I've been reading this blog by this Austrian fellow named Manfred for the past several years now. It's a great travelogue of current adventures all around the globe. Europe. Asia. Africa. The Middle East. North and now South America.
Manfred's blog is currently telling of his travels in Peru.
This is not the first time I've given him a plug, and he's located over in my blog roll for those who want to visit his travel-blog.
His writing is a few months behind, but no matter. I urge folks looking for an interesting read and some interesting stories to go back on his blog to the beginning, around 2005 or so, when this educated banker decides to drop out of society.
He heads to Africa in what is a very cool Land Rover, very heavy duty. Boy meets girl. And after a year or so, girl gets pregnant. They marry. Girl has twins. They make it awhile and he wants to get back out on the road, to continue the adventure. Apparently, she does not. They part, and divorce, apparently amicably. His sons join him every year for further adventures in his globe-trotting lifestyle, and I'll guess the kids live the rest of the year in Morocco where their mother hails from. I could be wrong about that.
In any event, for the past several years he had a girlfriend traveling with him, and apparently she decided to get off the road as well, she being from South America. So as for now, he's on the road in Peru and has his kids with him, and the current blog entry is dated July 29th, 2012. It takes a while for him to write and edit and get his photos all up.
The photos alone are worth the visit. Manfred has become quite the photographer over the past seven years.
It's an absolute budget trip around the world. He rarely stays in any kind of motel or home or hotel or the like. Usually he's sleeping in his van or whatever his vehicle de jour is, and taking baths often in a bucket outside the van in some faraway locale. He often parks near places with wi-fi and again, apart from his beer expendatures, it's a spartan existence on all fronts. But I guess that enables him to keep on the road.
He's been a lot of interesting places, and the fact that there are places where one can drive hundreds of miles through the desert on "tracks" or through jungles or down empty beaches developers have yet to discover is very cool. His pictures take us a lot of places that a white male American like me absolutely could not go, whereas his white male Austrian self can get into places I never could.
Some of the islamic backwater places this guy visited both in Africa and the Middle East are the types of places folks like me are not welcome in and have been known to disappear from. Just disappear off the face of the earth. Literally.
I judged this guy more harshly in a previous review of his blog, in that it bothered me that he was stopping in the middle of the Sahara and basically bumming meals off folks who literally had nothing to give, when he could have brought more food for sharing in the food and the camp the folks let him make.
That aside, his and my world views don't always agree but who is to say mine are right. It's good to get exposed to some other point of view about what's right and what's wrong in the world.
I'm envious, and would like to have done that trek in younger days when unmarried and unencumbered with children and mortgage debt and a job and retirement and medical insurance and the like. Back in my mid-20's, my friends and college roommates Australian Paul "The Crazy Australian" and John "John Juan" (Also known for the last 20 years as "The Singing Border Patrolman) wanted to go around the world in a couple of hard core vehicles.
Paul had a serious International Scout that he had restored that he wanted to use as one of the vehicles. As I recall, he had enough parts to run the Baja 500 or lots of other grueling desert races, and that would be enough to head around the world with.
Paul's uncle was then in the MI-6 and working in Africa at the time and had all kinds of friends all over Europe and Africa and Asia that we could visit. We never did make that trip, but it was fun talking about it and thinking about where we could go and where we couldn't. Back then, it was a few years before the Iron Curtain and Berlin Wall came tumbling down, so lots of Asia was off limits.
Paul's over in his homeland now, happy as he can be in his super off road Land Rover Discovery. Before he left the USA, he was a super kayaker maniac over on the east coast. John Juan, the singing Border Patrolman, was at last account patrolling the border. Our plans involved Aussie Paul, John Juan, Billy Ray and I taking off a couple of years before settling into serious life and seeing the world.
One thing and then another happened to all of us. The military. Law School. Psychology grad school. The Border Patrol. Women. Jobs. Families. And so it came to pass that we never did take that trip around the world.
We're all still alive, and Paul, Billy Ray and I are still in frequent contact and if nothing else we might still be up for some kind of trek someplace exotic in the future. Paul does have that ready to roll Land Rover...