Hitchabout Nice – Antibes – Aix-en-Provence – Arles | back to Montpellier

I think it was the fastest I’ve ever gotten rides in my entire hitchhiking experience. Residing in Montpellier, France, I had decided to hitch to Nice, the day before. I had anticipated it, knowing that my sister and her British husband go there regularly to escape the York, England chill. It was these two who had visited Montpellier several years earlier on a regular basis. That put this town on the map for me. I liked the sound of it. When I’d googled the town back when I suddenly had the proposition to go to the East coast from Taos, New Mexico, I learned that it’s the fastest growing city in France, of which 25% are students that emerge during the academic year. I sort of made the decision to go there in particular, and base myself . I was actually still deliberating on whether Portugal might be a less expensive and lively place to live while I was purchasing the bus ticket from Paris for Montpellier. At some point I decided I wanted to be closer to other countries in Europe and also where I have a semblance of knowledge of the language.

Mont_Saint-Victoire Paul Cézanne

Mont Saint-Victoire notoriously painted by Paul Cézanne among others

Nice, didn’t appear to have any available couches to surf on. The weather which has been continually warm and sunny, dropped about 10 degrees with predicted rain. I decided to go anyway. My bicycle had just been stolen 4 days earlier in the middle of the day around the corner from the cafe I was working in. After the initial discovery, I decided it was a gift for whoever took it. They not only got bad karma, but also a bike that didn’t work. It was hurting my knees because the gears basically didn’t move and I had to get off frequently, to walk up hills. Montpellier is full of them. Many at gradients of 55ª angles.

When I’d arrived in Montpellier the first day I asked a woman sitting on the tram near me “where is the mont”? She discussed it with her friend and decided that she didn’t know. My guess is that the whole town is so hilly that they decided to call it Montpellier, which means mountain. So, the missing bike precluded transport into town outside of the tram TAM, so it was as good a time as any to check out some other places along the Mediterranean. Nice, France is really close to Italy and Switzerland. By the time I finally left the house after consulting google maps to know what destinations to write on a sign, it was going on 2pm. The drive is a little over 3 and a half hours.

I strolled to the end of these outdoor tables with people seated there where I spotted a large white clean piece of cardboard tossed on the ground beyond the tables. I was already steering myself towards this cafe to ask for cardboard. Nice start, I had markers. The entrance to the highway was basically right there. This area was a short walk from where I’d currently been living, conveniently on the edge of town. I noticed several cheap bus lines departing from there, Sabine. I incidentally had been told two days previously that I needed to move out by the end of the month, a day after the bike theft. I had two weeks to decide my next moves. That was another reason to make this trip, a few pairs of ears to discuss my options. I was now less convinced that I wanted to stay in Montpellier. The housing situations had been a challenge.

I watched traffic stopping and starting at a traffic light, and was standing right before an indentation in the road for busses, perfect for cars to pull over. I had written Nice on one side of the sign and was starting to write Aix-en Provence on the other, flipping it up for cars to read both sides, when the first small truck pulled over after only a few lights. I hadn’t been there more than 10 minutes. He’d been working in Montpellier for the day and was on his way to Aix. He’s an Albanian man from Kosovo, his name packed with consonants, Xhemil Iveseldaj.  He’s been living in Aix-en Provence among other members of his family, for 40 years. He was returning from his work week in Montpellier where he stays in a hotel. His boss pays for that, along with his tolls and I guess all travel expenses. He works in such a specialized field, that he’s been accustomed to these long commutes for years, sometimes sweeping countrywide. He’d previously commuted to Paris from Aix, and before that by plane to another town. I learned a fair amount about his life and his two sons. He is one of 7 siblings, five brothers and two sisters. He said in Albania the families tend to be even larger. He said he doesn’t believe in a ‘God’ but in nature. We agreed about that, ‘Nature’ is our ‘god’. I asked if he believes in climate change. We discussed it for quite a while along with other topics.

He had missed his turnoff and I was wondering if I was going to be dropped off in the middle of the highway at an inconvenient place, but he then went back through toll booths, and tracked back to the highway where we were now still heading towards Aix-en-Provence en route to Nice. He’d seen the Aix on my sign. Works every time to have a sign. Xhemil always seemed a bit impatient when coming to any toll, as if seconds shaved off his time were going to critically screw up his day. I guess he was simply in a big hurry to get back home at the end of his workweek. He brought me to a good place where all traffic was heading in the direction of Nice.

I was happy to find a bathroom next to an odd parking garage area where on one side there were buses, ironically, one on its way to Nice. I had covered half the distance already and didn’t bother to approach the bus to ask the driver, preferring to hitch. Someone saw my signs and was yelling out to me from the top story of this large round parking garage building. I ignored him/them. It took about 6 minutes, maybe less, for a car to stop. I heard the responses from above as I was getting into the vehicle. The driver was Olivier, a local who lived in a little town with a great view of this mountain outcropping Saint Vincent from one side. He was on his way to Cannes for the evening. Olivier is an engineer, specifically works on plane engines. He lived in Paris for a stint, said he learned a lot working for Air Bus. He still works for them, and was relieved to move back to his home ground.

Mont Saint-Victoire, Paul Cézanne

Olivier says this landmark outcropping of rock Mont Sainte-Victoire, changes color frequently and has been a feature of many painters.

He and I had a nice rapport. We talked the entire time and really had a lot of similar points of view about the quality of simple things in life that give it value. He dropped me off at a very convenient location at the entrance to highways from Cannes. I was sorry to see him go.

My next ride was with a professional chauffeur, John Christopher. He had made sort of a precarious stop to pick me up. I guess as a local he knows what he can get away with. He was going to pick up his clients on this late afternoon to take them to a fundraiser gala event, hosted for wealthy families who were donating money to hurricane victims in Saint Martin, a French island in the Caribbean. He has worked for this same family exclusively for 15 years. He said that this event was perhaps at a hidden location. He knew that football stars, actors and actresses were going to be there among the very wealthy patrons. He described what these evenings could be like, and how he had to always be available for and and all things that might occur. He might have to make the commute over the bridge to pick up one item left behind, or drop off kids at different places. I enjoyed this little scope into the lives of the upper crust there, from the chauffeur’s point of view. A very gentle guy, he left me off before taking his route to the home of his employer. We left with smiles lingering.

Nice, France first shots - pastry and me

A bridge separated me between where I stood where everyone seemed to be racing to their next destination. I’m guessing I was at St.-Laurent du Var by this bridge. I wondered how long this ride would take, since now I was extraordinarily ‘out of place’. A hitchhiker with a backpack among demonstratively expensive cars and high income drivers. Surprisingly, a car stopped. It was Raphael a medical student in Nice, where he also was raised. He looked distinctively Spanish or Italian. He did me the courtesy of using his phone to dial my contact number and drop me off after crossing into Nice to a very familiar cement way lined with Palm trees before the beach. The Promenade des Anglais is where a demented man drove a truck moving down pedestrians on Bastille Day on the evening of 14 July 2016. The Nice attack killed 86 people and injured 458. Sound familiar? The whole area has since been reinforced to block vehicular traffic, involving bringing in full-grown palm trees with cranes.

historical Nice, France and cemetary

I wound up spending several days in Nice, endowed with lovely weather. Took various local rides ferried to different parts on cool excursions with family into the hills looking back down over the city. I had particularly wanted to see Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

Nice page 1 of second group inlaid stones

Nice, France inlaid stones

When it came time to leave, I finally noticed a text message on my cheap French phone, an invitation from a friend I’d met years earlier, who had actually invited me to stay at her and her boyfriend’s place. I texted her back explaining I’d missed seeing her text. In a little while I made my way to make a start, found some cardboard and what appeared to be the entrance to highways. I stood there a short time up in the hills. I saw a dread-headed girl across the street who when she crossed, approached to tell me she’s hitched a lot, and if I’m going to Aix-en-Provence, I’d have better luck down standing down by the water – once again before the Promenade des Anglais. I thanked her and walked down the hill. When I turned the corner I saw a group of people waiting for a bus a hundred yards away. I thought to myself, they’re probably wondering about what I was doing. Within several minutes, my first ride stopped. A smartly dressed man in a nice car on his way to Aix-en-Provence. I laughed to myself at how easy I made it look for the people standing there waiting for a bus. He made a phone call to his wife indicating he was on his way. I mentioned that I’d come from Montpellier to Nice and still was trying to figure out where to land. He mentioned that for using English, Aix-en-Provence would have better opportunities than Montpellier due to its larger influx of British because of the nearby seaport. He convinced me in fact. He said forget Montpellier, it’s mostly a college town, whereas Aix has an English speaking presence and a sophisticated flair.

mazza

mazza

 

Manu

Manu

The text was from a woman whom I’d met with her boyfriend 5 years earlier in Krakow, Poland. I was now getting out of the car upon receiving the text, only half an hour or so from Nice and 100’s of km before where I thought I was going. That was a great timed text, minutes before the Antibes exit. I had a splendid visit with these friends and their wonderful feline creatures. It was the therapy I needed, the playful cats along with friendly and inspiring conversation and inclusion.

Edwige and Bernards in Antibes

Edwige and Bernards in Antibes

 

Edwige, Antibes

Edwige in Antibes

Edwige and Carol Antibes

Edwige and Carol Antibe

I departed from my friends and the kitties in Antibes who I was already missing. Once again I got fantastic rides, two rides from Antibes. A young baker, boulanger, who told me stories of his life and his wife and 2 kids. At the moment that I noticed a sign for a rest stop I asked him whether there was another like it prior to where he was going. He wound up immediately pulling over, because he in fact was getting off soon, where the town was so small he explained I’d probably have very fewer ride possibilities than here at this highway stop. I parted farewell from this sweet guy and was walking into the rest-stop restaurant and showed my signs to the people as I was walking by them. They were a couple, and happened to be driving to Montpellier. I said that that’s where I live, but am going to Aix-en-Provence. They said they could take me there, it’s on the way. I hung with them a bit at the outdoor tables after I returned. We had a few interesting exchanges before getting in the car. A huge lovely white dog accompanied by a man entered the picture. I said, ‘elle est belle’, and the girl laughed, saying she has exactly the same type of dog, whose name is Belle. It’s unusual for a couple to offer a ride, very rare. They have to be really confident with one another, and these two were. Thomas and Gwendoline were very animated. At one point I mentioned out of the blue that I’d like to go to Istanbul, and they laughed, saying they’re going there next Thursday. They each engaged in conversation the entire time. We really connected. He owns 2 businesses in (IT), one which he originally started doing web design and the other advising companies on how to work more efficiently. She isn’t currently working. We talked the whole time, They were on their way to Montpellier to visit his father, and in fact he drove me into the center of Aix-en-Provence which he loves, and Gwendoline had never been.

Eight weeks earlier I wouldn’t have been able to understand but a quarter of what they were saying, now 8/10th percent. She spoke some English cuz she lived a year in New Zealand doing a WWOOF with baby sheep! She visited Australia too. She joked that she’s probably more conservative politically than he. He described that he believed the French president Macron would have more possibility to take a center stage in the global political arena. As we were driving into Aix from the highway, I commented that I believe trees may be more conscious than we are. To my surprise, Thomas the computer guy, heartily agreed, saying that he despises that people believe that they’re at the top of the pyramid of life, when in fact all life forms have intelligence. Thomas so much admires the town, that I decided after walking around a bit that for my saturday night, I’ll stay in Aix-en-Provence, regardless of where I may or may not sleep.

Aix-en-Provence, France

On this late summer Saturday afternoon in the street of Aix-en-Provence  I came upon a group of woman doing a spontaneous dance exercise; an an all female dance troupe. They were doing an improvisation exercise in their practice. I sort of guessed that this is what they were doing. Later when they were less involved in any presentations, I asked a few. One woman with eye that met mine with a sparkle in her eyes and large smile approached me and handed me a flyer.

She was in fact the director who organized this theatrical dance art group. http://cie-mariehelenedesmaris.com

I had decided to stay there regardless of not having looked for couchsurfers. It was a Saturday evening, it’ll be fun. I asked the right couple on my walk, who described several different options, pointing to areas on a map I had of specific areas to find things going on.

I went to a cafe to catch up on writing and organizing my pictures, and wound up hanging there into the late hours, with co-workers and guests. As the evening progressed, I was invited not only to stay that evening, but for an extended length of time, if I was demonstrating that I was doing the work I needed to do. I could now stay at this apartment there in Aix-en-Provence with these two brothers. However that vanquished at the point that the one breached my trust, and caused me to launch myself out back into the streets of Aix with the approaching dawn. It seemed like it might have been the semblance of a good thing, if not for the immediate security violation. One of the brothers was already in bed, it appeared. I was ushered into a room, fine, ah, but wait, no lock on the door. I waited before getting into bed with my pully and pack on by the door. listening for a few moments, when suddenly the door swung open, with me standing right there. I’m sure it surprised him as much as it did me; bursting into the room allegedly having misplaced his cell phone. Not only did this maneuver make me feel quite uncomfortable with the thought of sleeping there, but it also immediately dissolved that opportunity. So, I was heading out from Aix that morning, and still not sure what would define my future. This town hadn’t particularly welcomed me; no couch surfers, no housing possibilities and no tolerance for an opening in a bachelor den that was the epitome of neglect.

 

Arles, France, Nice, hitchabout

I hitched to Arles from Aix-en-Provence that morning. Maybe I’d go to Nimes (Roman ruins in both towns) on the same day.  The two cities located in the Occitanie region of southern France, were an important outpost of the Roman Empire. Nimes is known for its well-preserved monuments such as the Arena of Nîmes, a double-tiered circa-70 A.D. amphitheater still in use for concerts and bullfights. Its Maison Carrée white limestone Roman temple and Pont du Gard tri-level aqueduct are around 2,000 years old. I wound up staying in Arles instead.

Shortly after arriving at a good departure point in Aix, a woman stopped in her sleek car. I assumed the boy of about 11 sitting in the passenger seat was her son. She was an attractive, well dressed, middle aged woman who appeared professional, everything intact.  She was on her way to Nimes. The song that was playing on the alternative rock station was fairly pop, and each of the songs became progressively more hard-edged. The music didn’t seem to go with her appearance at all. The volume was so high that it impeded the ability to talk. When I asked, she staccato answered that she lives in Aix. That was my first and last question in an attempt to engage them in conversation. Her son and she didn’t say a word to one another the entire time.  She drove very fast and agilely on the highway on her way to Nimes, maneuvering efficiently. I was surprised she picked me up at all.  I pictured that she was dropping her son off at a midway point in an agreement with her ex, as they trade time with the child since divorcing. I decided that she was annoyed to have to drive him there, the hour and a half, now wait, 3 hour journey altogether to drop him off in Nimes and return; an invasion on any other activities she might have wanted to do on that Sunday. I didn’t ask. I let them ‘not talk’ to one another or me. I felt sorry for the kid. The music was quite loud. The silence was fierce.

Michael Jackson T-shirt, Always Be Yourself

Michael Jackson T-shirt
Always Be Yourself

I’m sitting in a cafe putting these pages together, sitting near the bathroom entrance. Many people flow by. One guy was waiting in line, a tall Arab guy, I saw in between the edges of his jacket a skeleton, and I said pointing, “is that Michael Jackson”? He said, yes and opened his jacket. I said, trying as I could in French, after multiple plastic surgeries that destroyed his cartilage, he’s now a skeleton. He said, exactly. He and I were both laughing pretty hard at this point as he was now walking into the bathroom, since it wasn’t supposed to be that obvious. I asked him when he came out to get a shot of the shirt, which is even more hilarious, saying below the image ‘Always Be Yourself‘.

In Arles I met a man whose eyes met mine from where he was perched on a balcony of this cloister.  I was like, what, are you WORKing there or what? Later we met on the stairs where he offered me an extra ticket to the last day of the photo exhibit there. He’s local. So, he’d waited until the last day of the exhibit to finally go see it. I had the impression that in this town that flowed regularly for most months of the year with tourists, that it was well stocked with woman accessories.  I wondered whether he took advantage of this, and lead a sort of double life. I was sort of expecting that we’d hang out together more, but he had other plans, probably a dinner gathering, or going home to dinner with his family. He bade his farewell and disappeared into the dusk, cutting through this building. Perhaps I seemed too risky, an American woman who happened into the town and didn’t know where she was going to sleep that night.  It was a nice exhibit. I wound up wandering away from the middle aged man who vanished to walk up a hill to find myself watching bats fluttering about and looking out over the valley, and instead talking to some young North African teenagers.

I had wandered around the periphery of the olympic Roman stadium and along streets in the town looking at the sites. I had gone into a lovely church where I learned some history. It was later, much later that my bed found me.  I was walking around a building and saw this little sort of fenced in courtyard that was merely following the contours of the rounded building. There was a low decorative iron fence around a small curved plot of soil, encasing a few bushes and a tree or two. I spotted large pieces of cardboard neatly wrapped up and tied together stacked vertically on the outside of this area. I learned years ago from a French (North African) truck driver that cardboard can be used to insulate from the cold. (Who I wound up driving with through Italy to Germany where during Ramadan, he’d chain smoke and start drinking his coffee before the sun came up or went down, and had packed a delightful gourmet assortment of foods home-made by his wife who packed them for his holiday fasting). I picked up the cardboard, pulled the pieces out, saw that they weren’t soiled and laid them out to form a platform to lay on. I had no sleeping bag. It wasn’t cold. I felt quite safe there and happy to not have to carry my backpack any more.  A pretty ‘sleepy’ town, I didn’t sense that anyone was going to look for me there. I didn’t sleep, but was comfortable. The night before in Aix-en-Provence I hadn’t slept at all.

I had already decided to stay in Arles that night. It was still pretty warm, September 25th, 2017. Later that evening, my resting place found me.

Arles rockin an auberge cardboard style at the hidden concave of a building

It was the last ride, Phillippe Lu, (great grandparents or grandmother came from China to Cambodia, where his parents were from. It was the intelligent conversation I had with him and his power of persuasion, which now convinced me after all that I should in fact plant myself in Montpellier; offering English courses with all the university separate buildings spreading over the north of town. He said I could make €15 to 20 per lesson. He texted his son to get the coordinates of an umbrella organization for all the universities called CROUS. He helped to give me some wording for a sign to put up. I since had looked up C.R.O.U.S. and gone there several times to get as much information as I could from what I’d written down while riding with him. They had info about housing, the university of lettres (languages) and basically I followed through and later wandered the labyrinthe of different buildings that a part of the university, that spreads across the north part of town that had been 50 years ago, fields. When I’d returned to Montpellier I was now homeless and searching through many different sources, mostly online, for housing. It was on the eve of the beginning of the month that one friend pointed out a site I’d already disregarded, judging that it was too expensive. I told him I’d already looked at that one, and it tends towards more expensive listings. I noticed that my friend had fr.fr in the beginning of the web address and mine us.fr, because I had first viewed it from the United States (I started viewing housing listings from the moment I booked an inexpensive flight). Turns out the subtle difference in the website made a huge difference in what was offered. The local listings offered a category unto themselves, anglophone families looking for English native speakers to live with them for reduced rent in exchange for some prerequisite time and activities. I’ve since found the most remarkably perfect situation, a win-win.

my signs for the return trip

my signs for the return trip

Montpellier Zoo, Jardin des Plantes

Montpellier Zoo Jardin des Plantes and street pics

It started, or rather was continuing a year ago in another desert, in the high desert of New Mexico, bordering Colorado. Luna was Bill Light’s dog, who built his home in the canyon 5,000 feet above Santa Fe, New Mexico en route to the ski area. His wife had died a few years earlier. I stayed for several months in a cabin adjacent to his home which he built for his daughter. I lived there in the autumn of 2016.

I quickly became a fan of going on walks with his dog Luna. She was a fan of walks as well, and would actually come over to the cabin and tap on the door with her foot. Wow! She absolutely loved the excursion off the property and a long a path cutting through a narrow valley to the National Forest land. In the late summer twice with Luna, I was exposed to bears. It was because Luna discovered them, and barked them into submission.

 

Luna, Bill Light's, Santa Fe New Mexico 2015

Luna my friend at Bill Light’s cabin in Santa Fe New Mexico 2015

I lived in the cabin next to Bill Light’s home in my first months above Santa Fe, New Mexico where my nice landings began. Luna and I would cut through trails up to the National Forest land and then either move further into the canyon’s or launch up to the ridge. These became my sketching/water color excursions. Luna launched and climbed the hill with ease and I followed.

Bill who had an earlier bought with cancer which had gone into recess, got it again, and died from pneumonia since I had moved out. It’s a strange thing that he was there and actively doing all sorts of things, and now gone. I don’t know what happened with Luna, certainly she was completely at home in the mountains. I hope a neighbor took her in. Besides seeing lots of deer in the late summer and the few incidences with Luna barking a bear and her cubs up a tree, I would mt. bike into town from there, regularly. I cycled 7 miles up 5,000 feet to get to the property. I never used any bike lights or reflectors, despite the fact that there were no street lamps. My eyes would adjust whether it was a new or full moon. i figured it was a good way to balance out staring into a computer screen. I find a bike wherever I go and also animals that I love. Now there are stray cats where I am, and I’ve just landed, with muscle and sweat and help with several bike mechanics, a bike that I am delighted to ride.

Now there’s no dog present like in Santa Fe and the ones I affectionately grew acquainted with and loved immediately in Taos, New Mexico the following spring. There are a bunch of stray cats however here in Montpellier. It occurred to me to look for a used bike at this place I’d become a member of months earlier. Le Vieux Biclou. After asking a guy in the street when I knew I was in the vicinity of the bike shop if he knew of where it’s located, it turned out he was on his way there. There I spotted the mt. bike I wanted, and the following day during opening hours learned of its one major obstacle; a seat post jammed all the way down that wouldn’t budge. Several technicians, pounding and myself instructed to scrape off the rust of the now ejected post, and a day later going to another bike shop to get a lock appropriate for the rampant bike thievery in this town, I purchased bolts to replace the quick release wheels and seat, and was assisted in mounting the lock to the frame. After riding it the second time i realized that this bike runs flawlessly, enabling me to climb any steep slope with ease. Stoked!

I’ve since made my signs and printed them and edited my contact cards. I wanted to get this blog out, put up the signs in various excursions, and begin today on a singular path to complete my book between my father and mother’s birthdays. That’s pretty immediate. The difference, no noose around my neck to pay a rent that squelches my time and psyche.

And as is typical, I ask for donations. Thanks! PayPal Donate Button  Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

carol keiter, blogger, Nice

blogger in Nice

Advertisements

I Believe in the People’s Climate March Washington D.C. On My Way

And since the Climate March, this is current. Here’s a link for you to sign to send a message to Trump about how important it is to be a leader in the movement towards a healthy climate, and to specifically honor the Paris Agreement. http://act.350.org/sign/paris-response “The Paris Agreement is the backbone of international action to tackle climate change. Donald Trump is considering withdrawing, standing with the fossil fuel millionaires and billionaires. Stand with us to show that political momentum for climate action is unstoppable.”

Make America Cool Again

Make America Cool Again

This guy's tiny, tiny sign said "reduce" LOL

This guy’s tiny, tiny sign said “reduce” LOL

Together with the Sierra Club, WWF, Defenders of Wildlife and all of the other groups and the masses of people who have the will to make the effort to stand up and out (worldwide), I will be marching in Washington D.C. For those who wish to see a dramatic exodus and transformation from the Profit-Over-Everything-Else attitude of our Oil Oligarchy and Corpocrisy run government >

People's Climate March April 29th, 2017

People’s Climate March April 29th, 2017

NRDC National Resource Defense Council says, “It’s time to stop the backsliding on climate change; it’s time to meet the most urgent challenge of our generation.”

time to stop the backsliding on climate change; it's time to meet the most urgent challenge of our generation.

On Saturday, 300,000 people came together for the Peoples Climate March in our nation’s capital, and in communities around America and the world.

Here’s a link http://act.350.org/sign/local-action for what we can do to continue local action towards a movement of sustainability rather than oil dominated environmental futility.

Here’s 350.org’s Facebook page of pics. facebook pics of march

Below are the pics I took en route hitchhiking from Santa Fe, New Mexico and many of the signs at the march.

Peoples Climate March Washington D.C.

Peoples Climate March Washington D.C._2

I’m in! Peoples Climate March April 29th, Washington D.C. >
Packing up my residence in the next hours to move May 1st (from an apt to a yurt), with help from a friend with a pickup and dentist appt in Santa Fe. I’ve booked a flight one-way from DC to ABQ Albuquerque {not knowing until after paying} when precisely it was going to depart that day. Calculating the earliest DC Metro Rail to the airport only arrives at 6am, I breathed a sigh of relief when seeing that the flight was leaves late afternoon. Ran into a friend yesterday I hadn’t seen for many years, who spontaneously gave me the money today to cover the flight. I only realized two days ago looking at the calendar, that there was another day, the 30th, between the March and my move-out day. Anything’s possible. I merely have to get to DC hitching, leaving uh, mañana?

– 27 h 1,877 miles according to google maps.

google directions Santa fe, NM to Washington D.C. People's Climate March. April 29th, 2017

google directions Santa fe, NM to Washington D.C.

I just spent the afternoon, boxing, packing, organizing so that I’m ready upon my return to move to a yurt, since working 6 to 7 days a week still hasn’t afforded any kind of saved nest egg.

I then worked on creating my newest song which I just started yesterday. Streamlined and packed with beats.

I’m on my way to the Peoples Climate March April 29th in DC. peoplesclimate.org There’s a whole niche of my music all about animal rights, wildlife protection, creating animal bridges and preserving animal corridors…So I’m passionate about making not just Trump, but the Oil Oligarchy listen.

And I went.

Here are another page of pics I took at the march.

Peoples Climate March Washington D.C._3

Peoples Climate March Washington D.C.


I’ll be playing at the Flycatcher in Tucson, Arizona, Saturday May 6th for their monthly music producers showcase ‘Pushing Buttons‘. This next month features all women producers.

And releasing much more music as it flows.

Soundcloud Playlists More_NomadbeatZ Eco Echo

Soundcloud Playlists More_NomadbeatZ Eco Echo

The Flycatcher
340 E. 6th St.
Tucson, AZ, 85705
Phone: (520) 207-9251

https://soundcloud.com/you/collection
PayPal: carolkeiter@gmail.com

People's Climate March April 29th, 2017 WWF

People’s Climate March April 29th, 2017 WWF

Looks like I’m in!

Race to Save the World Dump Trump and Oil Oligarchy

Race to Save the World Dump Trump and Oil Oligarchy

PayPal Donate Button

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

Carol Keiter, blogger, selfie, hitch, skiing, aos

Carol Keiter the blogger with a selfie prior to getting the ride on return hitch from skiing in Taos

Hitchabout Tucson Arizona to New Mexico

clouds, palms, Sonoran Desert

clouds and palms in the Sonoran Desert

Saguaro cactus , Tucson, Arizona

Saguaro cactus in Tucson, Arizona

I’ve been so absorbed with my new location that I haven’t had the opportunity to post my hitchabout highlights. Tucson sculptor Al Glann who has a studio in the Tucson Metalarts Village responded to my comment about his mastery in capturing the essence of creatures in his work, “the trick is to work quickly and to know when to stop”.

Al Glann, sculptor, Tucson, Metalarts Village

Al Glann sculptor at Tucson Metalarts Village

I enjoyed the arts of Tucson tremendously, yet my ambivalence peaked as new promises eviscerated. Final pushes lead to a pull towards New Mexico, where I’ve lived previously in several communities.

contrasts light and dark, Tucson, Arizona, New Mexico

contrasts in light and dark driving from Tucson, Arizona to New Mexico

 

flickr hitchabout tuscon arizon link to pics

flickr hitchabout tuscon arizon link to pics

Ambivalence and the fact that I hadn’t quite dived in to the town (except in the pool at the apt complex where I lived which was eerily empty most of the time) was pointing me elsewhere – the ‘universe’ directing me with a number of different innuendos and nudges…and I wasn’t sure exactly when or where. Then I remembered that I have friends not so far away in New Mexico, in several communities there.

contrast_light_dark_route_New_Mexico_2

 

contrast_light_dark_route_New_Mexico_3
My intention, to hitch hike more or less 453 miles to Albuquerque, New Mexico from Tucson, Arizona, first stop.
contrast_light_dark_route_New_Mexico_4

contrast_light_dark_route_New_Mexico_5pg
I had the most successful hitch hiking experience EVER; efficiently arriving at each destination which I visualized, right within the timing I anticipated.

contrast_light_dark_route_New_Mexico_6
I had a great hitchhiking adventure with quick and easy rides. Just two, covering circa 500 miles.
contrast_light_dark_route_New_Mexico_7

contrast_light_dark_route_New_Mexico_exc

 

Waited no longer than 5 minutes walking from my apartment, which I physically moved out of that morning, August 1st – now an extra bag in tow. Within yards of my residence, a woman stopped to bring me to the Interstate 10 entrance/gas station by there at my request. After leaving the gas station to walk to the highway entrance, a guy driving to Illinois picked me up as I was arriving there.

 

 

 

 

 

googlemap_2016-08-03_tucson_albuquerqueNM

 

I arrived to my first planned destination that evening, to stay with a woman friend in Albuquerque.
contrast_light_dark_route_New_Mexico

driver_garth_tucson_to_new_mexico

 

new_mexico_highway_hitch_
My driver opted to stay at a hotel and offered to drive me the next day to my next destination, Santa Fe. We had great fun discussing all sorts of things and talked non-stop until we were hoarse. He met both of my woman friends, and dropped me off at the door of my friend and former boss back when I lived in Taos, New Mexico. He’s a seasoned traveler himself. I listened to many stores. , It appears I was lined up to meet him and for us to influence one another. It seems that he’s brought me that much closer to wanting to simply trust traveling…even if I have no money.
Then to meet up with a friend and former boss in Santa Fe. Turns out she needed someone to cat sit for her and water her plants while she was making some road trips herself.new_mexico_skies_garth

new_mexico_skies_hitch_

 

new_mexico_skies_hitch_3

new_mexico_skies_hitch_4

new_mexico_skies_hitch_5

new_mexico_skies_hitch_6

new_mexico_skies_hitch_contrast_

new_mexico_skies_hitch_contrast_1

new_mexico_skies_hitch_contrast_2

new_mexico_skies_hitch_illuminated_rock_1

new_mexico_skies_hitch_illuminated_rock

new_mexico_skies_hitch_rainbow

new_mexico_skies_hitch_rocks

new_mexico_skies_hitch_whiterocks

new_mexico_thunderclouds_garth_2

new_mexico_thunderclouds_garth

 

 

 
I’ve rolled into meeting a number of old and new friends who are moving me further towards collaborating and following my passions here. It’s gorgeous here. Bright blue skies, lots of fluffy clouds and also the rain storms.

And off for more art viewing.

Whitehawk Antique, Indian, Ethnographic Art Show

Whitehawk Antique Indian and Ethnographic Art Show

Love over Fear | Education over Insulation

Last evening, as it gets dark at 5:15 already, I was bicycling back from the neighboring town where I attended a heart-rhythm mediation group session. From this I have two blogs:

This one over my experience cycling by a family in a town I passed through, and the other having to do with a recognition about health.

Health is Circulation | Letting things Flow | Diarrhetic vs Constipative (made up that word !-)

I had just come from riding through darkness and fog, pretty cool. Then as automobiles are the most dangerous things to avoid, I chose to ride down an ally rather than along the main drag filled with traffic.

Turning into the ally I heard voices and saw some kids and several adults standing near a trailer. Out called a boy of 4 or so in his high-pitched voice. “What’s your name”. Delighted, I called back, “Carol, what’s yours?”. I paused instead of continuing on as if not really caring for the answer. I hadn’t heard his name correctly. I turned around. Then the boy came running to show me his miniature toy soldier in his hand. Pretty sure it was a figure with two rifles, automatic weapons, in its hands! Now the urgency in the tenor of his father’s voice was increasing.

I approached the boy deliberately getting closer to the father’s periphery so that he could see me in full view. “What’s wrong with talking?”, I asked. “I’m just trying to teach my kid a lesson.” he countered. He had cut off the contact that his child initiated and the interaction we could have had. Why?

Disappointed, I started riding away and then I decided to ride back to them. I said, “I just have to say this. I grew up as a child of his age in this town when my parent’s lived here. They taught me to be kind, loving and compassionate. I was always approaching people like your son when I was his age.” It’s a genuine curiosity and joy in interacting with strangers, with someone new. Gathering new information and exchanging information is how a child genuinely learns about the world around them.

education definition - process of imparting or acquiring information

Education is an exchange of information. It is what babies do as they are learning about the world around them. I expressed to the father, “I don’t know what kind of lesson you’re trying to give to your son, but I don’t think that it’s the right one. I bet you have guns too.” I rode away mildly disgusted and he called behind me, “ride safely”, which may or may not have been genuine.

I understand that kids do not have the same capacity to judge, because they haven’t had too much time on earth to learn through observing other peoples’ behavior to understand rationally or intuitively if there’s something amiss or not quite present in that person. But to block off all communication, especially when the parent is right there, seems inappropriate to me. So he’s protecting his family from the so-called enemy, a female bicycling by on her way home from a meditation group who responds to his child’s call.

People often have the same response when they pick me up hitchhiking. “Aren’t you afraid? It’s very dangerous!” Well, if you count yourself, do you find yourself dangerous? I’ve had rides with couples, straight and gay, coaches, teachers, farmers, students…Dangerous? Then wow, what are you thinking when you’re walking down a street populated with people? Are you scanning for danger? Or are you checking out this person’s shoes, noticing this person’s gait, that person’s dress style, the laughter coming from these kids over here, the snippet of conversation between a couple passing by.

My point, we, at least I, am not anticipating and expecting danger. Naturally, I’m not living under the circumstances of growing up in a war zone of 5 generations, or in an area where there’s a great deal of tension between the have’s and the have not’s, where extreme wealth borders shanty towns. I understand that there, one would learn not to trust and be wary of many more incidences of theft and kidnappings.

But generally, when you’re walking down the street, are you feeling that the world is full of dangerous people? Or are you happy to exchange a smile with someone you pass by or to make a passing comment to share in some kind of exchange? That is, if you’re looking up from your phone to notice someone passing by.

Reading some Einstein quotes the other day, this one impressed me.

Einstein Speak to everyone the same

Einstein Speak to everyone the same

This may seem completely off track, but behaviorally, it’s completely congruent. Earlier in the day on my way by bicycle, I went to visit a cat at a barn that I’m familiar with, ‘Goldie’. Goldie had always been quite friendly, launching towards me. Yesterday, for the first time I saw a new kitten there. The kitten appeared immediately. It approached me, full of curiosity and affection. Then Goldie appeared. Came towards me, but then sat down just out of reach. To my sadness, I realized that now Goldie, was ‘Grumpy’ or ‘Grouchy’. I had noticed before that he would hiss at ‘Gordo’, the fat friendly cat, but thought that this was out of competition. Now, when the kitten went up to Grumpy to nudge him, Grumpy hissed. Perhaps Grumpy was maintaining his dominance or leveraging his power, but really, he just was isolating himself. The kitten, I’ll call ’Giddy’ didn’t respond to Grumpy’s hiss. He just meandered away back over to me, where she affectionately jumped onto my legs and arms and purred and played.

I certainly think it’s much more fun to meet new people and explore new things, than sticking to the familiar and tried-out route. I’d rather learn and be exposed to new information than remaining insular and isolated.

Just sayin’.

I told the father that I don’t believe in weapons, nor in assuming that strangers are bad…I mean, get your priorities straight people. Is this anxiety or paranoia an American phenomenon, or is it a modern day one – driven by the news media? Does it reach across the western world, into Asia, Africa? I’m not sure.

I guess for sure there are differences between cities and rural areas. I’d love to hear comments about it. Do families in Russia, Denmark, Finland, England or Italy, freak out if their kids talk to strangers? Are strangers ‘bad’? Geez, it’s just sending a message of fear and distrust. Ouch!

I can remember when I lived in San Francisco and I’d walk to the Marina area – filled with yuppies and wannabes; a wealthier, upwardly mobile part of town. As a young woman I’d greet people walking by, male or female, with a friendly hello. A significant amount would either ignore me or look at me suspiciously. Whereas when I lived in the rural community of Taos, New Mexico, if you’d happen to be walking or bicycling on a dirt road outside of the town, the Spanish, Indian or Caucasian person driving by in their pickup truck (often the case) in the middle of nowhere, would wave. You, a stranger, would be greeted as a friend. I heard that the nomadic people, Ber Ber’s for example, would never ‘not let a stranger into their tent’ as they were passing by. This could be a life or death situation for that person or for oneself, if caught in the same circumstances – of being in a remote area without water or food. By the way, the guy who took the picture of us on Halloween in NYC is Algerian, of Ber Ber descent, he informed me. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berbers Interesting. I’ll have to ask him.

I really want to know if this is an American thing (guns, paranoia), European, Northern European, metropolitan or – in fact – more of a modern thing that is more economically and politically driven? The age of fear? Is it coming more from the media than people’s day to day experiences? Is everyone dangerous? When you’re walking down the street in your town, in a city, are you scanning around for danger? Or are you noticing interactions, laughter, someone’s clothing, what someone is doing, a smile or gentle eyes? I would hope that when you go out to a restaurant, to a game, a concert, an event… you are approaching the people not as ‘strangers’ – the enemy within – but as potential friends.

The image below links to an article about mindfulness 10 Easy Ways You Can Practice Mindfulness Every Day, presented by The Mind Unleashed

Practice Mindfulness

the Mind Unleashed – an article on Mindfulness

Synchronicity experiences within ‘delight’ of | Deepak Chopra’s Seven Principles of SynchroDestiny |

I dedicate this blog to Jason Sneed, a self-declared chameleon. Jason SneedA California Bay Area native whom I met when I lived in San Francisco.  I met him at a cafe one afternoon in North Beach, the Italian neighborhood. He was handsome and sophisticated, chiseled features and a broad smile framed by a wide-brimmed hat. His eyes had a perpetual gleam of amusement. We talked for hours. He was carrying a laptop in his backpack, which I would later discover, he did relentlessly. His fluid creativity lapped waves of insight onto me.

I believe that one reason that I haven’t ‘finished’ and uploaded this blog, for months, is that the synchronistic events keep happening, and affecting the outcome, with their new twists in the evolution of the subject of this article.

When I’d started, prior to my earlier laptop computer ‘blacking out and ceasing’ on the morning of the SOPA/PIPA internet blackout, when I’d been furiously blogging about it and sending out alerts, I was still hung up, so to speak, on the reasons why I’d fled from Berlin in the first place.  Now, as new synchronicities literally have been tumbling into my life to introduce my consciousness to ever new fresh perspectives, the content of the blog have correspondingly evolved.  Just as spring has displayed new life peeping out from beneath old leaves and sticks brushed away from the winter debris, so have new clarities pierced my view, and displayed fresh insights.

In fact, these synchronicities have been occurring at ever increasing rates.  This tells me that I’m on the right track.  In the last 24 hours, I read an article in “The Economist” describing the laborious, dense clutter of too much legislation in the American political system “Over-regulated America”, which causes the new regulations, to be buried under too much debris.   “When regulators try to write an all-purpose instruction manual, the truly important dos and don’t are lost in an ocean of verbiage.”  I realized that often my own style of writing is similar; the delicate points are cumbersomely buried pages into the essay, where many people won’t find them because they don’t have the time or patience to read that far.

Ah, so living and learning and accepting criticism, I’ll spill the fruits into the beginning ’-))
I no longer have to dig up the unpleasantries of a relationship that wreaked of the dance of the codependent-narcissist.  I am finally cutting the chords, and no longer need to bother to look for a response from someone not capable of delivering it.  http://www.narcissismdailymirror.com/2011/01/narcissism-and-perfect-affair.html  Whew!  and I will only gently remind you of my posts on happiness and oxytocin, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxytocin of which I’m sure I’ll be writing more about, since a new local colloquium will be on the subject at a nearby college. This was the post in which I talked a bit about this topic. http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/happyness-making-the-best-of-what-you-have/ Those with the inability to secrete oxytocin, have the inability to feel empathy; therefore, it is linked to sociopathy, psychopathy, narcissism and general manipulativeness.  Another hint sprung up to illustrate perhaps why this narcissistic ex-partner sedated and distracted himself perpetually; with alcohol, weed, television, computer gaming … and why he rarely was able to give much more than grief. I tiptoed in his world, and he became more disengaged with me, as his annoyance level rose.  It was finally through the suggestion of a British acquaintance of mine in Berlin whose opinion I respect, who told me (as many people had) to extract this person completely from my consciousness.  He warned that if I didn’t do this, I will never truly be able to focus all of my creative projects or focus on my self, to blossom.  He also re minded me, that if I don’t follow my intuition and return to spend quality time with my parents, I will regret it forever.   His words resonated so perceptively, that I knew that I must do as he suggested, to leave the latitude and longitude where I hovered, waiting in vain. By moving away from the place (physically but mostly emotionally I was clinging to) I extracted myself from all my distractions, endlessly going out in a city that doesn’t sleep, and have returned to this place of deep nurturing and coming to the inside – full stop.  The rest is history.

I’ve always been interested in consciousness, and was drawn to Carl Jung‘s concept of synchronicity, after having a number of experiences which played into my real life.  I had introduced the concept several years ago in one of my first accounts of a hitchabout – a hitchhiking adventure – in Europe.

https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/the-missing-link-quantum-consciousness/

And wrote about the concept again, in which I elaborated on earlier synchronicity experiences which took place while living in Washington D.C. in the United States.

https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/holograms-of-meaning-consciousness-frequency-shift/  Ironically, that’s where I went to visit just weeks ago, where new tintillating synchronistic experiences ushered new realizations my way, in a way introducing to me on another level, the healing that was part of my current trek, inwards.  My friend who is a certified kundalini yoga instructor, re-introduced to me what I needed, to step away from being dominated by too much thinking, and stretching and expanding my body and consciousness to a level beyond thought.

Ironically, I recently came upon this again, now borrowed and re-defined by Deepak Chopra, in his term “synchrodestiny”.  Chopra describes his seven principles of synchrodestiny, and writes that we really underestimate the extent to which we literally create the world around us.

I mention more synchronistic experiences in this blog as well.   https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/spring-soltice-11-hitchabout-there-are-no-accidents/ And after having skimmed through this, I realized that I mentioned someone in the text whom I just read something about days earlier, seemingly randomly, Wayne Dyer, not talking this time about ‘intention’, but about ‘manifesting’.

http://www.beliefnet.com/Wellness/2003/10/Coincidences-Clues-From-The-Universe-By-Deepak-Chopra.aspx

http://www.crystallotus.com/Synchronicity/01.htm

Deepak Chopra elucidates that “There are messages everywhere around you to guide you, if you’re open and willing to move in the direction of understanding and growth, and listen to them. Some things in my life, are completely conscious and planned out, whereas others are intuitive, coming from an awareness that isn’t exactly stamped out and demarcated.”

Chopra says, “When a coincidence arises, don’t ignore it.  Ask yourself, What is the message here? What is the significance of this?  He says that you don’t need to go digging for the answers, because simply by asking the question, the answers will emerge. They may arrive as a sudden insight, or something very different. Perhaps you will meet a person who is somehow related to the coincidence that occurred.  It may be an encounter, a relationship, a chance meeting, a situation, a circumstance – that will immediately give you a clue to its meaning. …  The key is to pay attention and inquire.”

http://www.allaboutprosperity.com/articles/dchopra-synchrodestiny.htm

He describes in this preceding link seven principles of SynchroDestiny.

1)  The existence of a Conscious Energy Field; the underlying intelligence that gives rise to my body and yours and the universe as a whole.
2)  Understanding how human relationships operate in terms of Creating Cosmic Connections; in that the ability to create positive human relationships is fundamental.
3)  Mastering your Inner Dialogue, and recognizing the fact that it is the heart and mind that control external reality; if there is something that you can not find/achieve, it is because there is something within you that is preventing you from finding what you want or need.
4)  Penetrating the Conspiracy of Improbabilities means learning to recognize meaningful coincidences and seeing them as opportunities.
5)  Once we understand that external reality can’t be separated from internal reality, and that the universe is our extended body, it is clear that it’s necessary for each of us to Harness Emotional Turbulence, in order to transform negative energy into a higher level of awareness.
6)  Learning to Use the Infinite Organizing Power of Intention, which requires letting go of the idea that the universe is an inert machine, and realizing that the force within ourselves such as intention, is just as real as that of gravity or electromagnetism.
7)  Celebrating the Cosmic Dance is about synchronizing the series of experiences that emerge from your Conscious Energy Field with the universe.  Finding the connection between how we live our lives and the way that the universe works, so that we’re living in harmony with that connection.

I personally have been having a flood of experiences and connections with new insights that continue to guide me and perk up my attention to new ways of seeing, and am confident that all of this will unfold and reveal to me my path.  I simply need to listen to what surfaces – these details will make sense and enlighten me personally, as those which come into your life will reveal insights to you.

The French say, bon courage, which translates as ‘good luck’.  Yet, it is not merely stating this. Literally, it is saying have courage, have faith, as this trusting-the-voice-within, is infinitely more powerful than luck!  As many of my friends say, “There are no accidents!”

 

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

Spring Solstice ’11 Hitchabout | There are No accidents |

It’s taken a while to write about this, but as the title suggests, I had to absorb a few other pieces of information and experiences, which have effectively contributed to the telling of this tale.

An interesting aspect of the beginning of my hitch, is that from within moments of approaching my “starting point”, the clouds burst into a sudden downpour of rain. Ha, nice timing, I thought. I was amused with this, and also relieved to know that there was ahead a bridge under which I could stand, and still be next to the flow of traffic. Though it took a substantial (to the point of ridiculous) amount of time to get the first ride, as in a previous hitch, it was with people who had organized a ride online via mitfahrgelegendheit.

The driver and rider were going to Stuttgart, which was written on one of my signs. Seeing this, they spontaneously decided to include me in on the ride. This would take me 9/10th of my way! Getting to my destination involved only two rides. The second driver went out of his way to bring me precisely to the doorstep, of my destination.

I like to make a friendly play on the letters of the signs, by forming a kind of smiley face with the umlaut.

The return trip was more consequential, I found. Of course, everything one experiences, has to do with the way one chooses to interpret it. Though it involved 4 times as many rides and took me hundreds of kilmeters out of my way, it introduced a lot more information which I deemed relevant and actually, life changing.

Now wait, first the context. I was leaving a guy [drum roll or yawn] with ambivalent emotions – sadness, hopes and fears – whom I have adored, who isn’t exactly reciprocal in his admiration of me.

The first ride which occurred promptly within two minutes; a tall, handsome, fashionably dressed guy in sleek leather pants; warm, smiling, driving a British car which I noticed had a very cool interior design. Often I don’t notice dress or the exterior of machines, unless something is outstandingly beautiful or ugly. ha! Talkin’ about the material world. Michael, born in the vicinity, was on his way to work as a speech therapist. He was pleasant, and we had a nice conversation in that short duration of time until he was heading into Stuttgart, beyond a reasonable place to drop me off.

The next ride, who fortunately stopped at a rather inconvenient place, was Caner. I have to point out, that I get a lot of double and triple takes from the pedestrians who are not accustomed to seeing someone hitch hiking. I enjoy looking at the people commuting on bike, strolling of all ages, backgrounds. Though Caner was heading as well into Stuttgart, I spontaneously opted to get in the car, figuring I’d deal with where he would let me off, when the time comes to make that decision. He was also handsome, around the same age as the last driver, early 30’s. He’s was as distinctively ethnic, as he was well dressed and polished looking. Of Turkish decent, Caner is an insurance broker, whose German based company deals with high-risk. We also had a pleasant conversation the whole time. I’m interested in a lot of things, and have learned bits and pieces about a lot of topics; having lived in a lot of places and worked in jobs ranging from; being a sous chef and waitress in restaurants in Washington D.C. to slinging out lattés in espresso bars, to working in the administrative end of finance and industrial utility companies during the years I worked peripherally in the corporate world in San Francisco (temporarily an Executive Assistant in Charles Schwab) to teaching skiing. At the Ski Valley in Taos, New Mexico, my workday started in the glaring snow within pristine mountains at an elevation of about 9,500 feet = 2895 meters. By the way, it was while working at Taos Ski Valley that I saw a sign hanging on the wall, which has indefinitely been a theme in my life which I’ve wanted to aspire to ” Make your work your play, and your play your work”.

Though I have been warned previously about ‘getting stuck in the middle of Stuttgart’ or any city for that matter, as opposed to remaining on the highway en route to one’s destination, I followed Caner’s judgment. Upon leaving him, I walked over to the other side of the street, within the city perimeter, but close to the edge, at a point where the entrance to the highway was not that far removed. He’d seen other people hitching there, it has a place for people to pull over. I had a nice view from this hill, looking into the town beyond.

By virtue of a previous hitchhiking trip, I had studied and memorized (via a German atlas) all of the German States/Länder and some of the cities residing in them.

It was sunny, relatively mild, and I was, so I’m told, in the most conservative city and state in Germany. I didn’t let that dissuade my spirit. In not too long of a time, a woman with a smiling face pulled over. Gaby, Gabriele, was warm, friendly and had a sparkle in her voice; a delightful spirit. She explained she was on her way to a point on the highway where she could let me off, yet actually in the direction of Munich, southeast. I wanted to go north. I didn’t care, I took the ride to get out of the town. This proved to be a pivotal ride, in that she spoke about a lot of things that were quite relevant to what I had been feeling and ‘going through’. As two females together, we drifted into the topic of ‘relationships’ and the emotional aspects of life; as opposed to business and commerce!

I eventually informed her why I was there, and as I started to go into a few more details about my relationship, she responded to certain things I mentioned with a lot of comments. She elaborated about her own experiences in a previous relationship. Basically, without prying, but just responding honestly, the conversation started drawing out a lot of my emotions. In my fatigued state and within just hours of leaving my friend, tears started to well in my eyes. I felt that it was uncanny that this woman and her messages, which resonated as quite enlightening, had suddenly appeared. I pointed out to her that I appreciated what she was expressing and felt that it was strangely synchronistic in timing, that she picked me and had so much to contribute with her insights. To this she responded, “there are no accidents”. I believe she was coming from a Christian perspective, which mirrored my own spiritual one; believing that intention attracts that which will reflect it. Her points, after revealing ‘herstory’ as opposed to ‘history’, was that a person must first love him/her self, before being able to love someone else. And that it is each of our responsibility to follow the route which allows us to be happy. She pointed out that I appear to have “a high tolerance for suffering”, which is an exercise in futility, in a world designed for us to aspire to be happy and fulfilled, as a measure of well-being.

There’s nothing cool or admirable about resisting this, because a person can not inspire, help or serve other members of the human community, if he/she isn’t aiming to be at his/her best and feeling their best, physically and emotionally. Incidentally, this specific point was talked about in this video I just checked out, a PBS feature of Wayne Dyer talking about “The Power of Intention

Speaking of intention, the next ride was with a young man, Dieter who lives in Munich. At this point, I was without question, heading south and east, going several hundred kilometers out of my way. Rather than getting closer to Berlin, I was on my way to Munich, in Bavaria. Dieter talked continuously. Said that he had decided at the age of 25 that he better start concentrating on how he was going to make his living in this world. He then moved to Munich/München, the financial and publishing hub of Germany, with the intent of finding work. Starting with a job at a “call center” after moving to this wealthy business center, he subsequently changed jobs and applied the skills he learned to work within the call center department of the large US technology firm, Insight, which works adjacently in the same technology solutions as Microsoft. He recognized while working there, the corporate, culture clashes between the American company and the German ways of doing things, and bounced out to start his own company. As the geschäftsführer / managing director of his company, it proved to be so successful in establishing contracts for businesses, installing Microsoft systems, that the giant Microsoft itself, was forced to contend with this little player. They negotiated a contract with his company, in order to participate rather than compete, in their European business strategies and operations. He is young, proud and now has 17 employees, doing what he loves as the primary sales person.

With respect to business sales, he talked of the need to not only establish a rapport with the administrative department directors, but specifically with the technical liaison person, who with their technical knowledge and expertise, is the primary ‘obstacle’ – the person to convince that implementing this system is worth their while. Dieter spoke enthusiastically the entire time, and wound up driving me through the heart of Munich to take me to a place on the autobahn north of the city on the A9, where all traffic will lead to points north. The great thing, is that now I had a personal tour guide who was able to elaborate on the various architectural icons, which are at the core of this city’s history. Having missed the skyline of palaces and religious institutions, instead my attention was drawn to business and commerce architectural feats we were driving by. “The Olympic Stadium“, a vast tent like structure which was the site of the 1972 Summer Olympics. The tower of the “BMW Headquarters” and “BMW Museum”. The new sports facility, “The Allianz Arena“, which lights up in the evening with a color corresponding to which ‘home’ team is playing there that night. As an aside, funny how sports arenas are branded with the financial God (Dog spelled backwards) who forked out the money, i.e. the stadium in San Francisco, CA is “AT&T Park”.

Munich is home to several professional football teams, including FC Bayern sports club. This stadium was among those central to the World Cup in 2006. The stadium looks like a big padded bubble, branded throughout with Allianz who funded it. “Allianz’s” global headquarters is based in Munich. It’s ‘the’ insurance company of insurance companies; which insures, insurance companies. 😉 Not bad, in terms of prestige among the heavy-weights in the multinational court. With a global presence and certainly many subsidiary off-shoots, they are the second largest international insurance and financial services organization in the world. I just read that Allianz AG was founded in Berlin in 1890 and shifted its headquarters to Munich in 1949. Uhh, and there’s some bad press in wiki alluding to Third Reich affiliations.

Well, as it is March, I missed the Oktoberfest and Hofbräuhaus, signatures of this town…and hadn’t known that Siemens is based there. Nor had I realized that the “Max Planck Society” is headquartered in Munich, with dozes of institutes in the city (from astrophysics to biochemistry to quantum optics), and branches all over Germany as well as in Rome and the US. Incidentally, Max Planck is considered the founder of quantum theory.

This brings me circling back to Wayne Dyer, who in his presentation regarding his book “The Power of Intention”, mentions two people who influenced him; Max Planck and Carlos Castañeda. Carlos Castañeda influenced me as well, when in fact, I once decided not to continue with a university course in Economics, because I found it to be so wrong, and against my beliefs of what is important. Keynes spearheaded a revolution in economic thinking.  In this blog, https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/spring-soltice-11-hitchabout-there-are-no-accidents/ I pointed out the writings of the economist John Maynard Keynes which resounded with me, in this article written in Monde Diplio (the English online version of Monde Diplomatique. Dyer quoted Planck accepting his Nobel Prize; “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clearheaded science, the study of matter, I can tell you that as a result of my research into atoms; there is no matter, as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force, the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter. ” I mention this, because it substantiates the fact, that there are no coincidences, ‘shit happens’, for a reason 😮

Dieter left me off with a smile and his business card. The next ride which arrived swiftly, was another attractive, professional man, Uli, short for Ulrich, who lives East of Munich, not far from Salzburg, Austria. He’s involved in Management and Leadership training. I was intent on probing and discussing with him aspects of his work. We chatted during the duration. Uli has a wife and several kids and loves the land and nature where he lives.

I was cordially left off by him at another large rest stop/gas/restaurant station along the A9, where I waited for only a short time, before another young guy dressed in business attire asserted that he could give me a ride, while talking on his cell phone. His name was Philippe; young, professional, cute and smart guy (what’s up with that 😉 whose mother is French and father a German university professor. We spoke a bit in both languages, though he’s quite capable in English, and has lived in both Munich, Germany and France. He’s a headhunter for high level personnel with legal aptitude and expertise; hiring them for large international corporate clients. He had studied international relations and law, with a minor in Asian studies. Sensing that Asia will be the next global business power, he had done his thesis on this topic. He illustrated this idea mentioning that in the 19th Century, the world was ‘Euro Centric’, in the 20th, ‘America’ was the focal point and in the 21st C, by virtue of population numbers alone as well as growing industry, by mid century ‘Asia Pacific’ will be dominant.

Philippe has lived and worked in Singapore, where he was planning to move the following week, to begin a new job within the same company he had worked in previously. I queried whether he might feel isolated or insulated living in an Asian country as a European, to which he pointed out that there are large numbers of expatriates there. He said he has a number of Singaporian friends as well. According to wiki; the population of Singapore has the sixth-highest percentage of foreigners globally, just over forty percent. I hadn’t known that, nor that English is one of their official languages, next to Malay and Mandarin. I did however have an inkling that it’s a modern and technologically sophisticated country, as a lot of countries in Southeast Asia appear to be. He pointed out that if he was in need of an operation, he wouldn’t hesitate to trust the medical system there, as much or more than in the Western World.

His unique perspective from what he’s studied and having lived in the country previously, introduced to me a new way of looking at things. He mentioned that from the Western point of view, Singapore might appear to have a harsh penal system, but then, people do learn their lesson and are effectively thwarted from going against the law. I know that vast numbers of young black men are jailed in the United States, which is a huge financial racket in itself, in which ‘correction’ and rehabilitation often are not a part of the process. One can’t really judge a system in a sweeping glance.

Philippe spoke of Democracy, as having very different interpretations in different places, and the fact that you can’t try to just force or stamp a country with a democratic system, and think that it’s going to stick. Another way of looking at this, is to realize that a people’s core beliefs, influence how they will interpret things. For example, whether they value the individual as having the highest authority, or the group/state. Indicating that the Chinese philosopher “Confucious” had a system of ethics and rules of behavior which centered on the group and relationships, as opposed to the individual, Philippe went on to show some more examples of how even a system that appears ‘socialist’ on the outside, can in effect manifest a democratic process in their decisions, even when in fact the majority of the people are voting to maintain something, that is ‘better for the group’. In light of this fact in the Asian world, democracy plays out differently. He mentioned that when the government of Singapore had wished to modernize in their attitudes, and introduced a more liberal law, that in fact most of the population resisted. Philippe pointed out, that this in fact demonstrated more of a true democratic process, in light of the fact that the majority ruled against something that the Government wished to proactively impose, which would have given individuals more supremacy. It’s quite a contrast to the huge influence that money and power have to sway the ‘democratic process’ in the United States system of “Corpocrisy” (my coined term).

Having studied Cultural Anthropology and had a growing interest in business, global politics and environmental affairs, I found this ride incredibly informative and valuable. I did have one more ride for two highway station stops, with an elderly man who spoke next to nothing, to whom I mirrored and returned the favor of silence 😉 The last ride was with several young Berliner guys returning after working at a book conference in Leipzig. After I’d been dropped off by them at an S-Bahn station, I was still carrying my “Berlin” sign, when some guy (who was with a few people inline skating around cones they set up in the concrete underground highway underpass) jokingly pointed out to me, “hey, you’re (already) In Berlin”!

Destination 2 rides, return, ’bout 8, but with a ridiculous amount of new information to pack into the experience!

“When you change the way that you look at things, the things you look at change.”

hitchabout Paris

hitchabout from Berlin to Paris, frankly, i think this particular time i took a bus back!-) but definitely had a good experience hitching there ‘-))

Hitchabout Prague

another hitchabout, this one was Berlin to Prague and back!

Hitchabout Budapest

These were pictures i took when i did this hitchabout from Berlin to the Eastern side of the Czech Republic to visit Czech guys i met back when they were living in Taos, New Mexico… then on to Budapest to catch the tail end of the Sziget Music Festival and back to Berlin. Another positive testimony to humanity – the great people i met and stories i gathered…sometimes even when we barely had a common thread of language, yet could communicate nevertheless…