For a while I stay with the rainbow family in a Belgium forest. We’re in a remote place, electric devices are not allowed and we cook on campfires. It’s amazing! The number of people varies around a hundred and everybody is openminded and sharing whatever he’s got. For dinner we gather around the mainfire, form a circle and sing together while holding hands. It’s a peaceful happening with a great feeling of freedom. At nighttime the fire gets bigger and spontaneous celebration starts; somebody plays some chords on a guitar, then another one joins in, and other people start playing a Jew’s harp, derbouka and saxophone. Further away from the fire I can see some people dancing under the stars.
After one day I already find it hard to remember how long I’ve been here. Some of the people around me are like old friends, and it seems life has been this way forever. People spontaneously give workshops, and I get introduced to the art of fighting-dancing called “Capoeira”. Another time while making a huge pot of tea I get burned by a glowing piece of wood, and our doctor puts wet clay and a bandage on it. To my own suprise this takes away most of the burning and the next day the skin seems to be barely damaged.
I don’t want to move on, but my brain reminds me that I’ve got an appointment in Germany with Chris to hitchhike to Romania. Of course it will be great once I get there, she’s really an amazing person, but it seems senseless to not enjoy the life right here at this moment. But since I made this appointment I do follow through on it. I guess only the ‘getting there’ part is tough and then it will be a couple of very crazy weeks…
So I start hitchhiking, together with two colourful Estonian friends, Katlin & Riina, who happen to go the same direction. Our first lift quickly appears and brings us to a gasstation. Here I get a lift for only myself. Allthough I love travelling with these Estonians I feel in a hurry to get to Bayern. And thus again I decide to enjoy life in the future instead of right here where I’m at.
A couple of lifts later, near Cologne I meet 2 Belgium hitchhikers. We chat for a while, and then whem I’m about to start talking to yet another hitchhiker who’s sitting with some bags and a mobile phone on the sidewalk a guy walks up behind me: “You’re going to Frankfurt? Come on, I can take you about 200 kilometers.” Wonderful, last time I spent some time at this gasstation with Sharon, the Israelian guy, and for sure I’ve seen the view of Cologne long enough that time.
While Mike, my driver, goes to get some icecream I walk to the other side of the gasstation, where suprisingly enough I run into my Estonian friends! It’s a busy hitchhiking day today. They’re having dinner, so I join them, we chat a while, and then again we seperate. And again I’ve the feeling it would be great to hitch together for a while. But Mike seems a great guy, and I just can’t say no to this lift.
Mike turns out to be a punkrocker – he does the guitar and vocals in a band. We talk about music, and when he puts on some high-paced NOFX punk the speedometer starts crawling from 130 up to 180/190 while we speed through some forest covered hills. When we’re close to our destination he calls up his 17-year old son: “Do you want to pick me up from the city?” To which his son replies: “It’s not necessary, I’ll just do the usual hitchhiking again.” Then we depart, Mike gives me a hug and I find myself on a big German gasstation on a hot afternoon.
A little bit later, when I’m in Aschaffenburg, which is 20 kilometers from my destination a driver offers me to use his telephone. So I call Chris, but first get her mother, so I ask her “Is der Chris auch da?”, to which she replies that Chris is somewhere else. First I think she says she’s in the ‘Garten’, but then it slowly dawns on me: ‘Ungarn’ – Chris is Hungary! Scheisse! Our appointment went awry. I came all this way for absolutely nothing. I met great people, but didn’t stay with them because I had to hurry, I’m somewhat sick and not really fit for travelling and don’t get the time now to recover in a friendly place, and moreover I’ll not be meeting Chris for a long time.
Her mother talks on, offers me some accomodation, but I refuse, I really don’t feel like going to their house anymore. So I hang up and stare at the road which is passing by. The middle-aged guy driving this worn-out fan asks the one important question: “Und wass machst du jetzt?” So I make a new appointment with another friend for tomorrow while today I go camping at a grassfield at the edge of town. It’s a noisy place, 20 meters north cars & trucks are driving on the highway, while 20 meters south TGV’s and cargo carriers pass on some railway. It somewhat fits my mood.
The next day I travel to Regensburg and get a very warm welcome from my old housemate Arne, who has been living here for more than a year. It’s an old pictoresque town and to my suprise the Danube also flows here. Almost immediately I’m thinking about doing some boat-hitching, but it seems there’s very little traffic at the moment. Perhaps due to the amazingly hot summer we’re currently having.
This Saturday I’ll be moving on to Austria, where a Couchsurfing development meeting is taking place. Afterwards I might be moving to Poland and the Baltics, but since there will undoubtely be a lot of interesting people I’m not making any appointments just yet. And anyway – I’ve realised that it much better suits me to just phone people the moment I’m in their city. It leaves much more room for spontaneous encounters.