What goes up… probably goes up again

So began a series of what I’ll call “afternoon surprise mountains.” Sounds kind of fun, doesn’t it? Like a children’s after-school cartoon, or a wacky dessert on offer at the ice cream parlor. But no. These were just the road, my road, that same road to adventure I’ve always been on. Only, for about five days in a row, it happened to go up at the end. Like the sound of a question mark? After Queenstown I would visit Lake St. Clair. That day I set a bit of a goal for myself; to reach the 20 kilometer highway marker before I camped, so I would get to the lake early in the day. Lake Burbury It was going to be a close one with the sunset, but I was on track to make it. Except at about kilometer marker 25,...

Long damn walks.

I had made it nearly to 44th street when the ambulance pulled over by me. “Whatcha doing?” “Walking home.” “Where’s home?” “Off of 100th street.” “That’s a long ways.” “I know. I don’t suppose you could give me a short lift.” “We can only take you to the hospital, which I don’t think you need.” “Makes sense.” “Got any friends you can call or anything?” “Yeah.” My phone was long dead by this point. “But I think I’ll keep walking.” “Anyways, get onto division or something. It’s illegal to walk on the highway.” I complied, climbing the embankment to jog over a...

The Queenstown Hill

A car tourist from Melbourne asked me, “So where are you going?” Meaning, today. Not “What are you going to achieve in your life”. Fwew! Her sister and her dreadlocked friend seemed interested too, but they just nodded when I answered, “Today I’ll shoot for Queenstown, and try to camp somewhere on the other side.” I guess on their map it doesn’t look too far away. But she was quick to point out, “Oo there’s a big hill over that side of Queenstown. Good luck!” And that was the first time of many that I was warned of the Queenstown “hill.” There just seems to be something about mountains that capture people’s fervor. I get it. It’s cool. Me too! Looking...

111: Ancona to Rome

Excuse me for a minute. I just want to get something off my chest. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO YEEAHavpsn3 g[0wqj[ggnio;s jv fnar vl asdn;awo EAAHHHHHH Ok. So we’re in Italy now. Our ferry got in at Ancona at 7am and our plan was to get to the highway quicksmart so we could arrive in Rome that afternoon. There we would spend the next four days eating gelato, drinking coffee and doing whatever it is Romans do everyday. - I was a bit over eager for our hitchhiking to be a success because Selena was feeling justifiably anxious about it – her only experience so far being with a acid junky who drove at 160km. Well, we had nothing to worry about – we got a ride almost instantly with a lovely middle aged woman with hippie tattoos and...

109 and 110: Split and my thoughts on Balkan food

I’m on a ferry to Italy! I’m so excited! No longer will my tongue be languishing in the Balkan meat autocracy. All those persecuted vegetables and flavours be free! In 11 hours I’m going to be slurping gelato and pizza like a doped up hippo with an over active thyroid. I love life. - I don’t understand Balkan food. The produce is fantastic. All the fruit and vegetables I’ve had have been excellent. The meat and dairy is even more impressive – the last two weeks have given me the some of the best yoghurt and salami of my life. A few days ago I went to this amazing Balkan food market in Dubrovnik, pretty much everything I had there was fucking good. Young walnut jam, rose hip marmalade, smoked sheep...

5. My first trip - welcome in Spain

Except for one fake palm tree, which stands in Warsaw near de Gaulle’s roundabout, I’ve never seen any other. Maybe one more at the Palm House in Poznań. It was like this until my first trip, where a lot of palms welcome us on the Barcelona airport. It was a great escape from reality – possibility to go outside dressed in summer clothes, when in Poland it was something like minus 20 degrees and even if you’ve got two coats, it was enough. This city with wonderful architecture (Gaudi!) and perfect climate was our first stop. We expected that after Barcelona we’ll go to north, but ofc our plans changed and finally we did track like on the map. Around Spain to Portugal.  From 21 days, which we’ve got to our...

10 Questions for Stephen Page

Originally posted on Fox Chase Review: Stephen Page is from Detroit, Michigan. He is the author of The Timbre of Sand and Still Dandelions. He holds two AA’s from Palomar College, a BA from Columbia University and an MFA from Bennington College. His critical essays have appeared regularly in the Buenos Aires Herald and the Fox Chase Review. He is the recipient of The Jess Cloud Memorial Prize, a Writer-in-Residence from the Montana Artists Refuge, a Full Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, an Imagination Grant from Cleveland State University, and an Arvon Foundation Ltd. Grant. . You can find him at: http://stephenmpage.wordpress.com/.  His poetry appears in The Fox Chase Review at these links: http://www.foxchasereview.org/12SU/...

Friendhopping - Part III: The Road to Vienna

The holidays are nearing and it seems that there is some hitchhiking in store for me. In memory of past trips, I decided to work through my old travellers’ blogs, take the mistakes out, abbreviate the names where necessary and post them here piece by piece: on Wednesdays. I’m starting with the final trip I took so far, written just after I finished my studies. The series contains a storyline about love and friendship. It has six parts. This is part three. What I like about this one is that I remember being super fascinated about this girl with Google maps on his mobile. Just three years ago… August 2nd 2011 Hitchhikers’ law # 1 is : Nothing is for certain Law # 2: The more people pass by, the less pick you up Law # 3: The...

Alice, Texas

Each one of these stories is like a small window – a motion picture into observations made during a period of travel and the years that followed spent in reflection. They are to be enjoyed, read as rhythmic rolling narrative. They need no explanation except that, with a few exceptions, they tell a story – one that follows from each title to the next. V. Alarcón-Córdoba in the wee hours of a pitch black Texas night in Alice I was bound for Nuevo Laredo the road was deserted not even a gun-rack pistol-packing Texas Truck in sight no travelers dusted from too many hours entertaining the yellow line looking for a rider to take the wheel the rattlesnakes they chattered the coyotes yip-yip-yip-aye-ayed into the pitch-black prelude...

Changing the Conversation

We are in motion again! Yeah, yeah… our electrons are always vibrating rapidly and the Earth i

Diary of a Bad Hitchhiker, Part II

On Saturday evening, after mass, Meghan and I checked into our hostel, Old Mill Hostel on James Street in the center of the little town of Westport, Ireland. Even though this was the first hostel I’ve ever stayed in, I can say with certainty that it far exceeded any expectations I had of a hostel. The minute I walked in, I knew I was going to love it: the music playing was quintessential 70s rock, something my dad plays all the time at my house in Southwest Virginia on his record player. Queen, Bob Seger, CCR, Van Morrison–you name it, he’s got it on not only an album, but one from a collection organized alphabetically by artist. So when I walked into Old Mill to sounds of some sweet tunes, I immediately loved Liam, the...

Tolle and 300 Miles

Long Pond Lake at dawn at the Omega Institute     It was one of those experiences that if you thought too hard about it you would easily have talked yourself out of it.  I mean who when given the option of a leisurely five-hour train ride home on the Amtrak from upstate New York to Washington, DC would instead decide to walk back 300 miles?  Well it was a combination of a few factors that led to that decision but mostly the inspiration of meeting many like-minded folks at the Eckhart Tolle retreat at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY.  This five-day retreat wasn’t just Tolle speaking about mindfulness and approaching life with gratitude and being in the present–there was this energy about which literally had all 700...

Day 106, 107 and 108: Hvar

I’m in Hvar. It’s another silly place – it looks like an Italian sunglasses ad but instead of muscular gentlemen with skin like polished horse hair there’s a parade of lavishly muffined old men, backpackers with inappropriate footwear and sunburnt Englishmen. I feel very weird, being a sneaker clad backpacker myself, sitting on the beach with my socks behind me while on the horizon 50ft yatchs sail past leaving a kind of metaphorical waft of cash behind them. Those yacht owners own this place. Sure, there are some hostels and relatively cheap pizza stands but the rest of the island runs on $10,000 dollar bottles of champagne, caviar and whatever Bill Gates and Roman Abromovich want. As you can imagine this lavish...

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