Kindness has no Borders, but Obstacles

By campodegelo

One more trip has come to an end and it’s time to come back home.
Time to gather my stuff, check all the experiences, the souvenirs and return to reality (at least this is how some people call it).

A reverse culture shock plaguing more than the cultural differences of countries like Iran, Kazakhstan or Russia.

I cease to be a different person, I cease to be a subcelebrity, and become one more in the crowd. Fool you, if you think I’m feeling superior. But wherever I went, I caught glimpses and curious messages.

A bit more than 4 months on the road, most of the time without a person previously known.

Usually accompanied by the driver who voluntarily stopped to take me along or the person who decided to host me for some nights.

19 thousand kilometers distributed without a predetermined metric between 168 different vehicles. From Berlin (Germany) to Sofia (Bulgaria).

For those who do not know, I left Germany, passed through Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey and finally I arrived in Bulgaria.

A script of 134 days, without much planning, but much interaction.

An exhausting pilgrimage, which consumed the muscles of my face and my thumbs. Smiles were constant, whether in situations that I hardly understood what had happened, or to respond to the joy and affection directed to me.

The communication did not flow very well as expected. Even if I had studied the basics of Russian, a bit more than an introduction worked coherently. After the first question, I no longer understood what was happening. Imagine the same with Persian, Turkish, Arabic or Kurdish.

At this point I see technology as an ally.
Google’s offline translator has become one of my best friends. Before entering a new territory, I downloaded the languages ​​and keyboards used there.
Because I did not have access to the internet most of the time, I needed some extra caution beforehand.

Language, currency, and culturalities aside, much changes, but there are also many similarities.

In Germany I started.
In Poland I drank too much.
In Belarus I started speaking Russian.
In Ukraine I put my tent by the sea.
In Russia I became an attraction.
In Uzbekistan I ate horse meat.
In Kazakhstan I drank fermented mare’s milk.
In Kyrgyzstan I had to go to saunas to bathe, since most of the residences where I stayed had no shower.
In Iran I decided to fight against machismo.
In Iraq I got to known the reality of the struggle for rights for the LGBT community.
In Turkey I slept in a repair shop and in the house of refugees.
In Bulgaria I ended the journey momentarily.

The project began with the name “Kindness Has No Borders,” and I still believe that, but there are some barriers and mishaps in the way of benevolence.

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