Sat here on the balcony at the house up on the hill this morning; coffee, muesli, birdsong- looking back on the week that was. And what a week. Back in November I read a book called “Besieged” by Barbara Demick, a first hand account of the struggles faced by people living in Sarajevo between 1992 and 1995 during the war in former Yugoslavia. It proved to be as fascinating as it was heart wrenching to read, somehow through all the years of history lessons in school this particular period had been reduced to a small foot note for me. After finishing the book and reading a bit more around it I knew I had to visit the place. And so it was that last Friday morning I set about hitch hiking to Sarajevo.
It took two days hitching, arriving on Saturday night, and another two to get back; I met a friend who had come from Croatia down there and the entire week was incredible. It’s the furthest I have hitched before by a long way. It seems like when you are hitching you are essentially stepping out into the world in a slightly compromised position- and it’s then between you and the people you meet along the way to make the best of it. Hitching is an amazing way to remind yourself of how beautiful the world is, and how good the people are that live in it. I think I am usually inclined to taking a first impression and sticking with it and the distance you create between people can help support that, but I found the opposite on this trip; I had to be as open as I could manage with complete strangers and the good will I found and friends I made in return was fantastic. I hope I can hold onto this.
Before leaving I had sought the advice of a great man that has been working out here for ten years now, he has more experience hitching than anyone else I know so I approached him in search of wisdom. I had planned to combine what he told me with the things I had noted along the way as some kind of “top tips” for my first post back. Unfortunately, due to a lapse in concentration in the penultimate hitch just as we got back into a familiar setting on Thursday evening, I left a bag of things in the car. Amongst them was my journal, and all my recorded thoughts from the week were suddenly accelerating away from me. So I’m left with just one tip for now; stay alert if you want to keep your stuff! I’m holding on to a faint hope that it comes back to me, I’ve never written so much on a one week trip before.
I can only recall snippets of what I originally wrote but it’s not so bad, the week has also kicked off a violent chain reaction of potential future plans. Thoughts, ideas, inspiration- keeping me awake at night with the excitement. It’s almost as good as being out on the road, I guess when the travel bug bites, she bites hard. And then the realist in me rudely interjects. pointing out my “limited resources and blah, blah, blah…” . Obstacles can be overcome, but only if you are willing to try. Right?
Thanks for reading, more thoughts and pictures to come!