Jul 31, 2011

Day 184 - Half a year in statistics

Its July 31, 2011. Day 184.
Its the first full day after my half year anniversary in Europe. I am commemorating this momentous occassion the only way I know how. Through cold statistics...
  • 184 days traveling. 19 days working.
  • 33 Hostels. 22 cities. 5 Countries
  • 25 hrs plane. 25 hrs train
  • 14 hrs by Mitzfarhgelingheit. 42 hrs by bus. 6 days on the road
  • 1 pubcrawl. 183 days since last Pubcrawl
  • 79 nights unpaid. 8 nights couchsurfing. 9 nights homeless
  • 13 festivals. 3 museums
  • 3 sporting events. 3 comedy gigs. 2 punk rock shows. 0 Hiphop
  • €1.30 on Toilets. €87 on Clothes
  • 1 night sleeping before 1pm
  • 30 days in Porto (longest in one city). 6 Safado brothers
  • 3 items broken. 7 won. 12 stolen

Loz in Transit Hostels - Accommodation mapped out

  • Germany: Day 1 - 17 (17)
  • Italy: Day 18 - 46 (28)
  • Spain: Day 47 - 94 (47)
  • Portugal: Day 95 - 158 (63)
  • Netherlands: Day 159 - ?
Monthly spending - "How we out in Europe, spending Euros"
  1. 1488.35 (376.60 / 448.30 / 371.65 / 291.80)
  2. 556.20 (65.35 / 23.50 / 253.35 / 214)
  3. 709.50 (182.10 / 191.50 / 180.90 / 155)
  4. 772.75 (207.30 / 219.15 / 193.90 / 152.40)
  5. 620.20 (142.85 / 323.80 / 82.35 / 71.20)
  6. 724.85 (46.55 / 71 / 354.35 / 252.95)
  7. - (143.95, 197.60, 149.85)

Jul 29, 2011

Trigger: "One hell of a night" Rotterdam, Netherlands (Juli 26, 2011)

"How very nice and normal" - Rockwell Clothing
After a trip of a night jaunting around Rotterdam, we questioned whether this was an atypical evening. My running mates Du jour insisted that it was not standard and we were definitely in the company of some eccentric people.

Ken, a toothless Dutch-Kenyan assured us it was perfectly normal and asked, "Does it bother you? If it doesn't bother you then its probably normal". My friend wasn't fazed but wasn't convinced by the equation. Ken then pointed at the unattractive but enigmatic 50yr old with greased-back hair, donning a leather jacket and a Calvin and Hobbes "I'm the Best!" T-Shirt. "Tell me..." he began, "What do you think is normal for him?"

I realised the following morning, the distinction between finding something normal and it being natural.

It was one hell of a night! Interestingly it was exactly 11 months after a similarly noteworthy day in Sydney. As a first, I present a choice of two background theme songs to represent the two competing tones.

Soundtrack for the "Normal"
'Soundtrack 2 My Life' by KiD CuDi

Soundtrack for the "Natural"
'What a great night' by Hilltop Hoods

cantina, star wars, weird, aliens
kenya, obama, young
portlandia, weird, hipsters
ken watanabe, last samurai, asian
uma thurman, dance, pulp fiction, barefoot
susan ross, mother, drunk, seinfeld
Find the other trigger days here:
- Trigger "Farewell in Unison" Sydney, Australia (June 22, 2013)
- Trigger: "One hell of a night" Rotterdam, Netherlands (Juli 26, 2011)
- Trigger: "A moment in time" Panevėžys, Lithuania (2011 m. Rugsėjo 7)
- Hair, There and Everywhere: Haircut days in Europe
- Trigger: Day 114 - An NBA day in Portugal
- Trigger: Day 244 - 8 months in review
- Find other Memento Triggers here

Jul 26, 2011

Road Reading: 'Into the Wild' - Advice from McCandless to Ron Franz

into the wild, jon krakauer

There are recurring subjects that have come up in my travels, 2 constants are 'Couchsurfing' and 'Into the Wild'. One of the biggest proponents of Couchsurfing in my travels was an American who was described to me as reminiscent of Charles McCandless. He had great stories and breathtaking photos, a person with an intriguing style of travel which I experienced firsthand as we became running mates roadtripping in Portugal.

I finally I got to read a bit of the book whilst staying at my Couchsurfing host's place in Denbosch, Netherlands.

'Into the Wild' by Jon Krakauer
A letter from Chris McCandless (Alex Supertramp) to Ronald A. Franz

... Ron, I really enjoy all the help you have given me and the times we spent together. I hope that you will not be too depressed by our parting... I’d like to repeat the advice I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing or been to hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one piece of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, Ron, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty...

You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living.

My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances.

... you will see things and meet people and there is much to learn from them. And you must do it economy style, no motels, do your own cooking, as a general rule spend as little as possible and you will enjoy it much more immensely. I hope that the next time I see you, you will be a new man with a vast array of new adventures and experiences behind you. Don’t hesitate or allow yourself to make excuses. Just get out and do it. Just get out and do it. You will be very, very glad that you did.

Take care Ron,

Jul 25, 2011

Camera Games: Day 177 - My second camera's 100 Day anniversary

Its Day 177, Its been 100 days since I got my replacement camera so to commemorate here are some themed photos. I've been playing Camera games. My replacement camera didn't even survive 100 days, meeting its untimely demise after only 46 days. Eeek!!
RIP: Day 77 - Day 123

Dogs in Portugal
Dogtown and Z Boys

He thinks he's people

Art imitating life

Dog Gone Fishing

The Camera Games Collection
Spy VS Spy in Portugal
- Day 177: My second camera's 100 Day anniversary
- The Corner collection in Spain

Jul 24, 2011

Road Movies: Total Recall; Venusville is Amsterdam

Paul Verhoeven (Taschen Film, 2005). Douglas Keesey, Paul Duncan
"We must acknowledge these dark things because the sooner we admit our capacity for evil. The less apt we are to destroy each other"

This last statement by Verhoeven can stand as his rationale for his realistic approach to sex and violence. For it is only through breaking through our idealistic lies about ourselves that we can understand who we truly are and how much better we could become.
Paul Verhoeven is an Amsterdam-born filmmaker. Best known for movies like Basic Instinct, Robocop and Total Recall. Total Recall (1990) because of its themes of memory has been a constant reference for my travel experience. Until some chance reading in a Denbosch Bibliotheek, I didn't realise Director Verhoeven was Dutch. Thus influenced by things I had been recently immersing myself with, the art of Jheronimus Bosch and the progressive lifestyle of Amsterdam.

Jul 22, 2011

The Kids are Alright: Coolspotting in Netherlands

In the fortnight I've been in Holland, its rained at least once each day. Thankfully the clearest skies graced the days we attended cultural Street Festivals. One of the fun things of hitting a new city is making the type of connections you'd make as if you planned to live there. Befriending locals, nominating your "spots", it comes especially handy on rainy days.

i) Cafe de Duivel, Amsterdam

I found Cafe De Duivel on a night time walk towards Holland Casino in Amsterdam. It grabbed my attention as everyone outside was rocking J's. It was opening night for an Art Expo by 'Pasha' and not surprisingly they played HipHop. That night I met some lekker dings, girl-next-door types. By that I mean they were from Melbourne, dancers for MG's (Gentleman's club) visiting a friend who was spending a year living in A'dam.

More importantly I made a Dutch vriend after commenting on his "Stat NY" shirt. I got the 411 on the best spots to find pick-up games and got on court on a rained-out night soon after. This spot is my go-to hang out in Amsterdam. Listening to good hiphop, being around leuke meisjes and hanging out with Dutch Ballers.


ii) Ill Streetwear, Utrechti
ll, streetwear, shop, outside
ill, streetwear, shop, inside
Utrecht is a pleasant student town, unfortunately it rained everyday I was there. No matter, as I met plenty of cool kids with the help of Couchsurfing. I also found 'Ill' streetwear store. They were my personal 'OnTourism' bureau, dropping knowledge, letting me hang and even offering their couch to crash on. I checked in with these guys each day, it was only later that I realised I was one of the many "Ill groupies" and "regular homies" who paid the boys a daily visit. Good people.


iii) Kunst Liefde, Utrecht

Bookstores, streetwear stores and Art Galleries, my usual go-to moves. Kunst Liefde was a dope Art Gallery right near my hostel. This amazing piece was mesmerising, genius in its simplicity. I could stare at it for hours, it was like a living graff piece. I could only imagine how captivating it would be after a Dutch coffee shop.
Aqua Morgana, Liquid Files, 2011
... Three shallow trays filled with aquatic life are exposed from below. Mirrors at an angle of 45 degrees show the vibrant fields of water parallel to the wall.

The trilogy contains aquatic life from different places in London: algae, water plants, water fleas, insects, snails, leeches and so detached from the gravity and with sufficient oxygen surface fields continue to develop during the exhibition.
The Kids are Alright
- Coolspotting in Frankfurt and Barcelona
- Coolspotting: Subculture in the South of Spain
- Coolspotting in Netherlands
- Coolspotting in Netherlands Pt II
- Coolspotting: Nerding out in England - Comics, CosPlay, Video Games and Wrestling
- Coolspotting in Berlin
- Coolspotting in Istanbul
- Coolspotting in Sydney
- Coolspotting in Melbourne

Jul 20, 2011

Spotted: Underground Restaurants - The secret's out!

expresoo, supper club, lisboa, underground, restaurant
Spotted in Portugal. Page 74, Expresso Newspaper, 25 Junho, 2011.
My final night in Lisboa was spent at a Supper Club, amongst us was a writer and an inspired photojournalist. Sensacional!

A question answered with a quote: Holland edition

So... a new Country brings a new collection of quotes. Holland is amazing, the openness of the people and the lack of language barrier means that connections are easier and deeper. It should be a fruitful place for notable quotables.

With that said I will kick off my 'Question answered with a quote: Holland edition' with a string of one-liners from my charming Mexican roommate, they don't all make sense but definitely good people.

Find the collection of quotables here:
- A question answered with a quote: German + Italian edition
- A question answered with a quote: Spain edition
- A question answered with a quote: Portugal edition
- A question answered with a quote: Holland Edition
- A question answered with a quote: UK Edition
- A question answered with a quote: Lithuania Edition
- A question answered with a quote: Latvia + Estonia edition
- A question answered with a quote: England edition
- A question answered with a quote: Germany Revisited edition
- A question answered with a quote: Turkey edition
- Listen to my Podcast inspired by AQAwaQ: Lets's Get Real podcast

I proudly present the fourth installment of 'QAwaQ: The Holland edition'

- Certain things need their moment
- Its better to be sad. Its cheaper
- Photos are a prostitution of your memories
- The sin is inside you

We don't have time for tests

Traveling is great because everyone wants to talk to you
but it can also happen at home - You just need to be open

If you don't mind where you are or
where you're going, you can't get lost

Even if you're repeating the same story
you're still getting different feedback

You are open to us but you must be open to yourself

It's just not honest though

You want to feel something undeniable

I think you scared your soul

If you're not going to remember it,
you wonder if its even worth doing

It's "impression management"

Jul 19, 2011

Road Reading: Exactitudes by Arie Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek

I've always been curious about what other people are doing, constantly wondering if everyone else was having more fun than me. I'm fascinated by other people's experiences and how they process them. Part of the reason I'm traveling is to create my own stories, to feel more like a participant and not just an observer.

After a while you realise there's a fine line between someone with good stories and a great storyteller. Its a futile exercise comparing stories as our experiences are personal to us dependant on our personalities and value systems. People who've been to the same places or have traveled alongside one another will have their own perspective of that time.

There's a comfort in knowing that we only really control our journey, to strive to be the best version of ourself as possible. To quote the great Sly Stallone "We might not be the best in the world but we can be the best in our own life"

I found this book in a Utrecht boekenwinkel. In 'Exactitudes' the Rotterdam based duo demonstrate that there is a sense of uniformity even in our attempts to be unique. It challenges our definition of self, it absurdly realises the conflict we have with wanting to forge our own path whilst wanting to feel a sense of belonging.

Exactitudes: Arie Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek
Since 1995 photographer Arie Versluis and stylist Elly Yttenbroek have worked together on the project 'Exactitudes'. Exactitude is a contraction of the words 'exact' and 'attitude'. It concerns a long-term photo project in which a wide-range of different groups of people are portrayed in an identical frame, in the same pose and with strictly observed dress codes...

I no longer feel the need to compare experiences with my fellow man, now the curiosity comes more from a place of interest rather than envy.

Other people's stories

Here is a listing of blogs I've collected from fellow travelers:

Europe 2011
Australian met in Barcelona, Spain - Spanish Wanderlust
New Yorker met in Utrecht, Holland - Foxx tackles the Globe
American met in Madrid, Spain - Hostel Hopping
American met in Lisboa, Portugal - Todd Geasland
American met in Lisboa, Portugal - Untitled (Because I am just a cloud)
Korean met in Selcuk, Turkey - Floating Chara (Korean)
New Zealander met in Fethiye, Turkey - Quins Adventure

Storytellers met in Lithuania
Dutchman met in Klaipėda, Lithuania - TimToTango
Catalunyan met in Kaunas, Lithuania - Cargol Treu Manya (Catalan)
Frenchman met in Kaunas, Lithuania - Avec moi pendant 4 mois!! (French)
Lithuanian girls met in Kaunas, Lithuania - Kombajns' YouTube Channel

South America 2013
Englishman met in Santiago, Chile - I'm Half the World Away
Chilena met in Valparaíso, Chile - Nada en Realidad
French couple met in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile - Les aventures de Fanny et Jay autour du monde
American met in Mendoza, Argentina - Still Lifes
2 French girls met in Buenos Aries, Argentina - Mochilejos
2 English girls met in Cuyabeno River, Ecuador- Where in the World is Imogen?
Englishman met en route to Lago Agria, Ecuador- SAMUELFENSTERHEIM

Jul 16, 2011

Trigger: "Qualidade de Vida" in Casa dos Gauchos, Porto

Soundtrack for "Casa dos Gauchos"
- 'Good Life' by Kanye West

Now I, I go for mine,

I got to shine

Now throw your hands up in the sky

Now I, I go for mine,

I got to shine

Now throw your hands up in the sky

I'ma get on this TV mama
I'ma, I'ma put shit down
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey
Hey, I'm good

Where we like the girls who ain't on TV

'Cause they got more ass than the models

The good life,

so keep it comin'

with them bottles

Till she feel boozed

like she the bomb with Porto

The good life,

it feel like Churrasco

It feel like festas,

it feel like lindas

it feel like felicidade

It feel like Ribeira

or the Bay or Ye

Ayy, this is the good life

Porto, Portugal: Day 128 - Day 158
In my last Trigger post of my Road Trip from Lisboa, the photos curated were chosen to hint at some of the extraordinary things we got up to. With this set I wanted to contain the amazing sense of family and festivity I felt in Porto. With that said no collection could ever truly capture the magic of this unforgettable time.

To the 'Safado 6' (Alemão, Salsa, Samuka, Amim, Porto and Negão) and 'Familia Feliz' - Muito Obrigado!

Other adventures with "Familia Feliz"
- Trigger: "Qualidade de Vida" in Casa dos Gauchos, Porto
- On top of: Ribeira jump
- Trigger: The impressions of Porto
- Portugal: eat, pray, LOVE - Portugal sure is warm!
- Camp Geres, near the border of Portugal and Spain