The Scruffman in Europe

Old Nov 7th, 2009, 04:40 PM
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The Scruffman in Europe

This thread continues the story from two previous threads:

The preparatory thread:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ing-the-uk.cfm

The United States adventure:
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...e-building.cfm

To set the stage for newcomers, my very personable, adventurous 21-year-old son Greg, he of dreadlocks and scruffy beard and thrift store clothes, is engaged in a trip more or less around the world until his money runs out. Because he wants to be gone a year but doesn't have the usual sort of funding required for that, he is hitchhiking, ride-sharing, couchsurfing, and camping his way around. He left home (San Francisco Bay area) on September 27, 2009.

I'll be updating here as I am able. I am dependent on the Scruffman's very intermittent internet access and willingness to correspond with his mom.
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Old Nov 7th, 2009, 04:50 PM
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I am so glad "Scruffy" made it to Europe. I am looking forward to the next installment as I have a feeling there will be many interesting adventures ahead. Thanks for keeping us posted!
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Old Nov 7th, 2009, 05:47 PM
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Can't wait for the next installment.
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Old Nov 7th, 2009, 06:48 PM
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I'm following along avidly.
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Old Nov 7th, 2009, 09:20 PM
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Okay, here we go. Seatbelts fastened.
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Old Nov 7th, 2009, 09:50 PM
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Bookmarking to recall my own scruffy youth.
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Old Nov 7th, 2009, 11:08 PM
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Looking forward to more...
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 02:47 AM
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Cant wait to read all about what he gets up to.
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 03:18 AM
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I wish I had done that!
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 03:20 AM
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How fun!
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 05:14 AM
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artsnletters - I just spent the last two hours reading your other two threads and bringing myself up-to-date on the Adventures of Scruffman. I hadn't planned on spending my Sunday morning this way, but your thread title caught my eye, and it was a delightful read, and I got hooked. I find myself wanting to know the Scruffman's next move, so please keep us posted. I'm sure he's going to have a great time. He sure has a lot of positive energy coming his way from the folks here at Fodors.

One question - Did Scruffman ever get all his shots (malaria, etc) taken care of before he departed on his journey?

Robyn
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 06:52 AM
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After all the kerfuffle about getting into England do tell us briefly what his experience of London was. Did he get to his concert?
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 09:52 AM
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Did he have any trouble getting through Customs?
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 10:15 AM
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Considering some of the weird advice and suggestions that I read, a whole hell of a lot of people would feel vindicated if they learned that he got a 'normal' haircut and bought a suit before getting on the plane.

But somehow, I think that isn't how it happened.
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 12:34 PM
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<b>The Scruffman gets shpongled in England</b>

The Scruffman landed in London on the 28th of October, wearing his full hippie regalia. Mom had provisioned him before departure with a spate of instructions and a sheaf of supporting documentation so as not to be turned back at passport control. He was to be ready, indeed eager, to show off his onward ticket to Copenhagen, his bank statement, his credit cards, his visa for India, his itinerary (produced by Mom) noting his European agenda, his plans to visit a friend in Italy, his need to be out of Turkey by the end of January to comply with Schengen regulations. He was to be clear that he was leaving in a week. He must not mention working, busking, volunteering, or any form whatsoever of productive activity. He was to state that his purpose was being a tourist and attending a concert. He was not to say he was couchsurfing, but to say he was staying in a hostel. If asked which one, he was to display a (Mom-provided) print-out of London hostels and say, “I thought I’d call around when I get into town. It’s October, how difficult can it be to find a hostel in October?”

Thus fortified, he made it through passport control successfully. His entire report: <i>“They asked me lots of questions but thanks to you I pretty much had all the right answers.”</i>

He had not been successful in lining up a couch for his first two nights, so he washed up on the shores of The Green Man hostel, which he reported was fine because there were a couple guys in the bar who wanted to keep buying him drinks. A couple days later he hooked up with his couchsurfing host for the duration of his stay in London, Alen. Alen is Swiss, and (as evidenced by the photo on his couchsurfing page), he has the sort of dreadlocks to which I am sure Greg aspires.

The purpose of the visit to London in the first place revolved around the concert of a group named Shpongle on Friday the 30th. If you have heard of them, you’re far ahead of me. Wikipedia describes their music as “psychedelic downtempo” or “Psybient,” and if you know what that is, you’re even farther ahead of me. Anyway, this is a duo, one half of which is a 30-something guy who plays synthesizers, and the other half of which is a 70-something guy who plays the flute. Because the senior half of the duo isn’t such a spring chicken, this concert was the kick-off of what is anticipated to be their last tour. I don’t know how Greg came to know about them, but he thinks enough of them to have bought the ticket many months ago and timed his whole trip around the concert.

And as it turned out, his host Alen and several of his friends are also big Shpongle fans and had tickets for the same concert. So he ended up going to the concert with a group. The photos he posted of the set are pretty trippy, and apparently the concert met all expectations. Through a <i>"comical display of dance flirtation"</i> he ended up meeting a cute Swedish girl who offered her couch if he makes it to Sweden - <i>"probably a terrible idea"</i> was his reaction to this, but hey, what's the point of being young if you can't take a pretty girl up on an invitation?

They attended a massive all-night Shpongle after-party, after which they all went home to crash for most of the next couple days. According to Greg, hanging with Alen and his crowd is non-stop hilarity, and he did very little sightseeing because they were running the streets having a wild and crazy time.

On Tuesday, November 3, Greg parted company with his now bosom-buddy Alen and headed to Stansted to take his easyJet flight to Denmark. And there we will pick up when I have the rest of <i>that</i> story.
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 12:36 PM
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Robyn, yes, he did get his shots and is stocked with malaria pills.

kerouac, I think you are a person who will completely understand when I say that Greg is a guy for whom it is very important to live true to himself - his dreadlocked, scruffy-bearded, thrift-store-clothed self. There's a rare honesty in that, don't you think?
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 12:44 PM
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Artnsletter, your threads about your son are a riot! And he sounds like a fun and great guy. And smart too, he listened to you regarding how to get enterance into England.
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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I have been reading this from the beginning and am so glad that you are still updating! Greg and West seem like great guys What a fantastic opportunity for them! I have a student who wants to do a similar thing and I thought it was great. Please keep writing whenver you get an update
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 08:57 PM
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Yes, artsnletters, I completely understand, even though I finally reached the later stage in life when it can sometimes be fun to "disguise" yourself as someone you are not. However, since dreadlocks do not grow overnight, it is a major life change whenever somebody decides that the dreadlocks days are over! May that day still be far off for Greg.
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Old Nov 8th, 2009, 09:04 PM
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It's interesting that they did indeed stop him for lots of questions. Our concern that this would happen, for whatever reason, was well-placed, and your preparation in response appears to have been key to his success.

I would have been worried about the guys buying him drinks, but luckily you didn't know about it at the time, and clearly the drink-buyers had no bad intentions. I guess that will be a common theme - you'll be happier to hear about the adventures after the fact than during!
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