The Scruffman in Europe

Old Nov 12th, 2009, 08:51 AM
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Young people traveling off season can count on much more generosity than in the middle of summer. This is probably the best time of year for this kind of trip.
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Old Nov 12th, 2009, 09:32 AM
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What would we do without e-mail and the internet. A great stress relieving medium when you have children living overseas and they keep in touch. Then again can be a great cause of stress when you read about what they are doing.

I am really enjoying reading Greg's adventures.
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Old Nov 12th, 2009, 09:39 AM
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hi, scruffman's mum,

I've just caught your thread for the first time.

I think I may have a scruffman in the making.

i don't know whether to laugh or cry.

watching through my fingers,

regards, ann
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Old Nov 12th, 2009, 11:27 AM
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<<I cannot help but imagine the scenario of him chatting with someone somewhere, telling about his travels, and the other person saying, "Hey wait a minute, you must be The Scruffman!">>

quokka, let us hope this never happens! I think I will never be forgiven! You are right though that I respect his choices. I'm trying to be a ready resource so that I can try to head off trouble before it turns into something major.

kerouac: Not to mention, I think people feel sorrier for the underfunded and/or desperate during cold weather.

annhig: It's not as bad as all that. Just make sure your incipient scruffman gets lots of real-world experience while he's still home. Mine has lived on his own for several years, spent some time walking "on the wild side" while still in his hometown including time in kinda dicey urban neighborhoods, done a lot of camping including desert camping (which is both very hot and very cold), and logged tons of hours talking to people from <u>all</u> walks of life for years - attended a very diverse high school, and through his street work. Especially his street work. He says you have about 30 seconds to convince someone that they want to stop and talk to you - imagine the skills you develop when you spend all day getting 30 seconds to get people to stop and talk to you, plus trust you enough to give you money/credit card info. But the point of all this is, he isn't naive, he knows how to take care of himself when he needs to rough it, and he can connect very quickly with people, which I imagine is quite useful when he really needs help. That doesn't mean he isn't going to encounter disaster at some point, but I think he's less at risk than some. So encourage your scruffman-in-training to develop the skills he'll need before he embarks on such an adventure. (And don't show him these threads unless what you fear becomes inevitable!)
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Old Nov 12th, 2009, 11:52 AM
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hi Scruffman's mum,

<<annhig: It's not as bad as all that. Just make sure your incipient scruffman gets lots of real-world experience while he's still home>>

that's not so easy in rural Cornwall. He's applying to uni but inertia is setting in, as he's on the notorious gap-year and enjoying hanging with his mates who are similarly underemployed. He's looking for a job but they are like hen's teeth. I don't want to be a nag but as the family's only gainfully employed person it's not easy.

Sorry. Vent over.

looking forwrd [ I think] to the next installment,

regards, ann
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Old Nov 12th, 2009, 11:59 AM
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"He would make a heck of a lawyer, if only he could handle the books-and-writing part of it. Maybe he’ll end up a politician?"

Priceless!!!! LOL
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Old Nov 12th, 2009, 12:22 PM
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Ann, that is scary! The Scruffman is very committed to self-sufficiency, albeit at a very low level. He doesn't ask me for money - hasn't since he moved out at 18, although he has accepted donations of food from time to time! This is probably the only college education he's going to get, as despite his intelligence he doesn't get on with school (learning disabilities), and he's viewing this as his education. Beats me what he'll do with it, but he isn't a mooch, even off his mom. (I was a single parent for 15 of his 18 years at home, and he appreciates that that was a big challenge for me financially. He knows I'm not in a position to let him loaf at home.)

The job situation sucks everywhere. Truly an awful time. Hence not such a bad time to be a Scruffman on the road. I hope it will be better when he gets home.

Best of luck to you and your scruffster.
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Old Nov 12th, 2009, 05:31 PM
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Arts,

You and him are an incredible team !

M.
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Old Nov 14th, 2009, 07:13 AM
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Enjoying the saga. Sounds like you continue to play a critical role in his travels. He is so lucky to have you for back-up.

I have a nephew graduating from college next month who plans on taking a year to travel the world. I can't decide whether or not to send him this link. I'm not even his mother and the thought of it makes me very anxious. Oh, the couch surfing thing....
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Old Nov 14th, 2009, 08:17 AM
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Hello artsnletters. About fifteen years ago a young fellow, family member did as your son is doing. We would get a collect phone call from time to time but no day to day communications, well except for some postcards. At the time we wished we heard more often from him but I have to say after he returned home and shared his adventures it was probably a good thing that we didn't. We would have been a nervous wreck! And he too couched surfed although I don't remember that term being used at the time. Anyway, he made it home safe and sound and broke of course. Our young scuffyman and yours sound so similar. Our fellow has sinced gotten his university degree, married, bought a house and is now a father. How they change over the years. Best wishes to you along with admiration for how you are handling this, and wishes that your son has a wonderful time thoughout his journey.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2009, 11:29 PM
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This evening I accidentally stumbled across the 3 threads and couldn't stop reading. It's reinvigorated my memory of college years in the early 1960's.

What a different world now. Then: only means of communicating was phone (too expensive) and mail. Most of my and friends' parents wouldn't hear from any of us except once every few months ... and most of what we wrote were short .... and highly self-censored.

One half of Shpongle is in his 70's eh? ... Hmmm ... memories and thoughts percolating ... I wonder if my wife would be as accepting of an elder-exploration as are you of your son's exploration. (Ooops ... I just remembered how uncomfortable it can be sleeping in the rain)
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Old Nov 24th, 2009, 12:01 AM
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I quickly learned to get a spot under the overpasses in Vondelpark in Amsterdam, even when the night seemed clear.
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Old Nov 24th, 2009, 03:12 PM
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I just stumbled across these threads as well,and haven't been able to stop reading, despite a pressing deadline.

Thanks so much for such an entertaining read. It brings back memories for me as well. I also took off on an open-ended trip at 21. I set off to Europe via Asia with only the first flight to Singapore organised. I think I was on a budget like $10 a day, seems inconceivable now. The trip taught me so much!

Scruffman--what a great name--sounds like a delightful young man. I think I was probably scruffgirl at that point--my mother did despair and I did grow out of it, well almost...
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Old Nov 24th, 2009, 04:35 PM
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It really is great to hear from those of you who've done something like this, or know someone who has. I envy my boy this trip, although really I only wish I had <i>wanted</i> to do it, back in the day. I wanted the trip, but not this kind of a trip. In the end it didn't matter, I married young and we bought a house and that was that. I'm glad he's sowing some wild oats while they are easy to sow.

Susan7, how long ago was that? I think the Scruffman's budget is about $20 a day plus transportation costs. He certainly made it across the US on that or less.
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Old Nov 24th, 2009, 04:37 PM
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And I too am sitting here, drumming my fingers, impatiently waiting for word from the Scruffman. I know where he has been and where he is right now, but little else about the last 10 days or so. I'm hoping he will find time to send me a little of his story soon so I can share some more with you.
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Old Nov 24th, 2009, 06:42 PM
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I'm sure you can hear the collective sound of all our fingers drumming as we too wait patiently
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Old Nov 24th, 2009, 06:50 PM
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It was the end of 1981 when I left Australia. My $10 budget was mainly in Asia and it didn't include transport costs either. I worked when I got to Europe--I've got two passports.

Such a good expression isn't it "sowing some wild oats"? I totally agree with you, early 20s is the time to do it. It opened my eyes to the world, and the diversity in it, in a way that has marked me forever.

You sound like you are being a terrific support! Can't wait for the next installment!!!
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Old Nov 25th, 2009, 07:33 PM
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Hi artsnletters, how's Scruffman doing? I didn't get a chance to catch up on all the messages in this thread yet. Was Scruffman able to meet the budge of $20 a day? The USD against the EUR is falling fast...1.51 to 1 today...
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Old Nov 26th, 2009, 12:47 AM
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Joins finger drumming chorus ;-)

I hope our young friend is doing well and involved in so many happy adventures that he simply doesn't find time to write.
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Old Nov 30th, 2009, 04:31 PM
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artsnletter:

What a great story goes on here. It has struck home...Like you, my mom was a very understanding, fun person. When I was a high schooler at 17, I brought home some enlistment papers for the United States Army..had to be signed by parents unless enlistee was 18. No questions asked, she signed and insisted that dad do the same...so when I was four years younger than Scruffman I was in Alabama training to join MacArthur's Occupation troops in Japan....next two years I carried a loaded M-1 rifle through the mountains and rice paddies of Kyushu.
Thanks, Mom (she was a wonderful mother, and dad a great father..both long gone now, of course)...but I still remember that while other parents gave their underage kids a hard time for signing up even though the draft for 18-year-olds was still on then and they would have to go eventually, I very proudly got to serve my country in a time of need, when tired veterans of the nasty War in the Pacific sorely needed replacements, so they could finally go home.

Scruffman will still love you for this decades from now!

Stu Tower
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