We made it to Athens, and my fellow hitch-hiker who was going home, made me feel welcome. He was a cool guy, the kind who’s popular in youth, carefree and conniving, like a young Russell Brand.
Looking back at him with middle-aged eyes and brain, he looks a bit of a user, avoiding national service and living off his parents and friends. I don’t know if he was really on POAK’s books as a footballer, or if they dismissed him because of his long hair and earring. I can’t remember if any of his friends or family confirmed his story or not; and they’d probably have heard it from him anyway. I guess he did play for them, but maybe he just didn’t make it, and his hair and earring was a better reason to give for his image?
I went along with him because I was getting something out of it too. If he’d just been asking for money all the time, and not doing anything for me, I’d have gone my own way; as I’d do with some fellow worker-travellers on Crete, and other people later in life; such as those who tried to claim credit for my writing!
Anyway, I’m probably trying to analyse it too much, due to my time and training in university, and writing career, and the grooming epidemic in U.K./Europe.
You readers would probably prefer to see it as a nice friendship between two people from different countries, thrown together by fate in a magical hitch-hiking ride covering most of Greece by a driver from another country, as one hitch-hiker returned home, and the other finished his over month-long mostly hitch-hiking and sleeping rough inaugural travel journey around Europe.
Here’s the next day’s diary, as it was in all its youthful innocence back in 1987:
My last day of hitching on my journey from the U.K. to Greece in 1987 was an epic one, as I travelled through the land of Greek gods, with the final epic lift also providing classic comedy, as there was a breakdown, and we had to be towed part of the way.
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.
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.
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.
I think the first stamp is when I left the U.K. on August 25th, 1987 but I’m not sure. It fits in with my departure date, so probably is. There weren’t many stamps after that, until I got to Greece at the end of the continental Europe journey just over a month later.
Keeping a Diary to Write like Kerouac
I kept a diary on loose paper at first, before buying exercise books along the way. I posted them home. Here’s the first day and its eve, when I wrote of listening to Guns N’ Roses’s Appetite for Destruction (30th anniversary tomorrow!) before leaving:
Here’s an exercise book from later in the trip, where I reference Ozzy (Diary of a Madman), Anthrax (NFL: Nice F***ing Life) and Lynyrd Skynyrd/Blues Brothers (Sweet Home Alabama or Chicago) and proclaim my ambitions to write a Kerouac On The Road (updated to the highest musical level by Guns N’ Roses’s Appetite for Destruction, following other street living songwriters such as AC/DC, Van Halen, Rose Tattoo and Motley Crue) style memoir (I’ve Lived It So You Can Read It).
My first travel memoir, The Guns N’ Roses Worker-Traveller, was published by Chipmunka, and I have since written several more books, available on Amazon.
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:
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:
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.