Category Archives: Yugoslavia

Guns N’ Roses Song Remembered On The Road

I didn’t remember citing a Guns N’ Roses song in my diary travelling through the old Yugoslavia in 1987 until re-reading it recently, but was delighted to do so, after naming my memoir of the journey: The Guns N’ Roses Worker-Traveller.

Living the Dream is sometimes a Nightmare

This page of the diary also shows that I have always preferred slim waify women, preferably blonde, or honey brunettes, considering a Samantha Fox lookalike fellow traveller a ‘bit overweight’. That’s because when I said the same after a ‘relationship’ with a similar looking woman went pear-shaped people just thought I was saying that.

It also shows that I have usually been too standoffish with women, and was usually happy to take the easier option of watching the view go by, or get drunk, than enter into a relationship, or take the necessary steps of courting to make that happen. That was down to good ol’ simple shyness or uncomfortableness, and one of the reasons I liked a drink.

It also features a meeting with an old man, that was as far as I know genuine. I didn’t try and visit him in Athens afterwards. The book does include some similar situations that were dodgy, in part featured because of the grooming situation I knew was going on in Britain and Europe, and as a general warning for youth about the dangers on the streets; as bands like Guns N’ Roses were also warning.

Warnings for youths about grooming were a constant during my decade of writing, and I also tried to do the same in (post) university and work. It was my goodbye present to youth, as I passed into middle-age; as seen in poems such as the fictional what could have been Professor Green / Plan B inspired Middle-Aged Memories.

Maybe I should still be trying to be a youth, as Lemmy of Motorhead seemed to be, and was loved for it, and as I’ve said before, the goldlilocks zone for women is still 21-40; but only if they want to be with me for me, and not gold-digging! But, to be truthful, I hanker more after mature sophisticated conversation than partying and debauchery; although it’s nice to have an occasional drink.

I’m sick of explaining everything I write, but then remember that my doctor and professor examiners didn’t seem to understand what I was trying to do in my PhD. I was beyond them then; in my head and world anyway, and their perception of me; which I think was generally classist, and sexist where applicable.

It’s quite ironic that people were trying to retire me when I was in my early 30s, but now they wonder why I don’t want to go out on the town when I’m in my early 50s! C’est la vie!!

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Travel Decisionmaking Italy to Yugoslavia Hitch-Hiking and Transport

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:

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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.

 

Travel Experience and Philosophy: Too Truthful to Tell Twisty Tales

I could have made my memoir more heroic and interesting, but kept it true to how it was, and written in my diary without knowing where I was really going, or if it would ever be published. I watched the movie Wild last week, which is also a bestselling book: the memoir of a woman who hiked the Pacific Coast Trail. Last year I read the book To Live Outside the Law, which was a lot about travelling in a similar style to me, but in the previous decade, although published a few years after my The Guns N’ Roses Worker-Traveller. Such memoirs have a long history, perhaps back to Marco Polo in the west, so I know mine is nothing special: just another small piece in a big jigsaw of independent travel literature. Like those books, and the music I liked, as well as the war movies such as Platoon, I tried to tell the story from all angles, positive and negative, to show the full picture of humanity’s mind, culture and society; to provide my little addition to its knowledge, in the hope that it improves it for this and future generations, and the world about us.

Ironically, humanity seems to be retreating into the more extreme sides, right and left, black and white and looking for heroes who show no ‘weakness’ (‘weaknesses’ such as diplomacy, emotion, compassion, love, kindness etc). Sometimes this is irrational, but other times it is because people take advantage of the ‘weak’.

World Not Safe, or U.K.!

Some U.K. and European girls and women, and boys, who’ve tried to be ‘nice’ to other demographics, like the government and public institutions advised (demanded), have been raped, tortured, imprisoned and prostituted.

Some older people have lost their life savings because they tried to be ‘nice’ to people who phoned them, pretending to be a helpful adviser.

While I recently featured the Scorpions from Hannover singing the ‘Wind of Change’, fans of the Hannover football team were recently instigating crowd trouble in England (according to U.K. media). English fans who listened to the football association and government to go to Euro 2016 in peace were attacked by other fans in a targeted attack. Several tourists and travellers have died around Europe, although many more have misbehaved.

When I wrote The Guns N’ Roses Worker-Traveller I thought I might save some lives, or prevent some assaults and rapes, and maybe I have, that I don’t know of. However, I didn’t even follow its lead myself, and it’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve really tried to control my drinking, with bingeing always putting myself in danger; I always knew that, but by the time I reached what I call the Event Horizon, using an astronomy analogy, I usually didn’t care; especially if I was out with other people, and the night was still young… or there was somewhere open and something going on later in the night!

When I drink, and most people I think, we try and get to that nice merry place where we’re more confident and happy, and try and stay there, like circling the Event Horizon of Black Holes, according to astronomy. However, as gravity is very strong in space, so is the temptation to go further and further into the mind when drinking, thinking it will be an improvement. Maybe it is in an unconscious way; but the trouble is you are in a public place and comatose, and can’t remember it the next day, as nothing is supposed to escape from a Black Hole in space; we can send probes into our brain’s black hole, but can’t recover the data!

I was always a party animal looking for something different, or maybe just something more exciting. So I know people likely to be reading this in a positive way are not going to listen that much to me, or let them divert them from their search, but hopefully it’ll provide a little guidance if they’re open to it. I don’t think they’ll find anything different to me and all the other deep-thinking-searchers before me, but they’ll probably want to travel there anyway, as people still want to travel around the world to places already discovered and that they can see on T.V. etc.

I don’t ask anybody for personal trust, because I don’t think anybody should fully trust anybody, any country or any situation. Some people win your trust, often deservedly, or have your trust from childhood; family etc; and there will be times you’ll want to trust people, and I hope it works for you. Like the movie Wild depicts, going out into the world has its risks and I hope you’re one of the lucky ones; or not one of the ‘unlucky’ ones anyway, as most people are more good than bad.

Yugoslavia 1987 Travel Receipts

One of the reasons for the above soliloquy is that after hitching from Rome to Venice and the Italy-Yugoslavia border, and trying to hitch-hike for a couple of hours, having heard it was nigh on impossible in the communist country, with most traffic small cars full of family members, I caught a bus to Ljubljana, now capital of Slovenia. From there I caught a train to Belgrade.

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I took my only photo in the country of the Danube and Sava confluence from Castle Kalemegdan:

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Skopje Train Tickets

I then took the train to Skopje, and the next day to Thessaloniki in northern Greece.

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