Trelograms #25 — Dream Log

My maternal grandfather, with whom i shared a bedroom for most of the first couple of decades of my life, has been my single most important presence and reference. He passed away in 2010, at the age of 95-almost-96 (longevity ran in his family). Being raised by this wise and experienced man a generous lifetime older than me often felt magical — i was once certain (read hopeful) he was immortal.

I am now convinced ‘he’ no longer exists — at least not in any way i could interact with — except in my dreams!

For a few weeks after his passing, he was the subject of vivid dreams that i would often wake up from with a wide smile on my face! — duly filled by our recent “interaction” — grateful for the new “memory” from Grandpa to cherish until it dissipated along my morning routine.

Those dreams have become less and less frequent, and it’s been just a couple of those a year these days. A few years ago i decided to start “collecting” them — i’ll usually record them into my phone when i wake up in the middle of the night, and then transcribe them into a notebook in the morning. Even when i don’t remember the dream itself, hearing my groggy voice describing it is still refreshing!

One fascinating feature of those dreams is that i have never had a single negative interaction with Grandpa in any of them throughout all those years. I’m not sure how dreams are constructed and what that may or may not mean — it makes me look forward to a lifetime of occasional, unexpected visits from Grandpa though.


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Trelograms is a series of short inspirational and/or inquisitive reads written in counterpoint to my chronicles and concrete travel advice on cycle touring, hitchhiking or in general. The series title is a word play between ‘telegram’ and ‘trélos’ (Greek for ‘mad’). Follow the links to read more, and sign up for the Not Mad Yet mailing list to be notified when new articles go live and get other updates


Trelograms #24 — Checklists

The Check Yourself episode of Hidden Brain (one of my favorite podcasts these days) talks about checklists — the simple device that hurts the egos of some and saves the lives of many.

Unlike pilots and surgeons, i can’t be sure my checklists have saved a life — they have no doubt saved me a fair amount of time and spared me a fair amount of stress though — even (perhaps especially) after hundreds of nights outdoors, i don’t know how i’d manage to pack for a five-day hike, in the middle of unpacking from having just moved into a new place, without a checklist.

I’ve always been a big fan of checklists — i’m particularly fond of my grocery shopping system, which i employ at home as well as on the road:

  1. Anything i need to buy goes first into an ‘inbox’ where i collect everything else that asks for my attention, GTD-style (more on this some other time!);
  2. I regularly process this inbox, adding the “grocery store stuff” to the “grocery shopping list” — tomatoes, toothpaste, if i can get it at the supermarket or from the grannies across the street from it, then it goes in that list;
  3. Doing the groceries is then best described as a mission to complete that checklist as effectively as i can — with the notable exception of at most one “wild card” item i grant myself in every shopping trip, whether it’s an improvised treat to myself or something i forgot to add to the list, i’m not allowed to get anything else not already on the list — believe it or not, any item that comes to mind during the process goes into the inbox!

I acknowledge this rigidity might have caused some psychological pain to the occasional shopping companion unfamiliar with my process. It has nevertheless saved me a fair amount of time and energy — then available to be spent in situations where i don’t mind inefficiency at all, for instance, long-distance hiking 😉


All the content i create is made available to all, and for free. If you find value in it, then please consider becoming a recurring donor — it is the best way to help me continue doing it! You may also find alternate ways to contribute on the support tab.

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Trelograms is a series of short inspirational and/or inquisitive reads written in counterpoint to my chronicles and concrete travel advice on cycle touring, hitchhiking or in general. The series title is a word play between ‘telegram’ and ‘trélos’ (Greek for ‘mad’). Follow the links to read more, and sign up for the Not Mad Yet mailing list to be notified when new articles go live and get other updates


Trelograms #23 — I’m Not Special

I’ve heard it many times and rather frequently — and not just from my mother! — that i’m special.

If you think i’m special because i’m willing to relocate, leaving behind family, close friends, career prospects and large fractions of my belongings to follow yet another exciting opportunity, whether it takes me to Scandinavian utopia or post-Soviet disrepair, then you probably don’t follow enough travel blogs.

If you think i’m special because i’ve pledged to donate 10% of my gross income to the best poverty-relief charity that i’m currently aware of — and kept up with that pledge through my self-unemployment — then you should check out the effective altruism folks who have been dedicating 100% of their resources to that and other, potentially more relevant causes.

If you think i’m special because i’m able to travel on a $5–10/day budget for five months, then you must not have met my friend Bogdan, who has done that for two years on less than $1/day — not to mention that his tour took place largely in Western Europe, including countries especially notorious for their prohibitive costs such as Denmark — there are many others like him you’ll bump into on the road whom you haven’t heard about just because they don’t have blogs or facetwittergrams+.

If you think i’m special because i’ve been hospitable (and courageous) to welcome “strangers” from hospitality networks into my home, then you might not have met or heard about the hundreds of literal strangers along my way who have invited me into their own homes (and cars) having nothing on me besides their gut reaction from first looking at me.

By the day, it seems to me that there exist essentially two kinds of people — those who know they’re amazing, and those who haven’t yet found out — we’re all fabulous in varied ways and degrees, and that makes none of us special.


All the content i create is made available to all, and for free. If you find value in it, then please consider becoming a recurring donor — it is the best way to help me continue doing it! You may also find alternate ways to contribute on the support tab.

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Trelograms is a series of short inspirational and/or inquisitive reads written in counterpoint to my chronicles and concrete travel advice on cycle touring, hitchhiking or in general. The series title is a word play between ‘telegram’ and ‘trélos’ (Greek for ‘mad’). Follow the links to read more, and sign up for the Not Mad Yet mailing list to be notified when new articles go live and get other updates


Trelograms #22 — Why Travel?

My first source of inspiration to leave on a long-term cycle tour was easily Dave Conroy, whom i hosted in 2011 when i was still attending graduate school at Rutgers University. Dave was the fist long-term cycle traveler i ever met, and might have also been my first source of intimidation though — he had essentially checked out of his “previous life,” and been cycling for a couple of years already, something i couldn’t even remotely imagine myself doing at that time.

Fortunately, he was not the only cycle traveler i got to meet back then — in the course of the following couple of Summers i got to host many more, and was positively struck by how different their motivations were — for Steve and Taylor, cycle touring was part of their gap year adventures, while Greg had used his bike as a tool to connect with people and places around his country, and i understood it to be part of a mourning practice for Odin. Although it took me another four years to finally get on the road myself, i eventually felt duly validated to ride on account of the underlying process and technical challenge — in other words, whatever it was about it that interested me the most at the moment.

Along my way over the past two or three years, there came yet another big surprise — while space for self-discovery and adventure were what first put me on the road, i gradually discovered and assimilated other dimensions into my process — most notably, i could have never anticipated how inspiring, energizing and fruitful my encounters with people along my path would have been!

So, you already have a reason to travel also — but you might not find out what it is until you surrender to the journey 😉


All the content i create is made available to all, and for free. If you find value in it, then please consider becoming a recurring donor — it is the best way to help me continue doing it! You may also find alternate ways to contribute on the support tab.

read more

Trelograms is a series of short inspirational and/or inquisitive reads written in counterpoint to my chronicles and concrete travel advice on cycle touring, hitchhiking or in general. The series title is a word play between ‘telegram’ and ‘trélos’ (Greek for ‘mad’). Follow the links to read more, and sign up for the Not Mad Yet mailing list to be notified when new articles go live and get other updates


Trelograms #21 — Why Is Doing the Dishes so Troublesome?

Soon after moving to Ukraine, i had the opportunity to meet and eat lunch with Folknery, a couple of Ukrainian musicians cycle touring around the world with their baby, who was born on the road — “but isn’t it troublesome?” — “it’s actually much easier than being at home with one,” replied Yaryna.

I can totally believe that, as i’ve been myself telling everybody who asks that cycle touring feels less troublesome across the board — it’s much easier dealing with the dishes after a meal, or finding a place to sleep, so why wouldn’t that be the case with a baby as well?

At this point many of you will dismiss my point by saying that the cycle touring process comes with its own burdensome routine, which is so true! But if that’s where you are, then you’ve completely missed my point — we all have our own dishes to wash, there’s no doubt about it — my point is simply that our choice of metaphorical dishes is much broader than we might be first led to believe 😉


All the content i create is made available to all, and for free. If you find value in it, then please consider becoming a recurring donor — it is the best way to help me continue doing it! You may also find alternate ways to contribute on the support tab.

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Trelograms is a series of short inspirational and/or inquisitive reads written in counterpoint to my chronicles and concrete travel advice on cycle touring, hitchhiking or in general. The series title is a word play between ‘telegram’ and ‘trélos’ (Greek for ‘mad’). Follow the links to read more, and sign up for the Not Mad Yet mailing list to be notified when new articles go live and get other updates


Trelograms #20 — Does My Cat Experience Me as a Person?

Yeva has been my first pet. Every now and then i wonder whether we have a mutual relationship, and what that actually means — am i seeking subjective experiences external to my own, which in turn acknowledge mine as external to their own, and mutually intelligible communication between the two?

Sometimes Yeva will meow from the balcony, looking into my eyes through the glass door, and come back inside as soon as i open the door — other times it feels a bit more like she just experiences me as a much desired radiator whose position in space she seems nevertheless rather bad at predicting.

Do i have a relationship with the ocean?

A few might suggest the ocean is in fact as conscious as we are. I wonder whether it might not be the other way around — as Daniel Dennett remarked in Consciousness Explained, “[perhaps w]e’re all zombies” — quoted here slightly out of context not as much as an “act of desperate intellectual dishonesty” as a sincere expression of confusion — are we as conscious as the ocean?

The only alternatives to that i find plausible are panpsychism or solipsism — has my mathematical training led me to disproportionately converge to either 0, 1 or infinity as the most likely answers to any question i ask?

So, what’s the weather like where you are right now?


All the content i create is made available to all, and for free. If you find value in it, then please consider becoming a recurring donor — it is the best way to help me continue doing it! You may also find alternate ways to contribute on the support tab.

read more

Trelograms is a series of short inspirational and/or inquisitive reads written in counterpoint to my chronicles and concrete travel advice on cycle touring, hitchhiking or in general. The series title is a word play between ‘telegram’ and ‘trélos’ (Greek for ‘mad’). Follow the links to read more, and sign up for the Not Mad Yet mailing list to be notified when new articles go live and get other updates


Trelograms #17 — A Time + Money Conservation Law?

Another question i often get is, “how do you manage to travel for so long with so little money”?

The short answer is, it’s a fair amount of work!

Thinking about this often brings me back to one of my “training” tours a couple of years ago between Copenhagen and Oslo, while i was still living and working in the former. The experiment in that short tour was to do it without the direct help from hospitality networks such as Warmshowers, or paying for accommodation.

The most natural path between Copenhagen and Oslo is to ride north along the Swedish West Coast. Having never done anything quite like that before, i figured that would be the perfect stage for such an experiment — Sweden has one of the world’s most generous right of access culture and laws — you’re essentially allowed to camp for one night just about anywhere in the country, as long as it’s not a nature preserve, you’re far enough from developed land and leave no trace — this is literally referred to as ‘the every [man]’s right’ (in Swedish, allemansrätten).

I’d not yet discovered the amenity of a surgical water bottle bath (use your imagination), and i wanted my campsites to be near the water, so i could wash myself like we all should — with a skinny dip! It would often take me up to three hours from the moment i decided to stop riding for the day until i found myself sitting down to cook dinner at my campsite — this brought me to seriously consider whether i’d ever want to be on a cycle tour in those terms for longer than just a couple of weeks.

Upon coming back home to Copenhagen, i realized that i’d been, in a very tangible way, doing just that — working for about three hours a day to “find a comfortable place to sleep at night.” Indeed, rent for a bedroom (sharing a kitchen with five other tenants) cost me roughly one third of my salary as a postdoctoral researcher at University of Copenhagen — not to mention how insanely lucky i was to even find such a deal in that city, as those familiar with the surreal housing market in Copenhagen will certainly agree.

It got me thinking — and i still haven’t quite figured it out.


On the photo: “dinner table” view from a campsite in my Copenhagen–Oslo tour in Summer ’16


All the content i create is made available to all, and for free. If you find value in it, then please consider becoming a recurring donor — it is the best way to help me continue doing it! You may also find alternate ways to contribute on the support tab.

read more

Trelograms is a series of short inspirational and/or inquisitive reads written in counterpoint to my chronicles and concrete travel advice on cycle touring, hitchhiking or in general. The series title is a word play between ‘telegram’ and ‘trélos’ (Greek for ‘mad’). Follow the links to read more, and sign up for the Not Mad Yet mailing list to be notified when new articles go live and get other updates


Trelograms #8 — Is It Really Broken, or You’re Just Gonna Need to Walk Instead?

I might not have stopped to take pictures had it been in operation — especially not inside.

I might not have been able to walk on the left — even though i didn’t.

I might have been in a bigger rush.

I might have had a happier life.

I might not have had a happier life.


On the photo: Gara de Nord, Bucharest (November ’17)


All the content i create is made available to all, and for free. If you find value in it, then please consider becoming a recurring donor — it is the best way to help me continue doing it! You may also find alternate ways to contribute on the support tab.

read more

Trelograms is a series of short inspirational and/or inquisitive reads written in counterpoint to my chronicles and concrete travel advice on cycle touring, hitchhiking or in general. The series title is a word play between ‘telegram’ and ‘trélos’ (Greek for ‘mad’). Follow the links to read more, and sign up for the Not Mad Yet mailing list to be notified when new articles go live and get other updates


Trelograms #7 — Road Magic of Life Magic?

I’m not a superstitious person — but it seems like being on the road has put me in closer contact with how often amazing coincidences actually happen in our everyday lives.

Here’s one that happened to me when i was cycle touring in the Odessa Region.

As i’m pulling out of the worse dirt road ever back into the main road (and worse asphalt (?) road ever), a red van driving by stops, while the driver steps out of it shouting, “Brazilia!”

What the fuck? — could he see the tiny Brazilian flag sown to my handlebar bag from all the way out there? — probably not — and he’s looks too jolly to be the secret police — it must be Yuriy’s friend!!

I was supposed to spend the night before camping in Gannady’s backyard, as arranged by our common friend Yuriy, from Izmail — but the heat, energizing encounters along the way and sincerely bad roads slowed me down and i couldn’t make it. I planned to swing by the day after anyways just to say “hi,” but it seems like life magic once again took care of that for me!

Do you notice such coincidences in your life? I would be delighted to hear one! Please share in the comments below 😀


All the content i create is made available to all, and for free. If you find value in it, then please consider becoming a recurring donor — it is the best way to help me continue doing it! You may also find alternate ways to contribute on the support tab.

read more

Trelograms is a series of short inspirational and/or inquisitive reads written in counterpoint to my chronicles and concrete travel advice on cycle touring, hitchhiking or in general. The series title is a word play between ‘telegram’ and ‘trélos’ (Greek for ‘mad’). Follow the links to read more, and sign up for the Not Mad Yet mailing list to be notified when new articles go live and get other updates


Trelograms #6 — What Does It Mean To Be Alive?

My host Sasha invited me to go fishing — was that excitement or discomfort?

One way or another, i was certainly curious.

From what i understood, they leave nets permanently set up along the canal, and go every evening check if anything got caught in them — there was one this time, whom i found to be surprisingly settled, not sure if because already tired from trying to escape from the net the whole day, or resignation to its fate.

It was not quite my first time ever fishing, but it was the first time i remember paying attention to what was happening. It was also the first time i ate an animal i watched being killed. In particular, i had never seen a fish being cleaned before — the reflexes were still there several minutes after that — so, when did it die? — was it when its brain was removed? — or was it when the cat ate it? — what is ‘it,’ anyways? — has it ever been alive — what does any of that even mean?

Sasha doesn’t eat fish.


All the content i create is made available to all, and for free. If you find value in it, then please consider becoming a recurring donor — it is the best way to help me continue doing it! You may also find alternate ways to contribute on the support tab.

read more

Trelograms is a series of short inspirational and/or inquisitive reads written in counterpoint to my chronicles and concrete travel advice on cycle touring, hitchhiking or in general. The series title is a word play between ‘telegram’ and ‘trélos’ (Greek for ‘mad’). Follow the links to read more, and sign up for the Not Mad Yet mailing list to be notified when new articles go live and get other updates