Brad Loose - Cherry Grove, Alberta, Canada
I first met Brad through Couchsurfing in Brasov, Romania. I had messaged him about grabbing a beer and potentially staying at his apartment. My plan was to stay one night. It ended up being four days. We have shared ideas back and fourth about life, his new book and my travel projects. Brad is the perfect example of a solo traveler starting later in life. Now in his 30s, Brad is achieving life goals each time he moves to another country. His way of life is an inspiration to many. He has become a good friend since we first met. I go to him for advice ranging from tech and writing inquiries to general life questions. His new adventure starts in Bali, Indonesia. ~ Dan Hellinger
Brad is a freelance writer for multiple Ukrainian Tech companies.
What improvements do you want to see Canada make in the next 5 years?
"I want Canada to encourage free immigration for people from low population, highly educated countries like all Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, Polynesian countries and encourage them to allow Canadians to do the same."
Brad's Travel Story
"A mostly uneventful day today, except that I lost my glasses. frown emoticon.
It happened while I was hitchhiking through central Greece from Athens to Thessaloniki and one ride dropped me off earlier than I expected because he was going a different way. I waited a while on the exit ramp but no one was passing by so I went down onto the highway to one of those pull over rest stops where a tractor trailer was parked to see if he could give me a ride. He was asleep so I thought I would try my luck at the pull over stop. After only a couple of minutes a patrol came down the road, saw me, stopped and started questioning me. He didn't speak English at all but I knew they were asking where my car was so I pointed at the only vehicle in sight, a semi-tractor stopped about 50 meters away. And said, "I want to ride with him." There was a fence all along the highway so there was nowhere for me to go. He was very angry and he started trying to calling someone. Obviously this wasn't going to be good. I pointed at the truck and started walking toward it and when I got there, I saw a hole in the fence. I casually walked behind the trailer and when the patrol car was out of sight, I ran for it smile emoticon.
He was honking his horn and yelling but I didn't stop. There was a service road a few meters offset from the highway and I ran down it about 50 meters to an orchard then straight into the orchard toward the ocean. I went back about 100 yards and came a small bunch of bushed at the end. I went very carefully up to them and realized that it was a straight drop about 15 meters and I would have to go around. But both directions were to exposed to the road, so I just laid down. I had water and food so I figured I could wait it out for a while, even the night if necessary. How much time are they going to waste on a hitchhiker?
I had something to eat and laid there about 45 minutes then stood up and found a place that I could see the coastline from without exposing myself too much to the road. I checked my map and found out where I was from the shape of the coastline, as I was at the edge of a small mountain and could see several kilometers in both directions.
I walked around the cliff to find a better way down, while watching the highway for anyone who might be looking for me. As I was looking I saw the light of a patrol car pull away and head down the highway. I figured a hunt was over but I didn't want to go back to the highway as they only place to walk was right on the road.
I was also wearing my sandals and didn't want to stop where I was exposed to change into shoes.
So, I just started down the mountain though heavy brush filled with thorny vines. The town looked to be about a kilometer away and I was hopeful I would find a trail soon enough.
I brushed a vine and scratched my leg a bit. It hurt but wasn't too bad. It was also steep, so I used branches and trees to balance myself and slow the decent around the steepest parts. At one point, I broke off a branch I was using and, while I was balanced and didn't fall, I immediately heard dogs. And the were close.
"I want to give a shout out to the Alfasi family for inviting me to stay with them in Jerusalem."
Is money or the power of knowledge more crucial to you?
Money has absolutely no value other than to purchase something or enable something. If you don't know what you want, then all the money in the world won't help you get it."
I started moving East along the ridge line, rather than down toward the dogs, and at a much faster pace. The thorny vines were running across the bridge of my feet like a rope though your hand. I could see my feet were bleeding, but I couldn't feel them anymore. The dogs continued to sound like they were getting closer but I wasn't sure if that was just my imagination. "They must be a pen somewhere close, that's all. Have pens in Greece."
After a couple of minutes, the sound of the dogs was noticeably farther away and I relaxed a little. I minute or two later I came upon a house, perch on the mountain side. I was approaching from above but the nervousness of being spotted coming out of the mountain was trumped by the prospect of a road, which I spotted a few moments later less then 100 meters away.
I soon found myself weaving through the old European streets typical of those small towns.
Since it was already 6:00, it was time to find a place to sleep. The next trip, I will bring a tent and solve that problem as well.
I found my way into Agios Konstantinos and not only saw the coolest, cute church, but also was also a bus!
The last bus was about to leave to Lamia in 30 minutes and would cost €5. I got the ticket and while I was waiting, I decided to walk to the shoreline, it was only 20 meters away, and wash up in the salt water of the Mediterranean sea, including my feet which were quite badly scratched and bleeding.
I reached in a cupped a handful of water to splash on my face and brushed the water through my hair, which is when I noticed that I had lost my glasses.
I'm going to miss them.
So, as the dust of my taxi slowly started to settle in the evening air and I was left standing at an Egyptian military checkpoint in the middle of the Sanai I looked around: desert to the north, desert to the south, mountains to the west and the lights of Jordan across the Sea of Aqaba starting to turn on in the twilight. It was at that moment that it finally dawned on me that I may have bitten off more than I could chew this time.
But apparently the currency switch midway through a taxi ride is not a new scam. Even though the drivers know the exact moment to tell you that the rate that you negotiated on is not in Egyptian pounds, I still wasn't going to let him get the best of me. $100 is just too much for a 20km ride.
But left stranded at a military checkpoint in a war-zone is no time to lose hope, it's when you need to pick a direction and start walking, so I asked the guards which way the nearest hotel was. Luckily it was only about 4km away, unluckily the town had been almost completely washed into the sea by a flood 2 months earlier and, since it was so late, if there wasn't a hotel I was sleeping in the desert with the scorpions. This time I was lucky, and I even had options. 1 and a half of the 5 hotels were still in business and the half-hotel qualification extend to the price! I not only survived, but had time for a quick swim in the Red Sea before bedtime.
The next day started early with a hike back to the checkpoint. Another taxi driver was eager to offer me a ride to Cairo "for the low-low price of only $150." Even at half of what I was offered the day before by my abandoner, it was no where near the $12 for the bus that I read about on the Internet earlier this week.
"There is no bus today" he assured me. But this time I wasn't so gullible and checked with the guards again before making any arrangements.
They said there was a bus on a northern route through Nekhel, but it was closed to foreigners for security reasons so I would be forced to take the long 20-hour route all the way around the tip of the peninsula.
This is when I met a wonderful expat who came to my rescue and gave me some good advice to take the bus into a close by city and make my way to Cairo the next day on the peninsula bus. He gave me prices and exact directions. I intended to take his advice, but once I boarded the bus, the message was lost in translation and I ended up on the direct bus through the restricted zone.
The ride was a breezy 9 hours of blistering desert heat with a 2-hour stopover in Nekhel. The time passed quickly with a short nap, a 70's Russian movie dubbed into Arabic, a casino manager whose casino was washed to sea with the flood, and a fascinating Kuwaiti man turned turned Egyptian police officer who, as I later found out, had been telling the guards at each of the 10 checkpoints that he was my personal security and that they were to let me pass through the restricted zone.
Once we passed through the final and most thorough inspection station and travelled under the Suez canal, there were no more checkpoints and I arrived in Cairo at about 8:00 pm.
I took the metro to Giza and then tried to make my way to my hotel. Eventually I decided it was getting too late and again made the mistake of getting into a taxi without a meter. After 2 accidents in 10 minutes he told me he was not allowed to leave his neighborhood and that I owed him far too much money. I was once again left stranded and broke by a taxi as night was falling. But this time I was in the big city! Within 10 minutes I was able to find a phone store and buy an Egyptian SIM card for $4. Armed with the knowledge of a billion people, each on of whom seems to know everything, I could at last find out where I was.
By 11:00 my second taxi was able to weave it's way though the fields of horses, people, cafes and children that are still claiming to be steet. With only one brush during the stampede I was finally dropped off safely at my hotel.
Once here at the aptly named Pyramid View Hotel, I got my first glimpse of these ancient man-made mountains from my hotel room, which has a view that could have stop my heart if I hadn't already left it in Jerusalem the day before.
I want to give a shout out to the Alfasi family for inviting me to stay with them in Jerusalem. After knowing me for literally just a few minutes they basically said, "We are going out to celebrate with our family and you are welcome to join us. If not, here is a key to our house so you come and go whenever you want. There is plenty of food in the fridge so help yourself. Please, make yourself at home."
The picture I included is not a door stop. It is a device that is permanently installed on their door and designed to hold it open. Of everything I have seen so far in Jerusalem, this has been the thing that typified the people and the country the most for me.
Thank you again for opening up your home and I hope we are able to meet again soon!"