So it's all over, it's all finally over, and has been for nearly three months now. And what I am discovering is that, as hard as it was to keep on keeping you all up to date while we were on the road and living the trip, it's equally as difficult when you're home and said trip is fading and getting dustier by the day. Time to nip this blog in the bud, and cap it for good...the last entry is now!
That's it...what you see above, that's what one tiny little grain of an idea was able to turn into.
On November 16th, 230 days after Bob first took Hajji home, we returned with her to Utrecht, to Donna Turner from Cleveland, to Krugerstraat 6, the place she calls home when she's not on the road servicing young wanderers. The dream was over, and we were reluctantly waking up. We left Hajji, and she floated off into Spring again.
It was a chance meeting at an engagement party, back in April '08, that had been the breeding ground for the idea that was to see us find Hajji. Lauren got talking to a friend of the bride's father, and the two of them began rapping about the trip that her and I were thinking of doing. The gentleman put down his drink, stared hard into Ren's eyes, and told her that the ONLY way to do Europe was in a van. Lauren listened, and Hajji instantly became the twinkle in our collective eye.
When the true trip began, Lauren, Ben, and I, the three champions of the Hajj, were just young kids looking for adventure, bon-vivants of the fringe, with fuel to burn and roads to drive. The Hajji was to be our facilitator for the next X months, and we couldn't wait to get to her. The three of us and Hajj finally came together, along with Conrad Schmidt-Bens and Tannis MacDonald, on the 24th of June, on the docks of Rostock, and were to be inseparable for moons and moons to come.
The First Meeting.
If you've been up on this blog, then you well know the comings and goings. There were a thousand highs for every low, a billion burrs for every eau. This trip was the greatest thing I've done, and while I hope, for the sake of the rest of my days, that it doesn't turn out to be the greatest thing I ever will do, even if it does, I'd still count myself incredibly lucky.
To Lauren Elliott, Ben Paylor, Conrad Schmidt-Bens, Tannis MacDonald, Paul Walker, Alex Derry, Daniel van Hauten, Brett Lorier, Isabel Shirin Enyonam, Milan Randjelovic, Jalil Asaria, Latif Nanji, Alvaro Recio-Garcia, Adam Ambrozy, Johnny Braune, Turkish John, German hippies, old Albanian man with moustache and big hands, Albanian mother and son, Albanian detective, young Croatian girls, young English birds at Exit, Croatian Hrvoye, old Romanian man, German boyfriend and Italian girlfriend in Montenegro, Steve and the other Canadians at Vimy, Neala Kelly, Sean Foget, Simon Kaulback, Liz Kaulback, David Caulfeild, David Gibbs, Brisbane Dylan, Bry Kaulback, Marjolijn Van de Ven, Ineke Erwich, Morgan Quinn, Dora Gregova, Bucharest Hippie, British girlfriend and Canadian boyfriend who we drove from Fusion to Berlin, Arne Fellerman, Prakina Prakovic aka Laura, and any others that my addled brain has forgotten to remember to mention, thank you all so much!
P.S. I'm Ben. Here is a link to a little album I made summarizing my highs through the Hajji.