When I arrive at Kelenfold Station, across the Danube from the main city of Budapest, the area is clearly more residential than commercial. I walk a couple of miles to the evening’s hostel, where I am not sleeping in a building but in an actual yurt that the owners have built out of tarps and two-by-sixes in the back yard. The receptionist checks me in, shows me around, and nonchalantly directs me to the yurt, the showers, and the meditation platform (which probably has a more precise name, but I don’t know it). I hope that the insects don’t eat me alive, as the yurt’s top is open slightly, presumably to let smoke out. Though a ceramic plate of incense sits in the center, no incense is burning, and I think about finding some to complete the commune experience and ward off bugs. Nevertheless, I set my things down and begin wandering the neighborhood for a cheap dinner and some pastries to tide me over until the first stop on the next morning’s bus ride: Krakow. After finding a cheeseburger and fries, I stop at a Spar and buy an iced tea and a few of that morning’s pastries at a 30% discount. In bed, I lay awake in the humidity until I receive a notification that a close family member has been hospitalized. This jolts me upright and turns my stomach sour. A couple of hours pass, and the nerves in my gut only ease when I consider flying back home.
Around two in the morning, I find a round-trip flight from Budapest to New York via Kiev, leaving that morning and returning the day before I am to catch a flight to Belarus. I have to apply for a Chinese visa, and figure I can find the time to get one in New York instead of Ukraine, so I immediately book the flight then quickly fall asleep. The next morning I awake early, and I hop on the airport shuttle rather than return to Kelenfold. Solo travel means simple travel. In a snap decision, I would be returning home for the first time since early May, putting an end to this leg of traveling. Such flexibility would be difficult in a larger group.
In the early morning, I am one of the few with bags on the airport shuttle, as most of my fellow riders are young, attractive flight attendants, airport security agents, or duty-free workers. The bus takes me through the city, and at the airport I manage to get to the terminal in plenty of time, all the while scratching my yurt-borne bug bites.
Victor Bernabei is just another millenial travel blogger. But here's the twist: He isn't a millenial! His goal is to see as many countries as he can, and spread the message that the world is not as scary as the news wants you to believe, and that there is beauty in all people, places and things.