43- Pausing to Tell
Dan’s 14-Month Travel Story
Dan’s adventure story is that after college graduation in 1971, he decided to see a chunk of the world. He traveled on a Japanese freighter from San Francisco to Japan, with the goal of arriving in time to witness the season of the cherry blossoms.
He made friends with the Americans on the ship– Casey, Martin, and a young couple. He says: “I learned to play shogi, a Japanese form of chess, learned to love ramen noodles as a bedtime snack–and how to eat them with chopsticks. I fell in love with the ocean and the albatross. There was ample spare time so, being fresh out of art school, I got a piece of 4×4 from the ship’s carpenter and sculpted a depiction of the albatross’s flight pattern swooping back and forth over the waves. I also began learning the Japanese language and the children’s alphabet.”
Dan hitchhiked around Japan for a month. In Kyoto he met some Japanese students in a park and Yoshimi san invited Dan to live with him, which he did for the remainder of his stay. He commuted by train two days a week to Osaka where he spent six months teaching English to Japanese businessmen. Deciding it was time to move on, he left on a ship from Yokohama, Japan, and traveled to Singapore (stopping in Hong Kong to explore with two Japanese men he’d met on the ship). From there he continued by ship to India. He went overland across India, but could not get to his destination in Pakistan because of their war and fighting with India, so he flew to Afghanistan, where he visited a family friend, Dave Mort, who was mapping the area for canals for an American company. After a week he traveled by bus over the Khyber Pass to Peshawar, Pakistan, where he was met by his mom and her husband (Beth and Al). Al was an American engineer, supervising the work on the Tarbela Dam. Dan lived in Pakistan for 6 months, traveling the length of it by car twice. He went overland back through Afghanistan by bus and then by train across Iran to Turkey. He became deathly ill in Istanbul. He remembers hearing the other hippies in the hostel discussing dividing up his possessions, because they were so sure he was going to die! He recovered because he was able to make his way to a nearby pharmacy where he purchased penicillin over the counter. He went by bus to Izmir then across the Aegean Sea to Thessaloniki, Greece. He traveled overland across Greece to Igoumenitsa on west coast, where he caught a ferry to Brindisi, Italy. He hitchhiked to Rome, Florence, and Milan, spending time in each city. He hitchhiked because he was running out of money and because hitchhiking was safe in Italy in those days. He hitchhiked across France and took the ferry to Dover, England. He arranged for a flight out of Heathrow Airport in London, but had to kill two weeks so hitchhiked around England, visiting Stonehenge, sleeping in parks. One early morning he heard a firm, “You can’t sleep here, mate!” from an amused bobby, and he happily moved on, after his good night’s rest. He landed in New York, hitchhiked across the US and arrived in Reno with 25 cents. He used a dime to called his dad on the payphone to pick him up. Walking those last few miles just wasn’t happening!