Rapid heartbeat, similar to a teenager, who is tensely watching from a safe distance how his future wife opens the folded letter which contains two empty boxes. I detach the bond area, first gently, then impatiently. Opening letters has never been one of my strengths. Rapid heartbeat, like a young child, who just caught his patterned ball after a reckless chase, right before it got overrun by a driving car, who now leans against an exterior wall, taking a breath. The silver needle disappears in my upper left arm, leaving some dead vaccine in my body. Rapid heartbeat, similar to a young man, who wakes up in the morning, knowing the journey of his life is just about to begin. Similar to how I woke up, exactly 8 months ago. My name, a birth date and a 16 digits number is all it needs to end the first stage of my journey. Only a single klick to ring the second stage in. Heartbeat, similar to the rhythm of a well known evergreen.
..I hear the drums echoing tonight…
A bearded, long haired man, whose cheeks are slightly reddened by the intense sunbeams. Like he feels embarrassed, standing at the end of a highway petrol station, holding up his thumb and smiling towards the passing cars. ‘Put that goddamn ‘Munich’ sign away’, I wanna yell at him, ‘Move to the actual petrol station and ask people if they are headed towards Manheim, so you can get dropped off at the next, huge petrol station’. I wanna tell him, that he’s gonna wait for another 6 hours, unsuccessfully, if he doesn’t follow my advice. I wanna tell him, that I like his jacket. But he must learn this lesson by himself.
On Christmas Eve it will be exactly 8 months, since I left home and stood on said petrol station for 6 hours. I stood, sit down and almost lost faith. Back then I had no idea about the dimension, my journey was going to take. If someone would have told me that day,
‘dude, you are going to hitch hike 22.000 kilometers within the next 8 months,
you’re gonna shiver in at the North Cape, covered in snow,
sleep in an old bomb shelter, owned by one of Gaddafi’s former business partners,
say goodbye to my phone in Zermatt, one of the world’s most expensive ski resorts,
eat Kanafeh at a Turkish wedding,
end up in our biggest local newspaper, several times,
you’re going to take Ecstasy for the first time on a rooftop in Albania’s capitol city,
wake up at a Game of Thrones set,
and even gonna fall in love,
I would have laughed, grinned and would have kept up with putting my thumb upwards towards the clear, blue sky.
I had high expectations, but still, they got exceeded with ease. Memories, that catch up with me every now and then. Memories, I let catch up with me willingly. If people ask me, why I shoulder the ‘reckless and outrageous dangers’ of hitch hiking, I usually answer in the following way. ‘Hitch hiking restored my faith in the human race and humanity. It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.’
I hope I could prove you, that there are heaps fantastic, obliging people out there. The world is by no means any worse or more dangerous than it was in the past, it is exactly the same. It is full of beauty. Beauty, you won’t only find in our nature, but also in these people wandering on our planet, searching for their meaning of life. Beauty, we should focus on rather than searching for the bad, like we are used to.
The opened brown envelope reveals my first Christmas present, sent by one of my traveling acquaintances. The intensity of the letter’s writing gives me goosebumps. ‘You say you look for excitement, but I think at least a part of you is really looking for someone to love’, is written in the middle part. I nod and agree silently. But what is love about in the first place. It’s not always about kissing in front of an overrated tower in Paris while holding each others hands. Within these last 8 months I’ve received and witnessed more love than words could ever express. Just to come back home 2 weeks ago and get welcomed with the same, warm love by my family and friends. As I read the last sentence, I noticed a tiny tear, searching for a way to cross my left cheek. A happy tear.
If I am looking for love?
I actually found an easy way to find love. I just open my eyes.
Oh, by the way.. last week I hitch hiked for the first time in my home village. ‘Wow, I guess you waited for a long time’, an employee of the company, I am currently working in, said. On my way there, I waited for 1 minute. On my way back for even less. ‘I haven’t seen a hitch hiker for at least 20 years’, my first lift says. He’s wearing one of these orange uniforms, I would guess he was a road worker. When the 40 years old guy dropped me off, I imagined him arriving back home, having dinner with his wife and telling about me with a loud laugh.
Telling about a tattooed, long haired man, who was hitch hiking to the doctor for his vaccination.
Alright, we are almost there, but before I tell you about my upcoming plans, I wanna say thank you. Thanks to everyone who turned this journey into what I told you about in these 37 blog posts. Turned it into a fairy tale, a story full of generosity, warmth and helpfulness. I do also wanna thank you behind that screen. Thanks for following me on this adventure, thanks for all the feedback. It meant and will mean the world to me. Since my journey won’t continue until the end of February, I have to send you into a little break. Short vacation. But I promise you…
While I was booking my flight on that evening with a pounding heart, I knew one thing for sure. This second stage of my journey is going to be different. More unknown, less comfortable, more adventurous and at least as overwhelming as the one before. I expect moments, that open my eyes, moments, that leave me speechless and moments, that make me cry.
… and I promise you, I will keep on sharing these moments with you, both the good and the bad ones.
One of the most famous writers, Ernest Hemingway, once said ‘I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy‘. I’m gonna get to the bottom of it.
I’m headed to Africa in mid/end February.
My plan? I wanna hitch from South Africa to Egypt. What route? Well, I’ve heard that question several times already and I tend to answer somehow like this:
“I have no fucking clue. Do you know what the best thing about hitch hiking is? I actually don’t have to drive by myself.”
What am I going to to in these next 2 months? I’m gonna keep myself busy. I work to stock up my bank account, will get some more tattoos, enjoy the time surrounded by all these familiar faces and prepare myself for Africa in the best way possible.
Which is? Man, that’s an easy one:
…It’s gonna take a lot to take me away from you…
…There’s nothing that a hundred man or more could ever do…
…I bless the rains down in Africa….
….Gonna take some time to do the things we never had….
…to be continued…