A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about travel

Six months

A couple of thoughts and an update.

17 °C
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)

A place to go

sunny 20 °C
View Re-Europe on Zaspirucho's travel map.

I was in Budapest, listening to some funky Szkojani Charlatan's carpatian tunes. Dorka stood to dance, but I felt too at peace to follow her, instead I produced my notebooks. I described the surrounding scene on one and journaled the day on another, when...
“Are you writing a poem?”, asked a man.
“Ehm, no. It's just a bit of thoughts release.”
“Oh. I see. And what are you writing?”
“Well, right now... that I think I should go to Rotterdam.”
His eyes widened. “Rotterdam? Well, then you should meet Jitske! Here, have this postcard. That's her name, add her on Facebook! She has an exhibition tomorrow here, so you should contact her.”
Who is this guy? I thought, but didn't ask, only smiled at his words. I had been precisely looking at my reasons to visit Rotterdam, when he gave me a new one.
Now I know that his name is Julius; that day he just gave me the postcard, advice, and left. But my world is one where you trust random strangers you just met in a bar. This attitude got me a job and place to sleep in Cambodia. It got me friends in France and now in Rotterdam. It's awesome.

Now, some cities have passed between here and Krakow. I set out from Istanbul with the firm idea of going to Poland. I thought I might stay there a couple of weeks at the least, then left on the third day. Some stories are better left in memory, where they can be remembered in an ideal form, like a book that finishes on a high, happy note. Not that I had a bad time, no. But as my friend Nathan said, having expectations is just planning your disappointments in advance. In contrast, I expected nothing from Poznań, and found there everything. It is a beautiful city, with a dollhouse historical center plaza. A great place to meet people and just enjoy the scene, to walk and bike and talk and cook and be. Too bad I still don't have a working camera.

Then in Berlin I spent too little time. There's many people I wanted to see! Like Gabriel from highschool, who inspired me to write of my travels, or Sabina, from whom I wanted to learn some tango, since I couldn't in Canada. Then there's Gabriele too, with whom I stayed two years before, and also... But in the end I only saw (that I'd met before) Nina who, like Gabriele, was a classmate from my Basque course in 2011; and Bettina and Jannika, who'd Couchsurfed with me a year before, in Mexico. Just some days, and then I left for Hamburg. I hadn't been there before, and it was a thing of: visit now, or maybe have no one to visit later; so even if it meant staying only a handful of days in Berlin, it was worth it. And anyway, I can still go back!

It seems I'll stay in the Benelux for some weeks, to rest my bones and maybe even do something productive, for a change. I've been here for only a couple of days, yet already it seems I'm involved in one or two projects. And next week they need people for serving drinks somewhere, and Jitske said Dutch language is not required...
So lets see how this thing goes. In the meantime, we are here!

Posted by Zaspirucho 14:18 Archived in Netherlands Tagged art people budapest travel poland netherlands rotterdam nomad working ransack Comments (0)

Tired

Just a poem.

overcast 13 °C
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I'm tired.
Tired of not having a home,
of people asking if I'm on holiday,
or what my next destination is.
I'm tired of having an answer to that question.

I'm tired of having no place to cook,
and no one to cook for.
Any chance I get, I stay all day inside,
for I miss the cozy warmth,
I miss doing nothing, without anyone staring.
Or asking me why.
I miss having a house, and a day to day life.

I'm tired of eating once at sunrise,
and once at sundown.
Like following some traveling Ramadan.

I'm tired of looking for people that speak my language,
or any other that I speak.
Of repeating myself with simpler words.
I'm tired of depending on others.
And having nothing but a smile to give back.

My shoulders, my back and my feet are tired.
My skin is tired.
My soul is tired.

I'm tired of nostalgia.
Of visiting places I once were,
and finding the memories better.
I'm tired of missing others,
missing places I've never been to.

I'm exhausted of planning,
and then doing something else.

But I guess, I just must love feeling tired.
For I have no intention of stopping.
Not anytime soon.

I wrote this on Facebook originally, but I guess it belongs here.

Posted by Zaspirucho 13:11 Archived in Poland Tagged travel poland europe slovakia tired poem hitchhiking Comments (0)

Hello Turkey Bye

Of ten days and what's to come

semi-overcast 16 °C
View Liberty Goes East & Re-Europe on Zaspirucho's travel map.

“Where do you live?” A girl asked. “I live here, now. I live where I’m living” I smartly replied. “Yes, but where’s your home?
Ah. Now that’s the question, isn’t it?

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I must say, Turkey felt amazingly like home. The comfortable level of chaos everywhere, the ever surrounding beauty… Having my sister there only helped reinforce the impression. She agreed: Mexico and Turkey are disturbingly similar. Maybe not at the surface level (and sometimes at that too), but on a deep level, they are very much alike.

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With her, I revisited Istanbul, experiencing everything again as new, through her eyes and wonder. It's a great place that city, in every sense of the word. The buildings, the people. Smiles everywhere, good food and Cats! Everywhere! Not just mangy strays, no. Both street dogs and cats look well fed and reasonably safe. They are not afraid of humans, and many enjoy being petted by strangers and tourists day in and out. There was even a happy cat enjoying the views, inside the Hagia Sophia! So not just the architecture, but the whole atmosphere is very much worth the visit. Its awesome.

And it will twist your neck.

And it will twist your neck.


So for a week I was with my sister, walking around the old district of Istanbul, drinking tea and coffee and catching up. Last I saw had seen her was September 2013, and a lot had happened since! But not all was reminiscence. Together we spent a couple of days in the great grey city of Ankara, government town, and in the land of fairy houses and magic called Cappadocia. Completely different, both places were incredible.

There's lots of road in Turkey. It's a big place.

There's lots of road in Turkey. It's a big place.


First in Ankara, I brought Irazú, my sis, to Atatürk's museum. I wanted her to know who was that face that stares at you anywhere in Turkey. I feel a deep respect for the man that he was and all that he accomplished. So that was the official tourist business. After that, the personal started: we made our way to the outskirts of town to be at a friend's wedding. It was not what I expected. It turned out, the wedding was divided in two: the official, legal wedding one day, in Ankara, and the party event, a week later, in Trabzon. That is, on the other side of the country. Among the travellers, Trabzon is renowned as the to-go place for an Iranian visa. So yes, its all the way east, almost in Iran! And with my sister leaving from Istanbul soon, It would imply crossing two thousand kilometers in a couple of days. After much consideration, I decided not to go. Not an easy call.
But I get ahead of myself. For before all this, and after the wedding event, we ended hanging out and crashing with the wedding musicians and having a late night of beers, music and locals. Oh, those lovely turkish eyes...

But time was short, so then we went for a day and a bit more to Cappadocia. In particular, to the town of Göreme, place of magic and wonder. Due to its particular geological characteristics, it has evolved some interesting rock formations. They are called the Fairy houses, and with good reason! People no longer live in them, or at least cannot carve new holes into them, but they still stand testament to what was. No pictures can really convey the feeling of the cold wind rushing and whistling among the natural towers, or the relief when leaving the confined spaces of an underground city. Or chatting with a turkman over some chai, in the middle of nowhere, and with nothing but beauty in sight. We could have flown on a hot air balloon, or slept inside a comfy cave. But that will have to wait for a season with more dineros.

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large_101_1808.jpgGreat

Great


It could have been a longer stay. It should have. But it wasn't. And so we both left Turkey. The second visit is now over. It lasted little over ten days, though it could have been much, much longer. But I was itching to start the journey north. So I got on a bus to Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Leaving Turkey felt like yet a new start, as if a new chapter, a new adventure started to unfold, with the Asia stories at rest for now...

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Two years before, when I left Istanbul for Sofia, a pair of very quick and gentle hands stole my camera (freakin' gypsies!). I decided not to think of it and instead started writing and drawing more. This very blog might be the result of that. So I wonder if anything will come of a new development... Starting a disturbing pattern, after arriving in Plovdiv and when I decided it was enough walking and coffee was required, I realized my wallet was gone. Gone to live her own story, somewhere far from me. She took my bank cards though. So not only did I lose my money, but also the ability to get any more.
Now that sucks.
So I'm in Bulgaria, with no money whatsoever, not even a single euro, and I still intend to make my way to Poland. I intended to Couchsurf, hitchhike and work here and there... I was just expecting to have other options too!!

So lets see how this little adventure develops! I know there will be cold and hunger. But heck, that will pass too. And summer is coming.
Hold on to your wallets!

A last one, because why not!

A last one, because why not!

Posted by Zaspirucho 17:14 Archived in Turkey Tagged buildings travel end adventure cappadocia istanbul beautiful cats europe asia goreme ankara ransack backacking Comments (1)

On leaving a continent

Things take on a new significance when they are about to end.

sunny 24 °C
View Liberty Goes East & Re-Europe on Zaspirucho's travel map.

Last days of Asia

Last days of Asia


Six months it was. Six months ago I arrived in Kuala Lumpur for the first time. On that day I knew nothing. Coming out of the subway station I was dazzled by the light and movement, and surprised by the great structures looming over me. The Twin Towers! In my frenzy, I had forgotten to read up on where I was going, so I had no idea the iconic buildings where actually located in Kuala Lumpur. Like going to New York and being surprised to find the Empire State Building there. But lo and behold, the famous Petronas!

It takes on a new form, that which is known. It gets blurry and fades away some. I walked that same path several times that first week in Malaysia, and some more in the following visits to KL. The towers became familiar, my friends. When I got lost in the city I could look for them in the distance, be reassured by their far-off presence. When walking under their shadow I needed not heed them, rather I would look at the people, at the cars and advertisements. The great giants a part of the scenery, part of the world.

Then there is a mysterious link between the first and last. The senses get sharpened by the feelings of conclusion, by the coming end. When you’re aware it is the last time (that you know of) that you’ll do this or eat that, and it your senses will sharpen, trying to capture every detail possible. Every sound, every smell and colour. When the world that is known is about to disappear, we strive to experience; to remember. That way it may live on, in our memories at least.

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In this spirit I spent the last days in Malaysia; visiting the places I had come to enjoy, and saying goodbye. I saw people I had met six months before, turned some old smiles into new kisses. By now I had my favourite sites too; places where they didn’t need to ask: upon seeing me they’d know whether I required an ice coffee or a double espresso. The kind of places that become a home, where the people treat you as a friend. And to top it all off, I was able to meet with Tihomir, my Bulgarian Liberty crewmate, and with my cousin and her beautiful kids and husband. Thus the trip ended in the same loving manner as it began. The circle is closed now, time to move on.

Countries, food, experiences, thoughts, this has been a trip of many firsts. I’ll surely revisit the region. But for now, it’s time to go back to the west. There’s no need to go all the way there though, so first I’ll stop at the border, there where the two worlds meet. We shall fly through the night and tomorrow I’ll see the Sun rise over Istanbul.

All things come to an end, such is the nature of the world. And then they start again.

Posted by Zaspirucho 06:43 Archived in Malaysia Tagged kuala_lumpur travel end malaysia friends istanbul family trip asia kl liberty thoughts learning Comments (0)

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