More off-grid camping and hiking adventures in foreign lands from that guy you love… this is a chapter from my new book. Ok, my only book. Honestly, it’s the 1st book I ever wrote.
I wrote it in the course of about 2 months hiking and camping outdoors in undesignated camp sites- you know, off-grid, down the coast of Croatia. The Adriatic is a beautiful sight, but not all is paradise in this summer vacation destination.
But, they let Americans in during the h0ax. That puts them in a very elite category.
Count me in.
International Travel During “the Corona”: How One American Does It
A backpack. A tent. A laptop. To live this free, is there anything else you really need? Well, food, water, and hopefully some warm clothes for sleeping outside at night.
Other than that, a solid pair of hiking shoes and of course, heavy duty hiking socks and a desire for adventure and cultural learnings is all it takes to embark on your very own cross-country hiking and camping experience.
Of course you can always catch a room here or there to stay sane. Take a real shower instead of bathing in the sea water for an evening, and sleep on a bed.
I should probably talk a little bit more about how I ended up hiking on foot from Rijeka, Croatia down to Dubrovnik. Well, of course it doesn’t start in Rijeka. It actually starts about 6 years ago.
I was 34, living in a tiny 1-bedroom apartment near the intersection of Crenshaw Blvd and West Adams in Los Angeles. I had quit my job waiting tables earlier in the year after my restaurant proved that it was not a safe place of employment.
Our best employee had gotten his bicycle stolen and his life threatened by someone working in the kitchen of questionable citizenship status, let’s just say.
I decided I was not going to risk my life in a workplace just to take food and drink orders for the yuppies in Santa Monica, not that I had anything against them, they were usually quite polite and good tippers, it was just something about the idea that my life as a restaurant server could be equally or more dangerous than my job as a cryptologist on a nuclear Submarine in the US Navy 10 years earlier that bugged me.
I spent most of 2014 in a dark place, my apartment was not in a good location and I was well-hated among some of my neighbors, many of which who would hurl racial insults at me. Imagine that, South Central LA being unwelcoming to a man of my skin complexion- I know, it’s hard to believe, but it happened. I spent most of my days there building websites and blog sites, trying to make an online dollar, and by September I had started to generate a more independent income.
Around the time I quit my job in February earlier that year, I had made the tragic but well-meaning mistake of trying a doctor-prescribed “medication” called Finasteride, which is supposed to prevent hair loss. I have always been of the mindset that if you can improve yourself, your appearance, your income- anything- even a little, that you should try. Well, as it turned out, the drug has really horrible side effects for some men. How many men? Big pharma doesn’t want you or me to know that information, but there’s a reason the drug has gotten the “black box warning” label years after its initial release. Many men who have taken the drug have had continued side effects that don’t go away related to mental health and sexual performance for the rest of their lives.
So, considering that I didn’t have much of an interest in women the same way I used to, and the fact I was residing in an expensive ghetto paying around $1300 a month just to live as a 2nd class citizen, one day in August I decided to simply get rid of my apartment and go camping. Why not? California State parks would let you camp for $25 – 30/night, which would still save me six hundred bucks every month, and hopefully I could either save or invest that back into my online business.
At the end of the month in September, I left my apartment behind and got into my car, packed up the rest of my things which I hadn’t sold or given away on Craigslist, and just drove north up the coast on a Friday night. I ended up sleeping in my car in the back of a parking lot in a large shopping center in Arroyo Grande, about 3 hours away from Los Angeles. The next day, after about 2 hours of incredibly uncomfortable, partial sleep in my car, I bought a tent and a sleeping bag at the Wal Mart and proceeded to camp behind the town library that Saturday night.
To make a long story short, I stayed in California State parks for a few months and made my way north up the state, eventually getting to Washington State where I spent about a month before I left to Colorado, and then made my way back through the American southwest after partying in Phoenix, Arizona for the Superbowl, when the Patriots beat the Seahawks in early 2015. After that I landed once again in California, this time near Palm Springs, where I went camping in the mountains just south of there and met my best friend and brother for all eternity, the most amazing dog in the Universe, whom I would name Printz.
This lifestyle eventually led me to live all over the Western US where Printz and I started camping in National Parks, which are free if you just park your car on the side of the road and venture into the forest, and eventually left America in 2017.
After having lived all over the Western US and spending a lot of time in major cities, I’d decided I’d had enough, and everything had really blurred together into being the same. I really got tired of certain people coming up to me in public parks when I was walking my dog, asking me proactively if I was “racist” when minding my own business or making racial insults about white people or this or that, and I figured that America had simply turned into some type of political hellscape where many of the folks had lost their minds and didn’t appreciate the concepts that I did- freedom, the entrepreneurial spirit, and leaving people the hell alone. I had no axe to grind with anyone, but some people sure seemed like they had it out for me.
Mix in the fact that many police around America really view you, the citizen, as a nuisance for simply being alive, and you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, between thugs on the street and thugs in uniform, all the while you’re working your butt off to provide a future for yourself and getting no thanks in return.
In 2017 my dog and I moved to Thailand where I spent about 9 months before growting tired of dealing with the government, constantly having to go to their administrative office with my school head, who by then hated me because I never succumbed to her advances on me and didn’t flirt with her, only to be ridiculed and have to pay my extortion fee for a stamp in my passport by government officials, then have to do it again in another 6 weeks, while the school head attempted to scam me for more money which went back on previous agreements. Welcome to Thailand.
In 2018, after having grown sick of Thailand and also having lost my biggest online client only one month after I left the US due to some harsh words exchanged in emails, when they paid me 15 days late in July of 2017 to which the CFO of the company said he couldn’t pay me on time because he “was on a boat”, I was also in some tough times financially, so I went to Cambodia with my dog.
After only 2 months in Cambodia, a tragic event occurred where I lost my best friend one night during probably the worst lightning/thunder storm I had ever witnessed, never to see him again in this world. The lightning seemed to be only a mile above our heads, and combined with a stressful temporary living situation in a place run by some shifty Ukrainians, Printz got scared or sick of the situation and ran into a field when the storm suddenly became outrageously powerful and the rain poured down in sheets, and he was gone.
At that point I really just wanted to leave this Earth. My dog, best friend, brother and really someone like a son to me, was gone and he was the only one I had really cared about for years. All my plans disappeared overnight. I set out to Phnom Penh to take painkillers and just see if I could kill myself slowly with any drugs I could find, but it only seemed to make things worse, and I was too superstitious to actually go through with suicide, though one night I almost didn’t wake up from a dream where I couldn’t breathe.
When my VISA in Cambodia expired, I decided to go to Taiwan, then to Japan and Korea before goint to Russia, eventually most of the former Soviet Union in Eastern Europe, and then Western Europe.
When the cootie virus world panic shutdown occurred, I was stuck in Berlin, Germany for almost 3 months, and as of this writing, things haven’t quite really opened up or returned to normal, and finding countries that will allow Americans to visit has become a challenge.
In addition to this, it turns laying off 10s of millions of Americans is not good for my online business (who could have seen this coming except for the elite banksters who engineered this fake crisis?), and here I am now in Croatia after having spent a few weeks partying in Munich, Germany, on the river, having taken part in quite a few recreational substances because, well, I stopped caring there for a while, but quickly realized I’m also not reckless enough to go on more than just a temporary bender. So I definitely did not stick around because I guess I’m just not that irresponsible. A little rresponsible, yes, but totally stupid, no.
Going hiking at this point and wild camping seems like a great way to get some serious exercise, and camping off-grid means rent-free living once again, so long as it’s done carefully and not to get caught or physically injured. I don’t have the intention to do this forever, but I’m only 40 and still in really good shape physically. We’ll see how it goes and if I can survive these tough times financially.
At this point I’m relying most on my monthly stipend from the Veterans Affairs for my military service and medical discharge from the Navy for an injury they could never fix after 3 surgeries. I’m in a place I never wanted to be, but at the same time, I’m realizing spiritually that money is not all life’s cracked up to be. If the opportunities are fewer and fewer, I can either hate myself and be miserable, or just live my life the best way possible and try to be positive or at the very least neutral, and I’ve chosen the latter.
So here we go, this is what I’ve done and learned in the last couple of months alone. Hopefully it will help some folks out there looking for creative ways to survive during these trying times, something to help them stay sane or a way for them to vicariously travel the world through the pages of this book if they’re locked down. But perhaps most of all, I hope to put the illusion that travel is going to solve your problems or make your life that much better into proper perspective, as I’ve learned myself time and time again.