Category Archives: Belgium

ibn battuta

Ibn Battuta – Moroccan Vagabond

The greatest adventurer of all time for me is the Moroccan vagabond, Ibn Battuta. He not only traveled everywhere in his known world, but he wrote about it in ways that no one before him had. Ibn Battuta’s journey lasted 29 years, so by Moroccan standards, my wife should be understanding of this current journey I’m on.

Ibn Battuta was the only world traveler in Middle Ages and he achieved fame because of he visited every Muslim ruler’s land of his time. He also traveled in China, Sri Lanka, Byzantium (which included huge amounts of Europe, Turkey, and Central Asia) and Russia. He traveled over 75,000 miles in his lifetime. And keep in mind most of this was by foot, camel, or horse. There were no frequent flyer programs then. He traveled like a nomad throughout the world and in the process, he introduced (and is still introducing) the cultures of the world to one another.
ibn battuta
Ibn Battuta was a well known traveler who lived according to the slogan ‘never, if possible, cover any road a second time’. He traveled on camel, horse, by boat and on foot. He went as far as he could through every means of land transport. He also traveled to West Africa and visited Timbuktu, Niger, and Mali. He distinctly described the existing political, social and economic conditions, religious matters, and position of women in the nations and regions he visited.

Ibn Battuta Resources
The Adventures of Ibn Battuta
The Travels of Ibn Battuta in the Near East, Asia, and Africa
Traveling Man: The Journeys of Ibn Battuta

He was elected Chief judge of Delhi, and he spent his life as Qadi (chief judge) of Morocco in the city of Fes for twenty three years, meanwhile he also wrote of his travels which at the time included almost everything that was known about the world.

At the age of 21, Ibn Battuta started his travels from Morocco. The main reason for his journey was to go on the Hajj, the long journey to Mecca, like all other Muslims who are required to do the same during their lives if possible. travels of ibn battuta

He traveled for 29 years and covered almost 75,000 miles where he visited 44 modern countries. He faced many dangers and adventures on his way. Bandits attacked him and he nearly drowned in a sinking ship during his travels.

ibn battuta on camelIbn Battuta was born in Morocco in a Muslim family in 1304. He studied Muslim law and in 1325 he left the place to make the journey to Mecca. He was very interested in adventure and world travel. Traveling to Mecca through land and by sea was dangerous. He traveled on land with a donkey at first. Later he joined a caravan with other travelers.

Ibn Battuta was asked to dictate the story of his travels to a scholar by the Sultan of Morocco. Today we are able to read that story in English and the story is called “Rihla-My Travels”.

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Vagobond Travel Museum – More European Wanderings

To be honest, my first taste of European wandering had really whet my appetite.  Don’t get me wrong, I was in love with my betrothed (whom I’d met in Morocco shortly after beginning my journey) and when I was offered a job as a kayak guide in Alaska, I opted to take it for a couple reasons – first of all, I had to go to the USA to get the paperwork I would need for marriage, second – I really needed to consider whether it was the right move to marry and I needed space to do that, and third – I saw it as a chance to wander around Europe a bit more without telling my fiance something like ‘Hey, I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you…but not until I’ve had the chance to wander around Europe a bit more,” which, I already knew she wouldn’t take well.  The irony of the fact that I had used a bogus kayak job to escape from an ill-conceived plan of marriage in the Philippines back in 2003 wasn’t lost on me. I wondered if I was doing the same thing or having the universe play a prank on me.

In fact, it was a bit of a dirty trick the universe played because just after I’d spent nearly all of my money to purchase the tickets to get me to North America and back – my friend contacted me and told me they’d hired someone else. I considered my options, kept that news to myself, and set out on the Fools journey. It seemed like the best option since I wasn’t sure that my fiance would understand going without a job waiting.

In any event, I left Morocco again,  flew intoMadrid before heading to Frankfurt, Germany then to Dublin. From Dublin, I flew to Canada where I hitched across the country with about $2, found work in the USA, flew back to Dublin, then went to Belgium and from there back to Morocco.  I really was trying to do things in an economic way, but I managed to squeeze in a bit of travel. These are the European stops I wrote about.

During this time, I was also delving into Tarot Philosophy and so I include the posts I wrote about that here as well…as you’ll see, by the time I got back to Morocco, I was exhausted, sick, and ready to move into a different kind of life.

The Fools Journey

Fool Encounters Magician

Madrid - The Worst Couchsurfing Experience in the World

Frankfurt - Arrival at a Spaceport

Frankfurt – From Goethe’s Tower to the Beer Bike

Dublin for $82 – Lesbians, Guinness, and Vikings plus Gary Coleman

Breakfast in Quebec, Lunch in New Jersey, Dinner on a plane, Breakfast in Ireland

Wicklow and Glendalough – Old English Ladies, the Loch Ness Monster, and St. Kevin

Howth, Seals, Kelpies, a bowl of Chowder, and a 2500 year old Princess

Cement Yourself Into Brussels and Other Belgian Oddities

A Camera Whodunit. The Green Mohawk or the Old Man?

Laundry in Ghent – Plus Torture and the Best Wallpaper in the World

Coffee in Luxembourg – Overcoming Travel Ennui

Charleroi - I am the Vector for Swine Flu

Quick Update From Morocco with Love

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Vagobond Travel Museum – A European Wander

Much to my surprise, what I had thought would be a sort of never ending, round the world holiday, had suddenly become mired down in love – mainly because I’d fallen in love with a Moroccan girl with no passport and in order to bring her into my world – I had to get the right papers, find a job, and prove that I could be a good husband.  Not easy when my plan hadn’t included any of these things, I was thousands of miles from home, and I didn’t even really like being in Morocco. I needed time to think. I needed to step away.

My bride to be had told me that I could marry her or that she would understand if I chose the world instead…frankly, things had moved so quickly, that I needed to see if the world still held the same appeal – so I decided to take a few weeks, explore a bit of Europe, visit some friends along the way and clear my head.

This trip was all about deciding whether to continue traveling and leave the girl behind or whether to follow my heart and leave the travel behind – or perhaps to find a way to marry both the girl and the road. In any event, things quickly turned south when all three of my debit cards were shut down because I had yet to learn that banks need to be notified that you will be using ATMs when you are abroad.

This particular trip follows up on leaving Hawaii, taking an Amtrak across the USA, spending my first month in Spain, and then finding love in Morocco. So, there was a lot going on as I tried to figure out what the hell to do next.

Sevilla – The Flower of Spanish Beauty and Culture

The King of Seville and the Barber of Seville

Arriving in Portugal

Lisboa, Not Lisbon – City of Romance and Luxury

Hostels of Lisbon

Pictures of  Porto - Beautiful Decrepit City of Love and Life

Street Photography in Lisbon

The Basque Region – San Sebastion to Biarritz

Bordeaux, France - Not So Groovy Unless You Love Sex Shops

The French Countryside - No Touristic Whores Allowed

Vagobond Dream Machine - Beatniks and Spaceships

Paris is a Whore – But a Lovable One

Penniless Paris

Vagobond in Paris without any money!

Vagobond in Paris

Panhandling in Paris

The Netherlands - Buttplug Dwarf and Tulip Mania

Brussels – Comic Murals, Skate Parks, and Chess Bars

Milan, Bergamo and back to Morocco

Hostel in Bergamo

The Tickets