I’ve made many bad decisions in my life. I guess everyone has. Decisions like boarding the train to Venice, dating my ex girlfriend or watching the last season of ‘Lost’.
A few days ago I met a German guy called Dominik. We were talking about bad decisions and unfortunate events. We both agreed that not everything happens for a reason, but it still leads into new situations, it leads your journey onto different paths. They led the both of us to Alvani, a little remote village where we got hosted by a young local guy called Levani.
Don’t get me wrong, this was in fact a great decision, but suggesting ‘Never have I ever’ as a drinking game on top of a mountain definitely wasn’t.
But let’s start a few days earlier. ‘I know you, you are a gentleman’ – That’s a nice way to be welcomed by a flight attendant while boarding an airplane. Apparently I hold the airport door for this guy a few hours before my flight departed. Rest in peace Hodor. If you expect a funny story like ‘me getting a free first class upgrade’, I’am sorry. Just a little compliment that let me search for my seat with a bright smile.
Georgia is hot. Both the temperature and the Indian food my hosts prepare. It’s 5 Indian guys living in a rental apartment right in the middle of Tbilisi. They welcome me with some local booze. Tschatscha. This in combination with the cheap beer prices make sure that I’m not gonna go to bed sober. Traveling stories, card tricks and Indian music. My first night in Georgia could not have been any better, but still. It turned exploring Tbilisi the day after into a torture.
The outside temperature of 38 degrees convinced us of visiting a nearby lake on our third day. Me, my new Indian friends and 2 other Finnish Couchsurfers. I told you before that I love goodbye presents. My Indian host Sajith made my decision quite easy. 3 years ago an Indian guy called Smit introduced me to card magic, while we were surfing with the same host in Thailand. Since then doing card tricks has grown to one of my most favorite activities. Back then Smit gave me his card deck to exercise with. And now it was time to pass my deck to Sajith, after sharing some of my secrets with him. This must be the so called circle of life, which Disney tried to teach us about.
Hitch hiking in Georgia is supposed to be a piece of cake. Hitchwiki even recommends to stand right on a highway. ‘Georgian people will stop anyway’ it said. And this time, Hitchwiki was actually right. My first lift’s car breaks down in the middle of a highway, my third lift’s car is so old that it can’t drive faster than 40 km/h and my fourth lift is apparently quite religious. That must be the reason for him stopping at a church and taking selfies with me. All in all, it never took me more than 5 minutes to get a lift.
My new host Levani welcomes me in Alvani (Once again, I didn’t make these names up) and invites me over to stay a night in his parent’s house before he’s gonna host me in the national park. Levani grew up in this area and he is used to drive people inside and outside of the national park. That’s how he makes money in his semester break. The road is one of the most dangerous ones in the world (according to some BBC documentary every tourist in the national park tells you about), so people pay good money for the drivers. It also makes the area appear quite unspoiled. I am pretty sure it will change within the next few years because the government wants to build a proper road.
Fortunately for me they haven’t realized their plan yet. Levani has a job in the morning. 4 Georgian soldiers booked a ride into the national park. And I am lucky. They agree with me squeezing into the trunk. 5 hours in a trunk while driving on a dangerous, bumpy, curvy and partly broken road. Who said hitch hiking isn’t fun?!
But don’t worry about me, arriving in Omalo exposed Levani’s house. My wellness oasis for the next few days. I’m kidding, it was an old, shabby hut without electricity. I loved it! I try to get local experiences by using Couchsurfing. This was as local and as basic as it gets. Like a life in a tiny village surrounded by mountains must have been like a few years ago.
I am highly motivated, so I go for a 2-day hike after my first night in this authentic accommodation. I start quite late because… I am lazy, but never mind – I wanna spend the night in my tent anyway, so no reason to rush. Right at the beginning of the hiking trail I crash into a Czech group. 5 students who are heading to the same lake. ‘We started quite late because we are all lazy as fuck’ is one of the first things they say. Perfect match! ‘We are also glad we met you because we have way too much booze with us – you must help!’. A slight sense of foreboding. We reach the lake, we are totally exhausted and we set up our tents right before the sun goes down. They brought 2,5 liters of beer and 2 liters of Tschatscha.
‘Do you wanna play a drinking game? We could play ‘Never have I ever” – Talking about bad decisions. Seriously, I should have never ever asked this fucking question.
Darkness. I open my eyes. Jesus, what happened last night. I feel like I smacked my head against a concrete wall…again and again. I feel like I went clubbing with my friends in Germany. My Czech friends try to cure my hangover with a hot coffee. All for nothing. Apparently I passed out towards the end of our drinking game. Bloody Tschatscha. Bloody ‘Never have I ever’. I guess I’ve done too much shit in my life already. I should have known better. I ask them to leave me behind when they get ready around 12.30 pm. I need more sleep. A heavy breeze wakes me up at 14.30 pm. Dark clouds are gathering. It is getting extremely windy. I squeeze my belongings into my backpack and hurry up. And I make it just in time.
I reach Levani’s little hut at 7 pm. I am welcomed by Levani’s father and the German guy I met a few days ago in Alvani. I don’t understand how this happened but when they offer me some fresh chicken and bread, I didn’t feel like asking any further questions.
The day after I felt still so hungover that I decided to skip my second hike. A good decision because a crazy storm just came in on that night. I would have been somewhere in the mountains if I would not have gotten shitfaced with these Czech guys. Instead I was sitting under the roof of a nearby guesthouse watching Game of Thrones and I witnessed one of the most beautiful rainbows I’ve ever seen. Bad decisions that lead into something good.
This was also my last day in Tusheti national park. What a experience. I planned to head into a second national park today but I canceled because of the weather. I got another ‘Trunk-Lift’ by Levani and I’m sitting at his parent’s house in Alvani right now. Tomorrow I’m gonna hitch hike towards Turkey. 28 days left to get back to Germany. 28 days left to hitch hike approximately 5000 kilometers.
Alright, bad decisions. Some of them lead into something good, some don’t. Some of them even turn out to be good decisions in the end. Nevertheless bad decisions usually lead into something fun and I am quite sure this won’t have been my last one. Sometimes I think about, how little things decide over which road my journey takes. There are so many turning points and I am simply amazed. Going to Graz instead of Vienna led me to Italy instead of Hungary, meeting Jasmin there almost led me to India, but even though that didn’t work out it led me to the middle east. Which lead me to Georgia somehow. And even the small things. Each lift determines my journey. I would have never met ‘Hallelujah woman’ without that guy taking me off the highway on that day. Nobody would have offered me money for sex, if some random grumpy guy didn’t bring me to that hitch hiking spot right in time for ‘handjob dude’.
Like I said, it amazes me and I could talk about it for hours. But don’t worry, I am not going to bother you any further. Just one last thing. Follow me and Dominik. Even if bad things happen or if you make bad decisions..don’t hang your head. In the end it might have a positiv effect, even though it might be hard to find sometimes.