I arrived at Norfolk Southern's Harris yard just before 9 pm to watch my train to Atlanta finish being built and hopefully find a sweet, cozy ride! I estimated that it would take about 20-24 hours til we arrived in the land of prissy housies, cracked out home bums, and Coca-Cola (these are pretty much the only things I've ever experienced in Atlanta). My buddy dropped me at the yard and I scampered in to the shadows by some semi trailers, waited, and watched.
Riding Canadian National on the former Illinois Central line from Metairie Yard in New Orleans to Markham Yard in Chicago. In terms of weather, this was one of the more bizarre trips I've taken. The warm temperatures of early spring in the deep south gave me a false sense of security that slowly morphed into a growing sense of regression as I rolled into the bleak scenery and freezing temperatures of Illinois.
I wasn’t particularly confident I was going to be able to catch the train I was after. Or really, even the nightly fleet of north and westbounds I was waiting for. I wasn’t too fussed on where I was headed. Just knew that I was headed. The general consensus was that the best way to grab a train was on the fly at the throat. I shunned my body for being clumsy and not as strong as I’d like it to be, and also that the sport I love so much has the capacity to involve so much physical risk and can become a strenuously mental game when waiting on luck and patience to study and infiltrate a train yard.
This all started about two years ago. An old hometown friend and I prowling Craigslist obsessively. Chugging sailing instructional books. Politicking with yacht club members. Learning to speak like pirates. We had tunnel vision. Sail off to the Bahamas on a dollar and a dream. We made quite a bit of progress but before we ever actually pulled the trigger on a boat my vision became blurry and skewed by what I mistook for love at the time. When I finally snapped out of my daze we had missed Caribbean sailing season for the year.
On September 28, 2018 I set out on my biggest and longest endeavor to date: 2 months on the road, across the country and back, hitting the four geographical corners of the USA - Philadelphia, Miami, Slab City, and Seattle, and everywhere in between. The trip started out in Philadelphia. @siid and I met up for the first time and were kicking back and talking shit and getting ready to hop out on the UPS/juice train in the morning.
I love sharing photos, and there is never much going on in the Oceania section of StP so I thought I'd share some more! Ended up going up and down the East Coast of Australia (between Brisbane and Sydney) a couple of weeks back. The main aim was catching up with mates and sorting our some visa bullshit for when I move, as well as catching Holy Locust for a few shows.
My trip to Senegal turned out to be a bit of a farce, but it could be of interest to anyone else planning an ultra-budget trip to West Africa. The first rule of traveling in Africa happens to be the same as the first rule of hitchhiking: Don’t be in a hurry. If you try to hitchhike somewhere and you’re in a hurry, you ain’t gonna get there in time. The hitchhiking gods will always make sure of that.
The first day me and my bff arrived to Belize, we hitched all the way to the border of Guatemala. We got picked up by an awesome fam with mad kids in the car, they were so excited to show us everything, they drove us around, housed us up and let us borrow their truck if we wanted to drive anywhere. Many people hitch hike in Belize, older folks, kids, to and from work.
"Australia is easy hitching, mate!" I promise Fox, my budding road dog. "It'll take fifteen minutes to get outta here, then we'll be setting camp by the train yard before sundown." Two outstretched thumbs drip alcohol-rich sweat onto the shoulder of the highway leaving our hometown of Adelaide. My companion is an old graffiti mate from our days slinging paint across beige city walls. Fox is thick-skinned and adventurous, armed with a cosmic laugh and a thoughtful tongue. There's no doubt he's equipped for the rough journey ahead. We're six-feet below the city streets spray painting in ankle-deep storm water when we come up with the plan: ride the steel train across Australia on New Year’s Day.
So i thought i'd post about my travels in the past year from russia to hitch hiking central america and south america, but im going to start with some photos of my first train ride (philly to baltimore) which i went on before i left the country. I'd been traveling/working with the circus for the last 6 years but decided it was time to get the fuck out, move on, and REALLY start travelling. I went to Russia for about a month (which i will write about and post pictures of seperately), came back to NYC and decided to hop a train with my bff, neither one of us ever having done it before, so heres some photos
I've lived in squats for the past two years. It's a way of living thats always been dear to my heart and has brought me a lot of friendships and experiences. I lived in one particular squat for almost a year, so last march I decided it was time to move. By foot. It took me a week. A lot of things happened along the way. I camped in the fields in the middle of nowhere, so I spent a lot of time soaking in the sun (as pictured here), writing about my days, and taking polaroids to send to my friends as postcards.
In July 2016, I set off to Melbourne, Australia to study at one of the uni's there for a semester. And man, lemme tell you, it's been one heck of a ride. I was a little bit bummed out that I'd be stationary in Melbourne studying for most of my time there, but I had a pretty small course load and planned to see the east coast once the semester finished. The first thing I did was get my hands on a bike. A bike is the best form of transportation (in a bike-friendly city). And Melbourne is a bike-friendly city (for reference, when biking in Miami, I have a near-death experience nearly every time I ride, where in Melbourne I only felt I was going to die on a bicycle maybe 2 or 3 times in 5 months).
What's up my dudes, so me and Carol here from StP have been unknowingly co-occupying Melbourne. We met up at Lentils the other day and it didn't take us more than a brief introduction to decide to hitchhike the Great Ocean Road together. By the time we had finished our veggie burgers, the underground tunnels were on the table as well. Hitting the road was the most natural thing in the world, despite the ceaseless references to Wolf Creek and astute observations of our gender provided by the Australian people.
A trip to Kyrgyzstan, over on the border of China. The Tian Shan Mountains are beautiful but a bit of a mission. The capital city has a mad market with all sorts of instruments, car parts, food, spices for sale. The people are friendly, and the vodka is cheap.
So this weekend I joined a group to go beach camping and exploring up north a bit from Melbourne. Croajingolong Nat'l Park is just about halfway between Melbourne and Sydney (about 6 hours drive from each) aka literally in the middle of nowhere. We set up on the beach, started a fire and broke out our bottles of wine and whiskey and cans of soup and god damn did the stars ever come out. It felt like looking at what the Hubble telescope sees. It doesn't even compare to anything I've seen in the US even in the most remote places. This was a whole other level.
I'm in Mongolia right now traveling with a horseback caravan of people who just met on the internet. Here's the continuing story of my lil' Mongolian pony. When I first saw this guy, he was tied up to the halter of a big, strong, healthy-looking chestnut horse with a full mane (all our horses so far had theirs shaved for the summer, kind of a visual bummer). I wanted the flashy horse, but we still had bigger taller people without riding horses so I gave over regretfully. I took a quick look at the other horse -- a drab, shaggy dust-brown gelding. He was all ribs and hips and spine, with huge pits over his eyes, but while the other horse was stuffing his face to the exclusion of all else, this one was looking at me.
I didn't know why I'd had a case of the itchy-head for the last couple of days; since it coincided with my discovery that I'd pitched my tent on some mysterious sandbags (becuz who expects the ground in a forest park to be made out of sandbags?), I thought the two things might've been connected somehow. The morning I woke up and found myself scratching my scalp almost insanely with both hands, I decided that I absotively, posilutely had to come back after lunch and move camp.
Nearly a year and a half prior to this post I had what some would call the "American dream". I was a certified conductor and engineer for a local railroad in California. If I wasn't throwing switches all day I was running a variety of locomotives from classic center-cab switchers and GP7's/GP9's to 2 million dollar Gensets, but lets be real; I got paid to bench and keep up on monikers. I drove a 2007 Toyota Tacoma and a 1975 Porsche 914. I lived in a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom house on a 1/2 acre lot in Carmichael, a suburb of Sacramento. In my spare time I was a DJ. I had a cool $8-$10,000 in professional audio equipment accompanied by 300+ vinyl records. I was single. I had a credit score of 760+. As another hobby I'd review and pair various cigars to different whiskeys (still have a soft spot for a good maduro and a oaky scotch) much like a wine to a meal.
So, I'm in the Wellington airport flying out of New Zealand to Ulaanbataar in about 12 hours, where I'll meet up with a couple of friends and a bunch of people I've only met on the internet. Then I'm going to buy a very big animal whose wellbeing I'll be responsible for, and hopefully will be okay with carrying me around. Feels pretty surreal.
I flew into Athens, Greece 10 days ago and wanted to start a thread documenting some observations/maybe advice for people that might be aspiring to travel to this area. I wish I had something like this before I went, so here it goes, in list form cuz why not?