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Animals and Epiphanies in the Wild Extremities

The authoress of Wild walked 1100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, which is really impressive in itself. I walked 150 miles this summer, (60 over 3 days one month, 90 over 4 days the next month) and it was quite tough, although like they say in the movie, it gets easier, and the second longer trip seemed more comfortable.

Foxes and Deers

In the Wild movie the hiker/authoress has a bit of a meeting of minds with a fox. I’ve had some of those in the city, but not in the countryside. I did have a couple with deer on the walks though. One time a young stag bolted past me about from a 50 metres/yards away after emerging from another field, and probably only seeing me when it entered the field I was in. It ran about another 100 metres/yards, but then stopped and calmed down, and looked back at me until I walked away.

Another time I heard some rustling from over a wall while walking through a forest, and thought it must be a stray sheep or wild horse. Then when I got to somewhere I could look back at where the noise had come from there was a deer looking at me inquisitively from an opening in the wall.

I had only decided at the last moment to look back, not expecting to see anything there now, but the deer had obviously gone to the opening, planning to see what it had heard. When I reached for my camera it left.

Although it’s nice to have those experiences I try not to get too close, as the next human could be a hunter. I walked past one young rabbit who’d obviously seen me coming and had just ducked down where it was. It’s eyes seemed wide open with fear.

Sunrise and Sunset

She also talked of her mother saying that the sunrise and sunset were special times, and that you could either choose to be a part of that beauty or not. They were also one of the main reasons I wanted to get out into nature this summer, always missing them in the summer months where I live, although the winter sunrise location is ideal.

I did see some beautiful sunsets, with PinkyOrangePurple (POP) colours above green dales and wolds, or yellow crops. And I woke up to the sunrise on the east coast, bright and warm over the calm sleepy sea.

I’d been going on regular day trips to the countryside before that, but haven’t felt the need, or even desire, since. As if I filled myself up with enough nature on those two trips to last me a while, like a camel in the desert.

But I’d love to do a few months one sometime (soon), like the PCT; so all those humanity who think I’m only where I am because of them (apart from the nice positive ones, especially really beautiful single women to my slim and preferably light-haired taste), I’d probably rather be somewhere else, freed from them and the restrictions on the mind and movement of human society; restrictions that have increased since the New Wave of Monotheist Religion (NWOMR).

It’s not the colour of your skin I don’t like, it’s the way your mind works, and how it restricts my mind, and the freedom to live and think freely of people like me: the native people, as the Native Americans suffered, and other native people have around the world, including the Masai in Africa.

I didn’t like the ‘British white establishment’ for the same reason in the 1980s, which was one of the reasons I so related to Guns N’ Roses. But now I’m middle-aged, and can see why they were so critical of youths like me. I still believe in youth freedom though, and try to be an advocate like one of my heroes, Angry Anderson of Rose Tattoo, but some make it difficult… although they are often just pawns to my critics and enemies… formerly frenemies (a term I heard a few weeks ago, combining friends and enemies, for those people you hang around with in youth but don’t really get on with; another thing I liked about travelling, you could just kill them and bury them somewhere… I jest… I mean they were often just brief On The Road, and you could part with them quickly… as some probably did with me!)

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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Rome from Home, Mystery of History

About three weeks after leaving home I reached Rome and spent a few days in Camp Nomentano. The shed beds were cheaper than pitching a tent, so I took that option. It turned out to be good on a social level too, as there was a cool crowd of people there. It was my first community away from home, and one I look back on with nice nostalgia. There was hot sunshine, and Rome being on the doorstep was a bonus.

Idyllic History Time Blurred but Still Recognisable 

Knowing more about humanity now, I wonder how long it would have lasted, and put the good atmosphere down to the time and place, rather than any inherent goodness in or about anybody. It was a great time because it was brief and shallow, without work or competition, new interactions with people who shared my old dreams.

It was special to me because it was my only such experience in my travelling around Europe, before reaching the stationery worker-traveller communities on Crete. For the others I met at Camp Nomentano maybe it was just another campsite; one of many they stayed at in Europe; or just another weekend for those staying longer, like the busking team.

But however much I try and diminish it, with the benefit of 30 years worth of experience and knowledge, now living in middle-aged grumpiness, knowing some of the current young hunt people like me with the ferocity of rabied rats; as I then viewed older people!; unable or unwilling to recognise anything other than their own disgusting desires (money, sadism etc), it still sparkles in my memory like the sun through greenY leaves while lying in one of the hammocks revelling in youthful laziness.

Here’s some photos, flyers and receipts from my time when Rome became my first home from home:

Rome Campsite, 1987, Photos

I’m in the green in front of our ‘shed’, with the sunshine and trees visible in the background. Homophobic conspiracy theorists will probably consider it evidence of gayness, but I put my distraction down to my self-diagnosed ADHD.

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My fun-loving-not-caring-about-acting/looking-the-fool personality was evident in this photo too, when I fumbled over taking the photo, but that brought out an even better one; I think, not remembering the original; with much merriment amongst my fellow travellers:

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Rome, 1987, Campsite Flyer

Here’s the flyer for the camp:

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Rome, 1987, Campsite Receipts

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Scorpions and AC/DC in Spain, 1987 Hitch-hiking Lifts

I didn’t take any photos in Spain or collect any memorabilia, apart from a couple of pesetas; I probably would have in Barcelona, but as my diary extracts show, my lift took me straight past it. I kept a coin or two; or note if that’s all there was, as in some countries; from each country. Here’s a photo of the two peseta coins I kept:

Hitch-hiking in Northern Spain

As my diary extracts show, hitch-hiking in northern Spain (Basque region) was difficult, but the lifts were eventful when they happened. Some Germans lifted my mood playing the Scorpions, and a local put AC/DC on.

The German ‘Scorpions’ lift, walking above Zaragoza and arriving in Figueres (I found out while there it was Salvador Dali’s birthplace: the museum was closed as it was a Saturday!) all made it into my fantasy fiction travel around Europe to Google Maps original concept XaW Files: Beyond Humanity book; cross-referencing through time and writing genres, via the motorways and crossroads of my mind; neurons of memory and creativity perhaps travelling from different parts of my brain, and meeting at the greenYgreyesque corpus callosum.

The Zaragoza to Figueres lift started off a spaghetti western storyline in Chapter 6 Episode 18: ‘I had felt shimmering significance in Figueres, time distortion in Barcelona and at a crossroads in Zaragoza.’ I had made it to Barcelona in 2013.

The German Scorpions lift was referenced in a fantasy storyline with the real Scorpions singer Klaus Meine, twisting it around to him having read my memoir, which is of course separate to the greenYgrey trilogy: ‘Klaus was very understanding about it, and gave me a lift to Hannover, his home town, which was on my way west. He played the Scorpions’ Worldwide Live album on the way, which is one of my all-time favourites. I told him I’d referenced a couple of Scorpions songs in the opening paragraph, and he said that was a coincidence, because our drive reminded him of one in The Guns N’ Roses Worker Traveller.’

My 1987 Diary 

Here’s my diary recording my brief time in Spain. I had intended spending longer, but as I write in the diary, the hitching wasn’t very good.

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In 2005, after a decade in further education I became Dr. Marc Latham, the Chav Philosopher; possibly Blighty’s best value and poorest doctor of philosophy. My memoir, poetry and fiction books are available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marc-Latham/e/B004SP40J0/

Paris, 1987, Eiffel Tower Experience Monumental!

Although travel for the sake of travel was the main reason for my first travelling experience thirty years ago, I wanted to see as much of the world as possible, with significant world sites second only to beaches at the time; I originally only planned to do Europe and North America, a hitch-hiking sojourn ending in L.A., then buzzing with my favourite rock and metal music. So reaching Paris after a few days was totally uplifting and quite mindblowing, especially as the sun was shining hot summer heat. It would stay mainly sunny for the rest of my trip over the next month, until reaching Athens at the end of September. Here’s the photos I took in Paris, from and of, the Eiffel Tower:

This memoir was published as The Guns N’ Roses Worker-Traveller, and like Marc Latham’s other books is available to buy or borrow on Amazon and some great big bookshops.

Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction Always One Month Ahead: Passport to France

When I decided to finish this blog off to commemorate 30 years since my travels started last week I didn’t know Guns N’ Roses were planning a thirtieth anniversary event for Appetite for Destruction. Today I read they are playing a special AFD gig in the Apollo, New York on Friday July 21st to mark its 30th anniversary/birthday on Planet Rock and Classic Rock. Best of luck to the band and fans for that… will Izzy and Steven be there… hopefully!

Passport and France Photos

When I left home and travelled to the European continent a month and four days after AFD was released I had a passport from 1982 with the photo of me as I was then: a typical young rock and metaller with hair down to shoulders and a denim shirt:

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After hitching from the Belgian coast via the outskirts of Brussels I reached Lille and took my first photo of my travels in its main central square. The blog continues after the photo, which includes a big space below it from the scanning:

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My first travel memoir, The Guns N’ Roses Worker-Traveller, was published by Chipmunka, and I have since written several more, available on Amazon.

I’ll continue blogging my travels, which greatly influenced my fantasy travel trilogy pioneering the new concept of writing fiction from Google Maps and web information.

Tromsdalen Valley, Tromso, Norway Photos

The marathon went well overall: running amongst beautiful natural scenery to the south alongside the Tromsøysundet fjord on the mainland; and out to the airport on Tromso island. We started and finished at Tromso city centre’s Storgata, and also ran through it on the way to the airport.

There was great support from people throughout the marathon, with people staying out past midnight in the countryside, and others just going out at the end on Storgata! My time was eleven minutes over 4 hours, which was a little disappointing, but okay.

Tromsdalen Valley Photos

I walked back to the campsite and slept, before going whale-watching again in the evening. On the Monday, my last full day in Tromso, I walked left from the campsite and Tromsdalen centre into the Tromsdalen Valley. There was nobody else there (really, I didn’t see anyone inside the park at all), and it was nice to savour the marathon achievement and end of its training amongst lush nature.

It was a cloudy overcast day, but I really didn’t care. Would it have looked nicer under clear sky and sunshine, I don’t know. It would have looked different, but the brooding atmosphere seemed to suit the valley, and my reflective Monday morning mood.

Here’s some photos:

Tromsdalen Valley Waterfalls

Dog-walking Sign

Tromsdalen Valley

Looking back down the valley, with Tromso island in the distance.

Isolated House

Tromsdalstinden End of Valley

Reaching Tromsdalstinden I stood in awe on the marshy ground. I watched a few birds fly onto the water, and imagined the people who’d stood there before; and wondered what they imagined.

There was no way up Tromsdalstinden, but the valley hill looked inviting, so I walked upwards, into the clouds…

Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).