Monday, August 12, 2013

Everything comes to the one that stay a beginer, or how I spent a nigh as a "Homeless"

     I kept on traveling from London to the North of the United Kingdom. As Always, with just a vague idea of a place to visit I choose a road and I hope to find a good place. Many times I search in advance were to sleep, so as to have the peace of mind that no matter at what time I arrive, I know there is a comfortable and warm place to rest. And many times things work out keeping that vague idea or a road plan, and other times the planned road changes to go to where there is someone that wants to have me as a visitor.
     To the extreme East of the United Kingdom I did not go, because in the city of Lowestoft I did not find who could host me, which I did fin in Norwich in the house of Sarah and was the reason I was in this city, that in contrast with Lowestoft it’s a very recommended city to visit and that it happens to have been Capital of England for a brief period in history. To visit the Lake District I didn’t find people to host me either, but there was Jess who offered me all her camping equipment so I could go anyways, and thanks to that I was able to spend two nights below the star light surrounded by the English Pacha Mama. It also happens sometimes that in order to visit a specific place that I am interested in, I had to sleep a little away and go to visit on a one day excursion, like what happened with the Nor-Westerly extreme of the United Kingdom, when I had to sleep in the hippie field of Stephanie’s family in the town of Lybster, and go for a day to John o’ Groats, so as to get oaked while walking by the cliffs in the north coast of Scotland.
     Most of the times everything is settled and organized before departing, like the case of Nottingham where John, my host, had even thought in everything I could do in the city o the following day. And also the case of Leeds, where given my doubt of visiting the city and going to a Swing workshop, the local dancers outdid themselves in finding me a place to spend the weekend in less than 3 minutes in the beautiful house of Jackie; and with that I was “forced” to spend a quiet weekend, surrounded by beautiful people, dancing until dehydration.
     The situations where everything gets arranged in the same day you’ve heard already, and it happened twice in the last few days. First for Edinburgh, because since it’s the Festival season in the Scottish capital it is very hard to find a place to sleep: many of those who usually host travellers like me out of good will, take advantage of these dates to make a little extra easy money by renting out their extra space. But in my case I was offered, in the same day in which I was travelling and when I had my hopes by the floor because of the lack of acceptance in the preceding weeks, TWO places to sleep: one could just help me out in the emergency of the first night, and the second guy offered me a place for the whole weekend and became a friend I will be looking forward for our next encounter. And after Edinburgh the plan was to go to Inverness and go by Loch Ness, but when Peter called to invite me to sleep in Elgin, he gave me the possibility of going to see places I was not planning to visit, like the hippie community of Findhorn, and of crossing path with people as special as the places the live in.
     And everything comes to those who, like the title reads, don’t stop taking risks. Because when I decided to go around the north and west coast of Scotland I was certain before departure that there was no one that reading a message in the internet was going to call me to offer me his house to sleep in, no one was going to send me a last minute rescuing sms, there were no known people or contacts, everything was at the mercy of the Universe. And after what was an excellent touristic day of hitch hiking, sharing the car with several tourist that were also strolling around, I got to Ullapool and have to solve my life as best as I could. My first try was in the local Hostel, but it was very full and the receptionist didn’t seem to love backpackers enough to find some help for me; after that I did an emergency request in CouchSurfing, but as I was expecting, that didn’t bring me any results since there are not many CSers in the area. And so, knowing that everything was going to be full, I started wandering the hotels and bars searching to see if someone could host me in his house, hoping to find that hippie dude that exist everywhere, as common as the local drunk or crazy person, that always invites people to his home… but I did not find it. And so, following the idea of th owner of the hotel I was in, I got a beer, waiting that some of the people to whom he would tell my story could find someone that could help me.And when that bar closed, I did a last tour: the guy that worked in a bar and had told me that he would help me so I wouldn’t sleep on the streets, I couldn’t find because he had already gone to bed; in the camping site there was no light turned on where I could go ask for mercy, and even the good intention of a woman to find me a place to curl in was in vain since we couldn’t find none of the workers of the port. As a last resort I went back to the hotel/bar where I had spent more time, and asked for help to the waiter that was closing up, and because of how sorry I made him feel he thought of that option that is offered to he who has no other option. He showed me the laundry room where between the washer and the dryer, and the dirty laundry, I could lay in the floor and not spend the night in the outside. I don’t have a sleeping bag, so I had to find my way the best I could: I found a pillow, a table spread to use as a mattress, I added some clothes to keep me warm, and I laid down: and so I spent the night, cold and uncomfortable, nervous of being awaken by the owner, and waking up by the cold that would not let me rest.
     In the next morning, early and very cold, I went out to search for some hot water and something to replenish my energy; and when I felt better I decided to continue the stroll. I found the first two backpackers hitch hiking in all my time in Great Britain, I exchanged some words and some ideas, and I saw them part in different ways and different directions. And I found a German man that having no plans, was happy to have me as a companion in his car to go around the coast up to the Isle of Skye, which I had chosen as my next destination. And just as the previous day, I had an excellent day of tourism, strolling in a car (comfortable and dry) and stopping to take as many pictures as I felt like, and finishing with a great lunch that my new friend invited me to. When I got off the car in Portree started the second night where I had no place to sleep, and in which CouchSurfing was not going to save me. I asked in the hostels, that where more occupied than expected, and with receptionist that apparently are only happy to help paying customers; one of them when asked for help because I had not place to sleep, showed me the next bus that was leaving the village (!). I had a moment of doubt, of demotivation, and then I realized that my last days had been perfect and that nothing could be completely bad, so without losing hope I found a place in a hostel in some other town and I set off to travel there. When a guy picked me up in his truck, we started talking and I told him my story, my trip, the way I usually find places to sleep in, the cold night I had just been through, and how I had expected to find a person that would invite me to his house. And so he said: “well, if you want to you can stay in my house for a couple nights”… Yes, as unexpected as that given I didn’t even try to influence him, the way the Universe tends to work. We ended up sharing a dinner, a very good talk, and I spent and very comfortable and warm night in a room all for myself, just to wake up this morning y sit down to share this experience to whoever enjoys reading it.
     It is not a minor anecdote to have had two new experiences regarding accommodation, in two consecutive days. It is nice to know that as long as I stay a beginner, the Universe will continue to conspire in my favour.

Don’t forget to be happy! The Universe only wants the best for all of us!


See you around the world

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