This is the second Part of a three part entry. Part I was last night. Part three will be tomorrow. This is about my first solo trip to Europe back in 1988-1989. My positive beginning and the bittersweet ending.
Are you or someone you love ever been a funambulist? I know I could definitely never be one. Most people couldn’t either. Only those who were blessed or cursed with a certain brand of crazy could ever do it. Funambulist is just a five dollar word for a tight wire walker. I think it’s ironic the word funambulist starts with f-u-n. it is exactly the opposite of fun for me. It takes a certain fearlessness to do that. To be able to fight both the fear of heights and the fear of being watched by a crowd that quite frankly is kind of hoping you might fail. Sp what does any of this have to do with travel? I’ll explain.
In my twenties, i was definitely a funambulist when it came to travel. I took off to Europe alone with just 1500 in cash and only a partial game plan. I didn’t fear one bit. I just knew in my heart all would be well.I arranged volunteer work before i left. I would be provided room and board in exchange for work. i tended horses in Poland, worked in a zoo in the Czech Republic and taught a little English in Hungary.
Without any specific guideline, I pretty much cut a north to south swath. From Hungary I went through Serbia and Bulgaria crossing the Bosporus to Istanbul Turkey.. Much to my surprise, I found i liked the middle east even more than I liked Europe.I met an english guy named Ian on the train to turkey who was going to the Sudan through Egypt.We traveled down the coast (dare i say we had a ‘slice of turkey’?) .From Turkey we took a ship to Israel. We had stopovers in the greek island of Rhodes and the republic of Cyprus on the way.
By the time i got to Israel, I had depleted my original 1500 dollars.It was November and I knew a lot of volunteer opportunities went in to hiatus. Down to my last couple hundred, I got a flight to the Netherlands and then on to a ferry to the UK. I had an idea i could find work in London, ride out the winter and save money for the next summer. I had no interest in returning back to the states if i could avoid it.
I had it all planned out. You know, there’s a saying “God laughs when we make plans” Funambulist me couldn’t hear the laughter and life was about to cut my wire. End of part II In Part III. Working in London and my shameful return home.