Sunday, August 31, 2008

old stuff in brescia italy

a castle. been around for a long time, and modified over and over again.

and a cathedral

Friday, August 29, 2008

a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend

no, really. there's no punchline. that's who i'm staying with.

paola is the friend of guiseppe who is the friend of matthew, who is my friend from california. although giuseppe and i had never met, since i was a good friend of matthew's, he kindly agreed to host me in brescia, italy. but by the time i arrived, giuseppe had started thinking that his place (just a single room with no couch - and in a questionable part of town) might not be all the hospitable, so he asked his friend paola if she could host me in her ever-so-comfy flat, and she said yes - in italian since she doesn't speak english.

so that's where i'm at and, like everything else that has evolved spontaneously on my journey, this has worked out perfectly!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

anybody interested in a little vacation home?

how about this one on lago d'iseo in italy's lombardy region?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


standing on the train platform in goriza, italy, i feel the rush of excitement of the new, the unknown. after an extended period traveling with clare, then living in bosnia and slovenia, it has been awhile since i have found myself travelling alone in a completely new place. i cannot keep the smile from my face.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

goodbye zali log

i'm leaving zali log this morning. sigh.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

i just keep waking up

i was hiking along a local trail today, and as i broke out from the woods into a clearing that overlooked the village below, i was overcome with gratitude - again. and i mean it when i say overcome. i stopped, knelt and bawled.

it seems that i just keep waking up. i mean, i find myself in a place where i think "ahhh, i feel so alive now, so awake. it's as if i was asleep before." and then a week later or a month later, "wow, i know i thought i woke up before, but now i'm really awake." and then it happens again.

i just keep waking up.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

things i like about where i'm at

the woods outside my door and the wood piles in the woods

these stairs and this electrical wiring

the reckless abandon of throwing spent toilet paper rolls on the dirt floor of the bathroom

the view of zali log and mountain villages with crazy clown roads that you can slide off of when you drive. well, you don't really slide off of them, but doesn't it look like you would?


Saturday, August 16, 2008

it's all enchanted and wild.
it's just like my heart said it was gonna be.

thank you sinéad lohan for those words, for i have none so adequate.

i am listening to this:


and i am laying in this bed in this house and i am not a visitor.

i am home here.

i am home here, as i was at zelenkovac, as i was at ronald's, as i was at rudy and csaba's...

i am at home in the world.

this is my life and i feel my heart bursting ever wider and wider open and it brings me to tears.

i wish you out of the woods and into the picture with me.
i wish you over the moon. come out of the question and be.

- sinéad lohan

predjama castle, postojna, slovenia

i visited sandi and suzanna whom i'd met at zelenkovac. a little pizza, a little concert, and little incredibly-lit-up-at-night-castle-built-into-a-mountain...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

travelling through serbia

in addition to being a dairy farmer, valentin is farm equipment distributor

we visited some of his customers in serbia

you gotta love chickens on a conveyor belt

lots of hospitality - and no “open container” laws in serbia.

Monday, August 11, 2008

guča guča guča!

valentin had a little surprise in store when picked me up from zelenkovac. that little surprise was something call the guča (pronounced goo-cha) dragačevo (not even going to try) festival in serbia, otherwise known as the guča trumpet festival.

there is only one word that can be used to describe it, and that word is LOUD.

praying to the trumpet gods
what are they praying for? maybe that they don't go deaf.

goran bregovic's "gas gas" on a table.

this gypsy girl had been dancing on the table for awhile. when she jumped down and started to walk away, the shirtless guy ran after her, picked her up, and put her back on the table. the next time she jumped down, she ran....

goran bregovic's "gas gas" in a bar.

and the actual goran bregovic gas gas

Saturday, August 9, 2008

so. uhhhh. well....

i left zelenkovac this morning.

valentin and a friend of his picked me up and drove away with me.

i didn't want to leave, but i had to. a week or two earlier on a beautiful sunny day, i was walking into the village when a car drove by and i had the sudden urge to stick out my thumb. if i only had my pack with me... and then i thought "who needs a pack?" and i knew it was time to hit the road.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

the don quixote of immune systems

sometime in my early 30's my body decided to develop a somewhat spectacular allergy to grass pollen.

recently on a sunny grass-pollen-filled day in zelenkovac, after much sneezing, itching and eye-watering on my part, alexsa (my good buddy and the 14 year old son of zelenkovac's owner) wanted to know why i had allergies.

after a few seconds trying to come up with a quick and simple explanation of how allergies work, i remembered that alexsa had recently read the book don quixote, and it hit me: i have allergies because i've got the don quixote of immune systems - tilting at windmills in the form of grass pollen, fearful that it is a dangerous invader.

"the trouble is sancho" said don quixote, "you are so afraid, that you cannot see or hear properly; for one of the effects of fear, is to disturb the senses, and cause things to appear other than what they are."....cervantes.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

pavlov's bladder

remember pavlov's famous experiment with dogs? so, dogs salivate in the presence of food. in the experiment, they rang a bell each time they fed a dog. after repeating this for awhile, the dog would salivate to the mere sound of the bell even though no food was present.

after a lifetime of frequent peeing, over the past few months, i've noticed that the length of time i can go between pees has increased dramatically; however, in conjunction with this newfound skill it seems i've developed a little something i like to call pavlov's bladder.

it's not like i wait until the need to pee is particularly urgent or anything. it's just that once i walk into the bathroom and more specifically - the toilet becomes visible - apparently excited by the mere sight of the thing, my bladder can barely contain itself. i've nearly peed my pants four times now.... pavlov's bladder.

martin brod, bosnia

alesander, suzana, željko and i took a day trip to martin brod. the river una runs through it - and falls through it - everywhere....

pre-war population ~10,000

post-war population ~500

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

the whirlwind continues....

...with danni liljekrans from denmark, with whom i'm sure i have some strange genetic similarities that control our powers of observation and penchant to incessantly chatter to each other,

and alesander and suzana from slovenia with music, wine, peanuts and suzana's amazing drive to run 35k marathons up mountains. amazing.

Monday, August 4, 2008

gratitude gratitude gratitude!

i am filled with gratitude today. i suddenly really, really understand the value of gratitude. i am overwhelmed with gratitude. i cannot stop smiling.

why? who needs a reason why?

"gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. it turns what we have into enough, and more. it turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... it turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."

- melodie beattie

Saturday, August 2, 2008

a whirlwind of couchsurfing at zelenkovac

we've had a nearly continuous stream of couchsurfers here at zelenkovac since i arrived and i have to admit i loved it.

it started earlier in the month with rasa, a solo lithuanian female studying in the netherlands. then came two american guys studying at ucsf who were lucky enough to be drafted into a day of ditch digging and hay harvesting. next came boris, a generous hitchhiking couchsurfer from france who showed up on our doorstep after a lengthy stay in ibiza. although he thought he'd head to sarajevo when he left zelenkovac, he instead ended up in banja luka where he bumped into a group of 5 young travelers (3 from spain and 2 from france) and spontaneously sent them our way. i was lucky enoug to have a couple of long and lovely conversations with one of them, emelie, a wise beyond her years 20 year old from france.

kat and kristina, hitchhiking with incredible ease from denmark came next. then, during a couple days of pretty good thunder and rainstorms and repeated lengthy power outages, we hosted a group of 5 bicyclists - 3 were from bosnia and 2 from austria. wiktor and marek, students from poland, arrived while the cyclists were still there and hitchhiked off when the sun finally shone again. and then came irina from st. petersberg, and whose boyfriend is from freestone, california of all places - an old semi-haunt of mine!

and then came arto, a friend of sami, couchsurfer from earlier in the month. and gareth and david from england - who were sent by kat and kristina whom they met in sarajevo...

and suddenly they were all gone and the silence was deafening.

arto saying goodbye

david and gareth lashing tires and luggage onto the bug