KLAIPEDA, Lithuania—For the briefest of instants the Russian border guard’s placid face betrayed his surprise as we produced our blue US passports. His eyes momentarily widened as he read the gold lettering on our worn travel documents.
I imagine Americans rarely cross at Mamonovo, a rural border crossing that’s a gateway […]
COMRAT, Moldova — The Transnistrian policeman who had been interrogating us turned to his colleague. “I caught three journalists – Bulgarian, Spanish and American – without accreditation.”
His fellow lawman looked us up and down with distaste.
“Line ‘em up and shoot ‘em,” he said and turned away.
This wasn’t the warmest of welcomes to […]
APATITY, Russia – I look to my right, a man in a black balaclava with what looks like a toy rifle is running full speed toward me and shouting something unintelligible.
My first thought is it’s a friend playing a prank. Determined not to let him get a rise out of me, […]
NIŠ, Serbia— So this Finnish guy ‘rescues’ a broken purple bike in Innsbruck, Austria and proceeds to ride it 1,200 kilometers to Guča, Serbia where I just happened to be preparing a reportage for RFI. He was thirsty and needed a beer; I’d been hitchhiking since Kosovo and was desperate for […]
“Goin’ down to the freight yard / Just to meet a freight train / I’m gonna leave this town / Work done got hard / But now she’s gone / And I don’t worry / Because I’m sittin’ on top of the world…” — Howlin’ Wolf, traditional
MURMANSK, Russia — As the train rumbled north […]
TBILISI, Georgia – The Greek border guard’s unibrow contracted in consternation and then annoyance as he thumbed through my well-worn blue passport. “What is this? This isn’t a passport! This is shit!” He spat out the words as he held the threadbare document with the tips of his fingers as if it had some communicable […]
GOTHENBURG, Sweden – I’d been warned that hitchhiking in Scandinavia would be no picnic. Despite expensive buses and trains, wide roads with plenty of traffic and lots of empty cars it’s simply not in the culture for people to solicit rides from strangers. In Denmark it had been relatively easy to hitchhike with a (partially […]
TÓRSHAVN, Faroe Islands – Provided you’re not a schizophrenic sociopath, those little nagging voices should be heeded. For every so often there’s a nagging voice in my head goading me to head in a certain direction, usually defying common sense and logic. Often I am rewarded by following this advice, other times it’s folly and […]
SEYDISFJORDUR, Iceland – My approach to travel is to keep minimal expectations. However with Iceland I couldn’t help myself: I wanted to idyllic natural hot springs carved out of rock populated by supple valkyries. Nothing less! So after spending too much time on a work assignment at a fish festival seeking out these natural treasures […]
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – The secret to stress-free travel is to keep logistics from getting complicated. So I kept the plan to leave the country simple: Canoe 300+ miles through the Adirondack Mountains, across Lake Champlain, upstream eastward through Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire into Maine. Then ride my bicycle to Edmundston, New Brunswick and […]