Life outside of travel

A tangible cloud

For those returning to my blog for the tales of my travelling endeavours, sit tight as this week’s post won’t be taking you away to another exotic, far-away country, but takes a wander around inside my head. Though most of the times I hardly know what I think, feel or want, here is an attempt to jot such down to perhaps get a grasp of it. Turning it into a near-tangible cloud and just maybe, I too can understand.

Coming back from the long travel, I had a job within the week as I rejoiced with my ex-coworkers. I initially started my short-term career in this warehouse of furniture upon ending my cycle about Europe and this made for an easy reconciliation. Some had left and others had come instead. Minor changes were applied to the interior. However, apart from that, all remained identical. I’ve never truly loved the job, though it is admittedly undemanding and at times even pleasant. A simple job I never felt at home with, but comfortable enough for time be. Workmates came in diverse; amiable ones, funny jesters, manipulative ego-heads, lazy sloths and plentiful dispiriting souls. Throughout the first year and these months I sought out those that gave me a bit of energy and made the time pass. But, I also learned to cope with the negativity spreading through the air. In all fairness, most made for great conversationalists thus it wasn’t that hard.

For a while, I did well and bore through time. Moments I even believed to be enjoying it. But, a company once pushing for planned bankruptcy as they ordered supply without intending to pay had a system fucked to begin with. Men were forced to load objects much heavier than you and I can dream of lifting on steaming summers yet the same speed as of months before during the cool spring is expected. Same loads chauffeurs will have to single-handedly manoeuvre out during their long, stressful hours. Unfair expectations and demanding bosses were the mere tip of the iceberg causing the titanic that is the personnel to sink into a sea of bitter anger and frustration. Daily I was met with complaints and irritation by the ones claiming over a year ago they’d take their leave. All of it was getting me exasperated and exhausted over a job already lacking excitement and joy for me. Then, hours became insignificant changing erratically per week which left me with measly paychecks. So, after a face-to-face with a new supervisor giving me his honest answer I gave notice to be back on the hunt for jobs.

With shoulders prompted high, I was filled with enthusiasm as the near same day of the search I had been invited to an interview for a production position. This company had two branches both situated near my house. One was fun with smells pleasing the senses even when cycling passed the building on my way to grandma and leaving a longing sensation for baked delicacies. Then as its nemesis, the villain of the town, came the second building creating seasoning for meats and fishes. An easy guess which one I got. Heavy bags of onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne powder and worse got cut open in the dozens to fill massive silos but simultaneously powder poured out and formed clouds rich of scent covering me from tip to toe and that what was bare clutched onto the stench. After my first working day I sat at a restaurant with my family and Kath as it was her final week and there was a reeking aroma of garlic and onions with fierce strength crawling from under my finger nails despite all the scrubbing and washing done during my shower.

Besides the work being hard and stinking, a downside acceptable to a degree, it hardly felt safe for long term. Pepper, both the hot ones and the table accessory, caused throats to itch and relentlessly cough, eyes to burn and at all times my nose was stuffed the way a turkey gets end of the year. Then there was a hunchback taking on easier tasks as his back was injured, most likely induced due to heavy bags being lifted on the daily with a constant movement requiring a swift rotation of the upper body. If unhealthy working habitats hadn’t been enough to scare me, the villain’s helpers did. There was no click, not even in the slightest. I couldn’t befriend these men if my life depended on it.

A job falling through within the same days my lover flew back to the Philippines and I was supposed to remain calm? I lost it. I returned home, drenched in smells and misery before crawling into an empty bed. That oncoming Tuesday, as I sat at lunch, I sent her pleading and convincing messages that expressed the inability to wait for her. That day, we chose and settled on Malaysia for a month-long home together and all I had to do was stick it out for roughly two months.

Faith be on my side when the cycle home included a call from an employment agency a town away offering a job for, you guessed it, two more months. A job far more superior in every aspect and none the downside – excluding the travel by train. Eight more weeks I would continue, as additional a 12-hour Saturday at the job of erratic hours giving enough break from the dismal folks to have the long day filled with catching up and generally good times. It had been a perfect roll on life’s dices with Malaysia as incentive. That gloomy morning had ended in an evening of joyful tears and peace at heart.

This is a quick introduction of my working history to up next bring you into my mind.

Cycling and Hitchhiking (2016)

Poland – Portugal in Pabianice

He was loose and started racing down, leaving a spiral trace behind. The finish was in sight, the ending of the translucent field. Looking to his right, he could see his enemy, struggling to surpass the obstacles in its way. Quickly, he spurted down for his final sprint. Closer and closer he reached. He could feel the victory, nearly gracing the end line. But then it happened. He stopped. Go!! I wanted to shout. My fingers met into a fist of frustration. Why won’t you go? My mind screamed. At a calm pace the rival slugged down over the line, breaking apart as it hit the end. “It sure is rainy…”, my new chauffeur proclaimed with a hint of guilt as he watched the raindrops tick on the front glass. My eyes averted the lost race shaming the drop who failed to win. “Indeed”, I mumbled. For a few minutes now it had been pouring down rainfall from the sky, covered with dark, grim clouds. My mind was not worried about getting soaked, yet whether I would find a ride out of this small town. Most would depart on the main road where I could not stand. Instead, I exited the vehicle on an abandoned parking spot with all accompanying me being a few blinking lamp posts. The lad and I said goodbye, before he surged away. Quite frankly, I had not been to keen of the guy. A traveller as well, he had finished a plate too many of egomania. Nonetheless, he had been kind enough to drop me on the other side of the city for more luck. Luck, I would find to have plenty of when an instant’s moment later, a passing car slowed down. A tall dude manning the wheel and a prettiful lady to his side. Not much distance I would receive, yet so much more than I could ever dare to wish for.

Excited Ola, the young lady turned her head to me and questions left her lips. After a few, she asked “Are you watching the game tonight?”. Poland versus Portugal. A match in the Fifa world cup carrying a lot of Polish viewers. None of the equally aged would be able to think of a moment when the Polish had come so far in football. So it should be no surprise that the country was in a rally with enthusiasm and patriotism in the air. I hope, I said. Immediately the couple had invited me, within seconds calling the host for confirmation. The guy on the other end of the phone did need a confirmation of which country I was backing. Poland!! I had exclaimed, quietly cheering them on when back in the Baltics, knowing I might be able to root them as I traversed the mighty country.

Cruising for a selection of Polish finest brewskies at the local shop, I had a chance to meet two other friends. Soon I learned that not all had a tongue in English like Ola did. Yet they all shared the excitement. Together we walked to the house of the brother and sister that would have the game displayed on their tv. Nervous, yet excited, I entered the small flat room. The group was welcoming, friendly and kind. We drank, talked and enjoyed the match. I remember a moment talking to Ola, when one of the guys interrupted “There are times for important things, and times for more important things” as he pointed to the line of shots that were lined out. He would teach me how to properly drink vodka. At the end of the evening, Poland had lost the penalties after playing 1-1 to Portugal. Nonetheless the Polish were happy and celebrated the distance Poland had made! Upon departure the following morning, I was gifted a prazubr and a scarf with the writing “Polska” and a white eagle embossed on both sides, one I still wear on chilly days.

The road continued and I hitched my way towards Slovakia. A small detour lead me to meet Karolina again, during an insanely coincidental bump in within a few seconds in the town Zdunska Wola. It was amazing to see her again and a pleasure to hear her voice. From there I visited the catastrofe family, once again doing more for me than I can be thankful for, conjuring a smile on my face for the rest of the sunny day. After gifting gifts, patching up my pants and tent, taking me on a motor ride and to the swimming pool, feeding me and having me showered, the couple still felt appealed to go further. They sent a box of my stuff to the Netherlands and gave me a ride far to help me make distance. During the long ride something amazing happened. Throughout Poland beers and ice cream bare a hidden opportunity that once consumed reveals if you won a second or not. They explained such, as we all enjoyed the sweet and cool taste of ice. The youngest son shouts victory having laid his eyes upon my writing. A FREE ICE CREAM! It is a dream come true.

Waving the family off, I held the proof of victory close and safe. I wandered around for a bit, asking the people politely for assistance in laying down rubber. That came to an end when a curious janitor lured me to his small office. From Serbia. He sat me down and gave me his lunch adding a cup of tea. No English, German or Dutch, yet we began talking. Pointing to pictures in a book, he explained his travels through Siberia, Lapland and Canada. Impressed how far he got with our language barrier, he began to push it when conspiracy theories became the topic. This was too much for me in Serbian tongue. Thus I rose and thanked him. Departing the 1 by 2 room, the first man approached would take me further. What next?