Commiserations to the traveller victims of terror, and all the other victims, this week. That was one of the reasons I stopped this blog, but they tell us to carry on as normal, so that’s what I’m doing. Everybody should know the risks by now, so it’s up to you if and where you go.
People think I’m a pseudo-enlightenment (perhaps real?) overnight success, but I’ve been on an introspective self-analysis self-improvement journey all my life. For a lot of the people in my life that I’ve discarded and now avoid, one of their biggest flaws for me was that they didn’t know/accept their parts in my life: which was a small piece in a big jigsaw over half a century old.
Second Batch of Diary
In the last batch of my 1987 travel diary I mentioned deciding to take public transport through Yugoslavia. I kept writing my diary on the paper notepad until sending my next batch in a packet from Crete; it contained the days September 18th to November 13th, 1987:
Here’s the pages of my diary from journey to the Yugoslav border detailing that decision-making process, where I discuss with myself whether it was worth making it into my own personal expedition. If it had been a proper expedition, or training trial, I probably would have kept going, but it wasn’t, and I had been using public transport in and out of cities as well… as far as possible. It also includes a hitching day through thick fog, and poor sleep in difficult conditions.
There were a lot of times when I was travelling I wished I was totally free of humanity; with no relations to worry about, or worry about them worrying about me; but family is good in other ways, and has benefits such as being a base. The way I travelled back in the 1980s, before all the portable and online technology of today, I may not have kept a diary together, and been able to write the book I did.
First Batch of Diary
The arriving in Rome day of my diary, scanned into a couple of posts ago, was the last of 17 pages of what I think was originally a notepad I sent home to myself from Rome; containing my journey hitch-hiking from west Wales via Belgium, France and northern Spain from August 25th to September 16th, 1987.
Here’s a scan of the envelope, with the postage wrong in typical traveller style:
I don’t know what the situation is now for long-term travellers, I guess most just do it online, but back then you usually relied on getting your mail sent to ‘poste restante’ at post offices around the world, providing a post office address that you planned to visit in a couple of months.
This post is dedicated to a fantastic Italian woman from Milan, and a nice one from Reggio Emilia, and the good Italians I’ve met on my visits there and elsewhere, as well as my fellow campers at Camp Nomentano in 1987!
There’s an old saying that goes something like ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’; but I sightsaw it in a day; well, enough for me, although I probably only saw a small amount of what there is to see, and that from a just the surface category.
A Canadian traveller staying at Camp Nomentano reluctantly went sightseeing with me, showing me around, as he’d already done it. It was an amazing day, with lots of stunning sights on a hot sunny day. We also went to see the busking team at their regular slot. I took three photos: of the Colisseum, St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and the Altare della Patria ([alˈtaːre della ˈpaːtrja]; English: “Altar of the Fatherland”) [Wikipedia], having to now look up the latter.
After an eventful time in northern Spain my last day was a good one socialising with a fellow worker-traveller in Figueres, home of Salvador Dali. The first day’s diary below covers that. I then hitched across the south of France into northern Italy, where the hitching was good, and the Riviera cliffs to beaches scenery even better. I spent a night sharing a room in Nice with another hitcher I shared a lift with, after his suggestion. I briefly stopped in Pisa and Florence, before reaching Rome, told in the second day’s diary below. The whole journey’s told in my memoir, The Guns N’ Roses Worker-Traveller. If you want to see the diary days in-between these two, please request.