Day 1-2, October 11-12th, 2011. Immediately, the trip has paid off. I’m in the isle seat next to two girls traveling together to Iceland for some behemoth Bjork concert. I summon my inner Hugh Grant, relishing in the serendipity, about to compliment their tookuses (can you pluralize tookus?) when I realize I’m sitting next to a loud elderly couple (the douche with the beanie in the row in front of me was the one who scored the aforementioned fairy tale). For a moment I think the woman is retarded, maybe drunk, but then I just realize she’s speaking Icelandic or Danish or whatever very loudly.
Europe is gonna love me.
But, let’s not be too hasty. I’ll rewind a little bit. My name is Andy Greene, though I’d be shocked if any one actually reads this blog who didn’t already know that. After graduating to much fanfare at Ithaca College in 2010, my plan was to save money and write screenplays in preparation for kicking LA’s ass. It’s almost 2012, and I think I’ve written 12 pages of various projects, worked as a bus boy, waiter and teller, discovered a few excellent porn sites (xvideo, what up) and disappointed/shamed family and friends by blowing over a .20 while driving my family’s minivan in route to my grandmother’s house after my only night out in Lake Tahoe. So…I think I have the tabloid part of Hollywood life down, at least.
About a year after graduation I shifted gears (soberly) from going to LA completely unprepared to continuing to save money for a trip to Europe. I’m not entirely sure what I hope to accomplish in my travelling, but I knew there’s gotta be something out there, and that if I can’t write or be inspired by any of the gorgeous and annoyingly historic sites I’m about to see, then I can cross off being a writer for awhile. For awhile I’ve thought that life should be about living it, having fun, meeting new people, falling in love, trying new things and not working 9 to 5 enduring the daily routine, so it’s ironic that I worked at evil Bank of America to support these goals (mind you I’m technically on a six month leave of absence so, ahem, I love BOA).
Besides, I’ve found that I like to write about what’s happened to me, and well, here’s the result. This blog, with the help of Barrett WS himself, will at the very least keep my parents abreast of what nationality the breasts I’m sampling are, and if that didn’t do it, will scare most of my family and friends away with my embarrassingly raw honesty and will insure my single-dom for a very long time. Anyways, back to the trip.
The woman checking my bags (a Kelty day bag courtesy of Bank of America points) warns me about buying a one way ticket into London. She tells me to be prepared, and have better answers for her questions than I did. Note: this is blatant foreshadowing for those that watch MTV.
After an eerily similar goodbye to my parents to when I first went off for Ithaca, I was on the plane, nervous, petrified and at least half erect for what’s to come.
In all seriousness, the trip, in fact, did immediately pay off. The second I closed my eyes, ideas came for writing about my trip, about this blog, about Back to the Future 4 (where I’d play Michael J Fox’s/Marty’s son) but for various reasons it’s taken me awhile to begin chronicling my adventure.
I fall asleep before we even take off and despite expelling my bowels prior to boarding, I have a pang in my loins indicative of my college drinking years. What happened to my bladder? I feel like Bryan. It’s gonna be a long flight, and hopefully, a long journey.
Don’t international flights offer free booze? I was under the impression that they do. That’s codswallop; at least on Icelandair. I use the last of my U.S. cash to order an Icelandic beer named Tuborg which I think the old gentleman (who turns out to be Danish) recommended. It tastes like Heineken.
The rest of the flight is a kaleidoscope of Icelandic music, Ashton Kutcher films and neck ravaging airplane sleep. Aside from his good looks, I now know why our boy has such a big career. He does gangbusters overseas.The old Danish guy next to me watched No Strings Attached TWICE (to be fair his head fell forward during one of his naps which fast forwarded through the whole thing and I don’t think he knew how to work the screen) and finished the flight off with the first half of What Happens in Vegas. Two little known facts: Lake Bell is in both of these movies, and Ashton Kutcher movies look great on mute.
I’m very random, and get used to this, because fuck organizing, that’s why anyone can be a blogger (that and it’s easy to do drunk), but my first epiphany. My new goal in life is to have been to every place listed in Jlo and Pitbull’s iconic collaboration On the Floor. LA, NY, Vegas, done. Africa, Ibiza, Brazil and Morroco yet to come, but instant gratification: when I land I can cross off London.
Anyways (my 3rd favorite word), I land in London and it’s go time: customs. I am called to the lady furthest on the left, but after our favorite backpacker who got facebook friends took 9 seconds and a laugh to get by the older bespectacled gentleman in front of her, I stop by him. I made a huge mistake.
He asks me how long I’m in London, where I’m staying and going, and when I’m flying back. He wants to make sure I’m not bumming around Europe, not looking for work, not a terrorist. Fair enough. Well, I can’t lie, so I say I don’t have a return flight because I wasn’t sure what airport I would be flying out of because I bought a Eurail pass through Europe, etc. etc. etc. It sounded way less smooth than that and he not so kindly pointed out that London detains the second most Americans at the airport than any other country in the world. Gulp. He grills me for more information, and since my plan was to have no plan (smart move, Andy), I pretty much crumble. I explain I want something to write about, and well, he responds that I might receive that, just not what I want, which is exactly what I was thinking. He also makes a comment after I said I was going to have an adventure and fun, that he wasn’t having any of that at the moment. He asks me to sit down for a moment. I’d been in London for an hour, and it might be my last. The trip may not even happen. I’ve heard of (hell, I’ve had it on occasion) premature ejaculation but this shit is ridiculous.
The chap comes back, because you have to call British people something loopy, and we go to search my bags. He sees I’m backpacking, and I think the first time I received any points in my favor was when he asked me what was in the bottom pocket of my backpack and I said “I believe condoms and sandals.” He checked, laughed, and said it was good protection for Europe. And he meant the sandals. But he wasn’t convinced, and when he asked me what my budget was, I responded, and he wanted proof. I didn’t bring with me a receipt, which take note, is VERY helpful, so we went to an airport ATM to see if they would show my balance. I was bleak at that point, but fuck yes, the numbers I said I had showed up, and after waiting another few minutes, he stamped my passport, and I was in.
Fuck. It was an omen for things to come.
Next time on The Wanderer: Andy gets lost. A lot. Andy gets screwed. A lot. And not in the good way. Andy wants to go home. Andy likes typing in the 3rd person.
Before I sign off, I’d like to thank Barrett for putting together this website. Mind you, I’m writing this blindly. It could be an ugly fucking chut of a website, but then again, that’d fit. But seriously, any satisfaction derived from this blog wouldn’t be possible without Bear-it’s kind contributions.