While waiting for my flight to Johannesburg a few things said yesterday keep coming back.
One guy replied on the question why he preferred to travel alone, as follow: “Sheep graze in a herd. The eagle high above flies alone.” That is a mouthful. I like it.
Let me tell you more about some of the interesting people:
One couple travelled around the world with their two motorbikes, of which one was a bike with a sidecar. Their dog travelled with in the sidecar. They got married after the trip after knowing each other for 30 years.
One gent that travelled around the world was boarded by his company due to poor health prior to the trip. He started travelling with € 500 of medicine in his luggage. Somewhere, I think it was in the Ukraine, the medicine was stolen. He continued this trip, gradually realizing that he was actually better off without the medicine. If that hadn’t happened he still would have believed that he could’t live without his medicine. He is in excellent health today and hasn’t stopped travelling since.
One guy started his ATW trip a month after he met a lady. In Syria he stopped and called her, telling her he couldn’t go on with his trip without her. After this love declaration he returned to Germany, and the two of them started their ATW trip together and completed it. They are still together.
The last speaker of the day was most impressive. His name Klaus Wohlmann. He spent little time on the adrenaline stuff that so many bikers normally see as the only way to travel but rather concentrated more on the human encounters he had in West Africa. He did a special kind of photography called Light and Shadow where colour is not important but form. He has the kind of traveller’s soul I like to identify with.
It was refreshing to listen to presentations where it wasn’t all about speed and alcohol. We South Africans can learn from that.
The huge number of female riders who attended the gathering was impressive.
The organizer Bern Tesch did a lot of research on travellers travelling over the length of North and South America. He discovered something strange. It happened to a number of those travellers that after finishing their gruelling tours on the way to the airport the left their film material in the taxis. In not a single case it was ever found again.
Last week I watched a report on TV on Brussels becoming the crime capital of Europe. This morning I experiened it first hand at Avis Car Rental at the airport.
I had a black bag where on my trips I kept my money. Since my last trip I saved a few Euro’s here and a few Dollars there. This way I saved enough money to last me for at least ten days on my next tour. I filled up the rental car at the airport and put the bag on the black carpet on the passenger’s side. After dropping off the car I went for coffee and immediately realised I left it on the floor in the car. I went back and it was gone. The staff was so uncooperative and unfriendly and suggested I left it on the roof of the car at the filling station. I have my doubt why they were so unhelpful.
I was at fault by leaving it on the floor. I take the responsibility for that. However, It is sad that I didn’t experience the same honesty that I so often experienced on my trips. So-called less developed people were quicker to point to things that were left behind or that fell to the ground.
The list of countries where things were stolen from me, grows. Germany (wallet), Italy (video camera), Israel (cell phone), Zambia (cell phone), Belgium (money).
May the actions of all thieves be damned! (And their souls be saved)