We’ve all been there. On a trip of a lifetime having the time of our lives, and then it happens… our camera breaks! What now?! Life gets put on hold instantly, as Plans B, C, D… Z are sorted & assessed to get that camera, any camera, working again as fast as possible. Here’s one of those stories, and how “what was feared” turned into something much richer gained while I was in South Africa, far from “home”, far from anywhere. Enjoy! Continue reading Camera Fail – An Epic Disaster or a Blessing in Disguise?!
Last year at this time, after making the difficult decision to leave the job that paid me to travel around the world, I had about a month free before embarking on a travel adventure for as long as I wanted anywhere in the world.
How I achieved this “freedom” to do as I wish is grounds for another story, firmly rooted in my life story of doing such repeatedly over the years, and I tell bits and pieces of it often when asked. That is what Hans World Travels is intended to be about, and my Instagram page has come the closest to achieving this goal, but I have a ‘mental’ problem and it’s called … Ideation.
Life of a Gypsy, Nomad & Dirtbag Vagabond! And so it begins, or conversely ends… A couch surf to start at my sister’s turned into 2 years of permanence. Maybe I’ll miss my own little piece of Denver heaven & secret skyporn cloud stash, but maybe I won’t. One can never sort the gypsy mind definitively.
Off to New York, only a transition en route to Namibia, Africa and a new land of near infinite road trip possibilities. 20 years of western states exploration & living, I’m confident I’ve seen all that I’ve wanted & loved here, and I’m just ready for new discoveries in new lands.
When I originally started what morphed into Hans World Travels 8 years ago, it was in response to my friends and family telling me they enjoyed living vicariously through the stories of my travels. They encouraged me to write a book of my life, and this was before Facebook became as pervasive as it is today.
I had criss-crossed the United States numerous times, lived in countless places across the Western States, even “lived in my van down by the [ocean]” with my chocolate lab, Boreal, in Bodega Bay, California while working a project in San Fransisco. Ecuador and Peru were as much of a “home” as any other before them, as I traveled and kayaked around South America for 3 months. I even married an Argentine woman some years later as I started a successful arborist business in Portland, Oregon; spending six weeks experiencing her country and standing in front of the Casa Rosada in beautiful Buenos Aries.
I think there is a large misnomer, that holding an U.S. Passport is this Giving Tree of freedom to go anywhere in the world without limitations.
Yes, I cannot argue with an honest list of experiences, that outside a few countries, my ability to enter a country of my choosing is as given as the sun rising every day. Shy a small fee, either upon entry or at departure, my U.S. Passport is a guarantee to hearing the “hard plunk” of a fresh ink Tourist Visa stamp in my little blue book.
It is a badge of honor to geographically unstable nomads like myself. Sparkling in the eyes of fellow travelers no different than the medals on the uniform of a five-star general.
If you are unfamiliar with Couchsurfing, or CS for short, it is an on-line community for “travelers” whom find more enjoyment in meeting people and exchanging their culture with each other as they travel or while they are at home. There are two main aspects of CS; 1) a Surfer, and 2) a Host.
A Surfer, like me right now, is a person or several people traveling with each other, who in exchange for a safe place to sleep free of charge, offer their perspectives on their native culture; their experiences in traveling; the activities they enjoy, such as cooking or playing a musical instrument; funny stories of their lives; their knowledge of a different language, etcetera; or any combination of the above. In other words, a Surfer offers of themselves something that cannot be measured in terms of money or a hard value, in exchange for a place to sleep, a bed, a floor, a safe and secure sleeping location, or as the name implies a couch.
The other side of the CS Community equation is a Host. The Host or Hosts are people, often travelers themselves, who when they are at home, desire to offer an extra bedroom, a safe living/sleeping arrangement, or a couch, to a Surfer, in exchange for the opportunity to learn of another place, another person, one of a million different cultures that exist on the planet we share. A couch, like a Surfer’s experience, knowledge, language or cultural understanding is offered free of charge.
Hey all, just a “little” update for those wanting to know about my three months of travel around Europe.
I just spent the better part of 6 days in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and now the past five days in Sophia at a family’s home… Mostly just enjoying conversation with interesting people I met at the The Crib Hostel or with the friends and family of a woman I met at the famous “beach beer garden” discovered in Bonn, Germany. I have increasingly shied away from meeting ‘travelers on missions to check off another city or country’, as the stories are mostly the same, just with different twists and turns along the way. Stories I have fortunately lived in abundance over all the years of being addicted to travel.
It’s a strange bit this traveling, just to travel, thing.
There’s a moment in The Motorcycle Diaries in which the Bolivian couple, struggling to find work and driven from their homes because of their political beliefs, ask Ernesto why [they] are traveling. The response, “We travel just to travel.” To which the reaction was a bit of shock, a bit of reflection and mostly an inability to understand this desire, craving and frankly, the luxury of being able to travel for no other purpose than to travel.
In many regards I encounter this reaction often. In others, it is a bit of longing to do the same. And to those, whom share this condition, it is a deep connection where words are not needed, it is inherently understood.
Author’s Note: A recollection and a reminder to what substandard company management can destroy through apathy and repetition of poor choices expecting different results. I’m certain my position has been replaced, but that which I offered to the company and our customers, will never be replicated. Forty years of company history reveals too many accounts of similar failings. It is no wonder, having experienced progressive policies implemented by global and Fortune 500 companies often demonized by ideological progressives, that I walked away inherently disappointed by not being allowed to prove there are different ways to ‘skin the same cat’, many of which are much more effective. Such is life, the travel and hands on experience with major global players will be missed, but the incompetence and self-serving motivations will not.
How do I say this simply while not understating the true implications of what exactly we do at Lightning Eliminators & Consultants? We provide an engineered, scientific solution, using a naturally occurring phenomenon, to minimize the probability to nearly zero of taking a lightning termination inside a designated area.
There’s no doubt I’ve been fortunate to travel more than most people my age; it’s been in my blood since I was little, filling my summers with camping around the Northeast US and winters racing sled dogs throughout New York, New England, the northern Midwest and Canada as well.
For years I’d carried around a photo album, blue in color, a picturesque mountain scene adorned its cover, earth tones of course, a lithograph I believe. Three ringed, cellophane covers over sticky pages to hold in those captured moments.
The vessel, to contain these memories, was painstakingly selected from a large corrugated cardboard box holding many like it, but none other within could hold true to the journey recently completed. A salmon colored binder, emblazoned with a bouquet of flowers obviously could not relay the proper initial excitement to those who would look through its inner workings, to be presented with another’s personal history.
Children frolicking in the park or a plump baby, a wingless cherub smiling between bouts of crying, dried snot having been cleaned away, likewise offered the wrong message to the viewer.
Like a musician rifling through boxes of paperboard covers full of vinyl records, pulling one up from amongst the many, tipping it forward slightly assessing its worthiness, making a mental calculation, “What does it say?” and “Will it aptly describe the experience?”