More human than a human

My first thoughts while pedaling out of the Sarajevo international airport were “What happened to the Middle East”. Where are the dusty dirt roads, filled with muddy pot holes? Where are the Arabic men squatting on sidewalks smoking cigarettes and drinking sweat tea? Or the hordes and hordes of spice and tobacco shops? I am ready to get back to a different culture than the one I came from. My thoughts as I drifted through the midnight streets were that I needed to quickly pedal out of Europe, the sooner the better. It seems that the more countries I pedal through, and the more people I meet only increases my appetite to continue wandering the world.

I have become sick. My body, once strong and fearless is now surviving on one meal a day and close to 14 hours of sleep. My ear infection became worse, and there were few days where I thought my head was going to explode. The accumulation of pus and mucus in my inner ear was so voluminous that the doctor had to make a small incision to relieve the pressure. The process of making a hole in my inner ear was one of the most painful experiences I have been through. It took three nurses to hold me down while a needle was forced into my ear, slowly with the use of a vacuum, the fluid drained from my head. The whole time my body was tense with pain, and the loud sound of the instruments echoed in my head.

The healing process is slow and painful, I am experiencing vertigo for the first time. I once had a religious yoga practice and the fear of losing/dislodging crystals within my inner ear (Vertigo) always scared me because it would keep me from doing many of the balancing poses in my practice. Now just looking up at the sky and back down to the ground makes me noxious. The noxious feeling is the same feeling when one drinks too much alcohol, and is on the verge of vomiting. So daily it feels as if I am close to vomiting. Also, to make matters worse, while the ear heals I am left with an almost unbearable ringing sound day and night. Some nights I wake up and ringing is so loud that I start to cry, I remind myself to be strong, strong, strong and to have patience. I think of my father and his struggle with heart disease, and how calm he always was.

I have taken up painting as therapy, some nights when I can’t sleep I paint water-color pictures of the middle east or the Dalmatian coastline. I don’t know how long I will be off the bicycle, but I am patiently waiting for my return to adventure. I have found a nice quiet spot to rest and rest I do. This is by far my most depressing post to date, but my will strong and there is nothing that can keep me from pedaling the rest of the way to China.

I put together a few videos, one from my adventures to Feynan village. I hope to be back to this level soon 🙂



18 thoughts on “More human than a human

    • Hi Julian,
      Glad to hear you are playing it smart and giving yourself time to heal. My thoughts are with you. Stay positive as this too will come to pass.

      • Hey Chuck!!
        We never got together for beers at the Library ale house in Santa Monica! Thanks for the kind words. Keep in touch

  1. Hang tough, Julian. Sounds like you’re doing things right by taking a few days off to rest and recuperate. The human body is a tremendous machine and has amazing healing powers built within. Unite mind and body and soon, you’ll be on the road again my friend.

  2. Hey Julian, I’ve been following your travels pretty closely. It is especially nice to see the videos, sometimes the scenery is simply breathtaking. I imagine what it must feel like to hope on the bike, with some sugar and some water – and ride out alone into the desert. I’ll bet it’s a real thrill, but probably equal parts frightening.

    I’m currently trying to work your journey into some lessons, just to give the 12-year-olds a little perspective on the world (maybe even inspire a few of them). I’m probably going to start with this one There’s some solid advice in there. Let us know if there’s anything that we can do for you, while you are down-and-out. You made a big impression on the family, they all send there regards.

    Lots of love from Sverige, “ta hand om dig”.

    • Hey Jarrett!

      Good to hear from you. I did not make it on the Alt Svergie show, they said I had too much travel experience in Sweden already! Anyhow, I would be thrilled if you showed my videos to your class and I also hope that next time I am in town I can come and meet your students. Please say hello to the family for me, I miss them as well!

  3. Dear Julian, sorry that you are past thrue such a painful expiriance. Take a time and rest for a while. Thinking of you send you big hug, nino and Juba

  4. Hey Julian,
    Hope everything is fine! take a rest and slow down your tempo, you will be fine and will have a new start!

    I live in Taiwan now , keep in touch when you arrive in China!


  5. Hi Julian – You are in my positive thoughts and prayers. I hope to also share your story with my students. I find myself readying your blog and having to look up certain words and places. It is amazing how we can forget to take the time to travel, learn etc when you are teaching others. Stay safe and feel better soon. –


    • Thanks Maya, It is very nice to receive your good vibes out here in Sarajevo. I am staying in a hostel just meters away from where the arch duke Ferdinand was assassinated, which literally started the first world war! There are so many interesting people in the world and I feel that on my travels I have met some true “characters”. A lot of times I feel that I should have started these adventures before going to college, but only now do I realize that I wasn’t mature enough to really see the depth and self development that being on your own for so long brings. I hope my journey inspires some of your students to follow there hearts no matter how far it may lead them. When I return I would love to meet your class. Take care! -Julian

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