A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Zaspirucho

Parenthesis

After some time in the city, one needs to get out and breathe.

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View Summer 2015 on Zaspirucho's travel map.

Air

Air

After months in Mexico City I ached for some movement. So when friends in Berlin confirmed my spot working in Fusion, I jumped at the chance.
Here's some of the things I learnt this past month in Germany:

Learn the language!
Smile no matter what.
Life is better with good shoes.
Friends make everything be worth it.
Open skies, stars, fire, and a blanket.
Sometimes, umbrellas are unavoidable.
Hammocks are grossly underrated.
Gemütlichkeit.

Fusion Festival is a place of joy, vegetarian food, any kind of music and good vibes. It is awesome and great. There's fire spitting dragons and hammocks and more fire. If I get the chance, I'll be there next year too. It is a huge festival, with some 70 000 attendees this year, and you can very easily lose your group. So people carry poles, decorated umbrellas or just any kind of funky tall thing to find themselves. I would just wander alone, then meet back at camp or in our designated meeting points. Yes, I would recommend it. It was awesome!

Dragons!

Dragons!

Summer!

Summer!


Too soon the week was over and we were back home. Berlin's the only place I've been to every time I've been to Europe. That's only three times, sure, but three makes a pattern. I could certainly spend more time there, but everyone says very nasty things about the Berlin winter, and I don't feel like proving them wrong... So maybe next summer?

Kiel

Kiel


When travelling it is very easy to meet people, at least when you get in the mood. I find it a curious thing that first approach, when you must make clear you don't speak the language, without being that guy that expects everyone else to speak his. After the Festival I met some boat builders and travelled north, to Kiel. I know resin and wood, so maybe they had some work I could assist them with. After all, almost half of it is sanding! It is a nice city, Kiel. I mocked the summer, though. "It's like 15 degrees outside, they said, yep, summer alright!". Well it felt like a cold spring to me, but I guess we are just too spoilt in the tropics.

On a borrowed bike I went further north up to Arnis. "Statt" Arnis. It was exactly what I needed. For a week I stayed there, in a small town of some 300 people, enjoying life.

A great place for little walks

A great place for little walks


Arnis is located next to the Schlei, a fjord, so connected to the Baltic Sea, but feels like a lake. It is a great place for little walks and fine sailing. The water is cold and salty, delicious to swim in. Skinny dipping is not frowned upon either.

There's worse places to spend your time

There's worse places to spend your time


For such a small place it is very touristy. There is a ferry there, you see, and lots of people cross it on cars and bikes. So while you wait for the ferry to come, why not have some coffee? Between the ferry stop and one of many little piers, there sits the Freies Arnis Café. Not a bad place to spend your time! I even ended up working there for a couple of days, helping with the dishes. And working helps with the language skills. After a month and some basic mp3 course, I could almost begin to understand things. Guess life might not be too short to learn German after all!

And it's good coffee too!

And it's good coffee too!


I made good friends there, in the north. Slept under the stars, sailed and cooked chilaquiles. I left promising to come back and I intend to keep that promise. I even left my tent over there! But it was time to move on.

Arriving in Rotterdam felt incredible. "This is what coming home should feel like", reads my journal. A friend was having a birthday party, so I had a reason to be there. I wasn't the cross-the-world kind of epic, but still in that department. Up until the moment I stood at their doorstep, they still believed I could be joking. It had been a year since last time I stood there. So long, yet it felt like barely a week had passed.

Then after beers with friends, meetings, catching ups, dancing, biking, and a few more beers, I left for Mexico.
The truth is, you see, I shouldn't have gone to Europe. Left on a whim, with barely any savings, and just a tiny possibility of working in Belgium. Since that didn't come through, I'm now in the red numbers. But hey, what's life without a little adventure? On that note people, take my word, never book stopovers with less than an hour between flights. I have now been one of those pale faced airport runners. It is not as fun as it looks.

But I made it back, and now some plans are brewing. Looks like soon I'll have something to write home about!
For now, thanks for reading!

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Posted by Zaspirucho 21:39 Archived in Germany Tagged adventure germany berlin sailing backpacking coffee kiel fernweh arnis Comments (0)

Six months

A couple of thoughts and an update.

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View Crossing back on Zaspirucho's travel map.

Travel is more than an arbitrary change of scenery, its more than just going from here to there.
It is an experience; an adventure.

What is adventure, then?

Once I read Georg Simmel defining it as an experience so outside the normal routine, so different to the usual way of life as to, when finished (because it must finish), constitute a dream-like memory. Once over, an adventure is not much more than a tale ready for retelling and embellishment.

I believe this definition is missing something: an adventure, to be considered such, must risk one's life... It need not do so in a physical way though. In spanish, an affair is often referred to as an adventure. An affair may not risk one's life in any biological sense, but it certainly jeopardizes a way of life. Some adventures are so because in them we discover other ways of life, and wish for a moment there was no reason for going back to ours.

Much has been written about the difference between the tourist and the traveller. The way I see it, such difference lies in the word itself: tourist. A tour, in french, is a circuit, a turn or twist, some circular path. A tour ends where it begins, and so, a tourist will visit a few places, then come back home. A traveller, however, can never go back, she can only go forward.

When the trip finishes the tourist returns home, finding nothing much has changed, falling back to the routine. The views, beaches and drinks become blurry, a simple adventure, a dream. Real life takes over, continues.

But sometimes, it doesn't. An adventure may lead to another, trains may follow each other and what started off as a round trip, well, just goes on. Travelling, as the traveller experiences it, is more of a way of life. It does not simply end. A journey may encompass many smaller trips, tours, arrivals and departures. One may stay still for a week, a month or a year, but soon feelings arise. Some languages have special words for this. Wanderlust, anomie or fernweh but a few. The nostalgia for faraway places and distant friendships is not easily quenched.

I know this, for I am there.

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It's been almost six months since my return to the City. There's been some trying, some good and other awesome moments.
I missed my friends while away, so I gathered some of them to live under the same roof.
For almost two years I spent every full moon at a different place. I've now spent this past ones not only in the same bed, but beside the same person.
Academically too, I am finally where I had projected to be. After a four year struggle, I can finally move on to my thesis, and leave that university phase behind. Wouldn't that be something?

And yet, I can hear the call of the horizon and ache for the road. Soon.

I did say travel is an adventure. And I also said adventures end.
Just, not quite yet.

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Posted by Zaspirucho 21:43 Archived in Mexico Tagged travel mexico adventure city mexico_city update wanderlust fernweh Comments (0)

Volver

Coming back is also part of the trip

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I have a bed, a room, a car, and responsibilities to attend to. So I guess I live here now!

I've even got sort of a view

I've even got sort of a view


Everything is the same, yet all is different. Coming to live again in the house we got when the family first arrived in the city, was not exactly as expected. It is not the place it was then. No more bougainvilleas hang from the side, I was surprised to be greeted by tall bamboo bush out front, and the once little lime tree sapling now bears its fruit proudly. It's been about twelve years since that first time, and over three years since I last lived here. No, being here didn't nearly feel so much like stepping into the past as I thought it would.

Coming back, stopping, settling down (for however long) is also a part of the journey, just as the planning phase is too.
Time is different on the road and off it. The feeling of urgency, I have found, is very different to what you find in daily city life. When travelling I knew not the feeling of hurry. Except for the occasional train departure or date of arrival, I could take my time for anything. Writing, drawing or drinking coffee, I spent as long as I wanted or required. Nevertheless, everything had a strong sense of immediacy. A constant "now or never" aura surrounded each action, every castle visit or kiss. The things left for later were forgotten. The museums left for some other time will have to wait for another trip, if ever. It is a life in every breath kind of existence.
City life, however, feels the other way around. It takes so long to get from one place to another, and there are so many things to do, that life passes in a constant state of hurry. Not even the best of books will make time spent in traffic feel less wasted. And yet, not much gets done at a time. Nothing is immediate, but must be programmed days in advance, then confirmed the previous evening and probably that same morning too. If I want to see someone, we must arrange for a meeting during their lunch hour, or wait for the weekend, when they are "free". There is little room for improvisation, for the now.
Projects take long to come through, but then again, they can be done. While travelling, one cannot build. It felt like I was laying down a brick every time I learned someone's name, each time I stole a kiss or heart, or found the right place to spend my time. Yet a brick does not make a house, and when the storm arrives, one needs the shelter... I guess that's what made me come back to Mexico. In terms of country, I feel here as much a foreigner as anywhere else; but this is the place where I have spent more time building a foundation of friendship and love.

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So I arrived, and spread the contents of my backpack on my old desk. Things from here and there, stuff that reminds me of certain people, places or moments. Coins, bills and postcards, even some things that stayed hidden inside the pack for months at a time, even the whole year.
I spread out my trip on the surface, organized it, put it away, then started this new chapter of this journey...

I got a good thing going here

I got a good thing going here


I've been biking a lot this past few weeks. It might not be Rotterdam, but still you can bike in Mexico City. It's my way of dodging some of the traffic, and therefore the ire of the streets; the potholes are just part of the adventure. And it keeps me fit and alert. With the stress, altitude and smog, you kinda need it.
One reason I came back to the city faster, instead of my original plan of moving slowly up from Cancun to Mexico City (a good 2000km via Chiapas), was that my sister needed some help home. But now she's back in Barcelona, for good this time, leaving me in charge of house and cats. It is interesting sometimes to experience the other side too. To be the one that stays behind. But, for how long?

People tell me how finishing their studies felt like a big weight fell off their shoulders... I did not feel such a weight, but when analyzing the costs/benefits of it all, I decided to stay here a while and try to get it over with. So lets see how that goes!

My dear Uni, didn't think I'd see you again so soon.

My dear Uni, didn't think I'd see you again so soon.

Posted by Zaspirucho 13:38 Archived in Mexico Tagged home mexico adventure city living travelling mexico_city beginning the_end Comments (1)

Later!

Here's to the people I've met, and the ones I failed to meet, too.

semi-overcast 22 °C
View Crossing back & Re-Europe & Liberty Goes East on Zaspirucho's travel map.

See you later my Turkish brothers and Romanian lovers.
Good bye, my Bulgarian roadmates and Polish dreams.
I hope we'll meet again, Italians.
And I'm not forgetting you, Hungarians.
All of you I'll miss, even the Swiss.

See you soon, my Belgians; fare thee well, my Germans.
Au revoir, my dear French smiles.

I'm changing worlds tonight.

Faraway I'll leave you, half a world away I'll stand.
There was too many people, this time around,
that I couldn't see, that I left behind.

I wish I could have met you all.
But there was not enough time.
Instead the list grew longer,
of those with a place in my mind.

I thought this trip would last much more,
yet a mere a year later I'm flying back.

It won't be long before I leave again,
but I do not know where I'll go then.
This world is so big, so beautiful,
How can anyone just stay,
with Australia just a plane away?

So why don't you come for a visit?
But first, ask where I am.

Come, change your world for just a day,
plan it months in advance;
or follow a whim,
leave it all behind.

Travel the world!
Make me a dot on your map,
a scale on your journey,
let me walk by your side.

Unleash your feet, let them wander;
never hold yourself back.

You will find a home, wherever you go,
if you open your heart.
There will be some tough days, yes.
And some sleepless nights.

But the road will reward you,
if you give it the chance.

As for me, I will be
somewhere out there.
Its a big world, I tell you,
with too much to see.

See you soon, my dear friends;
the ones that I'm leaving,
and the ones I fly to!

(me)

Off to yet another horizon!

Off to yet another horizon!

Posted by Zaspirucho 07:59 Archived in Spain Tagged farewell spain backpacking travelling goodbye poem see_you_later the_end the_world Comments (0)

July

On the last leg of this Journey!


View Crossing back on Zaspirucho's travel map.

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This blog began with this trip. I started writing every week or so, and kept it going through the US, India and SE Asia. The nature of the travel changed, waves gave way to trains, tracks to wheels, and still I wrote. Yet now, in this final leg of the journey, it feels more difficult and cumbersome to write of what has been; but lets try!

After some months of zig zagging through Europe, finding love and not, I sit on a café in Barcelona. Last entry I had just left Romania and sped towards The Hague. Since then I have lost trains, visited friends, met Theo Jansen, got to Paris in time to recover my new credit card, worked in Belgium, and crossed France. Not bad, ey?

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Few things will make you feel more stupid and impotent than getting on the wrong train, and realizing it too late. It's just money, you tell your silly self, breathing deeply to stop your heart from bursting through your eyes, as you contemplate the thought of spending the night on a Czech train station. But there will be another train, everything works out in the end, if you only let it flow. Getting on the wrong side of the platform cost me a bit over a hundred euros. Not a mistake I'll make again soon, you can be assured of that.

So after a week of trains I got to the Netherlands in time for the beach demonstration. I biked from Rotterdam to The Hague; it was a windy day, not too good for biking, but just what you need to see a Strandbeest walk.

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For the creator of a life form, Theo Jansen is incredibly human. He gave his rehearsed talk and demonstration just as playfully and smiling as if it was the first time he talked about the subject. He loves his walking beasts even when they refuse to behave properly. Only his props betray how many times he has shown them, the torn paper and old tubes. I have seen his presentation before on TED, analyzed his design and spent hours looking at diagrams. Still, it is another thing to see the beasts live, walking in front of you or carrying them on your shoulder down the beach.
“Yes, send me pictures!” he said, when told I wanted to build a vehicle with his mechanism. And I will, after I figure out how! The design is not ready to leave the beach, as he put it: “they don't like the rough terrain, just the hard, flat sand.” Well, guess that's where I come in, no? A project is in the works! Just need to settle down for a bit and make it happen.

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Then I made it to Paris. Three years later, I sat on the same table I sat that first time. St. Christopher's Inn, Northern Paris. A lot has happened in this time. Many roads and countries have seen my feet, on many floors has my backpack rested. That orange rucksack is the only thing that's the same, all else has changed, the carried and the carrier. I met with the past in Paris, had coffee with it, with her, with them. We walked the streets and talked of the future. Then I left, glad to live in the present.

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After a year abroad, I must say, I'm quite exited about returning to Mexico. Two years ago I got depressed after buying the ticket back. Not this time though, now I can only think of all the friends and family and food! I don't know how long I'll stay there. At first I said two months, but with projects and birthdays and weddings coming up, there is no estimate I can give anymore. I guess it will be the same as always, a week at a time, living each day until the road calls again.

But for now, Barcelona! I got here planning to spend a mere handful of days, but then heard the talk: I arrived just in time for Las Fiestas de Gracia. And after seeing everyone getting ready for it, streets being closed a week in advance, people making decorations out on the sidewalks, posters appearing on walls... Tension is building everywhere in the Gracia neighborhood, it feels ready to explode. I guess I could hang around a few days, no? Right before crossing the Atlantic, completing this first trip around the world.

And now here are two photos of Arq café, because they are awesome, and it is my most favouritest of places in Rotterdam.

Nice!

Nice!

And delicious!

And delicious!

Posted by Zaspirucho 10:22 Archived in Spain Tagged trains barcelona paris friends netherlands backpacking rotterdam fiesta working past strandbeest theo_jansen Comments (0)

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