Cycling naked into the world’s most radioactive area: Chernobyl

Wooden bridge with slit in the middle

Cycling through the Radioactive area of Chernobyl and ghost towns

I start cycling from Minsk and I go south to Ukraine, I pass nearby Chernobyl: Naroulia–one of the most radio-contaminated city of the world–, the Radioecological reserve Polesky and the nuclear ghost town of Poliske (Ukraine), which is between two military checkpoints.
Many dangers on the way, but the radioactivity pollution is not the biggest.
The Belarusian army, police, wild animals, falling apart bridges, injuries and even lack of drinkable water was what made the cycling challenging.

LUKASHENKO

It’s like an authoritarian father, not allowing his children to do anything he does not like them to do.
I feel it from his army and police, so close minded and standardized.

THE HIERARCHIC WRONG FAIRYTALE OF CINDERELLA

Belarus make me think of fairytales.
Children’s stories that can make kids adults heroes, or just robots, depending on the content of the narration.
Let’s take Cinderella as example, an apparent nice story.
But there is a manipulative teaching: kids learning that a prince or a king is more important than a common person.
Cinderella wants to get out of her poverty through marrying a prince. This is not just sexisst but higly hierarchic and non meritocratic.

If there would be no prince there would be no poor ladies like Cinderella.

GETTING INTO TROUBLES WITH BELARUSIAN ARMY

To take a shortcut, I go through the forest, crossing a falling apart bridge I see a strange field in front of me: it’s not forest, neither cultivated, on the map is shown just as a gray area. I go into it to cross it.
I see big holes on the ground and I have a strange feeling.

All the patterns marked on the map don’t match the real path and I am stuck in this place. I decide to camp there for the night, feeling a bit worried.

During the night I hear trucks passing, I look more carefully out of the tend and I spot a destroyed war tank far from me.
I start thinking I may be somewhere where I should not be!

In the morning I am awaken by a big military truck passing, a soldier with three stars on is jackets comes out of it, telling me, ‘almost friendly’, that I am in a military exercitation camp, where they are shooting with fantery and heavy weapons. He tells me to leave asap.
I thank him and I leave, I think that he was quite kind to have just told me to leave without even asking who I am.

After two kilometers there is a checkpoint, with soldiers and the man I spoke previously was there waiting for me, he politely tells me that I have to be interrogated.

I am ready for interrogation and I am quite happy to be alive, not aware that the interrogation will lasts seven hours and I am asked about EVERYTHING.
They check all my stuff, included my private pictures on my phone, emails, facebook and all you can find on my google account.
The find some naked pictures of me, where I promote Cyclonudista, and tell me that pornography is illegal in Belarus, I tell them that that’s just my body as I was born.

At the end I am told that a truck will come to pick me up and bring me “on the right way…”.


After another half hour a truck comes, I am helped to get inside of it with my bicycle, there are soldiers with weapons in it.
I am not able to see outside, it’s dark and I am about to vomit for the shaking and the dust.
I can now understand a little what animals in cages feel when they are transported from one place to another, I understand why many of them die on the way. I almost wished to die myself on that truck.
I am worried and paranoid, I think  that they would harm or even kill me. They seem too kind to be true.
The truck stops, the same people who inspected me open the door from outside and I am free, for real.
Never felt better in my life.

DOGS AND WILD ANIMALS ON THE WAY

In the tent I clearly hear wolves, I am ready with pepper spray and a metal stick–a detached handlebar–to fight, but luckily they don’t come too near.
Dogs are barking to the wolves all night long. What to know what I think about dogs?
Dogs are the most evident example of human insatisfaction.

I see a farm in front of me, I see people kicking and pulling cows as they are pieces of

EVEN IMPORTANT THINGS ARE EASY TO FORGET

When we change from different situations we can forget really fast, and deeply. We may easily forget all the struggle we were in before, if we are suddenly in a more comfortable situation.
The ones of us with memory for the sad past, the ones that remember also the bad times of others around, the persons that have this sensibility, those are our heroes, those are the ones to whom we have to be grateful.


YOU CAN’T UNDERSTAND

When you have a home, you can’t understand homelessness.
When you have a full belly, you can’t understand the hungry one.
When you are healthy, you can understand pain.

I also don’t understand how I am able to cycle: just one week before starting, I do a wrong movement and my back gets blocked, people need to pull me up and lift me for about three days in order to let me move.
My right eye has some loss of sharpness; while cycling I fall down, I hurt my hand and I am not able to use it for all the rest of the trip… But this didn’t stop me.


USSR AND COMMUNISM – UKRAINE OPEN TO EU

Kiev is much different than Minsk or Riga, which both give me USSR, anti western, pro-Putin feeling.

I was more keen to like the Soviet Union before my trips to the Baltics, Belarus and Ukraine.
After the seeing huge economic and social differences even in Belarus, which is the only country in the world that continues on the USSR regime, I am not sure I like this kind of communism. I would not even call it communism, but dictatorship.

I have noticed that freedom of speech is unknown in Belarus, the country is ruled by police with little-no personal liberty.


I would say that among ex-USSR countries, Ukraine is the most open and EU-oriented country, even if there is a long way to go.
While Latvia was the most unfriendly country for western people.

TRAVEL COMPANION

I mostly travel alone because I am often disappointed by travel companions. Some of them pretend to be lovers, but are much better than expected as traveling companionship, much worse than expected as lover.

WAR IN UKRAINE

What’s the difference between a detainee and a soldier?
The only difference is that the soldier can let out his hunger and frustration freely on other people.


EUROPEANS SHOULD LEARN FROM UKRAINIANS

In Ukraine people is not smiling all the times, sometimes they give you the impression of unhappiness. Except this, I have experienced great manners, honesty and really friendly attitude.
Things work well here, public services are smooth and internet is really fast and cheap.

The subway in Kiev works extremely efficiently, it’s clean and everyone is perfectly well educated to stand up from their seats for an older person. The same in the tram, trolley bus and minibus.

Walking at night, even in really dark areas, is totally safe. Nobody bothers you even if is clear that you are a foreigner. 

Police and army people are friendly. They are working hard and will not bother you, in south europe (especially in Italy) this is not the case.

I never felt unsafe or threatened here ,  to be sincere I felt much better that in many European capitals.

What to put in your backpack for a long trip

Minimalistic 30L backpack

With time I am becoming more and more pragmatic, minimalist and essentialist. Which means that I try to concentrate more things in just one.

Often when I travel I am asked: “don’t you miss your friends?”

Here they are my trip companions :

A BICYCLE, of course,  and…

 

SMARTPHONE

  1. Android Galaxy S (last model or previous)
  2. Rugged silicone phone case with stand (vertical/horizontal) heavy duty
  3. Tempered glass screen protector
  4. Desktop charger cradle with external battery charging
  5. Extra batteries (original OEM)  x5
  6. USB long cable fast charging (OEM)

SOFTWARE (apps)

  1. Offline dedicated gps
  2. Download of offline area in Google maps
  3. Compass app
  4. Audiobooks 30 hours  (Audible)
  5. Podcasts  30 hours (podcast addict)
  6. Falling fruit (to find free wild edible)
  7. Flashlight widget

CHROMEBOOK

  1. Chromebook (laptop)
    The Samsung series (Chromebook 2) are quite good, but the important is to have 4gb of ram.
  2. Anti glare screen protector (if glossy display)
  3. Fluorescent keyboard stickers (to see the keys in the dark)

 

ELECTRONICS

  1. usb chargers x3: one with 3 ports(AUKEY 5V6A), another with 2 and a normal single port
  2. Universal travel Power adapter with 2 USB outputs
  3. Solar led light-usb power bank (small)
  4. Headphones with microphone, comfortable & good quality (to listen audiobooks)

 

WHAT TO PUT IN YOUR TRAVELING BACKPACK: the less the better

Try to get things which you can use for different purposes.

 

CLOTHING

  1. Shorts / Swimming pants
  2. Sport thin pants black (to use as pijama too)
  3. Comfortable Elegant/classic pants (better tight),  not jeans
  4. Raining pants (to keep in the jacket)
  5. Thighs (black)
  6. Shirts with long sleeves (colored & dark)  x2
  7. Sleeveless shirts with large shoulders (dark) x2
  8. T-shirt white x1
  9. Neck warmer/scarf (Elastic, thin and round) band x3
  10. Underwear x1
  11. Socks (warm 2x thin 2x)
  12. Small microfiber towel
  13. Thin sandals (xero shoes)
  14. Small nylon bag (to put dirty clothes etc)

WEARING AT DEPARTURE

  1. Jacket waterproof
  2. Travel money belt, where you can hide money inside
  3. Belt pouch (decathlon art. 1787447)

SHOES

Except the sandals that are already in the bag better to not bring a second pair of shoes. The one that you wear have to be really good:

  1. Waterproof
  2. Strong
  3. Warm for minus temperature
  4. Making you not sweat at 20°

 

TOOLS

  1. Duct tape (black – good quality)
  2. Cable ties (good quality, several sizes)
  3. Snap hooks in aluminium (small x5, big 5x)
  4. Velcro (adhesive)
  5. Rubber bands (small, strong & black)
  6. Instant glue
  7. Silicone water bag
  8. Marker
  9. Napkins
  10. Carton board (as laptop sleeve & hitchhiking sign)

 

SAFETY

  1. Hook code locks x3, to lock all the zippers of the bag or jacket
  2. Pepper spray 2x: one by the hand while cycling/hiking another in the bag/jacket (really useful for aggressive dogs or people)
  3. Condoms (depending…)

 

COSMETICS AND SOCIAL

  1. Visit cards
  2. Postcards (or some paper to leave messages)
  3. Mini first aid kit
  4. Cosmetics: alcohol gel,  tooth paste, hand Cream, perfume
  5. Hair/beard trimmer USB

 

CAMPING/TENT/SURVIVAL  ACCESSOIRES

  1. Sleeping bag (ultralight) – I am using “S15 Ultralight Quechua – Decathlon”
  2. Sleeping pad* (ultra compact) – Using “(self-inflating) A100 (50×117) Ultralight Quechua”
  3. Bike repair set, including Spray tire fix, extra inner tube, adhesive Patches, mini pump
  4. Good lighter (waterproof)
  5. Cord (green, universal, small)

*Sleeping pad best models:QUECHUA A100 Ultralight, Micro 2 Goose Down REGULAR Compact, RECON 2 Gen II, Snugpak Softie3, Roman Palm, MICRO MCII

 

BACKPACK

My favorite backpack  has been “Careebee 30L trail backpack” for a while.

I would suggest you a backpack that has at least three big compartments, with one of them fully accessible from the front side where you can put all your gadgets.

The more compartments the better, but with at least one big space for bulky things.

Sizes from 30L to 50L, you really don’t need more.

 

HOW TO AVOID LOSING THINGS

To avoid losing things group your items in maximum three places and don’t leave any item by itself.
Prepare the bag the day before departure.

  1. Get a Tile(electronic tag)  to locate lost things. To hide in the backpack, wallet, passport, jacket and bicycle.
  2. Write your email address inside your  backpack on the textile.
  3. Leave a smiling picture of you both in the backpack & wallet.

 

Did you pack everything?

Leave a comment if you want to know more about what to bring in your lifetime travel!

Find what you need! Anti-(modern)slavery Techniques – Freegan life

Few green-yellow mangoes in a dish

I needed socks, I have found them, new, in the street.
I didn’t have a mop, I have found one in the garbage, nearly new.
New sunglasses in the to buy list. I find it in a free-shop, still with label on it.

 

TIMING

Timing is all, timing is our life, or death. Often I find what I need just because I am not pretending to choose when I want something, but I know that I can wish anything, I just have to wait the right time.

Diving?  Dumpster diving! 

Surfing?  Couch surfing! 

 

 

I used to organize workshops  about a quite freegan topic–“This meeting has the aim of being a PEER-TO-PEER teaching/learning to share all the knowledge we have about how to live in a city without being slave or work.”–was the title of my events.

The main point was to Teach each other Basic Urban Survival techniques,which are:

TRAVELING:
Couchsurfing
Hitchhiking
Bicycling (find, buy and use bicycles)
Woofing

GETTING ITEMS:
Second hands shop
Flea markets
Dumpster diving
Second hands local websites
Free shops

 

 

ONLINE RESOURCES:

Trashwiki.org     – Infromations about dumpsterdiving
FallingFruit.org – Peer-to-peer community for urban(and non) foraging
Nomadwiki.org  – All the knowladge about nomadic travelr
Hitchwiki.org     – Hitchiking eplained in detais
Visawiki.org        – Beurocratic wiki, with practical informations about documents
Velo.Wiki.yt        – Wiki to find public bicycles. Still not complete, but you can contribute!
Couchwiki.org    – CouchSurfing is not the only ospitality platform, here you find more.
Cashwiki.org      – Busking, earning on the road and freeganism.

MONEY MANAGEMENT:
Don’t waste money for drinks, smoke,  drugs or unhealthy food cause those things you pay three times, first when you buy it, then with your health, finally with hospital costs.
You will be surprised of how much money you are just throwing away in bars and cafe’s.

Small earnings (for ex: Bringing back empty cans, busking etc)

If you need Internet find an inexpensive snack bar, fast food, think to go to the library or train station.

 

 

My 2017 “Financial” Resolution is:

– No money for drinks;
– No money for unhealthy food;
– Max 300 euro/month for accommodation (10eur/day);
– Less presents for friends;
– Traveling solely by bicycle, exceptionally by airplane (max 50eur)

Here the story about a day when I really thought that Jesus exists:

AN UNATTENDED PIZZA in Santo Domingo

Because of my limited budget and to fight waste, I went to ‘table-dive’–getting some ‘clean’ leftover from tables–in a shopping mall in Santo Domingo.
After two unsuccessful tables walks, I was about to leave as surrender when I see an unattended pizza box left on a table, without anyone sitting next to it. I look around, I sit close to the just found treasure and wait to see if someone is coming to take it.
I try to behave as I am waiting for someone…
After about ten minutes still nobody claimed the box, I start to think it is empty and I get closer to look into the box’s holes: there is pizza inside! I wait some more minutes, nobody comes and no one is even looking at me, there is a family sitting a table away, but they are with their back to me, talking busily.
I decide to open the box, I do it and I discover that it’s full of pizza slices! Just two slides were eaten and the rest of the pizza is still there, really clean, cutted in proportional parts.
I take one slide and eat it, I start to think that there is a supernatural power helping me day after day, because this is one of the many times I get what I need, right when I need it.
I could not be happier, this was the best present anyone could give me. I was thinking about those persons who left the pizza there, they would have eaten just a small piece and knowing it was a pity to trash it, they left it there for someone who wanted it, which was me! Such kind and warmhearted people in this planet!
At each bite of my adopted pizza I bless the giver, I think that I can live without money and even in Santo Domingo, a place where is impossible to dumpster dive, I can still be a freegan.
20160627_02125433 bottles of expensive soy yogurt, not yet expired, saved from the trash!
.
.
When I am about finishing to eat the pizza slice, I notice that the family sitting one table away, noticed me, they turned their head a couple of times, but I don’t really care, I don’t feel ashamed, because I still think is a pity to trash food, better to eat it!
The looks between us become more intense, until one of them is leaning his left arm towards the pizza box and moves the pizza closer to the group.
I am a bit confused, because they don’t say anything, but I realize of course, that it was their pizza.
I am feeling quite out of place, also,  I am sad because of the lost pizza.
I ask them if it was their pizza, they answer affirmatively by moving their head.
I deeply apologize and I tell them that I really didn’t imagine the pizza would be from them.
They say : “it’s not a problem” but at the same time they put the pizza away from me and someone sits between me and the so much beloved pizza box.
It’s time to leave for me, but I wait ten minutes just to not look like a ‘runaway freegan’, I apologize again and I depart.
My happiness was quite decreased even though now I had one pizza slice in my stomach, but I was actually thinking that if I was in their shoes, I would have offered that pizza to an unknown person that was hungry.
.
.
20160322_085418
I risked my life for those fruits…
 .
.
THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT
A big mango tree is in front of me, full of ripe mangoes that just need to be picked off. I can reach them easily with my hands, but I don’t have a bag, I also have to go to the city center and I don’t want to carry the fruits while I am in the city.
I decide to pass in the night with a small backpack, in order to get a full load of the fruit that represent this country.
It’s dark, I take my bag and nothing more, walking to the tree; I am already imagining having an overdosis of mangoes for days!
I see two guardians playing domino at fifty meters from the tree, but from the moment the mangoes are in public domain I don’t even bother asking them anything. I lean to get the biggest one, the most flashy tropical colored of course, I touch them and they seem to be soft enough to get eaten in one or two days. After I take a second mango someone is shouting at me, it’s the guard, asking me, angrily, what I am doing. I reply saying that I am just taking few mangoes, while I get closer to the guard showing the fruits. They are two agents, saying that I have to pay 500 pesos for each mango I take, I reply joking: “I have no money, that’s why I am taking mangoes, to get something to eat with no money”, they continue to tell me that I am supposed to pay, but they go further in their national table game (domino).
I go back to the tree and try to get the best mangoes I can, at that point the two security agents walk fast in my direction holding guns, showing me the weapons and screaming. I put my hands up and I say: “ok ok, I will go, sorry, I didn’t understand..”, but it seems to not be enough for them, they start to shout some imprecations and continue to hold the guns in their hands. I run fast, away from them,
 hoping they are not following, but I keep the mangoes. They come in my direction; but just to go back sitting on the chairs and continue their patriotic, boring, game.
.

The ‘under construction hotel’ almost Hotel California

 

 

 

 

First night in “construction in progress hotel”:

 

price : 0 euro

 

20141201_071846

 

 

 

 

All-Included:

 

20141201_071137

 

Sea view;
Self-service  reception;

 

Bio-sea toilet;
And…

 

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Many builders.

How to live stream (broadcast) your camera from Android to youtube easily and without any additional software (just using hangouts)

UPDATE 2016:

Due to a change in youtube settings, this system works no longer.

Lucky someone made finally an app to stream:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tilda.youtube

 

 

Soon I will stream my bicycle trip, live on my youtube channel and I was looking on the web how to do it…

It looks like that at the moment the only app that can do it is BigVencoder, but is a bit tricky to let it work, that’s why I have found my own workaround to do it.

Here the instructions (you no need a laptop at all, just android and chrome browser):

1) Open Chrome browser on your  android and select the option “request desktop site”.

Screenshot_2014-10-12-19-24-51

2) Go on Youtube.com (make sure you have the full version and you are logged in) and open “creator studio” (click on your logo up/right)

 

2014-10-12-22-15-50

 

3) Create a live event:


2014-10-12 19.48.29

 

 

4) On the last option (how to stream) keep the selection on hangouts (default) , a new hangout window will open and there you can start to broadcast yourself live!

Screenshot_2014-10-12-19-24-59

 

 

5) You are just one click away from streaming to the world

 

Screenshot_2014-10-12-19-23-16

Once finished you will get the recorded video in your youtube videos:

Screenshot_2014-10-12-19-23-55

Let me know if you have any questions or remarks!

the next challenge is to do a dual camera streaming! (both camera at the same time) if you know how to do it, post it please!