My workbench

My workbench

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?