Routines are mostly considered as something bad…something lethal. You can find countless articles and books about ‘How to break your routines’. Over the last 5 months I’ve been living a life without any of them. The closest thing I had were my phone calls with Alice, the girl I visited in Italy. Phoning her every 2nd or 3rd day felt like the only constant surrounded by all these variables. It was my little routine, a routine that kept me going, a routine that cheered me up on bad days. So, think about yourself.
Are your routines actually that bad?
This is my first little recap, my first résumé. I did the numbers and I gladly represent you some statistics.
I hitch hiked through 14 countries and covered 10.500 kilometers. It’s 9000 kilometers from my home to Bangkok, just to give you an idea about that distance. I traveled for 138 days, which means I hitched approximately 76 kilometers per day. I spent 8 nights in a hostel, pitched my tent 17 times and stayed with 31 different people for free. Families, students, travelers, locals, foreigners and even hotel owners. I stayed with 31 amazing people, I stayed with 31 friends. I had 143 lifts in total. I would guess 5% of them were female, 80% singe men, 13% couples or friends and 2% dudes who wanted to touch me. Only 1 of them offered to pay me. My average prostitute hand job price is 30 Dollars. I’ll keep it updated.
I published 25 blog posts and seeing my sister printing them out for my grandpa made me realize, how much you guys had to read. It’s almost a freaking book!! I’m grateful for everyone who has joined me on this journey so far and I invite you to do a little recap with me. I wanna go through the list of countries I passed, point out my low- and highlights and share my favorite pictures with you..share them once again.
My highlight was simply meeting Alex, a crazy guy I ended up staying with for 9 days. Driving his VW bus up a mountain is something I’ll never forget. I can’t think of a real lowlight, but yeah – hitch hiking in the snow is not something I wanna experience again. This is me on the top of a mountain, looking over the lake we went fishing on, a few days earlier.
This country prepared me well for the rest of my trip. Alice made me recognize, that I’ll never get used to these goodbyes and ‘Hallelujah Woman’ showed me and my readership, how insane and unexpected hitch hiking can be. Alice and Hallelujah Woman, two people who could not be any more different. But they have one thing in common, they’re my Italy highlights. My lowlight was standing on a highway entrance for several hours on a rainy, windy day. A day on which I lost my faith in humanity for a while. Since I don’t wanna disappoint my loyal readers, Venice also sucked balls. My favorite picture must be dancing on the beach to Edward Sharpe’s Song ‘Home’ with that crazy Asian. In retrospect, this was the moment, that changed my travel itinerary completely – and I am glad it did.
To cut the matter short, I don’t know shit about Slovenia. I just spent 2 days hitch hiking through. My highlight was a 600 km lift from Ljubljana to Split, my lowlight was waiting for 6 hours before this guy actually pulled over. I did not take many pictures, but apparently this is the one people like the most. Me standing in lake Bled.
Again 2 highlights, Georgina and the ‘Honeymoon Couple’. Both, getting offered a couch in a hotel room and catching a lift to a mountain summit by a couple who was in their honeymoon, are things, that usually don’t happen on a daily basis. My lowlight was the tourism and it’s effect on local people. The picture shows me camping in Dubrovnik. I’d call it the most unique camping spot on my trip so far.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
My hitch hike to, and stay with Sile are my highlights for this country. Getting a lift by a band member of Dubiosa Kolektiv and the generosity of Sile and his family. It’s not a real lowlight but listening to people’s stories can be heartbreaking ins this country. A cruel past mixed with current desperation left me speechless more than once. This is me, camping near the Kravica waterfalls together with Jonathan, a french dude who is currently hitch hiking from Paris to Bangkok.
Another short stay and I am not sure if I should consider ‘Handjob Dude‘ as a low– or as a highlight. It is definitely the most memorable Montenegro moment and it has become a running gag among my friends. The picture shows me sitting on a mountain in Kotor. One of the first times I recapped my trip in silence.
It must be the impossible hitch. Getting a lift to a mountain village by Elias and Damian in their VW bus was my highlight, especially since they also let me sleep in the car for 2 nights. My lowlight was the average English language skills of Albanian lifts. I met so many amazing people and even got invited over a few times, but in most cases I could not speak a single word with them. Something that made me sad, because I would have loved to know more about these people. This is me and the 2 Germans, who made the impossible hitch possible.
The landscape in North Greece was something that caught me by surprise. Spending 2 days around Meteora and camping in the shade of beautiful rock formations was my highlight in Greece. It came with a price though, getting from Ioannina to Athens took me 5 days, 4 nights in my tent, a time that made me feel lonely. Realizing that was my Greece lowlight. The picture shows me in Meteora, enjoying a calm moment.
The 2 young men who gave me 60 Dollars while waiting for a lift – even thinking about it still feels unreal. They allowed me to access the dead sea in the north, they are my Israel highlight. Unfortunately they will never know about it. My lowlight were the prices. It’s an amazing, but expensive country. The picture shows me in Jerusalem, just a few days after the gunfire.
Simply the people. Even in the touristy areas. Great hosts, amazing lifts and curiosity. My highlight are the people of Jordan. The only lowlight was a taxi driver ripping us off at the border crossing. But yeah, fuck him. This is me in Petra, a spot I found by hiking around the canyons. A spot besides the beaten path, a truly breathtaking scenery.
My highlight was getting a lift by Levani. Squeezed in a trunk, driving on one of the most dangerous roads in the world. That shit was good fun. Also staying with him for 1 week was an experience I’ll never forget. To be honest, I can’t think of any lowlight. The weather wasn’t always perfect but yeah, that’s complaining on a high level. My favorite picture shows the road, the one I hitch hiked in the trunk of Levani’s car.
There is no second opinion, my highlight in Turkey must be my stay with Mesut. A wedding, a 4000 meter summit hike and plenty of new friends. I also wanna compliment the Turkish generosity in general. This explains why my only lowlight is ‘not spending enough time’ in this beautiful country. My favorite pic shows me standing near a mountain summit, surrounded by a landscape that words can hardly describe.
Once again, I can’t really tell anything about these countries. My highlights were the 2 reunions in Sofia and obviously my 1200 km lift by Darko. My lift back to Germany. I guess my lowlight was hitch hiking at the border for over 10 hours. This is me, trying desperately to get a lift on the highway.
This is it. This was the first part of my journey. When I started hitch hiking 5 months ago, I expected my journey to be amazing but it easily exceeded all expectations. ‘What was the highlight of your trip?’ is a question I’ve faced quite a lot in these last days. Seriously, I can’t give you an answer – Feel free to choose one of the highlights I mentioned above. Being back in Germany was also touching experience. I received a lot of feedback, I got complimented a lot. Maybe I made this crazy world a tiny bit better. This is something I wanna believe in, something that will drag me back onto the road next Thursday, something that will let me lift my thumb again with a bright smile.
A coffee in the morning, saying hello to my ex- work colleagues and friends or a goodnight kiss on my mother’s cheek. I’ve been confronted with many former routines since I came back to Germany and it made me realize how much I missed them. A life without routines, without constants, without close friends. That’s what I’ve signed up for. That’s the hardest part about traveling alone. Keep that in mind the next time you kiss your partner, the next time you hug your friends or parents, the next time you slurp your coffee in the morning. And appreciate these moments. I think in the end routines and friendships are quite similar.
You only realize how much they meant to you, when they are gone.