VISUAL DIARY: Month 1 in Europe

25/7/18 - 25/8/18
Hamburg, Berlin, Gransee (Germany) | Basel (Switzerland) | Prague, Klatovy (Czech Republic) | Grenoble (France) | Herning (Denmark). 

I've been rolling around Europe for a month now, every day as unplanned as the one before it.

I've been sleeping in tents on the side of highways, nestled between bushes scattered with toilet paper and human faeces. Turns out, the more you wild camp and the more you skip showers, the more your budget can justify a two-star hotel here and there. 

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I’ve been climbing mountains and getting naked at the summit under thunder-fuelled skies. Driving up and over and round the mountains in the south of France, a hand on my knee. Eating fresh blueberries and chocolate biscuits in the rain. Scrunching snow beneath my hiking boots. 

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I’ve been driving. A lot. Thousands of kilometres across the continent topping speeds of 200km/h. I’ve teared up listening to M83’s Wait on a rainy drive through Denmark and grinned through Jonathan Boulet's "You're A Animal" on a drive through Germany. I’ve laughed at Dr. Karl and shaken my head at true crime podcasts and squinted my way through death metal with an eyebrow raised. 

I’ve been watching skydivers jump from planes in competitions, following the world cup series trail with a flying boy from home and a plastic cup of red wine in tow. 

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I’ve been riding bicycles and sleeping on buses and slouching on trains and putting my feet up on the dashboard of cars that become homes for my dirty washing and muddy boots. 

In the afternoon sun I’ve been rolling off jetties into lakes, watching river snakes and skies full of birds, floating down the Rhine, running in the pouring rain, enjoying picnics and eating homemade apricot pie in the countryside. I’ve been drawing faces in the dead hearts of sunflowers and eating a punnet of raspberries and a chocolate croissant as often as possible.

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In the evening's I've been drinking and dancing in small pubs and local clubs. Ring the bell and it’s a round of shots on you, the hangover is always worth it (is it?). I assure you there have been more nights curled up on sofas yarning to old friends, or beneath the sheets in a caravan giggling. 

I’ve pitched tents on runways and in campsites and hovered between a few hours of work and science fiction classics beside a river on the outskirts of Prague. I’ve become a fan of Asimov and read more of Czech literary master Kundera (one must, when in the Czech Republic). In his book Immortality he writes: “The purpose of the poetry is not to dazzle us with an astonishing thought, but to make one moment of existence unforgettable and worthy of unbearable nostalgia.” I liked that.

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In my spare moments I’ve been writing about Rick Ridgeway and Dr. Bob Brown. I’ve been writing about religion. And my hometown. And the takayna/Tarkine

I’ve questioned my purpose, both here and in the greater scheme of things, torn between a life on the road (selfish?) and the life in a suit (greedy?). My internet browser has a Canadian work visa application, a Stanford University scholarship application, a few jobs in Germany and a number of workaway families needing help on their off-the-grid properties minimised on my browser. I love the fact I haven’t locked anything in yet - no house, no partner, no children, no graduate study, no career. At the same time, the possibilities before me are so immense it’s overwhelming. What do I do now? What do I want? How can I impact the world and/or my community in a positive way? Who am I to say that I can? Is all this reflection just narcissistic bullshit and I need to lighten up, stop being so anal and just fucking live? Yikes. The wormhole. 

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I’m going to be back on my own for the latter half of September. I'm going to go and visit some old friends from my peach picking days. I'm looking forward to sitting around a wine in Italy and soaking up the lives that have been lived in the swirling current of time that has passed between us. 

Until the next rolls are developed,

Ruby x