WHAT | Seeking Artist Residency /\ Sustainable Community | WHERE Europe | WHEN Yesterday

WHAT: Ideally, I’d like to find a place where artists, musicians, writers and creatives can live and exchange their board and meals with work on sustainable green projects and the commitment to adhering to a weekly or bi-weekly series of scheduled benchmarks of deliverables: what they’ve achieved in that period in terms of their own work projects. This achievement report would correspond with a meeting involving all of the residents; to offer each other advise, critique and possibilities of collaboration.

WHERE: I prefer to be based in Europe, though I’m always open to ideas and travel. Does anyone in the world, know of something of this nature that exists?

WHEN: Once again I find myself almost homeless, after a ‘workaway’ gig in Brooklyn that I had applied for and been accepted 3 months in advance, hadn’t worked out after the first week.

pic James and Lois Keiter

Pic a few years ago of my parents in the yard they planted. father James deceased 2013.

Here’s a drawing I just did of this photograph> a Christmas present for my mother Lois. Framed it after the final retouches!

sketch by Carol, daughter of James and Lois Keiter

Framed after final touches an illustration of my parents James and Lois Keiter

I’ve changed it a couple times before framing it, and this photograph of the framed one is the final version.

Carol's drawing of mother and dad, Lois and James Keiter

Carol’s drawing of mother and dad, Lois and James Keiter


My drawing of my parents James and Lois Keiter

My drawing of my parents James and Lois Keiter

In the meantime, I have dozens of articles to write, a book to complete, music to practice and compose and illustrations that I wish to continue to create. My requirements in order to deliver: time, shelter, nutrition and a positive & safe environment with electricity and internet access. As I am not savvy with my own marketing or google adware and the like – in order to monetize my blogs – I fall into the same quandary.

One thing I excel at, is approaching people whom I’ve never met before. I love to converse, exchange ideas, listen to peoples’ stories and further research and communicate subjects. I do this no matter where I am; interacting in public places and as a seasoned hitchhiker. Often the drivers who pick people up are those who like to converse, hear stories and tell their own. I’ve traveled to and lived in several countries (have barely begun to travel as extensively as I would like) and hosted people as well as surfed on peoples’ couches through https://www.couchsurfing.com. I love to communicate: verbally, in writing, illustration and photographs.

An option of mine is to couchsurf, associated with furthering my own project. I met a French girl at the PlacetoB in Paris who has been living for the past year and a half exclusively couchsurfing throughout France. She has had success. I could offer on my own youtube channel a video of the projects I’m involved in, and regularly reveal what I’m achieving on a bi-weekly basis. I would reveal my work in various media, adhering to benchmarks of what I deliver on a bi-weekly basis. In exchange for the couchsurfing hosts, I would offer cooking, cleaning, piano & bass guitar lessons, computer software music & graphic design training, language instruction, portraits of the family, health & fitness training, etc.

Why? >
>I thought that my blogging should pause while I seek out monetized income by delivering this same material – in the form of dozens of articles – querying environmental publications. Upon investigating a dozen or so publications. As someone unknown and low on the totem pole, though each have their own rules of submission, all say that there will be a 3 to 4 month time period before they can respond, if they do at all.

I have begun investigating cooperative sustainable communities and eco villages with the idea of living in a community and sharing the various activities and work needed to be done – growing food, cooking, repairing, child-care, entertainment – yet until one physically meets the people, it is hard to blindly commit to any length of time until one has visited the group in person.

I know that there are artist grants & residencies out there, however I don’t have 3 months or even 3 weeks to research these, for which most require scouting the contact people and apply within a particular time period and waiting in a potentially long line of people for positions.

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European Hitchgathering Liptovská Mara, Slovakia | August 8, 2013 | my hitchabout

This blog has been far too long ‘on hold’, mostly because I’ve been busy since my return to Berlin, Germany with relocation procedures, updating resumes with new contact info and searching for work. August 24th dates one month since my arrival in Berlin. The day after my arrival, July 25th, was the MayanDay Out of Time”, with the following day starting the new Lunar year. I realized this only in retrospect, though did feel on the day following my overnight sleepless flight as if I was in a zone without time.

My arrival intentionally coincided with the beginning of an event which tipped the scale, in terms of drawing me ‘Back to Berlin’, a couchsurfing event.

In between acclimating to my new location, time-zone and preparing for a short but sweet dj debut at the Saturday night party of the CS event, I began to map out how I would hitch to the ‘European Hitchhiking Gathering 2013’ in Slovakia, which I’d been introduced to through a Facebook group while still back in the United States.

European Hitchgathering Slovakia 2013

European Hitchgathering Slovakia 2013

I decided that there couldn’t be a better way to seriously start exploring Europe, on not a low, but no budget, than by continuing my hitchhiking tradition. As always, I began looking at google maps and ‘get directions’, to plan my route.

google_map_slovakia_location_hitch_aug3

I also consulted ‘hitchwiki‘ in which people share their experiences and recommend the best routes.

Hitchwiki resource for finding gas stations adjacent to cities along highways and their 'hitchability'.

Hitchwiki resource for finding gas stations adjacent to cities along highways and their ‘hitchability’.

And used bvg.de to figure out which stop to get off the train to just exit Berlin, after consulting the Berlin S & U Bahn transit maps. Hitchwiki is an excellent source to see where gas stations near cities are located, with recommendations provided by other hitchers about the hitchability of a place.

Having no accessible printer available, I began drawing my maps, which I prefer to do anyway.

Map of route Berlin to Slovakia

Map of route Berlin to Slovakia

Hand-drawn route map Berlin, Germany to Krakow, Poland.

Hand-drawn route map Berlin, Germany to Krakow, Poland.

Word-of-mouth as well as the hitchwiki site suggested that I begin my journey at a highway rest-stop southwest of Berlin near Michendorf in the Potsdam district. I was pleased to find a busy gas station and other hitchhikers there.

Five hours later, I’d met some of these other hitchhikers, particularly two guys who I learned were from Estland (found out later that is Estonia). They were having similar luck to mine. By the sixth hour I was offered a swig of Vodka from their bottle after we talked a bit. By the seventh hour, I decided to alter my route. Instead of heading to the destinations in Poland that I had already penned out, grabbing some bakery paper at the train station in Berlin (where I met an Israeli guy who observed that I was probably hitching, congratulated me and gave me some fruit & chocolate and wrote down my blog addresses).

European_Hitchgathering_Slovakia_sign_Wroclaw

European_Hitchgathering_Slovakia_sign_Krakow

I now decided to head to this outdoor music festival that was beginning that evening in Poland, just over the German border directly east of Berlin.

Woodstock  An open-air music festival in Poland

Woodstock
An open-air music festival in Poland

I had already thought of heading to this festival perhaps on my way back from Slovakia, so already had looked over the route. I realized that it would be probably be over by the time I got there, so decided to head there first, since it appeared that other hitchers with signs for this festival, had been picked up.

Kuestrin, Poland, Kostryzn is the Polish name of the town.

Kuestrin, Poland, Kostryzn is the Polish name of the town.

Now I held up the sign to go there, with the Polish name of the town.

Kostrzyn Poland

Kostrzyn Poland

Within minutes of making a new sign for Küstrin, Polan (Kostrzyn, Polska) the Woodstock fest, and approaching one car with 3 guys, I learned that they were on their way to Woodstock from Leipzig. They took me along. They were friendly and compatible the whole drive. They offered that I sleep in their car while they slept in their tents, sounded good. Once we arrived to the grounds, they proceeded to unpack their car and set up a table and chairs. I stayed with them, talked, hung out, laughed and we decided eventually to head over towards the festival grounds. Yet as we were about to leave after I’d put my pack in their car, something occurred that caused me to feel uneasy about leaving it there. I grabbed it out of their car and started walking with them as we left. I felt that it was painfully obvious that I was taking it with me. Yet something about the amicable tone had started to morph, I don’t remember exactly what.

Once we started walking, I realized how cumbersome carrying my pack would be. They quickly agreed that I should just leave it in the car. I laughed timidly, confiding that I had had a tinge of not trusting them, as we walked back to lock it inside the car. However, once we started walking again, pretty quickly the tone changed. Two of them walked a few paces ahead of the rest of us, talking quietly to each other. Something about their behavior made me once again feel uncomfortable, as though they were hiding something.

Within the first hours of this 4 day festival, already the parked cars in the fields began mushrooming into a big maze. After walking a quarter mile and getting more and more of a sense that something felt wrong about the situation, we approached a cross-roads. As I was contemplating what to do, suddenly one of the two talking turned around and said, “So, what are you going to do now?” After having wandered through fields of cars and now getting into a thicker crowd, I wondered if I would remember their car if we were separated. I had no phone. Explaining that I’d have to stick by them because my stuff was in their car, the same guy who was no longer smiling but rather short and almost hostile, was confronting me. I had to make a decision fast, we were approaching the gate with a mass of Polish police officers standing in a barricade. I walked away from them and approached a policeman. He didn’t understand German nor English, and acted confused and actually as if I was the person who was the problem. I then turned towards these guys again and said that I wanted to get my bag from their car. Without the slightest hesitation, the friendlier one promptly said he’d walk with me there, while the others stayed behind. I think they were nervous about my action and wanted to get rid of me. Strangely, the guy who had been friendly the whole time, was once again warm and talkative. We wandered through all of the separate car parking lots, and as we approached theirs he asked if I had a lot of money with me. I still wasn’t sure what to expect, thinking that he could even here ‘lose’ me and disappear, but he didn’t. He opened the car and I grabbed my bag without incident. Then instead of just dissing me, he engaged in conversation and we walked back to the same place where his friends waited near this entrance way. I was pretty surprised that he was as friendly and talkative as he was, and actually saying that I should join them, when in fact, I thought that they had been planning to leave me behind and rob me. Ten minutes later we were back by the cops and crowd, where his friends were waiting. I walking about three or four steps with them and within seconds, the friendly guy who was walking and talking with me immediately changed his tone, and was now once again walking side-by-side with the other ring-leader guy. He changed back to being sly and furtive, now that he was back with this other guy who was more of a leader. I was so happy that this drama was over and that I had read their strange behavior and intuited that something strange was happening. And I listening to my gut response and acting quickly. I was now off on my own at this massive gathering, sporting my pack and realizing that I would have to really be alert at a festival with probably already several hundred thousand people, since the combination leaned towards getting ripped off.

Happy to have divested myself from that troubled vibe, I was more than content to come upon the first tent with good sounding beats, where I danced for a while. Later I found a place to sleep under trees and as the sun rose, moved my location to shadows from trees holding off the hot sun. In the morning I wandered towards where the nearby stream was to have a little swim before heading back to negotiate which direction to take towards Krakow.

It was clear that I would miss the pre-gathering in Krakow.

Facebook pre-meet hitchgathering in Krakow

Facebook pre-meet hitchgathering in Krakow

Which I researched closer.

Krakow pre-hitchgathering

Krakow pre-hitchgathering

and made one of my own maps to figure out how to get to this place once arriving in Krakow.
Hand-drawn location of pre-gathering in Krakow.

Hand-drawn location of pre-gathering in Krakow.

Obviously, I missed this Thursday event, since it was Friday already. Once I figured out which direction to go in from the festival, I stood by the road. Across the road I saw two young guys standing and asked them if they were hitching as well, mentioning that I intend to hitch to Krakow. The one explained that they were waiting for his Grandfather to pick them up to have lunch. Confirming my direction, a few minutes later I was just off the road and heard someone call out. I looked up and it was one of these guys holding a map. As I got to the road I saw it was a map of Poland. He not only offered me a ride with his Grandfather, but also I was invited to join them for lunch. I was delighted. We went to a restaurant not far down the road. The two are studying biotechnology in Warsaw. They each spoke fairly good English. We had nice conversation and the Grandfather was very gracious in wanting to treat me to various Polish dishes. It was a very pleasant introduction to warmth of the people of Poland. The grandson firmly stood by his biotechnology choice of study, saying that it gets a bad rap because of the alleged dangers of bio-agriculture. He assured me that this was not true. (I’m one of the people believing that genetic engineering of seeds is by no means proven to be harmless.) After the meal, they let me off at a place along the road where I could begin my hitch to Krakow. The grandson, once again revealing his helpful and proactive nature, came over to talk to the driver of the next car who had stopped immediately. While he spoke with the man, I realized that I’d left my sleeping bag in their car. It was a huge relief to have realized this before they took off and to get it back. When I returned to the other car, as he continued to talk in Polish oblivious to the fact that I couldn’t understand a word, I decided not to drive with him. Thanking him, I got out of the car before he had even began. The two kids and grandfather were already gone. I was unsure of whether to bother making this long trip and stepped off the road. As I walked away, I heard a yell. I approached the van as one guy said he had seen my Krakow sign. The other guy was facing nearby trees taking a leak. When the one said that they were going all the way to – and beyond – Krakow, it was clear that my decision had been made for me.

Both in their mid-thirties, the passenger extended most of the conversation. I felt completely comfortable with them and certainly could communicate better than with the older worker guy whose car I exited. About 40 minutes into this ride that would take about 4 hours, I kept hearing the driver say the same thing. I thought he was saying curve, as he sped along the 2 lane highway, cutting into the middle lane to pass. Oh, there is no real ‘middle lane’, but the Polish style of driving, in which like Russian Roulette, you go for making a pass, hoping that someone in the opposite direction has not also decided to overtake the vehicles in the middle lane from their direction. The center of the high-way of two lanes, becomes the passing lane, literally – splitting the lanes – with some cars driving on to the shoulder to let you pass, and others not. A while into the drive I asked in German what ‘curve (coor vaa) meant. The passenger who was the most talkative, explained that it meant ‘f*$#’ fuck. Not the German word for curve at all. The driver had been swearing about every 6 words.

We were making time, and I was white knuckling it most of the way. It was a fantastically good ride, fast and direct to just outside of Krakow. Despite nervousness about the status-quo Polish driving habits, I felt very comfortable with the two.

Now evening, my last ride from a gas station just on the outskirts of Krakow, was with a polished and professional man who without question gave me a ride. He was dressed very business-like. He works for his mother’s successful hand-painted and hand-blown Christmas ornament business. She had worked for this kind of business during WWII and had lead a strike in her factory against the Russian owners. She was fired, yet wanted to contribute income to her family in addition to her husband. Getting advice and council from her uncle who managed his own similar business, she started out on her own. Her good business skills paid off, with an international business which he and his brother now have taken over. He spoke excellent English and was quite diplomatic.

More to come!! as the evening in Krakow turned out to be delightful…

Italian Hitchabout August 2011 | de.light at the end of the tunnel |

I’ve never passed through so many tunnels en route to anywhere in such a short period of time … wow, northern Italy and Switzerland, what a delight.

I calculated that I hitched a total of 3955 km = 2,457.523 miles ‘-) Flawless (when you’re only looking from the positive point of view of everything ‘-) and lots of fascinating encounters with lovely geography and people!

This journey was a personal evolution, moving with intention & zeal towards, rather than away, from something. The paths I choreographed and the surprises & synchronicities that arrived along the way, all had something to teach me.

-.-.-.-.-.-
I made the decision to finally make my way to Italy, with the particular aim of seeing Rome for the first time. Wow, what a pleasure. It was a great experience for all of the senses. I hadn’t had much time, but definitively got a taste. I now have a list of places and people to visit, when I roam back to Rome again. For example, recommended by a pleasant and smart couchsurfer, Leprotto Reale in Reggio Emilio:

Towns not to be missed because of their historic significance or beauty, or both.

Near Reggio Emilia:

Canossa
Castell’Arquato
Colorno
Carpineti

On the route from Reggio to Rome:

Gubbio
*Assisi
*Siena
Pisa
Perugia (In July the Umbria Jazz Festival takes place in this town, featuring artists such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, B.B. King, Pat Metheny and others)
Urbino
Orvieto
Viterbo (near Rome)
Arezzo (the town where Roberto Benigni filmed “La Vita è Bella”)

The trip was planned and anticipated through primarily the tools and communities on the internet.

I applied my membership in http://www.couchsurfing.org to seek out hosts along my way. I used http://maps.google.com | get directions | to plan my route; isolating strategic towns that could be interwoven into my direction, south to Rome. This was after I had already arrived from Berlin to the South of Germany in Baden-Württemberg.

Berlin to near Tübingen, Germany

From southern Germany, my first stop was Torino/Turin with a great couchsurfing host, Stefano, after he responded positively to my request. He introduced me to another couchsurfer, who happened to be a friend of the other couchsurfer in Reggio Emilio, whom I had already confirmed was my next planned second stop. As my brief letter to her mentioned I was south of Torino staying with a host in Chieri, Piemonte, Italy, she realized that she was familiar with the name. Turns out, she knew the friend of the man hosting me, whom I met the next evening, and two women were sms’ng one other about me the American couchsurfer.

A number of photos are of my visit with this second couchsurfing host, Giovanna in Reggio Emilia. She happens to be in the hospitality community professionally. She runs a bed and breakfast which she renovated. The property had been owned by her deceased grandfather. It had been a vineyard, and still is. It is producing grapes, though not using the ancient tools and materials that were used to produce the wine back in her grandfathers’ time. She has preserved these antiques and incorporated them into the lovely setting, grounds and interior of the casa. Giovanna was a fabulous host, and I recommend the place for those of you who may wish to travel through the area and get a taste of the beauty. The place is like a New Mexico style hacienda, the land and mountains to the south magically reminded me of the beauty of northern New Mexico. Reggio Emilia is a lovely town, known for it’s high quality opera. Giovanna’s grace, savvy, perceptive and direct nature made for the beginnings of a genuine friendship. She introduced me to the town of Reggio Emilia, and to a number of interesting people, most of whom are local couchsurfer members. Her bed and breakfast website:
http://www.casaledeinoci.it (for sms or calls +39 349 4505233)

My plan was to follow the route that google mapped out for me

but the rest was then left to serendipity/synchronicity, in terms of being stopped by the police on the inception of my second hitching trek which diverted my route as well as the various different people I met along the way. I hadn’t known that hitching – even standing on the turf of the restaurant/gas stations – is forbidden, adjacent to the major highways. Instead of heading south via Florence/Firenze to Roma, I was now riding with a pair of truckers who were heading East to Pescara on the Adriatic coast. One of the truckers witnessed the police basically kicking me out of the property, and as soon as the police were driving away he interceded, waving me towards their truck to accompany them. If I hadn’t already been talking in Spanish for a while with a friendly Cuban woman who worked at the station, she perhaps would not have let me back through the locked gate to the inside, where she was throwing out trash at the same time as the police were driving away. At this point one of the truckers had now approached the fence.

To be continued! and probably even the text I’ve written so far edited!! More to come, this ride with the truck drivers from South Italy, Pescara, the Moroccan 5 star restaurant and my introduction to the 5 points of the Muslim religion, Rome & my tour guide who enriched the quality of my experience there, more random events, the tail end of the Zurich street fest (electronic music) and more of the ride back.

Berlin to Mössingen 693 km
Mössingen to Torino Italy 594 km
Torino to Reggio Emilia 338 km
Bologna to Pescara 361 km
Pescara to Rome 208 km
2194 km

Rome, Italy to Mössingen, Germany 1,064 km
Mössingen, Germany to Berlin 697 km
1761 km

3955 km total = 2,457.523

Merely pause with your mouse over the images, to see the title text of the pictures.

I will happily & humbly accept donations supporting the evolution of my art, via the PayPal portal. As yet, I have no sponsors ‘-))
PayPal mail to: carolinberlin@dbzmail.com
BLZ/Routing Number: 322 271 627