“Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, Healthy, free, the world before me, The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.”

~Walt Whitman



Name: Charlie Klonowski       On The Road: 1,215 days [12/07/2017]

Address: N/A                                  Visited: 21 Countries [12/07/2017]

Phone: N/A



In my first year of travel I spent 7 months in Europe, 2 months in India, and 3 months in Australia. It cost me around $7,000.

July, 2012:

Bergen, Norway. I hiked and camped in the world-renowned fjords.

August, 2012:

I flew to Madrid, Spain, and stayed with my sister who unlocked the door to local culture. Having family nearby allowed me to ease into the pace of travel.

September-December, 2012:

The climax of a long chain of events, traceable to a single Youtube video watched years prior, brought me to Lublin, Poland. There I joined a group of dirtbag highliners at a festival and earned a purpose.

With them I made my first leap beyond my comfort zone when I hitchhiked from Wroclaw, Poland to Oberammergau, Germany. It took three days, but I arrived to a beautiful, secluded campsite in the alps. Then for a week I enjoyed the company of Europeans, and met a Munich local who offered me a couch to crash on. It became my headquarters from which I explored Western Europe.

By the time I reached Munich, hitchhiking was my default mode of transportation. I wasn’t yet accustomed to it, but I was too cheap to pay for bus fare.

I hitched to Bern, Switzerland and camped in a park at a slacklining festival.

I hitched to Hochkonig, Austria, a town nestled in the Austrian alps.

I cracked Italy from the North, camping on Monte Piana, in the heart of the Dolomites. That adventure would be my favorite of my time spent in Europe.

I hitched with friends to Kost Castle in the Czech Republic for another highline festival; this one within a medieval castle.

Somewhere along the line I forged a strong camaraderie with an Englishman, so I took a train to Swindon, England. I stayed with him and a family of circus-ers, helping them store gear for the off-season.

Since I hitchhiked everywhere for transportation, and made friends or slept rough for accommodation, I only had to pay for food.

December, 2012:

When I was finished gallivanting around Europe, I returned to Madrid and prepared my visa to India.

January-March, 2013:

En-route to India, I Couchsurfed a night in Istanbul, Turkey.

And again Couchsurfed a night in Athens, Greece.

Then I made it to India which became, and has remained, my favorite country in the world. During the whole year of travel I was stricken with a paralyzing culture-shock only once, on my first day in India. But I forced myself to wander the exotic, muggy streets. I happened upon a German traveler and he assured me that India was glorious and easy to travel. From that moment on I turned up nothing but gems.

I traveled slowly, gorged on street food, took local buses everywhere. This saved money and exposed me to locals like no coddled tourist packages could.

I got food poisoning and was fine.

I smoked ganja out of Chillums with locals from the humid tropics of Kerala to the towering peaks of the Himalayas.

March-June, 2013:

I was abruptly kicked out to Australia where I met a guru in Sydney who brought me up the coast to Byron Bay. There I camped in the bush for free with some riparian gypsies. And there I concluded a yearlong world tour.

**I lived at home in the United States from 14/06/2013 – 15/03/2015.  I worked to save money, and recovered from a spinal injury.**

During my second year abroad I spent a month in New Zealand, 3 months in Australia, 2 months in Indonesia, and 7 months in SE Asia. It cost me $6,000. Clocked.

March, 2015: New Zealand

In New Zealand I stumbled into a garden paradise, and there I secured part-time work for free room and free breakfast. I spent the month surfing world class waves. And I spent cash only on lunches and dinners.

April-July, 2015: Australia

In Australia I fell into old habits. I camped too long in Byron Bay, and had to be evacuated by a friend. Then I hitchhiked up the Queensland coast, met heaps of awesome people, and slept in mansions, junkyards, on beaches, at festivals, in hippie communes, and in abandoned resorts.

As always, I rarely spent a dime on transportation or accommodation.

July-September, 2015: Indonesia

Indonesia was the first country I landed in without a shred of a plan. Everything turned out fine. I bought a surfboard and met friends. I explored much of the island.

Then I re-broke my back, but was able to recover in a wonderful hostel over the course of a month.

September-October, 2015: Singapore & Malaysia

I slept three nights in Singapore with the nephew of a German woman I’d met in Auckland.

Then I spent 4 days in Malacca, Malaysia.  Another three weeks in Tanah Rata in the Cameron Highlands.  And another three weeks in Pinang, Malaysia.

November, 2015: Thailand pt. 1

I finally made it to Thailand, and my first impression was gratitude that I first experienced Asia through India.  Thailand was unbearably touristic, and I had to drastically readjust my motivations to cope.

December, 2015: Laos

Laos was a short stop of pure debauchery; drinking, drugs, partying, sex. The experience held value mainly as a declaration of social aptitude. It was a royal confirmation. I had long before gone traveling as a means to cultivate, primarily, some confidence. In Laos I felt a King. I lead groups of people to bars. I initiated adventures. I charmed with comedy and wit, and wielded charisma.

Vang Vieng felt like a week-long final examination and graduation ceremony at the school of extroversion.

January, 2016: Thailand pt. 2

I returned to Thailand and formed a little love nest with a local woman. She showed me the more genuine side of Thailand.

February, 2016: Cambodia

I spent a week in Siem Reap, Cambodia overcoming some love-sickness while indolently exploring Angkor Wat.

Then, completely disenchanted by ex-patriots, I spent three weeks in Phnom Penh as a nocturnal poker player. There I arranged a Vietnam visa.

March, 2016: Vietnam

I bought the single shittiest Honda Win 110cc motorcycle in Ho Chi Minh City, and drove it 2,000km North to Hanoi. It was one of the single greatest adventures of my life, and my time there scored Vietnam as my second favorite country in the world.

April, 2016: Thailand pt. 3

I reunited with my Thai love for another month. We explored more of the country together, and celebrated Songkran, the Thai water festival.

April 22, 2016 – April 22, 2017: Australia

April-November: Brisbane

My third year was a grey area between work and travel. On a working holiday visa in Australia, I grossed $31,500 in 24 weeks working. I bought a van in Cairns for $1,700 and drove it to a farm north of Brisbane. After living in it for a month, the farm manager offered me the caravan on site for free. So even with an income I paid no accommodation expenses. Food was basic. Little more than fuel for the job; muesli and coffee breakfasts, PB&J sandwich and Vegemite and butter sandwich for lunch, pasta and canned fish for dinner. I worked 6 days a week, for 24 weeks, for a total of 1,425 hours, at $22.13 per hour.

December: Byron Bay

My third stint in Byron Bay ruined any remaining positive sentiment I still held. The surf wasn’t even up.

January-February: East Coast Australia

For two months I traveled down the Eastern sea board, living out of my van, surfing every break I could find, making my way to Melbourne.

February 9 – April 17: Melbourne

Melbourne’s practical live-ability trumped Chiang Mai’s foreign allure as my favorite city in the world. I reunited with a host of long lost friends. I explored a solid breadth, and depth, of the city; its people, its culture, its style. Melbourne became another place I call home.

April 17 – April 22: Perth

On my first day in Australia back in 2013, I met a guru who brought me to Byron Bay. Four years later, on my last days in Australia, I visited him again in Perth. I cannot fit enough profundity in these words to describe how important seeing him was to me.  And the symmetry appeals as well.

April 22 – June 21: Indonesia

I spent a week on Bali, two weeks on Java, and five weeks on Lombok. Ever since Vang Vieng, Laos I’ve felt detached from fellow travelers that muffles connection.  For that reason, during my time in Indonesia, I was singularly devoted to surfing, and nothing else.

I travel now, truly solo.

June 21 – TBD: Borneo, Malaysia, Kota Kinabalu


Comments are closed.