The sun was low in the sky as it clung to the last hours of the day. It shone sharply into my blue, British-Irish eyes – a feeling I was not used to, having so far only hitchhiked East. But now I was going backwards towards Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.
I had left very late and was anxiously scouting out possible camping spots as I stood on the roadside. But after just thirty minutes, a man and woman picked me up. I told them about my adventure – where I sleep, how I cover distance and what I eat. It was like I was telling them a story about meeting a man with two heads. They wanted to know as much as they could in the thirty-minute ride, but the language barrier held us back.
Left just five kilometers from the flat that Marko said I could stay in while he was away, I walked. My tiredness seemed to blur the walk, and before I knew it, I was there.
I spent 45 minutes buying a load of useless ingredients in the shop next door before returning to the flat and passing out for 11 hours before I could figure out what to cook.
Suffice to say, I slept very well on that sofa bed.
I hadn’t been alone for a long time. The relief of having my own space and not having to entertain a host or driver quickly turned to a deep loneliness. I was tired, yes, but there was something else. I pondered for a while before getting a call from September. Talking to her brought a lot of emotions up. Today, she was accepting of the pause on our relationship, but I knew that both of us felt a full break was imminent.
I wrote in my journal that night:
“September is struggling with the distance and [length of] time [I will be away for], but some things are more important than a relationship. I expect we will break up soon. Part of me is upset, but another isn’t. Perhaps it is for the best. If we do remain together through this, then it really is love. If not, then it is best to end it now than in twenty years when we have bought a load of furniture together.”
Reading back through my journal entries tends to transport me right back into my body at the time I wrote them; I re-experience tastes, sounds, emotions and sights. Apart from feeling low, I enjoyed an effortless rest. I slept for 10 hours that night, woke up and ate breakfast, then fell asleep for another hour. It might not sound like much, but I have documented it because it was incredible.
Tallinn was very similar to Riga and Vilnius – marvelous, medieval-looking and a bit magical. Apart from exploring, I collected my passport which had been posted to me following the failed attempt at obtaining the visa for China. At least it arrived quickly, before my Russian visa began. I took a total of to days before leaving to cover the 400km to the border.
I walked out of the city and found a nice, well-hidden woodland spot. Despite being away from the main path, some people came along just as I was falling asleep and played their music. I quietly got out my mugger’s phone and wallet, should they see me. After thirty minutes, they left – I wasn’t sure if it was because they saw me, or because they just got bored. Regardless, I fell into another deep rest.
I was eased into the new day by the sweet pattering of rain on my tarpaulin; it was like the subtle opening of a symphony by an orchestra – the smooth transition across the anxious border of consciousness, across which we are so often dragged.
The aching chest of loneliness had faded with my sleep and I was ready to enter my 30th country. Today, I would head towards St. Petersburg and stay with my next host – Alexander.
I was on the last road in Estonia, and it was as empty as any other road approaching a border. I savored the last moment of this country, which has more nature than civilization. I would be back, I just knew it.
My final lift, Dimirti, bought me a coffee and muffin. It was a huge morale boost, though I was already quite happy that day. I was now just a few steps away from the Russian Federation.