A one year trip across two continents with two children and four wheels...

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Turkey

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Sameena writes:

Turkey passed by in a blur. After a relaxing day in Troy, a tense night watching soldiers take over Istanbul on a foreign t.v. screen. The words are incomprehensible but the tone is alarming. A coup? Boarders are closed and flights cancelled, everyone is tense. We’ve taken a ship across to Canakkale and are at the wrong side of this sea to simply drive back to Greece. A sickening feeling of deja vu haunts our sleepless night. Flee as fast as possible or wait, watch and measure? In Syria in 2011 we fled and drove into trouble and unrest. We will wait. It’s quiet here, a village of 1000 people, only the campsite owner makes me nervous. As we gather around the television thirsty for news, he promptly switches it off, turns up the music and walks away. His words are calming but he is visibly nervous and irritated with us. The next morning a Turkish family immigrated to Germany turn back to Greece. We wait with another young couple of travelers heading to Mongolia. I spill out 2 full buckets of lego on our carpet outside and the children sit in the shade making ‘ satellite plane car scooter boats” We feel defeated, it’s more than 2 months that we’ve been trying to move forward and are stopped at the last minute for one reason or another…a message? We hold a family meeting at lunch, eating Turkish meatballs and fried aubergines in the sticky shade of the restaurant. Two vote to go back and two to go forward…stale mate. I try to explain to the children what happened last night in Turkey and what the latest news seems to be showing. Giulio looks in amazement

Why are we wasting our spit talking! If the president has arrested all the military trying to take over, there is no more danger anymore. Let’s go to Iran!

The logic is impeccable and in three fast days of driving we are beneath Mount Ararat Welcome to Iran”

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Giulio scrive :

La Liberta’

Le Alpi, i libri,

la scrittura e i animali

e le nuvole di forme diverse

Ma dove si trova la liberta’

a mani nude

volando come i uccelli

storie belle e vita bella

Il Mondo

Tutti i giorni la penna del mio libro scrive

pagine per pagine le storie finite

nella bocca  del mondo

Luca scrive…..

Dopo lo stallo in Grecia , e la fuga sul monte olimpo in cerca di fresco per finire il lavoro di editing finalmente vediamo sventolare la bandiera turca alta sul pennone al confine dietro una lunghissima fila di tir che aspettano i lunghissimi controlli doganali……

RX per il nostro camion ma niente controllo ne a noi ne al nostro carico…. nessuno si accorge che abbiamo un cane…. alla faccia di tutte le raccomandazioni, i documenti necessari per passare le frontiere le eventuali quarantene e via di seguito….solo 25 euro di visto per Sameena con il suo bel passaporto Britannico.

Il caldo di meta’ luglio, la poco voglia di vedere grosse città’ e l interesse mostrato da Giulio e Lusira di visitare Troia di cui hanno sentito parlare nelle storie greche ci portano lontano da Istanbul lungo la costa che va verso sud e con un piccolo traghetto siamo oltre il canale a Canakkale vicino a Troia.

Un piccolo campeggio, una coppia di giovani viaggiatori tedeschi in rotta verso l Australia, due chiacchiere dopo la visita d’obbligo al sito archeologico, e il falso sorriso del proprietario e della sua antipatica vecchia mamma incorniciano questa prima giornata in Turchia……mentre ricordi lontani di oltre 30 anni fanno eco nella mia mente.

Il sole tramonta, il caldo lascia posto ad una fresca brezza serale tutto e’ tranquillo i bambini dormono il sonno dei giusti e sul telefono scorro le ultime notizie…..sembra quasi un “deja vu’ “ del 2012 quando le rivoluzioni ci seguivano o anticipavano di poche ore….. colpo di stato in Turchia carri armati bloccano i ponti a Istanbul aerei militari sorvolano a bassa quota Ankara…. primi scontri, insicurezza paura…. in pochi minuti e pochissimi click sullo schermo del telefono e la nostra realtà’ e’ ribaltata….. da felice famigliola in giro per il mondo per far crescere i figli liberi e spensierati all angoscia di trovarsi in un paese in rivolta….. la notte e’ lunga le notizie frammentarie , gli amici nottambuli in europa ci aggiornano dai divani di casa ascoltando commenti e commentatori europei……notte insonne e piena di incertezze… che fare? La notte per quanto breve porta con se un consiglio, e la mattina decidiamo di non fare nulla, aspettare….. qui a Troia tutto e’ normale le pecore nei pascoli i contadini al lavoro sui trattori nuovi fiammanti e il muezzin instancabile che chiama tutti alla preghiera. Consiglio di famiglia al tramonto con Giulio che suggerisce di proseguire visto che “il presidente ha arrestato quindi che problema c’e”? e Lusira che diplomaticamente dice “si può’ anche tornare in dietro ma in Mongolia comunque voglio arrivare…”.

Due diverse realtà’ una dentro il video della tv piena di immagini ripetute a sfinimento una fuori oltre il piccolo muro che ci separa dai campi che circondano Troia…. dove la vita continua come se nulla fosse accaduto…..

All’alba accendo il camion lasciando tutti dietro e in pochi minuti entro in una bella e moderna autostrada che corre verso est….. perseguiamo in fretta, anzi di corsa ma proseguiamo….1950km in tre giorni evitando tutte le città ma senza motivo perché’ la gente sorride e sembra ignorare ciò che e’ accaduto….. e ripenso alle parole dell’illuminato amico dentista di Ankara che al telefono mi ha sussurrato “non ti preoccupare e soprattutto non cambiare i tuoi piani e’ solo uno sporco gioco del presidente”

Lusira scrive:

Siamo gia’ in Turchia e gia tutto cambia…le signore che fanno il bagno vestiti.

Siamo andati a vedere il sito archeologico di Troia. Era molto bello, abbiamo sentito con le cuffie tutta la storia di Troia, e ho scoperto tante cose. Ho scoperto che Achille e stato ucciso proprio qui su una rampa della città’.

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Tutti gli uccelli sono nei alberi che cantano. E’ gia’ Luglio e il cielo e’ sempre piu’ blu, e le giornate sono sempre piu’ lunghe, e l’erba e’ sempre piu’ gialla, e tutte le farfalle che svolazzano fra i fiori.

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E’ l’ultimo sera in Turchia. Domani attraverseremo la dogana e entreremo in Iran. Siamo su un campo, Fedra e’ sempre piu’ affettuosa e grande, le rondini sono sempre piu’ in alto.  

GREECE 2016

Sameena : Greece has again embraced us in an unexpected way. We were supposed to stay a short time, just enough to relax and find our traveling feet, but again fate has had other plans. My Iran visa is long in surfacing from the beaurocratic machine (British passport with Muslim name creates suspicion on all fronts) and an unexpected job has kept us here for 6 weeks!! Time enough to savor this beautiful country and contemplate (already!) other routes should my visa not submerge.

Lusira and Giulio say that Greece reminds them of Tunisia; no helmets or seatbelts, loose traffic rules, good yoghurt and free spaces, people are extremely welcoming …and the straw umbrellas on the beach are even free!

Our first weeks are spent with old and new friends (Thank you Nikos and Khara for your hospitality) and in the happy company of my nephew Ben, who came on board with us for 4 days. Luca made the most of his acupuncture skills and Lusira and Giulio, made the most of his infinite energy and patience in games of ball, climbing excursions and jellyfish fights. The last 5 weeks have been spent in the company of two sweet and wonderful people George and Vania. With an urgent editing job to do they kindly picked us off the seafront,and opened their house and hearts to us. Our energies mix and flow, we infect them with thoughts of trucks and freedom and they have infected us with their unselfish love for all creatures….we now have a puppy. A heart not a head decision,it’s for sure a complication to our simple life, but a very welcomed one. I feel she marks a new period.

.So this blog text, is again out of date! We were again stopped in our tracks this time just 12km from the Turkish boarder after having revisited our old friend Giorgo from Epanomei., and now another month has passed. A quick U- turn back to Athens to a recording studio, and then slowly back up north. Whist i yet again stare into the computer monitor with my eyes rebelling against their sad destiny (where have the beautiful horizons gone?) The rest of the family scratch deeper into the Greek culture. The sweet scent of herbs tucked in the cracks of wild boulders mingle with fantastic tales of ancient Gods and Goddesses that Lusira and Giulio have become obsessed with. They collect thyme and capers on the seafront and breath in ancient landscapes in Delphi and the Meteore…Our last stop, the mighty Mount Olympus a fitting place to finish their books and my job. Luca goes shopping by foot with the children in a small village nearby, as i make the most of the sun on our chosen hillside at 1200m, to keep me cool and my computer batteries high (i would of course have preferred it the other way around! me high…) After 12 days i can finally remerge .We all feel victorious, and celebrate with a short trek up to the top of the mountain,with wild goats whistling at us as the clouds rush past in a fantastically clear sky. It’s definitely time to leave, but i already feel nostalgic for this beautiful country.

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Luca racconta: L’ultima volta che ho scritto sul blog avevo il mio cappello pastun di lana, l’aria era fresca e con stupore ed ammirazione guardavo i nostri figli sguazzare nell acqua gelida dello Ionio ad Aprile…… da allora un buco enorme si e’ aperto davanti a noi…e al nostro viaggio, e quasi sembra abbia ingoiato, famelico, gli ultimi 90 giorni…. Raccontare tutto sarebbe lungo e noioso ma anche questo buco, come tanti altri che in passato abbiamo conosciuto, e’ un aspetto del nostro modo di viaggiare…. lasciare che siano le circostanze a determinare il nostro progredire verso una meta sempre molto incerta. Dopo tre mesi siamo ancora in Grecia molto vicini alla frontiera turca, ma non ancora altre quella linea immaginaria che separa, sulle carte, terre, popoli, culture, e spesso anche tristemente i destini di intere popolazioni. In tre mesi abbiamo nell’ordine: rimontato l’intera serie di documentari che in maniera un po’ roccambolesca quanto improvvisata finira’ tra qualche mese sugli schermi di mezza Asia, Sameena si e’ trasformata inaspettatamente in doppiatrice di se stessa in un studio di registrazione ad Atene, infuocata dal sole di fine Giugno, abbiamo ricevuto il visto dell’Iran dato ormai per perso dopo 8 settimane di attesa e sbloccato il conto bancario che era finito sotto tutela da un non precisato organo di controllo per aver indicato la parola ”Iran” sulla causale del pagamento del visto stesso….e ovviamente vissuto la quotidiana intimita’ familiare nel nostro camion, in posti molto belli, ma anche in quelli normali, dalle spiagge bianche della penisola kalkidika ai pascoli in quota del monte Olimpo.

Tre mesi di viaggio senza kilometri percorsi, senza itinerari e localita’ turistiche raggiunte, ma con tanti incontri e la scoperta di una terra ospitale e sorridente, la Grecia dei greci, dei continui “ti kanes?” ( come va?), delle cortesie senza ritorni e doppi fini, degli inviti sinceri a condividere una fetta di feta o un suvlaki davanti al mare o sulla cima di un monte.Questi lunghi mesi in Grecia hanno impiantato il seme di nuove e profonde amicizie, e il sorriso timido ed emozionato di Wania, la sensibilita e l’ospitatlita’ esplosiva di Jorgos non saranno certo cancellate dall’effetto sbaidente della memoria.So che in ogni momento potro’ tornare, per un giorno, un mese o un anno nella loro casa e sentirmi sempre parte di essa e non un ospite…..

Lusira racconta:

Tante cose possono accadere in una settimana. Abbiamo incontrato una coppia interessante scappati da Atene, venuti in cerca di liberta’ e a vivere in campagna. Subito diventando amici, ci invitano a cena dove hanno 11 cagnolini trovati con la mamma. Era la prima volta che vedevo dei cagnolini cosi piccoli. Dopo qualche giorno decidiamo di adottare una cagnolina, ero felicissima! Dopo aver provato tanti nomi decidiamo di chiamarla ‘Fedra’ (Phaedra) che vuol dire ‘luminosa’.

Giulio racconta:

Adesso non vi racconto del cammello perche’ sono successe delle cose che mi piacciono molto piu’ del cammello ( il cammello velo racconto un altra volta)

E tanto, ecco dove inizia la vera storia: Noi abbiamo incontrato Giorgo e Vania. Giorgio e’ un maestro da sci nautico ed era anche un campione. Io ho detto di ‘si’ e il giorno dopo io e Lusira siamo andati, e io ero il primo e sono andato prima sul bastone e quando ero sulla corda mi sembrava di volare come una piuma. Dopo era il turno di Lusira e alla fine sulla corda e’ caduta come me.

 

OFF WE GO, salam aleikum!

So we leave again this happy hill in the centre of Italy in search of wider horizons, and this invisible dialogue between us starts up again. Four years older and with our truck rebuilt and restored we head again for Asia to pick up on the many things and places we somehow missed on or last trip . Our route is loosely planned and open, oscillating around 4 fixed points:
Pakistan to visit the family, Northern India for part of our filming project, Nepal for a one month trek in the Everest region and Mongolia probably in the summer of 2017.
This time the blog will be written by four different hands. My apathy has unexpectedly and rather joyfully inspired the rest of the family to take over. I will write in English and the rest of the family in Italian.The timing of our posts will probably be erratic so if you want updates you can ‘follow’ the blog and be updated every time we post.  So here goes…

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SAMEENA :

The most confused, disorderly and uninspiring departure we ever made. Undecided whether to leave in modest silence or with fanfares and jingles, engrossed in a liturgy of endless ‘things to do’ heads bowed over growing lists, we definitely missed the mark. Unable to decide whether to adhere to the categoric Italian  superstition where one should never leave on Friday or Tuesday, our loading activities finally ceased on Thursday night after a frenzy of activity, leaving us exhausted. Our saving grace an improvised breakfast with Luca’s mother and brother on Friday morning, where ominously the lights in our chosen bar went out along with the coffee machines and the possibility of a last Italian cappuccino.

The ritualistic mental preparation got the upper hand and suffocated the bitter sweet joy of departure..and yet, just one and a half hours down the road, our trip has begun. At the port of Ancona, we decide not to take todays ship, but to postpone until tomorrow and to sail with the same ship that heroically brought us home 3 years ago after 22 months on the road. The symmetry is pleasing and sets the tone for a sweet departure. Symbols ,signs, finding order in the universe of possibilities and harmony in our choices, silently guide  our movements. This time the horizon of our return is set far ahead. We have no impelling  need to come back, the ultimate official obstacle has  been overcome, and it is now almost 2 years that we have been joyfully home schooling our children. I can see no better way to integrate their learning experience than letting them be part of the world that surrounds them.

GIULIO:

Io sono in Grecia, e vi racconto di quando ero in Douz (Tunisia)

Io stavo giocando con Lanis che lei mi doveva acchiappare. Io stavo gattonando vicino ad una palma e una spina mi è entrata nel dito , e sono andato all’ospedale e quando sono tornato al camion, Lanis e Lilas e Lusira mi avevano comprato un po’ di cioccolato, e ho diviso il cioccolato e siamo andati a dormire.Nello stesso inverno abbiamo salvato un cammello però questa storia ve la racconto un’ altra volta

ciao ciao a tutti voi

LUCA :

gr24

Alla fine siamo partiti, il traghetto ci ha trasportato senza accorgerci in Grecia. Pioggia e sole si alternano rapidissimi ,il mare blu intenso è calma nella baia, e Giulio e Lusira tentano di superare il freddo del ‘acqua di Aprile.La costa è frastagliata e le isole punteggiano questo tratto di ionio, con la macchia mediterranea in piena fioritura che riempie l’aria con il suo profumo selvatico. E’ il compleanno di Lusira e come promesso ci accampiamo in una piccola baia che guarda Itaca, il villaggio è in piena attività, tutti tagliano ,riparano e riverniciano ciò che l’inverno ha danneggiato.

In questi primi giorni di viaggio il tempo sembra non scorrere veloce, ed io lentamente mi sto riabituando ai ritmi del viaggio, ai movimenti misurati nello spazio contratto del camion.Cerco di concentrarmi sul nuovo film, dare ossigeno all’idea embrionale che da tempo mi galleggia in testa ma senza grossi risultati…..arriverà di sicuro al momento giusto l’ispirazione e lo stimolo ad iniziare, a raccogliere quelle immagini prima confuse e caotiche che  poi si trasformeranno in un racconto.

LUSIRA:

Grecia 17.04.2016

Ieri siamo andati al mare. Io e Giulio abbiamo salvato le meduse. Quelle con le teste rosse sono ancora vive invece quelle con le teste bianche e dure sono quasi morte e quelle con la testa morbida e bianche sono completamente morte. Giulio dice che e meglio bruciarsi che farle morire, anch’io sono d’accordo

lus 2lus 1lus 3lus 4

 

 

T.V. series……..

36La serie,  ‘Fuori Rotta Verso Oriente’  da noi prodotta, e divisa in 5 episodi,  andrà in onda su Rai5 , canale 23 digitale terrestre  ogni sabato  alle 18:30 e in replica ogni domenica alle 13:15 circa,  (verificare gli orari sul sito RAI5.)

Gli episodi si possono anche vedere in streaming e le puntate precedenti su RAI REPLAY, indicando data e canale.

http://www.rai.tv/dl/RaiTV/programmi/media/ContentItem-c41f6fe7-2de9-43b2-8070-f1149792e684.html

Sul digitale terrestre il numero del canale dovrebbe essere 23.

Buona Visione!

Just for who ever has access to RAI 5, for the next 5 weeks our 5 part series ‘Fuori Rotta Verso Oriente’ will be shown every Saturday at around 18.30 (or later, they change every week!) and on Sunday morning at around 1:15. The episodes can also be seen in streaming and the older episodes can be accessed on internet at RAI REPLAY clicking  on date and channel. I think in Italy it can be accessed on channel number 23.

Happy viewing!

JUSALULU TEASER

 

Just a few moments to share…..For a better quality just click on Vimeo and watch in HD. 

Hope you enjoy…

Full Circle…back home

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Russia and Ukraine pass in a blur through the now scratched and dirty windscreen of our truck. We have a limited visa and little time to explore, but the rare moments of reprise are spent blinking confusedly and unbelievingly at the new face of reality. We passed along the exact same route in 1998 whilst on our way to Mongolia, and the transformation is incredible. Where before the cities seemed dull and uninviting, as depressed as the inhabitants in a moment of great insecurity, they are now somehow full of life and colour. Many of the huge heating pipes that vomited strange masses of insulation material, have been removed, the front of buildings have been retiled, repainted and modernised, whilst all around there are well kept parks, playgrounds and flowers lining the edge of the road. Couples kiss unashamedly on benches, and the traditionally or perhaps culturally ‘unsmiling’ population….is smiling. The roads too are smooth and I somehow feel like my route has been reversed, here business is booming and there is an optimism in the air like the 70’s in Europe……the unsmiling faces will perhaps come to me further west in the ‘old’ Europe, along with the holes in the roads!!

In Ukraine we spend two languid days with our good friends from Morpheus….we are again sad to part and find excuses to prolong just a little longer the moment before we must say our goodbyes. Our times together and dreams for the future are sealed in a token Thai lantern that is freed in the clear evening sky  with the children’s’ names solemnly written on the thin rice paper, they for their part, jump excitedly, run recklessly and attempt to take flight after it. Good bye good friends.

Bulgaria- high hills, sweet scented woods full of wild strawberries, trekkers, friendliness and….broken tyres. The truck is on its last feet and each day a small piece gives way, oil seals leak, and for some reason tyres are breaking at an alarming rate. We change two in one morning and now no longer posses a spare. As we work on the truck the children play their games in the sweltering, dusty surroundings and return victoriously with two bags full of fruit and vegetables donated by a kind blonde lady…. I do suspect   she thinks we are gypsies..but actually we are a little and I accept the gift in good spirit. All along the way since we have entered the ‘Stans’ fruit sellers have been our friends….somehow small dirty kids inspire fruity presents. As we get closer to Europe our status as exotic travellers has slowly been transformed, first to circus performers and now to ‘Tzigoiner’.

As we enter Greece I feel a certain emotion, the Mediterranean landscape with its olive trees, loud crickets and pungent scent of dry herbs feels like home and I embrace it all like a long lost friend. It is here that we close our imaginary circle, and our last few days are spent reminiscing. We track our steps back first to Giorgo who welcomes us warmly and takes us out on a day trip in his small self built sail boat, with promises of fishing and cold beers. Business is bad and he can easily take a day off…around him restaurants are closing and there is an uncomfortable feeling of implosion. Tourists have somehow chosen different destinations this year and there is a certain amount of anger at the bad publicity the media has given Greece….business is desperately needed this year.

We return to ’ Peters’ beach near the port of Igoumenitsa, where twenty months ago we met up with our good travelling friend at the start of our trip. Like territorial animals we park in exactly the same place and I’m tempted to dress the kids in the exact same clothing (now of course much too small reaching knees and elbows..) and take a photo, but I’m dissuaded by the 40 degrees temperature that would melt them in their down jackets…anyway the woolly hats have long been given away and the camera batteries are low….a sign of my apathy towards taking photos, yet another indication that our trip has come to an end. I close another strange circle by loosing yet another silver  ring in the Greek sea, the same three layered ring this time from my toe….is it a strange cosmic message that I’m unable to decipher?

I again contemplate the mysteries of the planet where all animals big and small have approximately the same number of heart beat during their life cycle….some beating short and fast others long and slow. There are obviously many things I don’t understand or do not have the sensitivity to decipher…..does travelling necessarily make you a little mystical and superstitious? Maybe…today Friday the thirteenth and we have already changed three tyres….hmmm.

Today we board our ship, across the sea and home. I watch the horizon waiting patiently for its silhouette and feel somehow heroic and misplaced… in the wrong century… ’ANEK Lines’ doesn’t have quite the right romantic ring to it, but it nevertheless arrives in glory, puffing smoke against the backdrop of a mottled orange sky. I hear snippets of conversation in Italian, excite  holiday makers chattering about fashion… images of far off lands, momentary emotions ,and unorganised and undisciplined thoughts come flooding all together in to my mind, heightening  my sense of alienation.

The authorities don’t really have a protocol for people like us returning to their country after such a long period spent abroad. Our M.O.T expired last year , as did Luca’s driving licence, but our good friends Rodolfo and Felicia come to our rescue and  meet up with us to help us slip back, incognito to the safety of our home. After a Hawaiian style welcoming with serenades and flower necklaces, we drive the two hours that it takes to reach our home with Rodolfo scouting the road ahead to avoid any long and uncomfortable discussions justifying our outlawish behaviour. As in the past our cat ‘Sukki’ magically meets us at the gate (seventh sense …or is it nine lives) greeting us with load meows.

Its midnight and the kids are fast asleep in the truck, our curiosity is too great and we tentatively open the front door of our house, around us a strange moonlit garden with yellow-blue grass up to our shoulders. Inside we switch on the light and walk delicately across the floor like two burglars not wanting to disturb the rightful owners. I catch Lucas’ eye and start to laugh, we are strangers in our own house. For a few rare moments I have the chance to look at my house objectively with the cool eye of a stranger, no longer linked to the objects by any memories or emotional ties….it all seems very beautiful….but why so much?? I find a small list of ‘things to load into the truck’ scribbled hurriedly and stuck on the fridge with a colourful magnet, a small time capsule. Many things have changed inside me, but here all has remained static, in hibernation, waiting for our return to be reanimated. It is the load clicking of crickets that brings me back to the present, the only evidence of life invading the  privacy  and stillness of our house in our absence…..a small village of them have congregated in our living room adding to the surrealness of the situation and  my sense of displacement ……we will need a little time.

In the morning Lusira wakes first  “We’re home Giulio, look we’re home!!” – “Ah, is it snowing?” he asks (it’s full summer and already 35degrees Celsius, but the last photos he saw of the house was with snow!)

I decide to call Giulio’s bluff; he is the guide and will lead us down the path to our house. He walks confidently, swinging his arms. He arrives at a door.. “Here” (it’s not our s door) “Ah…Sukki !” he exclaims at a cat (it’s not our cat) “Ah yes here’s our car..” (it’s not our car) At this stage I feel a little mean and lead him back to our home, he runs around trying to find his bedroom “Where’s that wooden thing for going down?” he obviously has  small snippets of memories independent of space.

The next three days we see very little of our children. Giulio exclaims “Are these all ours?!” looking at a neat stack of toys. The next days are spent going up and down the stairs with books under his arms talking to himself in a low mumble.   Lusira tells me “it’s like staying for a long time at a beautiful campsite…but in a house instead of a truck!” and Giulio after some time finally concludes “Mummy, now we will stay, I like my house”

As for me…I am busy emptying cupboards of useless objects and streamlining our house. At times I still feel a volcano of energy and optimism pulsing in my chest which I dearly hope to preserve. The world after all is a fascinating place…..

So, Sameena,

 Remember your projects and keep magic in your life. Do useless, enjoyable things that make you feel good, and fill your house with colour. Celebrate everyday with childish things and don’t get hassled by dust and washing! Don’t work for your objects or possessions. Keep your children close and give them your exclusive time. Let them fly!

Build an Elf house in the woods. Make a hat of leaves and flowers for Lusira. Go on the back roads with your Vespa, all four together and free!

Build a chicken house of mud and sticks, up   in the trees like in Ethiopia, and a Nepali stove in the shade for summer cooking .Plant fruit and vines that change colour in autumn. Plant marigolds, hibiscus and hollihops in your garden, wild asparagus under the olive trees and capers in the cracks of the stone walls.

Knit, knit, knit. ..And knit with love. Crochet anything, any shape and colour that comes to mind and gives you inner peace.

Go away, keep moving, and do things for yourself..don’t worry about things you can’t change and don’t worry about the world, it will carry on long after you have gone! Make love to your husband and stay united….don’t let any sourness slip in. Stay light and say sorry. Be healthy and  don’t get stuck on the net!!

Kazakhstan….and west

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Wide horizons, emptiness, desert, hotsweatybumpy unfinished roads, rasping boiling air, no sleep, friendly shepherds, easy smiles, the yellow smell of dry cut grass, rainbows following us, camels with dreadlocks, loud crickets and wild flowers on the table, expensive fruit…free fruit, gifts, cool rivers, week-end camping, clean green towns with playgrounds…… white skin, short skirts and supermarkets that mark end of our trip….

Like migrant birds we look west to Europe and home. It’s time to take flight; we have many kilometres and less time than we are used to. No longer will we travel, but transit or transfer.

The long journey will be used to begin to digest the twenty months on the road and to plan new sedentary projects with less spice but hopefully just as much spirit…. A trip is never complete, until, like an old film, you have ran over the many images and moments that have become a part of you but are also hidden inside you, waiting for a quiet moment to come out and become whole, solid; where past, present and future mix in a single thought that is the essence and reason for travel…..

(In my notes I have written ‘self- growth, blah, blah, blah’ which seems to express things quite well!)

So, what now? Do I carry on in what has become a monthly ritual, this pleasant conversation with myself and your invisible eyes?…. Do I actually have any more images or thoughts to share or do I make a dignified exit now while the going is still good?

I will make my exit (as dignified as possible) with the last Post written from home. I am myself curious (and admittedly a little worried) what ‘home’ means, especially for the children. This morning I had my first moment of horror at leaving the truck. I’m happy and full of energy for the future, but I love the intimacy we have, I love meeting new and often like minded people, the freedom of movement and…. our stupid little routines. I love this gypsy life and can’t yet imagine staying put. Giulio too is excited but also clingy, a little unsettled…on closer examination I have discovered that his memory of home is only from photos and obscure unrelated fragments of life , mostly related in some way to food!  We will see….

As far as images go, I have every intention of editing monthly video clips from each country, to share a little of what has been shown on the blog so far in photos. So keep tuned if you feel like it or subscribe to the blog if you want to be informed when there are any new posts.

NEXT POST – LAST ‘TRAVEL’ POST

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