Surprise!!!

Plans & Itineraries 4 Comments »

As the van thing materialized, I started thinking about going home for a visit. I would be able to pick up some things like camping gear, a new iPod and my magic stuff. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of seeing family and friends too. Then I started thinking about summer in the Ocean State, which on some days can be the greatest place on earth. I imagined playing some Ultimate Frisbee, going to Block Island and Waterfire and getting lunch at some of my favorite spots.

After securing the van on Saturday, I bought a roundtrip ticket home. Tuesday night I arrived in Boston under the radar and have been surprising people since.

On July 11th I’ll fly back to Amsterdam, settle into my van and start what feels like a new chapter in my travels.

Casandra on the Edge

Netherlands 3 Comments »

I saw my first van the day after arriving in Amsterdam. It fit what I had in mind, ran great and I got an honest vibe from the owner, so I bought it.

She’s a 1985 VW Bus camper with about 100,000 miles and a 1.9 engine in the trunk. On the inside is a bench seat that folds into a double bed, dual burner propane stove, sink, refrigerator, stereo, electrical outlets and plenty of storage. I’m not usually the type of person to refer to cars and boats as males or females, but the model of this name is ‘Casandra’, so she’s a she.

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A Bloody Mess

Spain 1 Comment »

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Dancing in Red Rings

Spain 2 Comments »

Numbers are marked on old cement benches that circle and rise concentric from a lustrous red wooden wall making an amphitheatre around the giant circle of fine-raked yellow sand. On the ground, following the wooden wall, has been painted two massive red rings. High over the empty sand and all of us in the Plaza del Toro is a clear Spanish sky. Tourists wear shorts and carry blue vinyl seat cushions. Locals are in Sunday dress and carry glossy colored programs. People climb over one another, arms stretched to hands trading Euros for Cerveza’s, Ice Crème and Peanuts. The crowds’ soft rumble grows and above it sound whistles and hollers from seated friends to wandering ones.

Dressed in tights and jewel studded armor of bright blues, pinks and yellows, the players parade into the ring. They are a star matador and an army of others who strut and wave with a noble dignity. From their march, they take to positions beyond the freshly painted red wall. The crowds’ common voice had hushed for the display, but returns now. As the full bullring chats, drinks, eats and waits an anxious excitement grows inside all of us.

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Amsterdam

Netherlands 4 Comments »

I realized pretty much any Volkswagen Bus for sale right now is located in either Germany or the Netherlands, so I made a move up this way. The first thing I did was a book an appointment to see a van that looked decent online, then I booked a flight for about $200, which is pretty pricey, but the best I could find last minute. Next I started searching online for a place to stay in Amsterdam, one of the busiest backpacker cities in the world, during the height of the backpacker season and the World Cup.

Oops.

Obviously nothing was available. I found one hostel at $60/night for a DORM bed! Plus they required I book five full nights and pay the $300 total up front.

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Travel Fatigue

Spain, Thoughts & Reflections 4 Comments »

For those of you who have been following my travels closely, I suppose it’s fair to keep you abreast of my relevant moods and ideas. As you may have noticed from recent posts (or lack thereof), I’m getting a bit of travel fatigue. Considering I’ve been moving around for about five months now, maybe it is to be expected. Sure, there were times I’ve spent a couple of weeks on the same bed (Bangkok, McLeod Ganj and Paris), but I think being in one place for awhile without having had plans to stay there, still feels transient.

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C’mon, We Gotta Go

Spain 1 Comment »

We were circling around the cathedral on our search for a bar with a free Flamenco (Spanish dance) show. I was walking slow and falling behind, trying to decide if I wanted to leave them and head back to watch the street magicians we had stopped for only a minute to see.

This cathedral was a giant, the biggest in Spain. It stood wide and sort of haphazard, full of steeples that looked bumpy until close inspection revealed them to be laced with intricate sculpture. All stone churches look old, but this one looked older. The stones that made it appeared as if they were cut crudely and stacked quickly, like a medieval castle. The sun was hidden from me, but still lit the tall cathedral.

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Some Seville Life

Spain No Comments »

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Barcelona, Seville, Iran – 3 of 3

Spain No Comments »

While in Barcelona, I also made friends with a Kiwi (New Zealander) named Cameron who was staying at my hostel and working as a deckhand on a ship in port nearby. I was impressed and intrigued with his job and the way he was travelling and likewise was he with my magic and pictures.

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Barcelona, Seville, Iran – 2 of 3

Spain 3 Comments »

“Hello! Do you speak English?”

“Yes. Only!” I responded.

It’s a phrase I’ve taken a liking too. I must look very European, because I get to use it quite often. Other English speaking travelers often speak to me very slowly at first. A few times I’ve made up my own language on the spot and watched them try to figure out where I was from. Spanish people will carry on complete conversations with me until I repeatedly tell them I don’t speak Spanish. I must mumble, because they don’t seem to notice I’m responding in English. Maybe I just look Spanish or maybe it’s the fact that I do a very good “Hola!” and the only other phrase I know is “Yo Hablo Espanol!” (I speak Spanish!) I do like the Spanish language. I’m trying to figure out which language I’m going to take a serious stab at learning. It’s a toss between that and French right now.

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