Sunday 12 October
After leading 18 pub crawls in a row, spending three months in Sofia (a large percentage of that either sick, drunk or both) and burning the candle at both ends, I was looking for a way out. Salvation came in the form of an email from a friend. A conversation similar to the following exchange ensued:
“What are you doing over the Winter?”
“Well I’m meant to be hitchhiking East. Turkey next, Georgia, Azerbaijan…etcetera, etcetera.”
“Do you want to care-take the hostel until March?”
It was a no brainer. The chance to find my sanctuary. To spend the off-season as a hermit. Little or no contact with people (there would be few guests in Winter – if any at all – to subjugate my penchant for misanthropy). Take myself away from the temptations and vices I’ve so utterly succumbed to. Learn a language. Cardio and weights everyday. Significantly improve on guitar. Teach myself new recipes in a giant kitchen. Read. A shit load. Keep the hostel from burning to the ground and a blind cat alive. Better myself. Hide away until I’m sound of body and mind, and I don’t look like I’ve eaten all the pies. It was an opportunity too good to miss. Besides, in the current political climate, one could lose ones head hitching to India. I decided to temporarily put it on hold.
And so after lengthy goodbyes, I’ve dragged myself out of Sofia and onto a 17 hour mammoth coach ride. Memories of last year’s epic summer still fresh and ringing in my ears as the countryside zips by in darkness. Thoughts of the possibilities of a bright future. It was difficult to get sleep. Especially with the exposed stomach of a beached whale snoring in the seats adjacent. But for the first time in as long as I can remember; I was excited. It felt good to be alive again.
Arriving at the bus depot and it all started to flood back. Echos of meetings, experiences, good times. A chair I’d sat on in that exact spot when parting company. I know that I will never have a summer quite like it. Perhaps I was returning to try to claw it back, to rescue something so thaumaturgic from the annuls of time. Chasing a hidden wonder. A drug addict vying for another hit. Either way, the hair follicles tingled as the sun rose, and I set eyes on the Adriatic once more. Bleary eyed, adrenalin fighting sleep, I walked the short distance from the terminal to my residence for the next six months.
The Wild Fig hostel, Zadar.
I was home.Read More