Keeping Calm & Carrying On

Sunday is a difficult day.

I have money wired to me so that I can extend my hostel stay and, you know, eat. But it is Sunday and the nearest Western Unions that I walk to are all closed. The Texan accompanies me to the first three that I walk to. After this I am forced to cut him loose. I can tell that it is going to be a long day involving a lot of walking.

And it is.

I walk a total of 23 kilometers. Up down and around Nice. I do this after having only eaten the toast and coffee hostel breakfast. I am so very tired and so very hungry by five pm. But I have to accept defeat. I am not getting my money on a Sunday.

Back at the hostel I sit in the kitchen and drink tea. There are two of my roommates in the kitchen. One is a Hungarian girl who has been at the hostel for sometime now. She is fidgety and quiet but kind. She always offers her magazines to me when she is done reading them. She has almost no money and eats and drinks solely off going out and waiting until she has met someone to buy her food. This is working well for her she says and I believe her. I guess if you really are in a bind, all those dinner dates French men invite you to could literally sustain your livelihood. In a way I guess she is kind of living her life like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffanys.
The other is an older man with a long grey ponytail. He is always on his laptop and he doesn’t ever seem to leave the hostel. He is eccentric and maybe even a little unstable but also kind. He composes music and sends some of it to me over Skype. He tells me that he has been married three times and lived all over the world. He is from France and when I ask where he lives, he says he lives on the street. He says he works when he runs out of money but otherwise he just moves around from place to place. Sometimes staying somewhere for a long time if he finds work, sometimes he runs out of money when he can’t find work. He says he doesn’t care about the broke times because above all he values his freedom. He is a character to say the least.

Everyone at the hostel knows about my bag being stolen. Mostly because, though I can be shy, when I do talk I tend to talk a lot. Like a lot a lot. About whatever is on my mind however appropriate or inappropriate it may be. Luckily I’m in a hostel in Europe. Everyone here has been through some crazy situations and everyone can relate. People offer me food, but I decline still wallowing in feeling stupid from the night before.

Pierre, the composer, does not take no for an answer and buys pizza and pasta for me and the Hungarian girl.
The Texan makes two salads and gives me one, and a Brazilian hostel worker offers me wine. The next thing I know everyone is offering everyone some of what they have and we all eat and talk together. The situation is ridiculously cheesy and very heartwarming. It’s like a Nice Hostel Thanksgiving and I am grateful.

It turns out that the hostel workers are all working here through workaway. Over the next few days I get to know all of them pretty well. We cook together, go on walks, I even give the new hostel guests tips and directions around Nice. Everyone jokes that it is as if I work there. I wish I did! Then I would be staying for free.

One Italian workawayer is staying here until he finds out if he got a job as an art therapist at a local Montessori school. He says that the job opportunity just came from a connection he made while traveling. He says just before that he didn’t have a clue as to what he was going to do with his life, but that when you remain open, you will always receive what you need in life. He is really funny and tries to convince me everyday that my wallet getting stolen happened for a reason. “You are meant to be stuck here for some reason.. Go find out what it is!”

Another workawayer is from Brazil. He shows me videos of the recent mine accident that completely destroyed a part of his country. He was a lawyer in Brazil, but he quit his job to travel.
“I did not know what to do with my life before, so I went to law school. When you go to law school, your parents and teachers and friends are proud… When I quit my job, my boss was supportive. She said to go find happiness. My mother was proud to have a lawyer for a son…but I think she is even more proud of me now.” He smiles a lot and I like him.


On Monday I return to my search for a Western Union. I decide to walk to a location that I remember. I start walking there and just as I turn down a random alleyway I see stage lights, cameras, and lots of people blocking my path.
Of course, they are shooting some low budget film today. Why wouldn’t they be?
I try to find a route around them, but I cannot see any obvious paths and I cannot afford to get lost. Check out time at the hostel is at eleven, and I need this money now before I lose my bed. In a frenzy I run through the set. I think I surprised the whole set because initially no one reacts, but as I turn a corner I hear shouting and laughter behind. I am definitely going to need to find a different route back.

To make a long story short, I do not get my money in time. It takes me half the day and is really stressful the whole time. But it does all workout. Obviously. It always does.

So here I am now, in Nice. Just waiting for my bank to send my card. With way too much time to reflect.

There are extremely cheap buses from Nice to nearby cities. For €1.50 I see Monaco, Montecarlo. The picture above is of a port there. It was fancy and beautiful.

Tomorrow for €1.50 I will see Cannes.

If by Monday my card has still not arrived I will head to Spain. I am running out of time and money, but I am not going home. Not just yet..

Either way it will all workout the way it is supposed to.

It always does.

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