Epilogue

9.25.2014

Bergen, Norway; August 2014.
Five months ago, I set out to see the Old World—to take the trains of Europe from end to end and see as much as I could in between. And for three months, I did just that; I traveled far and I saw much: the thirsty palms of Barcelona and the twisted spires of Tallin, the haunting closes of Edinburgh and the many minarets of Istanbul, the Old Stony Bridge of Mostar and the ancient fjords of Bergen.

Such nature: those Norwegian fjords, certainly, but also the uninterrupted Romanian countryside, the grassy Alps of Austria and the calm Croatian coastline. I found beauty in the golden Scottish Highlands, and Moher's jagged cliffs, and on every last lilypad-shaped island surrounding Stockholm. In the quiet trails connecting the old towns of Cinque Terre, and the great plains of France, and the turquoise lakes of tiny Slovenia.

Such cities: cities where people lived—cities with sprawling altstadts free from the ridiculous rumble of cars. Cities with all the charm of fairytales and all the splendor of childhood dreams: castles and drawbridges and narrow cobblestone alleyways, ramparts and walls and great big boulevards. Ljubljana, Munich, Berlin. I saw the great cities of the ages; I saw Paris and London and Rome, and Prague and Budapest; I saw Vienna.

Such people: friendly locals and friendly travelers alike. I met hundreds of good souls, and some mean ones, and a whole lot of people just trying to make it by somewhere in the middle. I met friends kept for an hour, and others for a day, and some I hope to keep for as much life as I have left. I saw old pals in England, made new ones in Marseilles, in Bruges, in Doolin, in decaying train stations and sparkling coaches and crowded hostels. I slept on the couches of kind strangers; I was poked awake on the cold benches of surly ones. I learned a few customs, and a few rough words when I could, and I learned a whole lot of things I could never possibly express with the words, rough or smooth, of any human language.

Five months ago, I set out to see the Old World—and now I'm back, and busier than ever. Finishing up the Matchbox. Cooking. Baking. Fermenting, preserving, pickling. Learning: how to be back indoors, how to stare at a computer, how to live on much less than my income provides and maybe stop doing all of that very soon. Learning how to (finally) fix a bike flat. I bought a skateboard, built a skateboard, started learning how to skateboard. Learning the best way to treat bloody ankle scrapes caused by learning how to skateboard. Learning that I am (and have always been) genderqueer.

I started taking an improv class. I started painting, or maybe started trying to paint. I started really making an effort to get to the climbing gym and learn some proper climbing technique. And of course, I've started planning for my next big adventures—a kayak and an unnamed island, a bicycle and the Japanese coastline. Meanwhile, new adventures have found me. I left behind my tiny house community in May and came back in August to find it in ruins, the short-sighted work of a friend-turned-landlord, landlord-turned-slumlord. I'll soon find myself part of a tiny house community-in-exile, and I've spent a lot of time grappling with that: the uncertainty, the loss, the betrayal. And a whole lot of time looking for new land.

Five months ago, I set out to see the Old World. I came back, and things are different: some good, some bad. But hey, thanks for sticking with me during that adventure and this one—their ups and their downs—and for those many more to come. <3

Vienna, Austria; June 2014.
Istanbul, Turkey; June 2014.

Munich, Germany; June 2014.


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