the beach, I wont relaly be able to hammock as much, and would prefer a freestanding tent to pitch directly on the sand/rocks. We shall see. I am also reconsidering an umbrella, though I have not been able to find a good dome shaped umbrella in Interlaken. I will keep searching.
FRom Slovenia itś down the croatian coast, with a quick stop at a croat national park which is supposed to be beautiful. Some beachcamping, a night in a hostel possibly, and then itś´over to Bosnia, to spend some time in Mostar. Dont´worry, itś´pretty far south of the Sarejavo conflict areas. FRom there I hit Montenegro, and therein a slight snag. When in Paris, I met up with a gent whom has traveled around abit, and recomended steering clear of Albania. From the words he gave, I think it may be a wie idea, and so I will try to find bus service from Montenegro. Jill and Eric will be in Greece soon(ish), and I would like to get down there, especially before the horrible influx of British tourists swamp everything. I am also interested in roaming around Bulgaria for a bit, returning up the coast of the black sea, and heading back up towards Prauge. I am not sure on any dates, but my current estimation puts that in line with meeting the Seiegels and then hitting Sora, then possibly hitting Scicily to see the other parts of the fam.

WEll, thats all for now, see y'all eventually.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Switzerland...and an update

So, just to let everyone know that I am alive (and hostle lockout is in 10 minutes, so more posting later this afternoon):

I am currently in Gimmelwald, Switzerland staying at a mountain hostel. Lots of stupid Americans. But anywho, I climbed the Schildhorn yesterday...from 1500m to almost 3000m and back in a day, a true alpine experience. My boots are busted, I emailed EMS and am waiting for them to respond...I need to dump some useless gear, and I am debating giving it away or just binning it. One of the compression straps on my backpack is tearing away, I will need to sew it, though I am going to email REI and let them know, simply because this shouldn't be happening. I have a host to stay with in Interlaken for a few days, and then I think I will be heading south...Croatia, here I come! From thigh deep in snow at 3000m to beachside on the med...I love Europe. Everything else is going well, I'm sore as hell, managed to bend one of my trekking poles yesterday during a somewhat scary self-arrest (wish I had an axe...sigh), so very VERY thankful to Val and Fiona for making fun of me/inspiring me to get much better at map and compass work, that arguably saved my life yesterday (descending snowfields in whiteout with hidden cornices...). My GPS also helped out a lot, and I think I want an altimeter watch if I do any more serious mountaineering, I never realized just how invaluable they are for orientation.


I have done a fair amount of writing, most of which I will post later, but most importantly....


I am not going to return for Derek's wedding. It was a tough decision, but I have been thinking about it quite a lot, and I've realized that I simply don't have the drive to do that. I will Email parents with specific details to RSVP.

10 minutes to lockout, and i still have a few things I need to do. Ta for now!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Derek & Beth's wedding: the dilemma

So dad just sent me the details on the wedding...and i'm a bit bummed. The end of july? This is why i had requested the date from derek before leaving the country. If i had known, i probably wouldn't have left. So now i have to decide how much i want to go, and i must decide quickly. NOT going means i wont return to the US for a much longer period, but going means scramming almost all of my ccurent plans...

Paris recap

So a quick recap of my first trip to paris. Kids, rugby, lost my heart pendant (Dan will be happy.) The catacombs were interesting, though much less than i had hoped for. Not worth losing a night of sleep over. My first parisian cs host was pretty rude, though she showed me around and we went biking to the park. Need to leave a reference, will be nice but not enthusiastic. Went out with Leigh for a drink, met a number of her friends, made it home at 4am. But it was agood time. Hithed to strasbourg in a half day, hoping that luck holds out ffor tomorrows trip to Thun. Contacted a host, she sounds pretty cool, and i cannot wait to be in switzerland! SPend a day or two in Thun. Then trek or hitch to interlaken(only 20 km) and from there camp a day or two, equip, and head for the hills. I am going to ask my host in thun if i can leave some stuff with her, which i will not need on the mountain. Hopefully no problem. My host in strasbourg is awesome, and we went out to eat earlier. Who know toast could be so good?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Belfast

Made it to belfast, staying in a dirty little hostel becauseanone of te CSers responded. The rides were uneventful, walked out of cork and hitched two rides intto dublin. Ddn't feel like standing in traffic on the n1 so i walked about 10km to the airport and for E14 got the bus. Not sure what i am going to do tomorrow, thwn need to find out how to get to te airport for my flight to paris!

Friday, May 30, 2008

The long post on Ireland

Okay so I am now sitting in a park in downtown Cork writing a post on my fold-out keyboard. Hereś´a recap, day-by-day:

We met in Cork near the bus station, drove around a bit to pick up food and gas, and the headed down to cape Clear. Boarded the ferry, which was apparently a fun ride (I fell asleep almost immediately due to going out with Carlos the night before). The island itself was cool, only 100 yearly residents, a hostel, a church, and farms. We walked up the only mountain´on the island, at which point I discovered that I was the only one whom actually enjoyed climbing up mountains and the like. Sophie and I played a bit of Frisbee with a disc we found (and i am carrying..sadly only 175g, not full sized) while Zaid and Joscha sat and chatted...I went for a short swim, to cool off...The disc went wide a few times, resulting in my being named that frisbee demon¨by the locals (most of the wide throws were my fault). Ferried back, raised a pint (except Zaid, whom does not drink), and drove around loolking for a campsite. About an hour later we find a ¨camping ground, E15/pp, we decided to continue up the road a spell. Only a few minutes up the road we stumbled upon an artistsś´property, after I asked permission we were alowed to camp there for the night, resulting in our first camping/tenting experience. It was grand, I built a fire, we cooked on our little instatnt grille, and all was well.
The next morning Zaid informed us that he did not trust drinking the water which I had filtered from a local stream, despite being told bythe landowner that their well comes straight from the same stream. His loss.
From there we drive around to Ennis, nothing particularly exciting, though we camped that night in an old cathedral (Ardfert Cathedral), where I met some charming¨local boys of 16, played a bit of hunts´(tag) with them, taught them a bit about self defense, and then had to defend our little camp as they returned during the night to attempt to bother the girls and bum cigs off of Zaid. No real harm done, I woke up early as I was camping outside (nowhere to lay my hammock, and I like being able to see the stars), and I walked down to a local friary, of which I had pictures and will post to my flickr site.

From adrfert we drove to Limerick by way of Valencia Island. Searching for dinosaur tracks (listed on the map), we found a quarry, a lighthouse, acoast guard station, and some VERY poor roads on a mostly deserted island. We arrived in Limerick in time to see people clearing out from the finals of the Munster/Tulouse match, the castle we were planning on visiting closed, and somewhat stormy weather on the horizon. At this point I should mention that despite the typical irish weather, we had nothing but sunshine for the entire trip. At this point we decided that we should try to find an internet cafe, to either seek out a CS host for the nmight, or search for local camping spots. While there did not appear to be any available hosts in the city, Sophie came through with an old host she had contacted months ago, got us a place to stay, and we soon found ourselfs in the care of Alecia. Zaid informed us that he had recieved a call from work and would have to cut his trip short (we suspect a lie, but did not protest), and that he would be taking the bus back to Dublin. Upon hearing that we had a host for the night, he reneged on this slightly, and stated that he would be staying the night. After we ASKED the host if it would be ok (as we had only planned for three people), we settled down to cook some food and relax for the evening. The next morning Alecia kindly lerad us to the University library, where we were able to contact hosts in Glaway, and arrange our next stay with Rhian and Kim, the aussies (though I thought theyt said that they were kiwis?). We dropped Zaid off at thebus station, and after he nickel-and-dimed us for some petrol he had not paid for, we were rid of him. Good riddance.

Down to three, Sophie, Joscha and I headed to Galway where we met our hosts (after a little confusion about wether we were at the town hall, county hall, or city hall...apparnetly Galway has all three, and we were naturally at the last one) and settled in at their place for the night. We watched the film ¨City of G-d,¨ an interesting piece about the slums of Rio and life there (english subtitles). I actually ate some prawns, didnt´really taste them, but was proud of myself for finally getting into a bit of seafood. I really need to try some good fish, or so I have been told.

Anywho, the highlight of our trip (in my opinion) was our trip to the Aran Islands, where we biked around, explored an old lighthouse, had a blast off-road biking through rock-filled fields (Irish mountainbiking is TOUGH), ended up carrying the bikes back, biked over to the seacliffs (I ALMOST climbed down, though Sense caught the better of me), collected our stuff, hung out at a pub for a few hours, and set up camp inside another abandonde cathedtral/church. A good time all around.

The next morning we drove back to Galway to drop off Joscha at the bus station so she could catch a bus to a plane to a train to get back to work (feels familiar), and down to two, Sophie and I headed to the Burren Way (hiking trail). We hiked a good 10km or so, probably a bit more in actuality, and camped in a field a few dozen meters from the car. After a lovely campfire and dinner, we went to sleep. Upon waking, however, we discovered that our once-empty field was full of cows and wild turkey. Oops! Fortunately they didnt´seem to care much about us, and after a lazy morning lounging about, we wended our way back to Cork, where I am currently staying for another day or two. Thatś´all for now, Iĺl have internet access for the next day or two (depening how long I stay around here), and then will be heding north ofthe border, to Belfast for a few days. Time to test my patience, and flex my thumb, itś´hitching time!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Driving Ireland recap

So the driving protiin of my ireland trip has come to an end. A complete update ill follow tonight after i down a well deserved pint, and break out my full size keyboard. I need to respond to messages, organize a couch to stay on in Belfast, call the parents, and clean out my gear. I had a blast, didn't always get along with everyone, met an attractive german punk-ess, saw a lot of ireland, and learned more about myself and others. I've also made some new friends and picked up some good beta along the way.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Quick update

Just a quick update because we don't have internet access everywhere. Currently in Limerick, driving around with friends, having a blast, and no real set plans. Still flying out of Belfast on the 4th for Paris, going to meet Nessa nd stay at Jerome's, hopefully to see Leigh and then go explore the catacombs with Jerome and the girls.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Karma

All of the negativity I felt is drained as i realized where both my SIM and REI cards were. Still a firm believer in karma. Goodnight.

A one way ticket to anywhere.
Many memories; smiles and tears,
Need to get out of this town
There's nothing left to fear.

Off to the great unknown,
No baggage left behind,
Running from everything i know,
This pack holds everything of mine.

Flying off to a new life,
It's a dream come true,
Worked years for this chance,
No way I don't follow through.

No matter what happens,
Never forget family nor friend,
To all those I leave behind,
Goodbye is not always the end.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Kanye west concert?

So this was an interesting night imdeed. While certainly not one of my top favorites, kanye west has some good songs which i do like (this post brought along with Aussie teThe concert was ehh, nothing notable. It was reassuring to hear that my younger cousins are prettymuch normal as can be, and certaitly more well-adjusted than i was at that age. Also great to hear that my lifelong aversion to cigarettes is not unique. A fun time overall, and great to be trusted with other people, even if it was like hearding cats. But we all made it back safe, sound, and smiling. Another adventure for thought. have buulled all of the money back instead of taking even

Schengen explanation

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7153490.stm
The BBC has a good map of the schengen area.

And as of my current findings, the agreement dictates that expats/Americans can stay within the Zone for 3 out of every 6 months (on simply a tourist visa...studying/working/other visas are separate).

But gotta jet. More later, fortunately not everywhere is part of this agreement. I'll figure it out.

Dublin to Paris via...

So I've started to fill up my google calendar with the various travel plans that people have sent/told me, in an effort to see everyone throughout my travels. At the same time, I've realized that this trip is for ME, and I need to realize that while it would be nice to see EVERYONE, that may simply not be FINANCIALLY viable (I can get anywhere if I pay enough, but that is not how I prefer to travel...etc). However, this is what I see now:

E44 from Dublin to Brussels at 06:00 on the 2nd of June, arriving at 10:00. I have not bought these tickets yet, but I will probably do this as it is likely the cheapest I will be able to find. I still need to check out some of the low-budget airlines. From there I could hitch a ride down to Paris (150 miles), which theoretically could be done in a day. To save a bit of time, I can take a local train down towards the border (Though I would pick that up in-station upon arrival, to make it easier). I should also see if anyone is driving that route, as that would be ideal.

That's all for now, relaxing in Philly, lounging about, and I feel like I need to get outside, all of the indoor activities of the past few days are beginning to wear on me.

From the city of brotherly love

Wow, i haven't had an update since rochester. . . Or was it even before i got in there? I cannot honestly remember. Either way, i am now with family in philly, after having a wonderful time in Chicago. What a nice city, and well my fsmily is awesome. I didn't get to see everyone, but hopefully that will change this summer.

The power is out here, a branch knocked out the transformer to this part of the street, so this post will be dropped sometime tomorrow morning. I could easily plug in my cellular modem and get instant connectivity, but honestly i just want to go to sleep. Lts to think about, and those whom know me know that is not usually a good thing. Saw "harold and kumar escape guantanamo bay" earlier, highly recommend if you are into that humor.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Poland to rochester

So i am "cheating" and taking the bus. Money isn't the key isssue, rather i would like to get there at a reasonable time today. Ali offerrd to give me a lift all the way if i wanted to stay for another night...I dont know what stopped me, but I declined here extremely generous offer and here ii am. Fourty ddollars lighter, but on sated to arrive in rochester at 4:45. It is 1:25 right now. If this area qere good for hitching, I could have made it in almostt half that time. On the flip side, I did get picked up by tim while walking down rt 8, and with his lift made it to the bus station just in time to catch the bus.
I have been thinking about the rides i got yesterday, as wel as my interlude with the police. Of special (and in my opinion ridiculous) interest is the person whom was posted to watch me. What is it that the state police are s afraid of? Me? Are they really trying to protect me from myself? Do they really think that everyone is out there with sinister intent? Heck, do i look a particularly easy target? I truly do not know. There are many things wrong witth our society, the least of which is our fear of the unknown. Why am i treated as a criminal for simly waming to be free...


Update: train to chicago at 11 on the 12th

NYC->Utica(approx)

So this is a short update on my progress. I am at Aliś, though she was forced to pick me up along route five last night, as I had absolutely NO luck getting ouit of Amsterdam, NY. IN fact, I got harassed by the state police for sitting on the guard rail, and they were extremely and unnecessarily agressive. An undercover/off-duty copy was also placed there to watch me, and he sat in his sedan for about an hour watching me and reading his book.

That being said, getting TO amsterdam was a joy. I was picked up by Ed (last name removed), whom told me that I reminded him of Alex S. I have a feeling Ïnto the wild¨references will become more commonplace as I travel this way more. That being said, I am going to go check out Aliś´property (Weŕé in the Dacks, itś´beautiful up here), and at some bpoint today make my way to Rochester. I have been thinking about it, and in the interests of speed, I may take the bus to Chicago from Rochester.
More later, now breakfast!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rome summer camp

So I just registered for Rome summer camp!
http://romesummercamp.ilbello.com/index.php?page=htgt



July 28th to August 5th (A few days on either side to account for getting over there!)

It sounds like an awesome trip! So that will be another piece of my puzzle..

Due to some complications, I'm obviously not on the road to Chicago, and it looks like my ride has fallen through in getting out there. So I'm torn, do I go out there to visit family, go off and do my own thing...or what? Reasonably, I'll be doing my own thing for a loooong time, so it's worth it to get out and visit family. So the question becomes, how do I get out there?

this keyboard is pissing me the hell off!

Sorry, that sentence took five minutes to type. Stupid wireless keyboard (Vista! Hatred!)

Anywho, looking at getting out to Chicago, I didn't realize how far away it is! That's kinda far, so I'll hitch it? Hmm, this may require consideration.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

First from the road.

First off i apologize to the people who are currently waiting to hear from me or to get this web address. After a slight freak out last night regarding this tablet, all appears to be well. I spent last night in my car, mostly because i was tooo lazy and tired to do anything as ell as being a bot paranoid about the police finding my car semi abandoned. But i made up some sleep at the park today with a glorious nap in my hidden hammock. I really love it and cannot imagine sleeping on the ground. That said i am stilll carrying a tarp and gground cloth...habit.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Plans change...

So, my plans have changed a bit, as they are prone to doing. Arizona is out. As is everything outside of the northeast. I canned my ticket to Phoenix (Anyone want $100 credit on Southwest? I have to check if it's transferable...)

Anywho, ignoring that, I have been chatting with Sophie (Organizer of the Ireland trip), I am trying to crash at a friend of hers in Cork for the night when I arrive. Aside from that, this is what I see as of right now:

Saturday:
Leaving Burlington on Saturday midday (One last party w/roommies)
Grab/meet up w/Liz, head into Cambridge, Contra@Harvard.
If I end up driving Liz home, park@Capt's 1/4 and crash in Norris.

Sunday:
Wake up Sunday, give Steve a call, Go shooting/spend some time w/Steve (if he can, otherwise Monday).
Dinner @ Mo's (Need to call&Confirm).

Monday: (5/5)
See George (need to give him my Ridgerest).
See Herm (Because I just need to visit NHS one last time)
See Paula (if I can)
Ditch car (Need to look in to this).

Begin heading towards ROC...I S'pose.

Somewhere in there I need to hit REI and pick up the GoLite Ultra 20 Quilt.

Thats' about it. need to be in CT on the 16th for my shot, I'll head down to Philly from there, then back to CT to see Parents, celebrate, Leave.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

End of days...

Wow, the realization that this is LESS than a month away is a bit freaky. Nonetheless, I have planned for the US portion of my tour. Well, as planned as I'm going to get. Instead of hitching west, I'm flying, due to the obvious time constraints I have placed upon myself. I'll still be traveling back east via hitching/rideshare/walking/dancing, so I'll have plenty of opportunity for mayhem. For all of you out there intimidated, keep the following in mind: This entire plan took about an 5 minutes to form, an hour to research, and the result is an amazingly cheap trip cross-country, with a few built-in time delays for additional security (I have also listed optional fallbacks in parentheses).

First and foremost, I will travel down to Boston, likely *ON* the 2nd of May, with a pack on my back and a smile on my face.

While down there, there is a list of people I *MUST* visit. I also want to make a stop at the Boston REI... (Names include any other family which may be around)

Mo
Steve
Liz
George
Paula
*Ryan (If he can make it down from Portland)
Herm
Tae
The Beach (any of them, really)
Others I may run into...

I should be able to make it down to Boston the night of the 2nd (Unless I get ******d by work), CS with someone, then have the 3rd, 4th, 5th to see people. I figure I'll make it down to Norwell on the afternoon of the 3rd (might be easiest to take Greenbush out of S. Station, or just Redline it)
I def. want to hammock Norris, should try to see Herm on the 5th (Call NHS), see Steve then (if not sooner), See Mo,Liz , Paula on 4th, George on 3rd...Looks pretty solid. I need to remember that I don't have any major transportation around here, so I might want to look into either hitching with a bike or *ghasp* keeping my car?

wth, I'll keep my car, maybe I can drive it all the way down to Providence and have it picked up there? Who knows.

I'll stay w/friends, sleep in Norris, relax, and just chill all around Norwell. Thinking about bringing my skates, if I haven't given them away by then.

Plan: (worked backwards from booking a flight)

Arrive Phoenix, AZ 21:30 05/06/08

Depart T.F. Green at 17:00 05/06/08

Therefore arrive at airport 15:00

Leave Kennedy plaza at 14:20 from platform A (Route 20, $1.50, leaves approx every 20 minutes)

Which means arrive in Providence around 13:00 (to eat lunch)

Therefore grab train from 128 station at 12:30 (14:23 train arrives in Providence at 15:09 as fallback)

Therefore I need to spend most of the day traveling, don't waste time in the morning.
(As an alternative, I can take the Greenbush to S.Station, and then get the train from there, it'll cost about $8 more)

Total cost:
Bus: 1.50
Food: 15
Train: 4.00
Plane: 100
Total: 120.50

Distance: 2200 miles

Time: 24 hours

Need to find CS host for night of 05/06/08
Look up good spots to hitch out of Phoenix
Also look up Phoenix public transpo

I-10 East seems the most direct route, though

Hitch to Jim's on 05/07/08, stay with Jim for a day or two (or more), relax, hike, then head to Austin, TX to see Sam. After this...Find a way back to NYC, via Rochester?

Need a USA Atlas (And European if available!)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

first stop: Ireland

So I've been communicating with a German girl on Couchsurfing about doing a trip around southern/mid Ireland May 23rd to 30th or so. We, along with some other CSers and friends, will rent a (or possibly two) vehicles, drive around, camp, surf, and explore. Sounds like a blast! And I recently chatted w/Nessa, I'll try to get together w/she and Jerome. Leigh mentioned an interest in hitting the Catacombs under Paris, Jerome's game, and I'm psyched. So that's the first leg of my plan.

Need to get from Dublin to Cork on the 22nd, probably grab a bus around 11:00

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Meeting Leigh

so, between June 18th and July 5th, in Paris. That is all I have agreed to, for now.
I'll post some prelim irish plans later. and by later I mean between now and then.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Time marches on...

So a lot's been going on in my life. The overall plan hasn't changed, some of the dates have changed, and an anchor has finally be nailed into the ground, a single date-point marking my emigration from the United States on to the world. My flight leaves the evening of May 21st from JFK Airport in NYC. I will fly until 9:00, and at that time I will arrive in Dublin, Ireland. My plan is to travel from Dublin to Belfast, and on from there to the ferry at [I need to look it up again]. Ferrying across to Scotland, I will travel up to the city of Glasgow, hopefully get a chance to drop by and see Ceri [I also need to look up her town/address]. After this, it's the West Highland Way up to Fort Williams, a night or two at the hostel [staying around for a week if I can get paid to clean], some climbing around Ben Nevis and CMD, maybe a night by the waterfall, then to Skye! Again, spending a night or two in the Hostel [more if pay, etc], then off to do some "hillwalking" and "munro-bagging," including a free solo of the In. Pin. Hooah. Spend a decent amount of time [totally undecided, need to hit up a map bigtime] wandering Skye, then depending on the time, over and up to Norway, or direct down to Latvia [I still need to look up Riga]. From here it starts to get fuzzy again, spending time traveling around eastern Europe, slowly heading southward towards Hungary and eventually down to Greece [I still need to find the dates for Greece from mom and dad]. This should put me mid to late September, after this heading to Israel, and then [or directly] Egypt [I need to confirm this with Herb]. From Egypt I would again get fuzzy, pointing towards Istanbul, and moving semi-overland towards India. I would prefer to fly to India (over most of the middle east) at least right now. This could all change (hopefully for the better) in the future. From India I'd hit Thailand, and just bomb around Australia and NZ for a while...That should put me in two years or so...Maybe head home for a visit w/mom and dad? It's wicked fuzzy at this point [wherever this point is...].

That is all for now.