From Bosnia to the Middle East
January 31, 2014
Hello all! I have successfully arrived in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo and am blown away with a mix culture. Bosnia is broken into three ethnic groups, Catholics, Orthodox and Islam, and the country has three land regions and presidents! Today is my 5th day in the country and have cycled some pretty rough roads getting here. Tonight I depart Bosnia for Sharm El Sheikh, in the Egyptian Sinai, and a whole new adventure begins. I plan to spend the first few weeks exploring St. Catherine’s monastery (where Moses received the Ten Commandments), Petra and the Dead Sea. I will continue my posts from the arid roads of the middle east and look forward to some interesting experiences.
More human than a human
March 29, 2014
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 🙂
Life passing like a train
April 9, 2014
I am strong again. The hole in my ear drum has fully healed and I no longer wake up to pus and blood stains on my pillow. This sickness was pretty bad, and I would have to rate it as one of the worst I have experienced. There was a period of about 10 days where I thought I might never hear out of my left ear again, and I quickly realized how many things in life I take for granted. I am so thankful to be able to travel the world again. While recuperating I wondered Sarajevo through and through. I would often find myself glancing up at the remote mountains or snowed peaks always dreaming of camping in the countryside. Life on the road is hard, but I thoroughly missed it. I have met lots of interesting people here in; bars, restaurants, wilderness trails, and bus stops, all of them seem excited to talk with me and offer interesting perspectives on life. There is no limit to the amount of human interaction one can experience while traveling alone, all borders are self-imposed. I at times grow weary of the recurring conversation of my trip, and at times decide to remain quiet. We are fearful of leaving the current in the stream, and it is so much easier to continue the path that pulls us.
As early as I can remember, I have looked at the palm of my right hand. In some way it has been a sort of recurring obsession, not unlike the portrait of Dorian Grey. Palm reading is rather popular in Asian traditions, and since I was a boy I had healers foretell the creases in my hand. My “life-line” has a large gap in it, meaning “that I will choose or change directions in my life, or will have a short life span”. This has always been a sign of some concern to my father and at one point he even told me to start closing my hand in a different way, hoping to change the lines, gradually get them to intersect. No amount of technique could change the lines, and it has taken me close to 25 years to really understand what it all means: Get over yourself and your fucking ego. Thoughts, fears, feelings, insecurities don’t make you a unique snow flake, these are things that we all share. I have too often made the excuse that ” I am special”, but the rest of the world feels the same way. We are not as important as we want to be, we are all just pieces of thread from the same clothe. I felt like the Bedouin in Egypt and Jordan were way ahead of me with these ideals, and were able to take life less seriously because of it.
I am changing gears. The last 4-6 months have been spent wandering, awaiting warmer conditions to pedal east. It is now the time…Asia awaits. Thank you all for the “Get well soon” wishes, and I now ready to pedal out of Europe.