Pastures old

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?”

“Yes.”

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.

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