Sitting in my room and wondering how all this began. Where did I get the idea? Memories start coming back.
August 1994, Filip and me, sitting on a beach.
“Imagine if summer lasted for 3 years, not only 3 months” – he says to me with a spark in his eyes.
So I did. I imagined. When you’re little you have to listen to your older brother.
September 2011, Filip and me, drinking beer.
“C’mon Tomi, be serious”, he says, taking the first sip. “I wasn’t really serious when I said to imagine a 3 year long summer!”
“Now you tell me! I already told people that I’m leaving!” – I replied.
Seriously, he tells me that now! I’ve spent over two years thinking what I want, which way to go, what I need. Made to-do lists, gathered experiences, planned. And now he tells me that he was kidding. Well, kidding or not kidding, there’s no going back now!
Looking down at my list, crossing things out. Backpack. Guitar. Iranian visa. Pakistani visa. Indian visa. Bonus – 1000 euros on MasterCard card.
Departure – Zagreb, 10/09/2011.
Destination – Zagreb, 05/06/2014.
Direction – east. It could have easily been west, but I’ll leave that for 1000 Days of Winter. You never know.
When in doubt, I quickly check my travel CV: seven travels in the past two years – 18.000 kilometers, 200 different vehicles, 20 countries, 70 cities/villages and many, many faces and stories that happened on the road. Wonderful stories, wonderful people. They knock down any fear with ease.
Looking at my hands, especially my thumbs. I lift them up, I put them down, a few times. They are in a great shape. Those guys will last 1000 days of hitchhiking. They’ll have to. That’s the way we chose – alternative methods. Hitchhiking, CouchSurfing, camping, volunteering, ignoring flights.
People keep asking me if I prepared myself for what lies ahead. I nod my head, self-confidently. The truth is – I have no idea what’s waiting out there. Besides, you can never truly prepare for something like this. You have to be open for all options and decisive in using your time the best way you can. That’s not an issue. Everything else will work itself out. Now I just have to say goodbye to everyone and off I go!
Early morning. Brother and his girlfriend drop me off at highway pay tolls. Sad pictures in my head from last night. Endless list of questions in my head – so, what now? How much will I change, what will I miss, who will I meet along the way? Minutes later Filip gives me a call to offer me a lift to the next tolls because these ones seem to be pretty hard to catch a ride on – a fact that he knows because I’ve been waiting there in vain for entire 8 minutes. I laugh and ask him whether he will pick me up in Pakistan as well? So he wishes me good luck and sets off.
It’s not easy. But standing there and watching cars passing by… my stomach does its part. Excitement makes sadness and fear disappear. I lift my thumb and everything feels just the way it should. What I need to know, I will know. What I need to see, I will see. Whom I have to meet, I will meet. Filip said “have a nice trip”, and we all know you have to listen to your older brother.
It’s inevitable – it will be an incredible happy adventure, full of unknown things…I thought when the first car stopped. Driver is some grandpa of at least 100 years, says that he’s going to… I didn’t quite heard where, but I’m going to…as well, so I jumped inside, smiled, introduced myself, fastened my seatbelt and said – lets go!