Around the World in 40 days
As most of my friends know that I have been a huge movie fan since I saw the first satellite television broadcasted movies and TV-shows after the collapse of the Soviet Union. I don't remember how young I was, probably 4 years old. My roots of interest in the art of film and cinematography probably started there. When I was a little older I saw 1989 TV-series called "Around the World in 80 Days" with leading actor Pierce Brosnan (best old school James Bond by the way). A movie about a Victorian Age English gentleman takes a wager that he can circle the globe in an unprecedented time of just eighty days. With awe I desired to do such a thing in my life someday. It stuck with me, like many other movies that suggest to go out there and expand your comfort zone - "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", "Hector and The Search of Happiness" and probably most-watched by me "Into The Wild".
Before I go any further I want to mention that I'm not some rich bloke kid who had an existential crisis and decided to pick-up stuff to travel. I worked really hard for it. There were times when I was at work and I was thinking that it is my last day, I f"+king quit. To my luck, most of the time I was surrounded by good mentally supportive people. Other people are important, it doesn't matter how lone-of-a-wolf you think you are.
Here is a video for you if you don't feel like reading.
LESS TALK, MORE WALK
In 2015 I wrote down and draw the journey in my traveling journal where I wanna travel and what I want to see - USA, South America, Asia and a bit of Europe. In States I definitely wished to see L.A probably because it's most represented in American movies and of course Hollywood, in Asia wanted to visit big temples and try local cuisines, South America my plan was to see culture and explore nature. And when I made those plans I was already in Australia. Little did I know that time I drove through also half of Australia with my UTE. The only continent I skipped was Africa, I think it needs its own separate adventure.
And with every job and lifestyle choice, I could afford to save some money. Also aiming non-touristy season has a good effect not only on your wallet but it's also good for experience.
WHAT THIS HAS TO DO PHOTOGRAPHY?
Traveling gave me so much good material for my 365 photo project which I wrote about a few weeks ago here. Also, I had to push myself to pull out the camera and sometimes interact - like withMuay-Thay fighters before the match, police officers in New York streets, a veteran on old aircraft carrier museum in San Diego, traveling electrician in Australia rural areas.
And I don't know about you, but sometimes I really struggled to pull out the camera and take photos. I was afraid that when I pull out a semi-professional looking camera and people gonna assume that I'm a professional photographer and every shot should be brilliant. Or somehow I was invading in their lives and privacy. Or I'm not qualified to do that photo ... and I wasn't and it's okay. But I know now - It was an important growing place for my development and the first serious stepping stone towards my career.
It started here and it was a wonderful journey. Traveled around Stralia with my UTE - Perth, Wheat Belt, Esperance, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane. Worked from printshops in urban areas to the farms in the middle of isolation. Met a priest from Bali who was a womanizer and probably with the saddest love story that I have heard from another person. Met two Canadian guys who showed that it is okay to share and show your feelings in the right environment. Hiked with PlayBoy escort who is actually a really kind and caring person. Met retired electrician who every year travels for a few months with his 1974 bus around WA rural area and does electrician jobs. I loved it when he said that the best part of this traveling is arriving home to his wife.
I stayed on a farm where I helped the family out with animals for dirt-cheap accommodation. Helping out felt more fun than a burden....because animals you know.
The family took me in as one of its own and almost every weekend they had me over in their house for dinner. I'm happy to say that I have a family almost everywhere in the world and this means lots for me.
I have written down all those stories in my traveling journal and added photos to them to compliment the stories.
In Asia I landed in Thailand. One of my quirks is to plan stuff when I arrive at the place. So I had no booking at any hotel or hostels and it was a problem in customs. They needed to know where I stay and for how long. Wrote down some nonsense until customs agent had enough of it and just let me through. I don't mind roaming through the streets until I find someplace to stay or rest. I took a taxi to Phuket town center and the driver suggested one hotel. Of course he got his commission and I don't see anything bad in it - they need that money more than Hostelworld or other online booking platforms.
Luckily I arrived there while Phuket Food Festival started. On day time roamed around streets and alleys, discovered near islands.
Nighttime I spent at night markets, Muay Thay fights and street festivals. Even "crashed" on one wedding with my camera.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
"American made" had meaning for me and landing in LA it lost meaning for me. I have not seen the poorest city in my life than LA. Sure, I looked for the cheapest accommodation and probably not in the safest neighborhood. Still, the next day traveling do down-town LA it reminded me of Grand Theft Auto game. People on the streets with the end of the world signs, lots of homeless people. It really devastated me. Sure there are some good areas, but they seem to more of a minority than the majority.
The next day I took the train to San Diego, met and stayed with Eric Von Sydow, one of the mentors I have been following for a long time. He is an NLP practitioner and mainly focused of mental development of male mindsets and perspectives. Quite known in the NLP community and around the world. His straight forward attitude and valuing of time helped me cut off so many corners. I was actually afraid to knock on his door - full of doubt that maybe he has projected much more to online when he really is. How it's gonna affect my mind structures and mindset that I have to build up with his material? He was so much more in real life than online - you can imagine the relief. Kind, supportive and took time from his busy schedule to hang out. Can you imagine letting someone in your house for a week after they have written to you online? What a madman and a legend.
Strangely enough I liked New York. I walked all night around the city and doing some street photography. I only spend there maybe 32 hours. From the airport to the city I got talking with the bus driver. Middle-class family man, working on three jobs to maintain a normal lifestyle and to get children through school. Yeah, sounds like the "American Dream" alright.
He was kind to talk about the city, where to go, how to pick decent hot-dog stand for food, what to watch out for and on bus stop even came out and showed which directions to head to experience New York. Shook hands and departed our separate ways.
ECUADOR, SOUTH AMERICA
The reason to stay there was purely to get ayahuasca experience. They have legal "clinics" there and I have felt for a long time that my mindsets and view of the world have stagnated and become rough. While staying in a hostel I met a nice Turkish woman who told me about the experience and said wise words. It's gonna find it yourself, don't go looking for it. She was right.
There are a few reasons why I like to stay in hostels. First it's for saving money, but more importantly to meet fellow travelers. They can be your companions on your adventures. Like we hiked on one of the volcanos. We had planned to conquer Ecuador's biggest volcano, but food poisoning got us hard. So a week and a half I stayed pretty much indoors.
Also, I got pick-pocketed on public transport and it grew all other adventure. Most of the time traveled around the city with a Columbian girl. We were mutually beneficial to each other. She knew the language and I was big enough to scare away the people with not honest plans. So one day, me and Columbian girl went to mountain climbing place. On the bus wich was crowded it is pretty easy to deceive and go through pockets and that was it. Luckily I had travel insurance for these kinds of cases. The evening I grabbed the Columbian girl with me and went to the nearest police checkpoint. To get paperwork for insurance. Checkpoints are like little police stations, few cops, radiostation and small chamber for criminals - spread pretty tightly all over the city.
On checkpoint, they said that they can't do these kinds of procedures and they asked patrol to pick us up and take us to the main station. Soon four police motorbikes arrived to pick us up. The Columbian girl asked do you have a helmet, the officer said yes and put it on. We drove through a city like VIP-s. Two bikes before us closed streets and intersections we roamed through unstopped wind flowing through our hair. We got to meet police chief, talked about life, got my paperwork and got a ride home with police car.
I still think about that volcano that I didn't climb. It would have been a nice adventure and a challenge.
BACK IN EUROPE
I landed in London. I had absolutely no idea about the PIN number of my Europe bankcard or anything that had I owned there. For clarification, I must say that I was away from the home year and 44 days. The year I spend in Australia and another 44 days traveling. Spend day in London and took a bus from London to Berlin. One friend I met here in Australia asked me to come over. She lived in the historic city of Dresden and visited her there for a few days. Back in Europe and on food selection which felt more natural and nurturing than strange cuisines.
A couple of days later I was back on home soil. The first thing I remember was the smell of a pine forest - nice pure and refreshing.
It was done...now what? It's is a strange feeling when you achieve seemingly utterly impossible. Something that I thought will stay only as a dream. After that adventure I started taking my education more seriously. At that time I didn't even have a high-school diploma in the pocket, just 9 grades education. It started curiosity in me - If I did all this with basic education, what kind of opportunities will open for me with higher education?
At the end of the day it's people who surround you that matter.