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Twalk With Me - Walking and Talking 6000 miles with just an iPhone and a guitar


What starts, ends

13 August 2013what-starts-endsThe question why I had chosen to walk to Santiago de Compostela, Rome and Jerusalem has come up often on my journey. I explained that those places were arbitrary on a personal level, because although I am open to spiritual matters, I am not religious. I told people about the queen’s christmas speech and her comparison of kindness in the times of Joseph and Mary and kindness in modern times, where, according to the queen, individualism and the internet are dividing society. I wanted to prove that things aren’t as bad as the queen proposed and that in fact, the internet can be a great help to bring us together. By walking these ancient pilgrim routes with the help of the internet I wanted to make a statement. But it has always been about the journey, not about the destination. [ Read on »]

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The pussy trap, doggy style. Who's your daddy!

18 July 2013the-pussy-trap-doggy-style.-whos-your-daddyIt was only a matter of time before I'ld get hooked on a woman somewhere. But I never imagined her stretched out on my cart while I walked on. In my dreams she was never hairy all over either, and she wouldn't garbage her food down in a second either. But hey, I'm a homeless person and beggars can't be choosers. So here I go, walking over hills and through valleys with a puppy barking at me when she needs to go wee wee. I shouldn't complain, at least she is cart broken, but it is hardly romantic. Putnik makes up for her eating habits and her impatient cart surfing manners in cuteness though, as the video below will show. She isn't really an easy rider, but her ride sure is easy. And I think she doesn't have much to complain about given the fact that I literally picked her up off the street. I'll take that lick in the face in the morning as a token of gratitude. [ Read on »]

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Building on fear

3 July 2013building-on-fear“I wouldn’t wear that shirt if I were you. That can be dangerous.” I am wearing a T-shirt of football club Rekreativo from Banja Luka. A gift from Goran Arbutina, a journalist who interviewed me when I was there. Rekreativo plays in the fourth division and has no ambition to promote to the third. Drinking beer after the match, ‘the third half’, is much more important. More important still, are the activities around the football field. The members of the club donate blood regularly, organize community events and seek to lighten the lives of the people in the neighborhood where they are located. It is a poor neighborhood and because there isn’t much else to do and because no one has money for leisure activities the club doesn’t charge any fees for football training and coaching for the youth. Goran is one of the founders of the club and his brother, a professional football trainer, is coaching the kids, 43 in total. The warning to better not wear the T-shirt comes from Stefan [ Read on »]

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War and Peace, Us and Them

29 June 2013war-and-peace-us-and-themI am a child of the cold war. For many years in my youth my sense of European geography was defined by the divide between East and West. The political border between American oriented countries and those that were under the influence of the Soviet Union was as tangible as a mountain chain or an ocean. Even more so, because it was a line that you did not want to cross. There was nothing but poverty and oppression on the other side. Who would want to go there? “I hope the Russians love their children too”, sang Sting in the eighties, and that pretty much summed it up. It was impossible for me to imagine what the people on the other side were like. [ Read on »]

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Roadkill Requiem

19 June 2013roadkill-requiemAbandoned and forgotten like empty shells, I find animals that have died on the road everywhere along my path; unintended victims of our every day commuting. Some die with their bodies seemingly unharmed, which gives an eerie quality to their remains. Flesh and bones and skin and feathers perfectly intact, it seems as if the body is simply waiting there to be collected again by the soul. [ Read on »]

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Every Hello is a Goodbye

9 June 2013every-hello-is-a-goodbyeIt is impossible to do a journey like this and not learn how to be without certain people. The first year on the road I would have days that I was experiencing minor forms of homesickness. Not only to my friends and family in the Netherlands, but also to people I met only one or two nights before, if we had an especially good connection. But without noticing when it happened exactly, I realized at some point that I stopped experiencing this. Whenever I felt this way, almost always, that same evening I would meet another person or another family that was equally wonderful, and I guess my brain stopped making a big deal out of it. Is homesickness or whatever you want to call it then not an emotion? Is it the result of certain modes of thinking? [ Read on »]

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The Queen and the Soldier

30 April 2013the-queen-and-the-soldierThe Queen of the Netherlands has called it quits. After a thirty three year reign she is passing the buck to her son today. She announced her abdication herself about three months ago, which according to some anti monarchists is too short a period to organize any real protest. This may be, but the fact of the matter is that a vast majority of the Dutch population is in favor of the monarchy. How little time one needs to protest against something was shown by the national outcry over ‘Koningslied’, i.e. ‘King’s Song’, a song written to celebrate the installation of the new king. The song is quite aweful indeed, but the future king can be pleased, it diverted all the attention from the debate about the monarchy to the question whether we really want to sing this tune at his coronation. [ Read on »]

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Io non parlo Italiano

12 April 2013io-non-parlo-italianoWell, that is not entirely true. I speak some Italian and it is getting better every day. In Urbino I was truly tested as I was interviewed by the regional TV station for Urbino and Pesaro Tele 2000. Luckily the introductions to the questions covered most of what I wanted to say, so I could keep it short. The journalists were well prepared, had asked me most beforehand and rightfully concluded after hearing me answer all their questions that it was better not to put me through that in front of the camera. From what I understood from their introduction and questions, though, I must have given a pretty accurate description of what I was doing and why. I will find the Italian in me yet! [ Read on »]

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Colder, Higher, Fatter, Slower, Happier

29 March 2013colder-higher-fatter-slower-happierRidiculous title of course, but I wanted to do a short update and the Daft Punk song title is a good template for this. So in short: I am back in Italy and winter hasn't left yet; from the moment I came back until now I have been walking up and down mountains; this is harder, because I gained some weight in Lisbon; which makes me slower; but it feels good to be back on the road again! [ Read on »]

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Be water, my friend

21 February 2013be-water-my-friendThere is a book by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly with the title ‘Flow’, about the psychology of optimal experience. You are doing something that is easy enough to not have to wreck your brain, hard enough to not bore you to death, successful enough to keep you motivated, imperfect enough to keep you pushing for improvement, and really, there isn’t anything else in the world that you would rather do. If you have never experienced it yourself, I can promise you, there is nothing quite like it. I have experienced flow more than once, also on my journey, but the past year and especially the past half year I lost it somehow. [ Read on »]

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Happy New Year

23 December 2012happy-new-yearI wish everyone some wonderful and joyous days. I hope watching this special christmas compilation makes you as happy as it does me. These people are my inspiration and my guardian angels along the way. Thanks for twalking with me, also next year! [ Read on »]

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All roads lead to...

20 November 2012all-roads-lead-to...Dear follower, supporter, friend, fan, sponsor, host, fellow traveler, family member and everyone else that has supported me over the last two years, I am about to walk into Rome, my second destination after Santiago de Compostela. Tomorrow I walk to Grosseto, and with almost 6000 kilometers behind me I have less than 200 to go to reach the Italian capital and the seat of the papacy. Another milestone on my 10.000 kilometer walk to show the power of the internet and the kindness of people everywhere. I have been hosted by almost 350 different households in six different countries: [ Read on »]

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Reconnected

27 October 2012reconnectedThose that visit this page regularly and check the map to see where I am walking will have noticed that I have been stuck in Colle di Val d’Elsa for a week or two. Well, I am not there. I actually walked on to Pentolina, Chiusdino and Montieri, but my iPhone broke down so I couldn’t update my whereabouts. My phone had been slowly falling apart in the past year, but he’s had a tough life with me on the road. I already had it before I started my journey so it isn’t a big surprise that after three years of service, of which two on the road, it should throw the towel at some point. But now what? [ Read on »]

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Dear believer

7 October 2012dear-believerImagine you sent out a message of love and you discover that the receiver is using your words to oppress and to murder in your name. Would you send out another one? So if your God spoke thoussands of years ago, and remained silent ever since, wouldn't this be the time to consider the possibility that He (or She?) isn't too happy with how you have interpreted His words? [ Read on »]

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The Way (two years on the road)

11 September 2012the-way-two-years-on-the-roadToday it is exactly two years ago that I walked out of my hometown Leiden in the Netherlands. Five thoussand kilometers are now behind me, there are five thoussand left to go. On foot that is, because this journey is never ending. I may live in a house of my own again one day, maybe in the Netherlands, maybe somewhere else, but it will always be a continuation and a consequence of this path I chose, or chose me... [ Read on »]

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Amused to death

2 September 2012amused-to-deathWalking along the Cote d’Azur through towns and cities like Cannes, Antibes and Nice I am confronted with the sea that seperates rich and poor. Literally. Fifty meter yachts are anchored a kilometer from the shore. They are too far out to see what is going on onboard, but I can imagine their owners looking back and congratulating themselves that they are not among the ants that crowd the beaches. It suddenly hit me how lonely they actually must be. They have blown up their ego to a size that doesn’t even fit the harbour anymore. [ Read on »]

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If the shoe fits...

24 July 2012if-the-shoe-fits...While the financial crisis is making itself comfortable to stay with us for some years to come, now might be the right time for some free advice on one of the cheapest means of transportation: your feet. Walking is bound to get big! For some this may seem like a gloomy outlook, but I have had the opportunity to test this a bit in the last year and a half and it has its advantages. For starters there is no law against drinking and walking, you are allowed to use your phone while you walk and people seem to be much more understanding when you don’t show up on time. Never mention the speeding tickets and parking fees that you don’t have to pay. You don’t need a walking license and you get into shape without paying for a gym. I therefore proudly present to you, the biggest invention before the wheel: the shoe. [ Read on »]

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Trash has feelings too

12 July 2012trash-has-feelings-tooI found my love on the side of the road - Between Sitges and Girona. - She had no name nor clothes to wear - So I simply called her Donna. -- On a stone cold rock and a plain white towel, - Unprotected from the sun, - That beat down hard from the Spanish sky, - She was helplessly undone. [ Read on »]

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Bright lights, small city

13 June 2012bright-lights-small-cityThe most expensive bar in Spain, a past filled with artists such as Hemmingway and Dali, the birthplace of Facundo Bacardi who later started a small rum producing company on Cuba, residencial town of many Barcelonian well off families, thirty five percent foreigners and as gay friendly as Amsterdam or San Francisco, the “Saint-Tropez of Spain”, “Ibiza in miniature”. There are many ways to look at Sitges, many perspectives, but in the end one its most striking feature is that it hasen’t changed in the last twenty years like most Spanish towns on the east coast have. There are no skyscrapers here, no copy paste appartment blocks, and in winter time it doesn’t get overrun by elderly people from northern Europe. [ Read on »]

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Reconquista my agua

8 May 2012reconquista-my-agua"Can I have some water ?" "Uhmm, I still have to walk 30 kilometers and you are sitting behind the wheel of a car.. so no." "Please, I am really thirsty." Is there some weird Maroccan tradition that I never heard of ? I decide my and his Spanish probably aren't good enough to talk our way out of this somewhat surreal encounter so I start for my canteen with water... [ Read on »]

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Twalk With Me - Walking and Talking 6000 miles with just an iPhone and a guitar

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