Day 209: The YouTube Freak

Plovdiv Old Town

It’s good to be back in Bulgaria. We were supposed to take the bus tonight to Istanbul, but found it too tempting to stay here in Veliko Tarnovo. The city is nowhere as charming as Bulgaria’s old town Plovdiv (though it’s hard to stroll around without seeing pretty faces), but we just feel really at home at the Loft Hostel.

Veliko Tarnovo

Being here gives us a good opportunity to just catch up on catching up. We’re only a border away from starting our Middle Eastern journey and just realised that getting through immigration is not exactly as convenient as we had thought. There’s no overland route between Turkey and Jordan / Lebanon without first traveling through Syria. If we can’t get a Syrian visa, that pretty much means our hopes to see M.E. are done with. Unless we fly of course…

Plovdiv Old Town

Which wouldn’t have been an issue had I not been flirting with the idea of traveling all the way from Latvia to Hong Kong overland. I don’t know how it happened but I’ve turned into what Singcher described as “overland freak”. And I think the idea is starting to sell well with KF also.

Veliko Tarnovo

We’re pretty much leaning towards the route that takes us via the ancient Silk Road. From Iran to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, then into China’s Xinjiang province. There are visa and time issues too, but if we can’t get to Syria we should have sufficient means to overcome those obstacles.

Speaking of overland journeys, I must have met one of the most unique (read: weird) characters in our trip.

We arrived at the Loft Hostel at 3am the night before. I thought everyone would be asleep but there was a middle aged man watching a movie on YouTube – he briefly greeted us with a nod but never peeled his eyes from the computer. I woke up in the morning to use the bathroom and he was still sat there on youtube.

He spent most of the day sleeping but later in the afternoon he was on youtube again, flipping back and forth between foreign language and English movies, watching them sections at a time but never from start to end (video clips are restricted to 10 minutes on youtube so a full movie could be split into 15-20 parts). He hardly watched in sequential order either (“this is part 3.. i need to watch part 2 to see what happened”). I couldn’t believe it. The following night, he pulled another all nighter on youtube.

From conversation we learned that Youtube Scott – an overweight geek version of Steve Jobs with a disturbing squinting left eye and a scruffy white beard – was an unemployed Danish who struggled to receive social benefits from the government. Well there’s no wonder Scott, you’re a vegetable. If youtube had a “longest user online” you’d top that list.

On the surface, Youtube Scott appeared to be a living dead, kept alive only by the lifeline of youtube. But there was a lot more to this deadbeat book’s cover. Youtube Scott is an overland freak too and knows more about the world than most American politicians. When I told him what we were trying to do, he just said in the calmest way “i’ve done that a couple times too”.

Whilst most people consider a trans-continental overland journey as the single journey of a lifetime, Youtube Scott has traveled around the world on several overland journeys, one time taking a wrong turn in Iran and ended up in Africa. He’s spent a lifetime traveling, occasionally returning to Denmark for work where the pay is higher and saving for the next “journey of a lifetime” is easier. Youtube Scott has taken up several “cool” jobs on the road as well – acting as an extra for movies in Cairo, dressing up as Santa Claus in a Hong Kong shopping mall…

This time Youtube Scott is trying to make his way to Papua New Guinea overland. I just wonder how many movies he’ll have watched by the time he gets there. And oh if you’re wondering, yes he’s on youtube as I write.

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One Comment

  1. Leslie says:

    What a life, youtube and travelling, but what an awesome character to have encountered! i really hope you guys get that visa so you can continue overland, that would be amazing! best of luck guys!

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