Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Behind the corner, an adventure.


From what I've learned throughout all the travels I've ever made is that adventure is always unexpected. You can't plan an adventure, it just strikes you when you're not watching, kicks your feet off the ground and slams you flat on your back. It makes you feel desperate, in a loss of words, in a thought of if-I-ever-come-out-this-alive, it makes you look up to the sky and mumble words of prayer. But when it's over, you laugh a grateful laugh for the hard times you've had and how you came out of as a winner. Adventure, the mischevious big brother, is always behind your back – sometimes to hold it, sometimes to make you trip over your own feet.

The way from Seddon to Nelson was nearly all fine. The buses were on time, the weather was nice and I had a good spirit on because I knew I'd see Maria in a few hours. The only minor annoyance was our bus driver who refused to drop me off at a convenient point. And that there, that is where the troubles started.

I got off the route bus at the Nelson town centre. Oh, what a nice little town Nelson is with its short boulevards, the cathedral and the constant sunshine. I got to enjoy Nelson as far as the information center and the bus stops go. I got to know that the new address I would be heading to was around 10 kilometers out of town and I'd have to take a local bus to get closer. The buses wouldn't go as far as where I wanted to get to but I'd just have to make do by walking the rest of the way. The local bus dropped me off at a fairly random spot from which I somewhat knew where I'm supposed to go. With the bus driver's comment on me 'probably knowing my way 'round here' I was feeling quite confident.

After a half an hour of walking in the scorching sun without water my confidence started trickling at the same pace as the water had ran dry. [first call to Maria for further instructions – no answer] With a few day's stubble on my face and a scarf over my head I was starting to resemble a Taliban soldier while tramping a private dirt road uphill with my two bagpacks through some farmland. I didn't exactly know if I was on the right road but I didn't want to stand in the sun and melt, so I decided to hike my way up the road, which I thought was right. [second call to Maria for further instructions – no answer] I found my way to a fancy millionaire residence, took my gear off on their front yard and stared at God in the skies, waiting for salvation. [third call to Maria – an answer – who had been sleeping all the time] After a brief chat with Maria I decided that I should make it for higher ground to see if I can spot her somewhere. On the road again, on my own. Apparently my resemblance to a suspicious organization member was a bit too accurate as I was stopped by a car on the way and got to know that if I wouldn't leave the property right away, I would leave it with the police and get charged for trespassing. I chose to leave right away and decided not to joke about suicide bombing their cows.

I was dropped off at the highway again – the one where I had started from – so I had walked an hour for no actual benefit. Against the paved road it felt as if the sun was peeling my skin off with a fillet knife. So I started walking. Again. For the first time in a while on this journey around the world, I felt desperate.

Eventually I found my way on to the right road, had a happy reunion and got to where I wanted. Adventure, out of nowhere, had decided to teach me a lesson. The lesson? Shave before walking on private roads.

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