The Last Year On The Road (Rest in Peace, Dear Taylor!)

Taylor was one of the most amazing people I’ve encountered in my life. He was a passionate adventurer and famous traveler, who spent the last 6 years of his life in a hitchhiking vagabondage across continents and borders to inspire everyone who ever had the chance to meet him. Not to say he was a vegan straightedge and freegan, always a vagabond and never complacent with injustice of any kind. Sadly, he died on the road, hit by a truck in Africa when he was traveling back home to Canada to start an environmentalist project after spending so many years on the road. The following text was sent as an email to his friends in the beginning of 2013 and reprinted in DIYconspiracy.net with his knowledge and agreement just a month before he passed away.

You can still find his Couchsurfing profile and read what what people have said about him: http://www.couchsurfing.org/people/xnothingxheldxbackx/

Hey Everyone.

This is Taylor. You know, that bearded Canadian guy you met somewhere along the way in life.

*warning* This story is long and rambling… so either get a cup of tea and read on or read some other time…

Where to start? Well I will have to start in 2011 I guess… in May 2011 I finished hitchhiking across Asia, finally forced to fly to Australia after an asshole boat captain gave my spot on his boat to someone with more experience. What a scurvey dog he was…

I arrived in Darwin. You know, capital of the northern territory in Australia. Basically like the wild west of Australia. It”s the kind of place you can hitch into town with a cowgirl who is driving into town to compete in a stripper contest…

Tried, and of course failed to make things work with my old Aussie ex from university days. Maybe that story is finally finished… but who knows, they say that your first love will wear a ribbon in your hair for the rest of your life. I just hate walking away from it with so many things unfinished, but I guess not everything can be finished.

Now, sorry for the vulgarity… but I have to tell this part of the story. It was hard for me to find a place to base myself in Darwin, I felt like cat, forever poised on the edge of the door – unsure if I should go or stay. There was an absolutely adorable family of 7 kids 40km south of town that I stayed with… but 40 km is a bit too far away. So I ended up staying with a deaf nudist. Not completely deaf, but needed a powerful hearing aid. He liked to drop his pants when he arrived home. His house, his rules. He was ok with me staying for awhile and turning his house into a dumpster house – I filled that house with dumpstered food and we would always have at least 5 people sitting down to dinner every night :)

Deaf nudist. Each night he would go to sleep naked, and holding his penis in one hand. His door was always open… so we were forced to notice this. He got the nick name Cockgrabber. 40 something year old guy, never heard of him dating or having a girlfriend. It struck me as so desperately sad. I said to myself that I didn’t want to end up like that… I guess I had a mini-epiphany then.

Wandered around Australia a bit then. Got a temp job for the Government of Australia through a good friend. Then hitched back up to Darwin and flew to Bali. Had a lovely week hitching across Bali and then Java with a Swedish friend. Why did I go to Indonesia? Well a good friend of mine was getting married… and since Indonesia is just across the pond from Australia… I thought I would go. At the wedding I met a girl (Tanja) and we talked all night and watched the sunrise together. I hugged her goodbye as she was catching a bus and wondered if I would ever see her again.

http://444km.blogspot.com/2011/09/hitchhiking-java.html

I arrived back in Australia and hitched a 1000 km dirt track. Arrived the backway to Uluru (the big red rock in the center of OZ). Watched the sunrise with some of the only grey nomads that ever took me… and on that long dusty road, passing more camels than kangaroos… I realized I didn’t want to wonder if I would ever see Tanja again. So many either unfinished stories with women or stories that I never started and just headed out to the road. Now I decided that I would finish one story at least. So İ arrived back in Canberra. Worked as an office whore for a couple of months and then changed all my plans and took a flight back to Europe! I didn’t want to end up a 40 year old man going to bed holding his penis!

I never thought that I would end up living in a Soviet style apartment block. But then I never thought I would end up living in Belgrade either. It was great to be with someone that wanted to be with me, but one important point had never been talked about before I arrived. Was she going to join me on the road or was I going to stay in Belgrade? You think that important point would have been discussed in detail… yet somehow we had only hinted at it. Me that she would come on the road, her that I would stay in Belgrade. So in the course of the 3 months that I lived with her in Belgrade I slowly realized that if she was going to leave Belgrade… it wouldn’t be for years (I would bet that she never does) and that she does not enjoy my style of travel: hitchhiking, never paying for somewhere to sleep, eating trash, etc.

It became really clear to me after we did a brief trip through Romania together. Now, many would say that taking someone hitching for the first time in the snow and when its -20°C is not the best introduction to the road… but honestly it wasn’t that hard. I was organized, had people to stay with and had small hitching days… but well, she still wasn’t ready. Her shoes fell apart on the coldest day, walking through the snow. We arrived at a petrol station and I was massaging her feet while she was crying and begging me to stop. I said that I couldn’t… because I didn’t want her to get frostbite. I thought she would know that as she is a doctor. Later that evening we were at a cafeteria waiting for our host and I walked around and collected some food people had left on their trays. When I sat down at the table again she told me how gross and disgusting that was and how she would never want to live like that. Being judged that like that by my girlfriend… well, I kinda knew things were over after that. I took her to one travel club meeting in Belgrade, the famous Russian hitchhiker Anton Krotov did a talk, along with Serbian hitchhikers who had hitched to Sudan and back. They told how it was totally possible to travel on 250 Euros a month (which I think is a lot!!!). She heard all their talks, heard them explain how to do it… but it all fell on deaf ears. So come March, with the first spring sun I was back on the road.

http://www.couchsurfing.org/image_gallery.html?id=KM67VA&folder=577140

To Bulgaria. Why not? I had never been there before. Had a great sXe vegan host. Actually went to a Couchsurfing meeting which of course wasn’t that great. As I got up to leave with my backpack I was confronted by 2 ladies who were so surprised to see someone with a backpack there… shows you the state of Couchsurfing! (surprised to see a traveler? what the…)

The next day I got a lovely mail from another girl and I was able to meet her and confirm that she was indeed lovely. Then I ran back to Belgrade to hitch through Bosnia and Croatia with a Spanish friend. A great little trip and I swam for the first time in 2012. A Croatian lady asked me if I was Russian… I said I was Canadian and she said same difference. Then I headed back to Bulgaria for a few stolen moments with the girl I had met before. I couldn’t stay long as I had a long road to Paris to meet my father… and lots of friends to catch up with along the way.

I arrived at the Paris airport and it was great to see my dad after 2 years. We did the tourist thing in Paris and then hitchhiked south to Auch (near Toulouse) and stayed with a friend there and made our final preparations for our big walk – yes it was finally time to do the fabled Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James). İt was only maybe 200 km to the Pyrénées… but for one good reason… and a lot of laziness my dad was not ready at ALL. He got such bad blisters that he had to take antibiotics and the doctor told him not to walk for 10 days! So my dad felt a bit guilty as I headed off into the Pyrénées alone. But it was no problem. I slept under the balcony of an abandoned house on the way up and once I crossed I found a bunch of abandoned buildings near a train yard. One even had a mattress and a chair in it, a great night on the road :)

For the next little while I would meet dad in a city and then walk for a few days and meet him at the next. The best section on the trail for me was heading north from Pamplona to the coast… I, of course, got lost in the hills and spent most of the day bush bashing down a valley and following a river down to a village, to meet up with the trail there. But it was lovely. I imagined the whole day that I was on middle earth and that there were ents just around the corner. Sadly no ent sightings :(

Along the north coast of Spain the camino was terrible. A lot of walking on roads, and when there was nature it was in the form of eucalyptus and pine plantations. I finally convinced my dad that we should head into the hills to get to Santiago de Compostela. Lucky. That was a much better section of the camino, named the Camino Primitivo. Less people, less roads and actually some sections of nature. Finally after 1300 km we arrived in Santiago de Compostela, watched the silly smoking urn be flung over our heads in the cathedral… and then somehow it didn’t feel like the end to me. So I walked the last 100 km to the end of the earth – Cape Finisterre. People were burning bits of their clothing… offerings for having finished their walk. My shoes had been held together for the last few weeks with bright green duct tape. I threw them into the ocean with an old İtalian guy following me down the cliff where we put our feet in the Atlantic :) Watched an amazing sunset and then turned around and hitched down to Porto, Portugal to reunite with my father and meet my sister at the airport. Said goodbye to my father and hello to my sister!

I was so happy to have spent 2 months with my dad. Now he feels like a best friend. He only walked about half of the 1400 km that I walked but he walked the last 400 km straight with me which was fantastic. Funny thing, in one day in Australia İ hitched more than İ did in 2 months of walking. 1440 km in 24 hrs. crazy world! This was my first real attempt at slow travel and İ loved it. İ don’t think I can do slow travel by myself… I get itchy feet too much. But with someone, that is another story. Now I love my sister, dearly. Probably more than anyone else in the world. And we had already hitched together for 3 and a half months from Rome to Turkey. But this June, hitching in Portugal shattered that dream for us. After hitching in more than 60 countries Portugal was the worst country I have ever hitched in. İt took us 5 days of solid sun up to sundown hitching to go 900 km. There were good moments. Me cutting barbed wire fences for my sister to hop. Sleeping in fields. Me climbing a cherry tree covered in blackberries. Arriving in Barcelona in a campervan a block away from Gaudi’is cathedral. But we probably will never hitch together again which makes me sad. Unless something somehow rekindles her hitchhiking passion…

[somehow across Europe I was able to send letters to that girl I met in Bulgaria before…]

From Barcelona I again hitched across Europe catching up with friends along the way. I wandered to the European hitchhike-gathering in Lithuania. Met old friends there. Made new ones. Met another brother on the road… an American/Swiss guy that I just hit it off with. We left the hitch gathering together and hitched down to Slovakia to the European Rainbow gathering. It’s basically a temporary village in the woods where everyone comes and lives together in harmony and peace. Peace and doves! It is full of hippies but not so many long term travellers. Still always a great experience at Rainbow…

From there I went south to see that girl I had met before in Bulgaria. Somehow there had been a misunderstanding. She didn’t think much of the letters I had written to her… but I had never written letters to a girl before. So things did not end well. But I had some nice moments in Bulgaria: working on a farm, being left in charge and realizing that I know the most about goats. Teaching other people how to milk goats… being a VEGAN GOAT HERDER. Oh, my, my, my. I think I never want to look after goats again! But it was fun being up in the hills with the lovely stars and goats for company.

Then it was time to head east… got east in my blood again. Wandered all the way up to Kiev, then down to Crimea which was as lovely as I had hoped it would be. So beautiful but never enough time to explore the countryside. Still I went hiking for one day and mountain biking another day and I got to experience absolutlely stunning autumn colours all around me. One day it was cold though…

Headed south. Hitched 2 buses in Moldova. Busked in Chisinau. People were so surprised to find a Canadian in Moldova. What are you doing here they kept asking me? and of course I had to visit Transnistria. How can one not visit a country that does not exist? I proudly have their flag on my pants now :) I visited the town of Bender and almost had a sky diver land on top of me. What else could you expect in a town named Bender? I found that Moldovans were hands down the most hospitable people in all of Europe. Of course it is also the poorest country in Europe… I had some 7th day adventists take me to their place and feed me, then apologize again and again that they couldn’t let me stay with them because they were staying with their parents. A dump truck driver offered for me to stay with him and it was still mid day…

But somehow at the Romanian border on my way south I met a strange Moldovan man. I wasn’t sure what was weird about him but I was a bit tired after walking a solid 5 km to the border and then arguing with the border guards about being allowed to walk over to Romania. So I just slept a bit, he was going a long ways. Then conversations start getting weird. He is asking me if I have a girlfriend… boyfriend… do I like boys? You know where this is heading. He became VERY clear in showing me what he wanted. It’s funny to look back on it but a bit disturbing at the time. After he finally understood that i wasn’t going to service him in any way he demanded 50 USD and when I refused kicked me out of the car. Failed to make it to my friends house in Cluj-Napoca that night, last ride of the day with an old Romanian guy who did not speak a word of Engilsh… still stopped in the pitch black and drove me into town. Found car garage under construction and had a cold night on the road.

Then quick run across Romania and Bulgara to Istanbul. Spending hours in a truck waiting to enter Turkey, playing my music on the guys hard drive. SO good to fall asleep to Boards of Canada. As we are about to cross I am asked to walk across. So out into the night I walk. Get my second Turkish visa in my life and walk towards Customs. The guy looks at me in surprise as I approach. Asks me what I am doing? Hitching to İstanbul. He looks up from my passport and says I look like the guy from Into The Wild. We talk. He asks me if I need anything. So? I hesitantly say chai? He excitedly takes me back to his booth and makes me chai. This way to sweet border guy tells me of his dreams to travel the world… and how he is stuck at this border searching cars instead. As I walk away into the night he calls me back. He asked the guy he was searching to take me. Somehow this Georgian guy lives in Brussels and is driving back to Tbilisi. We understand each other pretty good in my terrible Russian. He leaves me on the side of the wet highway at 1 am and I wander to try and find my hosts place. I go into a hotel and ask for directions and end up talking to the receptionist for a couple of hours as I am offered my second cup of chai in Turkey. Oh, Turkey.

Now it’s super late so I do not want to wake up my host. I find a park by a mosque and sleep there. As I am getting into bed two young cops show up and there is no way that I am moving. I am tired and in my sleeping bag. They come over and try to intimidate me… but it gives me heart to see that they are too young to really be assholes. I explain that it’s too late to go to my friends house and that I will go in the morning. With a lot of ‘hallah hallhs’ they drive off and leave me to sleep for a couple of hours until prayer call wakes me up…. Ah, Turkey.

Spend awhile in Istanbul before going off to pick olives. Out of nowhere I get an email offering me to crew on a boat to Crete… so I run south and am able to meet a lovely American couple in time to sail with them the 40 odd hours down to Crete. Keeping night at watch. The moon as my companion… fuels so many dreams of crossing the ocean. What to do in Crete? I was supposed to meeting one of my best friends and hitching with him for 2 weeks. Well I spend a couple of days hitching across Crete. Juggle money for the ferry. Get to Rhodos. Try to catch the ferry the next day. But don’t have enough money for the departure tax. 3 days until next ferry. So I hitch around Rhodos eating oranges and pomegranates from the side of the road. I am finally able to meet my friend but my attempts at making a plan to travel with him have all been thrown in the wind. Despite his complaints I take him to Cappadocia because it is so beautiful there. He grumbles the whole time but as we sit on a hill looking out on the surreal landscape around us and hot air balloons rising above us he says its worth it :)

We part ways, never sure when we will meet again, only that we will. I head south towards the beaches. Unfortunately I meet a lovely cop who rips my passport in half. I turn around and hitch back to Ankara. Joined by a homeless guy who was walking on the street. Somehow it just made sense to travel with him. So 14 rides later I am in Ankara… I make a sign and put out my broken passport asking people for money for a new passport as I proceed to juggle for 15 hours over 2 days. I get a muscle cramp in my left forearm. But I have more than enough money for a new passport (105CDN).

But then the waiting for the passport. After a week in Ankara, which actually has really nice people even if the city itself is rather average, I hitch back to Cappadocia again to meet a Russian friend travelling with an Australian guy. We do a 3 person hitch down to the lovely Ihlara valley and sleep in the frost. Have a lovely day exploring the caves there before finally hitching down the coast. I have my last swim of the year on December 29th and watch a sunset on the hill eating fresh tangerines. We head towards the famous butterfly valley, arrive in the pouring rain. Walk down the slippery path, rappelling with the fixed ropes. Camp in the pouring rain with lightening flashing overhead. The next day we hike out in the rain and manage to hitch to Izmir. No idea where we are going to stay. Do free hugs. A lady invites us to her house. We watch fireworks by the sea and then have late night chai with her cats around her… not sure how many she had. At least 5. One was 9 kg…

And that was 2012 on the road. Sorry for my ramblings. I hope everyone had a great year in your lives and have an ever better one this year! Feel free to send me an update… I will try to get back to you as I can. Hugs from Turkey!

Taylor

nhb@riseup.net

http://couchsurfing.org/people/xnothingxheldxbackx

PS. Here are letters I sent to a girl… wasn’t enough to win her heart but I wrote them fresh off the road… everything is clearer then. Read on if you want! Moments from the road…


Juggling on the side of the road in Slovakia. Circus man stops. Able to talk without a common language which I always love. Stops to check on his circus. Juggling in front of a closed circus :) Walking along the same highway I walked along in the snow in January when I was hitcing back to Belgrade from Berlin. Getting a ride with a guy my age with white hair.

Trying to busk in Brno. That apprehensive feeling before you do something you never have before. Stage fright. Finally find a spot, put my hat out. A lady gives me 5 Czech crowns (coins). Security moves me on. New spot, again security. Find a better spot. Juggle for 2 hours. It wasn’t my juggling though, it was my sign that worked. In Czech it said “better than money I’d rather food” (although I think the way I’d like to say it now is ‘I’d rather eat food than eat money’). Finally a middle aged lady reads the sign, gives me a 4 euro note. Buying and eating bread from money I had busked = great feeling.

Getting off from the wrong tram stop in Brno. Take a different bus to my instructions, walking to the wrong petrol station on the highway and then hitch hiking to the right one. Long ride to Prague without speaking a word of English. Left on the south side of the ring road. Long 2 hours walk to other side of town. Finally a nice guy takes me to the north, go shopping with him at Tesco to use up the last of my busking money. Buy apples, bread and carrots. Waiting to get a ride to Germany. Turning around to see rainbow span the horizon. Feeling great :)

Dropped in Germany on autobahn. Driver says it’s ok but I know what’s coming. 15 minutes later police are telling me to walk into the fields. I pull out a carrot to talk to him. He gets mad, tries to push me. I get mad, yell at him. Walk on the grass beside the highway. 10 minutes later they have looped around and I have a police escort walking 2 km to the next exit where I can hitch from.

Sleeping in my tent that windy night in a small tree plantation. Short rides on the German autobahn are terrible. Finally get to a petrol station and manage a couple of decent length ride to Hanover, only for the Autobahn to be be closed for repairs. Huge traffic jam. Left at deserted on ramp. Walk onto highway. Before I can walk 2 km to parking bay police come. Angry lady cop demanding my passport. Asking why, only to be told she needs to verify my identity. Guy in first car that passes gives me the middle finger while looking me in the eye. Depressed. Juggle for hours. Biker looking guy approaches. Scared. Keep juggling. But it’s only Renee the nicest truck driver I’ve ever met. Drives me 50 km out of highway ways (with loaded truck) to Munster, feeds me. Walking in Munster pretty kindergarten teacher sees me and drives me to my friends address.

Leave from Munster, no long rides, only short rides to the most industrialized part of Germany. Danish couple going to Paris stops, need to get out of there as I’d already been given the finger again that day. Left on highway again, Belgium police come but they are nice, drive me to good hitching spot.

[[it depresses me that people would call the cops on me rather than take me themselves to a good hitching spot]]

Short rides heading towards Luxembourg. Young guy takes me out of his way, asks if I need food, say I have eaten today. Old Luxembourgi guy driving me to his homeland. Feeling good to see some countryside I have never seen before. Getting 4 rides in Luxembourg, none with locals. Portuguese, Bulgarian, Cape Verde, Eritrea/South Africa. Asking beautiful French lady how to hitch out of city, she thinkis i’m batshit crazy for leaving the town at night. Shitty cold sleep on side of road.

Police coming in morning before I walk to petrol station. Stuck. Short ride out of Luxembourg. 2 muslim guys stopping because of my beard. One is spitting blood. Talking about Islam in France. Being left at the petrol station with a 5 Euro note sincerely pressed into my hand, shouting waliekum salam to the departing car with the whole petrol station staring at me.

Struggling through the town of Nancy… walking to next on ramp. Getting my first ride with female truck driver. Change drivers, guy takes me all the way to Lyon. Left in the rain in the south of the city at 11:30pm. First place I go to borrow phone is McDonald’s. Ask to over dressed guys, turns out I’m 17 km away. In the end they drive me to bus stop in center. Catch last bus. Walking up hill… know the house is somewhere up there.. flag first car that goes by. Police. But nice police finally. Drive me to friends house. My friend is driving down the hill to look for me, the cops put their siren on to stop him. His says only I would hitch a police car in the middle of the night in the french countrside.


Today was a new day though. The rain stopped… Autumn was in the air and it was time to stop dwelling and keep dreaming. Caught my friend in Sofia (Bulgaria) just as she got back. I dumpstered a lovely mirror for her so she was excited about that. I also got a new accessory for myself. A bright pink backpack! And an old kids belt which is now ‘bling’ on the outside of my backpack. My friend brought their new puppy with them. 6 cats and a dog. Crazy apartment. And the poor bunny in the cage.

Maybe you are right about the beard really holding me back with hitching in Bulgaria. The spot to go to Belgrade from Sofia is really perfect and I always wait there for hours. I walk just a bit past to this unused onramp just so that I am past the last turn off. Turns out that worked in my favour today. A guy actually used it, he was a coffee machine repairman (my second ride with one in Bulgaria, didn’t know it was a popular trade?) who was going to the petrol station just before the border. Best border crossing I’ve had all year. Not a single question.

Waiting on the other side of the border. Giant flags flap flap flapping in the winds. So much garbage from people waiting waiting waiting. Broke my water bottle. Found some mountain dew in the bin. Dug a littler deeper – remember when you dumpster to always dig a little deeper – and found peanuts. That was my lunch. Juggled like a fiend. People laughed, didn’t stop. So many turks driving back to Germany. Walked up to 2 Turkish families with Austrian plates. Not the type to give rides. Guy asks me if I have stuff in my bag. What kind of stuff I reply? He looks puzzled. Where are you from? From Canada. Did you cross this border? I look puzzled. Then he lets me in. Slow conversation. Wife won’t look at me or talk to me. Conservative. He talks about how Iranians are bad Muslims. They all eat swine, drink and do everything with women. First turk I met who prayed 5 times a day and speaks English. We stop for picnic at petrol station.

Kids in other car. One is hyper-active. A younger version of me. Eat pasty-white-death-bread with tomatoes and cucumber. Finally they seem happy to have me there. My driver tells the other car about me. The other wife is wearing a hijab but is happy to try to communicate with me, other wife doesn’t wear a hijab but wont look at me. Guess it’s all about personality not religion. She keeps plying me with bread and tomatoes and cucumber. Start to feel like I’m outside of Europe again…

Makes me feel like the wind is pulling me east. Somehow now I feel like it’s the time to head north though. While I’m waiting watching wishing for my Iranian visa. Or maybe I’m just putting off having to buy my first visa in over a year. There are trees changing colour as we head into the gorge before Pirot. Is it from too much heat or is Autumn fully here already? And here I sit. On a good friends couch in Belgrade. Somehow it’s not too strange to be back. I like that I’m not haunted to be here. I felt haunted when I was back in March after being with you for a week. Now I could meet Tanja on the street and give her a hug. But she didn’t reply to my last email so I guess she doesn’t want to meet.


I like riding the buses in Belgrade. I almost know my way around the city. The city almost comes to a standstill during the rain. Funny, I always thought that’s what snow did. It was weird getting to know two of my friends lovers. With both of them we talked about another guy she loves, the Swedish guy who I introduced her to and is the love of her life. She calls him her twin soul. The older Croatian guy was great…he is one of the few people I would call 100% present. The guy was an eccentric chiropractor. We met a yank in the bar and they seemed to bond and were making plans to hitch hike together. The Serbian guy seemed to take great pride in telling the yank how much of an expert in hitch hiking he was and how far he’d hitch hiked and all the places he’d been. Then they started talking about taking DMT and I faded out.

But back to buses. Now they have a new card system and more ticket checkers. One got on the bus, I ducked out. Walked to the bridge over the Danube, bused it over. I like traveling through a region in the different seasons. I remember crossing the Danube in February and it was frozen. Wait at the hitching spot. Polish guy walks by, first question: where you from? 2nd: how long have you been travelling? Do we really break people down into those 2 boxes?

Waiting. Hummer pulls a U-turn. Have you ever had a ride in a hummer? Wasn’t my lucky day. Get a ride in a Yugo. Oh those yugo’s… remind me so much of Lada’s. Left in Pancejevo. Every time I hitch to Romania it’s the same. Stuck waiting with the kids from school. Get a truck to Vrsac, but he leaves me 10 km before town. A barman takes me, he’s heading to Denmark the next day. Actually takes me to the border. Another great border crossing, except the Romanian stamps on a new page. Waiting in the cold wind. Simon the Polish guy strolls up. We hitch together. Turns out he learned English from reading all 7 Harry Potter books. Buys me apples. Customs lady finally tells a guy to takes us to Timisoara. Part ways with Simon.

Get to the edge of town as the sun is setting. Staring up the road with the blazing sky behind me. I could disappear into that horizon… if only I had wings. Twilight is creeping up and still there is a maddening orangey pink glow behind me. Truck stops. Adi takes me to Arad but can’t get me a ride in another truck onwards. Sleep behind petrol station in my tent. Cold, watch the sunrise in my sleeping bag.

Walk it out around Arad. Hate the industrial mess that surrounds Romanian cities. Finally a wine-maker takes me out of town. Nice car stops. It’s a Romanian soldier. Serves in Afghanistan. It’s the kind of the ride that makes your day. We talk about Afghanistan…he rekindles my dream to go back. We say see you again, but he says not in Afghanistan, I say see you there.

Short ride with eldest of 7. Sad that he is stuck in the role in life that he is. Talks about dreams of travel, he did the J1 visa too. And yet I sensed so much sadness in him. Take a ride with Valdimir. Offers for me to stay at his house. Despite a bit of a weird vibe I think why not. When we get to his place outside of Cluj he says that I have to pay, because you know, water costs money. Walk down from his hill. Stop at dumpster. Get first food of day, bread, half a banana, orange, pepper and a bag of plums.

Don’t think I am going to get a ride into town. Wrong. Get a ride with a guy who was in Vancouver 20 years ago. Worked in the States. His us name was ‘Chuck’. Chuck leaves me outside national theatre where I wait for a friend of the cousin of an old host to meet me. The girl doesn’t get her until Monday so I’m by myself until then. Went out with a group of 22 years old. Felt weird to be hanging out with a group of people my sister age, hear all their references to facebook, youtube and some funny picture website.

Rest in Peace, Dear Taylor

Mittens XVX

Positive person bringing a small fragment of warmth and light in a dark and cold world. Editor of Tigersuit Zine. Founder of DIY Conspiracy webzine. Contact him at: mitkoxvx@gmail.com