I toyed with my last euro; fingering it nervously.
I carefully browsed the supermarket isles.
What could I afford?
What did I need?
No, stuff that! What did I want?
Chocolate? Chips? A piece of fruit? Half a vegetable?
I bought two beers.
Leaving me 11 cents in the world.
Being broke has been a long time coming.
In fact, when I left my last job (Tea Gardens Australia, 11 December 2015) I knew I didn’t have much and I wouldn’t last long…
Somehow “not much’ carried me through 39 countries – almost around the world!
(No, I don’t travel on family money. No I don’t stay in hotels. Yes, I still have both my kidneys. And no I have yet to harvest my eggs. The last new item of clothing I bought was probably in 1673.)
I’ve almost taken countless jobs, but adventure and life have kept me shuffling forward.
Despite a working holiday visa for New Zealand, the Pacific islands called my name.
Last year Europe beckoned (who would miss Helena Kubátovás wedding??).
This year it was the Caribbean… (and I even had jobs lined up there).
But life had other plans.
Life sent me to Morocco.
Morocco is beautiful. And hot. And I couldn’t work there!
Like every other desperate hopeful sailor, I started the pilgrimage and headed for Majorca,
Mecca for boat jobs .
But the ferry sent me to Malaga.
I didn’t like Malaga.
I stuck out my thumb and started walking
(Spain has to be one of the worst countries to hitch hike in. I walked over 6 km before I got my first ride – another 7 kilometres – and then gave up for the day. The days that followed weren’t much better.)
People told me I needed to go to Tarifa. So I went to Tarifa.
Which brings me to Thursday, the day I [wisely] spent my last euro.
The day I finally went broke.
I had two options:
Curl up in a ball and cry.
Or find a job.
On Friday I became a cleaner. And learned how to use a mop.
On Saturday I started a second job at a surf shop.
On Sunday (yesterday) I had saved enough money to put the deposit on an apartment* and move out of my tent.
And while I HAD TO stop to work, I also had to stop because LAGOS
(Portugal, not Nigeria)
is exceptional and it’s a place I want to stick around!
For a while at least.
Even sea gypsies need some land time.
This has been a week of hustling to make things happen,
but it’s good to know that with a little bit of faith and a lot of hard work,
Anything is possible.
*Technically it’s more of an unofficial hostel. But it’s a nice apartment at least. And I have yet to meet most of the other 9 inhabitants.
Thank you to all the people the good people who saw the thumb and stopped to pick me up along the way!
Thank you to Mark and Cali for introducing me to Couch Surfing – not so much for the “couch” – but for the conversations and the time and calm of your exceptional abodes to help me get my head straight.
And thank you to all the boats, crew, and exceptional souls who helped me travel so far and enjoy the planet so much without having to stop to find gainful employment!
I’m not sure what the future holds exactly, but soon [I hope] it will be your turn to visit me!