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.

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


Mad Already #4 — A Minimalist Hitchhiking (and Tree-Climbing!) Kit

(Last updated on August 28th, 2018.)

When i began traveling long-term, i was cycle touring — weight/volume was, therefore, not much of an issue. So, one of the biggest challenges when i started assimilating the practice of hitchhiking about a year ago was that i couldn’t possibly fit all that shit into my 32-liter backpack!

my cycle touring rig on April 2nd, 2017, the first day of my 154-day long journey across Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, and my 32-liter backpack (which you might be able to see constituting a tiny fraction of the rig!)

Having now hitchhiked over 17000 Km in 17 countries and given a fair amount of consideration to what to carry along each of those kilometers, i have developed a pretty sweet minimalist setup. It does fit into my 32-liter backpack without compromising on luxury and self-sufficiency — indeed, it includes camping gear, with a kitchen and enough food for half a week, and still leaves room for my (also minimalist) tree-climbing gear 😀 (You may, of course, replace that with your idiosyncratic hobby of choice.)

the kit – basics

  1. papers — passport, residence permit, vaccination card; wallet, house keys
  2. on me — pair of pants, long sleeves, underwear, pair of socks, sandals
  3. “bedroom” — 0°C-rated sleeping bag, sleeping mat, hammock, tarp-poncho (plus 4 lengths of accessory cord and 4 pegs); earplugs
  4. thermal comfort — wool pants and long sleeves, wool gloves and socks, baclava
  5. “washroom” — toothbrush, toothpaste, travel towel, soap, nail clippers, moisturizer; toilet paper, shovel, trash bags; first aid kit (tick removal tool, Vietnamese star, sports tape and plasters, assortment of over-the-counter medicine, wet wipes, bandages, water tablets, eye drops)
  6. gadgets — phone, action camera and selfie stick, DSLR camera and bag, earphones; power bank, respective cables and chargers
  7. hitchhiking gear — water bottle, reflective vest, reflective straps; hat, sunglasses, hoodie, marker; souvenirs (foreign coins, Not Mad Yet postcards, business cards)
  8. extra — long sleeves, pair of socks, 2 pieces of underwear
  9. “kitchen” — stove, fuel, lighter; spork, knife, mug, pot; headlamp, sponge, tissues; food (detailed below)
  10. optional — paper maps, book, fast carbs tube, emergency warm bag
Comments

This is what i left home with on my latest solo, “freestyle” hitchhiking trip — meaning, what i might have taken on an open-ended hitchhiking journey. I sometimes hitchhike to visit my brother-in-law one town over, and i occasionally go on a “there-and-back mission” to apply for a visa in Poland, or whatever — what i’d take on such a trip would depend on the context and duration of the stay — for instance, if i know i’ll reach my destination within a single day on the road and have a place to stay upon arrival, i might replace some of my “autonomy” items such as the kitchen or the hammock by “comfort and etiquette” ones such as extra clothes, a netbook to do some work, gifts, “orders,” etc.

The kitchen. If you’re traveling on a larger budget that allows for you to eat your meals out, or if you just don’t mind eating canned food or bread with peanut butter every day, you might as well drop the kitchen — besides the fact that i just enjoy a hot meal at the end of the day and the underlying ritual in the morning, it’s just a lot cheaper to cook my own food and make my own coffee.

Thermal comfort. If you know where you’re going will definitely be warm enough, you might also do fine with a lighter sleeping bag or without the thermal layers — for me, they were a necessity in my latest trip to Estonia.

Optional items. My point here is, you’ll have some space for things people will make fun of you for carrying 😉 I got the fast carbs tube and emergency warm bag from a party of Polish paramedics returning from a course they were ministering at the border, and figured i might as well just keep them. Although i do carry offline maps on my phone as well, i personally like paper maps because it seems easier to get the big picture from them and discuss the route with drivers. I personally like passing my books on and picking new ones up along my way, so the moment i might invest on an e-reader hasn’t yet come either.

my pocket map of Poland, with an overlay of the offline map on my phone adjusted to its scale

food

  • 300g of cornmeal
  • 200g of dehydrated soy
  • 300g of oatmeal
  • 150g of powdered milk
  • 500g of trail mix
  • 350g of peanut butter
  • loaf of bread
  • instant coffee
  • salt, pepper, broth (tablets), and oil
Comments

Again, this is just what i took on my latest solo trip — your circumstances, dietary needs and preferences will dictate what and how much of it to bring. I like to carry food that is high on calories and easy to prepare — meaning, pour some boiling water over it and let it sit for a few minutes — it saves fuel! I also like to have enough food on me for at least three days without restocking — grocery shops are often a long walk from the road, and/or i might want to go hiking for a couple of days without an opportunity to visit one of them.

In practice, you’ll likely be offered food from some of your drivers and other folks along the way, and your supplies will last longer than you planned them to. Some drivers will also be gladly willing to swing by the groceries or anywhere else you might need — just ask!

sleeping on a haMmock

i was confident it wasn’t going to rain that night, so i didn’t bother setting the tarp

I’m working on a short video describing my experience traveling with and sleeping on a hammock, where i’ll show how i’ve been using it and share my impressions, as well as some of the beginner mistakes i made, and which you will hopefully avoid! I’ll update this post with the video as soon as it’s out.

Comments

Meanwhile, if you search “hammock camping” on YouTube, you’ll find a plethora of good videos on the topic such as this one or this other one (skip the first 6 minutes, and don’t pay too much attention to what he says about the costs — my hammock cost USD 15 and weights less than “16oz”, with the straps).

It goes without saying that you should double check that you can actually find trees where you’re going — a hammock would have been useless in Iceland or the Faroe Islands, or even in many places in the Carpathian mountains, near where i live 😉

tree-climbing gear

Speaking of trees …

… given how often people find it so strange that an adult is recreationally climbing trees, i want to clarify that i’m not sharing this assuming that you will be specifically interested in that yourself! My point is, if the equipment needed for your quirky hobby of choice weights less than 5 Kg, you can probably fit it in as well — indeed, my tree-climbing gear alone takes about half of the space in my 32-liter backpack.

my current traveling tree-climbing kit
  • 25m of 11mm, semi-static rope
  • harness
  • (2x) pear-shape locking carabiners, tubular belay/rappel device, length of 6mm accessory cord
  • (2x) daisy chains, (2x) D-shape locking carabiners, (2x) bent-gate non-locking carabiners, (2x) lengths of 6mm accessory cord; 120cm sling, small, wire-gate non-locking carabiner
  • (2x) 60cm slings, (2x) 120cm slings, (1x) 180cm sling, (4x) small wire-gate non-locking carabiners, (1x) pear-shape locking carabiner
  • SAR insurance tracker, water bottle, (2x) small wire-gate non-locking carabiner
  • tight “ballerina” shorts, tight t-shirt
Comments

Once again, this is what i took in my latest hitchhiking trip in which i also climbed trees. I’ve been working on a new climbing technique that should not only allow for me to drop a fair chunk of that but also be much safer — i will update this section when it’s been tested in the field 😉

TREEfool, perhaps my favorite tree-climber on the Internet, has extensively experimented with minimalist tree-climbing gear for traveling/tree-camping, and i’ve gotten many good ideas from his videos. Many online shops for tree-climbing gear have minimalist kits for recreational climbers as well, and the Tree Buzz forums are a great place to ask questions about the topic.

If you rock-climb instead, you may probably replace the semi-static rope and some of the other items by a longer length of thinner dynamic rope plus a handful of quick-draws for the sport routes along your way, while remaining at about the same weight and volume.

If you don’t even metaphorically climb trees and don’t have any distinctive items you need to bring along, you probably don’t need a 32–40-liter backpack either — your day pack would likely do, as long as it’s comfortable and has good back support — mine doesn’t, so i wouldn’t travel with it, but this is what it looks like with all the gear listed above packed into it, except for the food and the tree-climbing equipment:

something i wouldn’t quite do!

closing thoughts

Thank you for reading this far, and i hope this detailed breakdown of what i carry on my hitchhiking trips will be helpful to you. This is, of course, work in progress — i will continue experimenting with what to bring on future hitchhiking trips, and update this article whenever any significant changes or insights have developed. (Sign up for the mailing list if you’d like to be notified when that happens!)

If you’d like to send me any gear to play with and review, i’d be gratefully delighted — just send me a message, and we’ll work out the details 😀 You may also help me fund future overland travel experiments with hitchhiking or otherwise by donating an item from my wish list or “buying” a Not Mad Yet postcard.

How about you? What do you take when you’re hitchhiking? What’s your metaphorical tree-climbing gear? — i’m always curious to hear what other traveler’s “non-essential essentials” are, so please share yours 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

Mad Already is a series of articles with concrete, tested travel advice written in counterpoint to my more “literary” chronicles and short reads. As such, it has been roughly divided into cycle touring, hitchhiking and general advice — 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


What May a Full-Time Traveler’s Vacation Look Like?

My wife and i have recently returned from our “honeymoon,” which was implemented in the course of about four months hitchhiking together across Europe and around Brazil. After such an extended period of time so close together, we both agreed each deserved a couple of weeks on their own. I decided that hanging out with my friend Fuji at his annual midsommar getaway was the perfect opportunity for that!

I’d joined him and his friends in Sweden both Summers before — the first time in 2016, after a 13 Km walk from the nearest train station, and the second time by bicycle, during my latest cycle tour last Summer.

What would be my dramatic arrival this time!?

Circumstances favored hitchhiking — they decided to rent a cabin in Estonian countryside this time, some 1,300 Km away from my current abode in L’viv, Ukraine but not requiring any ferry crossings — i didn’t have the time to cycle tour, or the money (or desire) to travel by other means 😀

still apprehensive about leaving

The prospect of leaving was no doubt exciting, as it is always the case — i was going to visit a friend i love spending time with, in a country i’d never been to before, and had been curious about since putting it on my map a couple of years before. I would also be traveling solo for the first time in a while, calling all the shots, and having nobody else but the crazy people inside my head to argue with about my decisions!

On the other hand, those four months hitchhiking with my wife throughout Europe and Brazil left me feeling quite worn down by the process. I consider myself an introvert, and the amount of socializing the hitchhiking process demanded from me was something i wanted some distance from — especially in contrast with the amount of alone time i get while cycle touring! I was also apprehensive about the unknown — i felt i could deal with it much better when i was cycle touring, which gives me a little more flexibility with regards to what and how much to carry, as well as where to go in order to address my problems along the way.

Despite having a place to stay in Estonia, i’d surely have to spend at least one night on the road to cover those 1,300 Km plus one controlled border crossing separating me from my destination — that would still have been the case even if i activated one of my connections in Lublin. It would have likely been easy to find hosts along my way in Poland, Lithuania or Latvia through hospitality networks such as Couchsurfing or Trustroots, but having such a goal for the day was one of the greatest sources of social stress during my honeymoon with my wife — more often than not, that required us to hitchhike nonstop to a late arrival at our host’s, followed by an early departure next day in the morning, for yet another whole day hitchhiking, thus reiterating the vicious cycle.

No — if i’m going to hitchhike to Estonia, then i’ll go “cycle touring style” — self-sufficient, process over product, and in real need for help only to find a place to set camp for the night, whenever and wherever i decide to call it a day!

With a little bit of creativity and not so many concessions at all, i somehow managed to fit everything i needed, including my hammock-camping gear, a stove and enough food for half a week, plus my tree-climbing gear into my 32-liter backpack.

And off i went!

on the marshrutka to the ring road circumscribing L’viv, where i’d start hitchhiking

I have so much confidence in this minimalistic setup that i’m sharing the details in a forthcoming blog post. I’m very happy about it — it would have likely been sufficient for me to remain on the road indefinitely — perhaps one day i’ll try some sort of ‘around the world in 80 days’ stunt, even if just for the fun of it.

the rides

Indeed, having a complete camping/cooking set, and not having a pre-determined goal for the day did make the process a lot easier to accept. I didn’t linger, but nevertheless took my time eating my meals and snacking — i stopped to look for a place to sleep when i felt like it, and where it was most convenient, not where i had to — even the occasional 2-hour wait was handled without much despair, joyfully surrendering to music, dancing and air guitar — the long walks were welcome breaks for introspection in between socializing with drivers, and i sometimes gladly took them even if they were avoidable.

With some drivers the language barrier didn’t allow for the conversation to go very deep, even though i’m still impressed with how much i can already communicate not only in Ukrainian but also in Polish, a language that had always read and sounded ferociously cryptic to me, and Russian! It seems like most drivers help for the mere pleasure and/or duty of helping, just because they can — wouldn’t you? — don’t we all? A few others thank me for the company, and seem to enjoy the stimulus from the occasional unpredictable conversation with an interesting stranger — many used to hitchhike when they were younger.

One driver picked me up because his wife saw me when she drove by and called him on the phone, “your car is empty, take him.” Another guy gave me a ride because that’s what he always does, even if it’s for just another 10 Km. Filip, who had already traveled and explored some of the world in other ways, had always wanted to hitchhike — he has just returned from his first hitchhiking trip, with a friend from Athens, Greece back to their homes in Lublin, Poland. I was the first hitchhiker he ever picked up — to inspire and help someone to take their last step to do something they had already wanted to is the core of what i want with Not Mad Yet!

Filip and his friend Michał, upon crossing into Macedonia

Special thanks to Agnieszka, Andrzej and Marcin, who turned back to pick me up!

Agnieszka, Andrzej, Marcin and i, when they dropped me off

These three jolly paramedics were returning, full of energy, from a course they were ministering at the border — they gave me not only a ride but also about a liter of beer, traditional Polish food, an emergency blanket, and a tube of fast carbs.

my first creep!

Pro-tip: beware rides that feel too eagerly offered — especially when you’re tired!

I’ve taken more than 200 rides across over 17,000 Km in 17 countries in this life, and i was probably pretty close to the point where it seemed like nothing bad could ever happen to me — and nothing ‘bad’ has ever happened to me yet — it was just uncomfortable this time — a reminder to remain alert and not to get cocky nonetheless.

After several hours trying to unsuccessfully hitchhike northward from Białystok, about 5 Km of walking, and climbing over a fence with my heavy backpack, i found myself very tired somewhere, where my prospects of finding a ride seemed no better. It was close to dawn, and i was debating whether i should simply call it a day and start looking for a place to get water and set camp, thus postponing the problem of finding a ride out of there to the day after, when a car pulled over on the opposite side of the road and asked me where i was going.

I said, “to Estonia.” The driver then told me he was going to Augustów, which was in my desired direction — although i thought that was a bit strange, i hopped in — maybe that was simply the first opportunity for him to take a u-turn? He did indeed turn back north towards Augustów — after swinging by a gas station to fill up his tank and buy a pack of condoms!

You must now be wondering how the hell i know he’d bought condoms — i first thought that bright purple box he took out of his pocket and placed on the dashboard, clearly wanting me to witness the event, was bubble gum — i was a tad sleepy and even considered asking him for some. He then started telling me about the prostitutes along the road, and asking me if i like sex — “excuse me?” — “sex” — “wait, what, why do you want to know!?” — “you don’t like sex?” His impertinence was accompanied by suggestive gestures, which at one point included picking up the box of condoms and shaking it at me — no need for bubble gum, i’m wide awake now!

The language barrier made it difficult to parse his exact intentions, but none of the possibilities in my model stood out as better than the others — how to deal with this?

I referred to the women hitchhiking solo i’d heard and read sharing such experiences, which seem to be an unfortunate component of the process for many (if not all) of them, including my wife — not every unpleasant situation carries the immediate danger of physical harm. Keeping my calm while trying not to let it fade into weakness, i continued talking to the guy while carefully scanning and sensing the environment. I eventually judged his advances as in fact far more naïve and socially inept than ill-intentioned. While my first few indirect dismissals in broken Ukrainian/Polish/Russian didn’t seem to have a lingering effect, he did stop after i typed into the translator on my phone, “PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT THAT. NOW!!” and showed it to him — he then switched to much less controversial topics such as the monument marking the alleged geographical center of Europe in the town of Suchowola. Upon dropping me off at the next gas station, he noticed the car right next to us had Estonian license plates implying that’s where they might be headed, and kindly suggested that i go talk to them.

Although he told me he lives in Augustów, which was another few kilometers further down the road, he pulled back towards where we’d come from — presumably looking for a prostitute to satisfy his needs, which he might be unable to negotiate otherwise? Honestly, i feel a bit sorry for the guy.

truck drivers are the best

I’m not sure why i don’t have any pictures of the truck drivers who helped me so much on this trip. Many of the truck drivers who helped my wife and i in Brazil told me that they could get in serious trouble if their bosses found out they were giving rides to hitchhikers. I guess that made it my underlying assumption hitchhiking in Eastern Europe as well? The language barrier made me reluctant to try and explain to them how i might use their photos on my blog, but next time i will!

Anyways.

People often ask me about them — in Brazil, we grow up exposed to a fair amount of prejudice towards truck drivers. I’d started shifting that perspective while cycle touring already, when i noticed truck drivers seemed to give me far more space when overtaking than most private car drivers — truckers on occasion even came to a full stop behind me if the road was too narrow. I didn’t need much more of their help other than their awareness of me while i was cycle touring, but the friendly and hospitable encounters at rest stops and gas stations gradually added up as well.

I’ve only had to find a place to set up my hammock in two of the four nights i spent on the road on my way from L’viv to Estonia and back — the other two nights i was offered the bunk in their cabin, where i slept safely and comfortably — not to mention the food they treated me with!

where else did i sleep?

So, i had a place to stay with my friends in Estonia, and i spent two of my four nights on the road in my truck driver’s cabin.

The other two nights i slept on my hammock — once “wild camping” in Tallinn somewhere i learned next morning seems to be a place where drug addicts hang out, and the other time on the backyard of Grzegorz and his uncle, whose name i didn’t write and now escapes me:

I was positively surprised to find out that something i’d gotten used to while cycle touring seems still quite possible while hitchhiking — skinny dips! Indeed, i had an option to bathe every single night on the road, whether it was a lake, a river, the Baltic Sea, or the shower for truckers at a rest stop.

and how was Estonia?

Oh, yeah, right — that’s where i was going!

We probably hear as much about the Baltic states growing up in Brazil as people growing up in Europe hear about the Guianas. As far as Estonia itself goes, i didn’t have many expectations about the country — a place with not many people, somewhat remote, perhaps with a few Russian sprinkles? As i said before, i was curious about it — but without feeling much of the need to “experience Estonia” in any particular way other than whatever came my way. And although any trip is for me yet another opportunity to experiment with travel methods and practices, push the boundaries of my comfort zone further out, and do some budget travel research, this was “vacation” with friends — i didn’t look for anything special to do there, or anybody else to meet.

Walking with my friend and his dog Zelda, i got to see a bit of the Estonian countryside, where there’s more intense and reckless traffic than i would have expected, and also a tour of a big chunk of Tallinn, where my attention was especially drawn to how the various generations of ancient and modern coexist in the city’s architecture.

Other than that, playing it by ear was the way to go — drinking beer, cooking, watching the world cup, playing boardgames, sauna, sharing YouTube videos from the quintessential to the awe-inspiring, tree-climbing, busking, helping my friends with my driving skills, watching a rehearsal of my friend Fuji’s visual spa, attending a performance of Omeulmad 2 (in which his partner worked as a producer), riding a bicycle in Tallinn, hiding a geocache, taking photos, writing on my journal and recording 20+ minutes of video logs, picking up trash from my campsite in Tallinn — that was quite enough 🙂

With the exception of ‘finishing reading a book,’ which took me an extra few days after coming back, i did everything i had “planed” to do in Estonia — plus and a lot and unexpected more.

Everybody should know what they travel for — for someone who essentially lives on the road, ‘traveling’ might as well mean ‘having a place to rest’ 🙂

What’s next?

Three other articles of a more tutorial nature are also coming out as a result of those couple of weeks on the road to Estonia and back — one describing my minimalistic hitchhiking (plus tree-climbing) kit, another one sharing how i hitchhike, and a third one contrasting it to cycle touring. Going forward i plan to write and share more such ‘how-to’ pieces for cycle touring and hitchhiking, as well as life in general, in addition to the more emotional accounts of my experience on the road such as this one.

After what could be construed as roughly two uninterrupted years on the road since i left by bicycle from Copenhagen to Istanbul in Fall ’16, it’s time to settle a little longer before my next epic enterprise. There is still much to be processed from my previous projects — i first wanted to say a few words about what i’ve been up to during those four or five months the blog was silent, but i plan to resume writing about the North Cape Hypothesis and All Roads Lead to Rom…ania, as well as my three months in Brazil with my wife and our journey hitchhiking across Europe, tree-climbing, and whatever else comes up!

Stay tuned!


All the content i create is made available to all and for free. If you find value in it, then becoming a recurring contributor is the best way to help me continue doing it! If you’re not yet ready for that, you may find alternatives on the support tab.

read more

You may find more adventure inspiration in my chronicles and trelograms, where i share my current emotions in reaction to recent experiences. You may also browse for concrete, tested cycle touring, hitchhiking or general advice — just follow the links to read more 🙂

Sign up for the mailing list to be notified when new articles go live and get other updates!


Not Edited Yet #0 — Re-Launching the YouTube Series!

I collect a fair amount of video footage along my path. While i focus my current efforts on writing, much of that footage is sadly left largely unprocessed and unedited. Every now and then it seems like the first take is already good enough to be posted as is though, and i figured i’d share those along the way!

I started finding a lot of those “prime uncuts” as went through my photos and videos from my latest cycle touring project (the North Cape Hypothesis) in the context of writing about it, and releasing them on YouTube as the Not Edited Yet series:

I will re-publish all of them here, on my new website, while new ones will be released as i go over footage from other projects!


On the photo: fallen tree the morning after a windstorm, on my way to work in L’viv (Ukraine, October 6th, 2017)


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.

watch more

You may find more videos from the Not Edited Yet series and many others directly on my YouTube channel — subscribe to be notified when new videos go live!

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 #4 — What is Home?

The other night, a creepy incident at home: someone knocking at our door, close to midnight, desperately asking us to please let them in  — then returning half an hour later and insisting on the same thing. We couldn’t establish who they were, whom or what they were looking for, or why they picked our door and seemingly none of our neighbors’.

My girlfriend and i felt very unsafe  —  trapped, really: “are they still outside?”   — “it seems like it, or at least i didn’t hear their footsteps going downstairs”  —  “how did they get inside the building?”

The irony…

My girlfriend has hitchhiked and i’ve ridden my bicycle solo throughout Eastern Europe for months on end, and the one thing we could agree upon was, we never felt like that on the road — never! In fact, when i’m in the countryside, i actually feel safer if the locals know where i am camping.

Are we confused?


On the photo: an exposed campsite behind a bus stop in Polish countryside, with the locals’ blessing and fresh tomatoes! (September ’17) / our apartment door in L’viv (October ’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