Rainbow people

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.

The rainbow meeting
Regensburg & the couchsurfing collective (Developing a website together, and yes, we did really work :-)

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10 Responses to Rainbow people

  1. Marta says:

    wow… how different all that is from my life in New York now… though yesterday I met two hitchhikers at Times Square with a cardboard ‘hungry travelers’ ;) how I wanted to join them (not in sitting at the times sq. but in hh;)). but i only gave them 5 dollars and behaved so reasonably and left… have fun&take care

  2. Wouter says:

    Dude that really sucks :( You should have stayed with that bunch-of-tree-hugging-hippies in Belgium. Sounded like quite your thing…

    Have fun with all your spontaneous encounters and keep blogging every once in a while :)

  3. Frank Verhart says:

    Hey Jurgen :). Do you think it’d be possible I’d meet the Rainbow People this weekend? Like I wrote on HC-forum I intend to spend time in Ardennes, and well, :). Should I contact them or just go around and see?

  4. jurgen says:

    Hello Frank & others,
    The Rainbow meeting is about over now, right now most of them will have moved on to another meeting in Yorkshire, England.

    Friendly greetings,

  5. Frank Verhart says:

    What a pity! Having read about them, it feels by now only half as interesting to stay overnight in the woods in isolation and harmony with nature, than it did before…

  6. Frank Verhart says:

    > A couple of lifts later, near Cologne I meet 2 Belgium hitchhikers.

    Frechen? Frechen? Frechen? I have good memories of this Raststatte; where I found my first ride of over five hundred kilometers (besides that I found myself in one of the most luxurious car so far, and the competent driver aimed at driving 210-230 kmh where possible). Another time I had my first night hitching expercience there… ;)

  7. ploenk says:

    A couple of weeks ago I heard of the Rainbow People for the first time. Only that wasn’t a very glorious story. It seems that there are different groups of RB-people, and the couple I spoke to ended up in some kind of sex-happening where they really didn’t want to be!

    Anyway, it all sounds very adventurous again. You seem very happy and you really seem to belong ‘on the road’. Have fun again and keep blogging!

  8. Sander says:

    Weird, to just leave to hungary while u know a friend is coming to travel together :S a well, hope u have fun on the rest of the trip, see you when you get back, really feeling like frisbee-ing atm :D

  9. troela says:

    hi i see it has been a long time since you posted this thing but i am from belgium and i met the rainbow people i want to meet them again but they moved and i can not find them maybe you now where i can find them

  10. Jurgen says:

    Hey troela,

    The Belgium gathering this summer changed places in the middle of the gathering. Anyway though, the gathering ended around the 14th of June.

    For future gatherings you can find the Belgium Rainbow here, on this mailinglist:

    For other gatherings in Europe you could look here:

    I hope that helps ;-)


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