October 20th, 2010
Berlin, Germany

Monday, 18th October 2010, at the WorldBridge office, Berlin.

“I’m here for WorldBridge.”

“Oh, WorldBridge closes at 4pm, sorry.”

“It’s 3.45pm.”

The stupid bitch shrugged her shoulders.

Take two: Tuesday, 19th October 2010. Once again at the WorldBridge office, Berlin.

“Hey, I’m here for WorldBridge. Do you speak English?”

“Yes, what can I do for you?”

“I applied for a UK Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa almost a month ago and I’ve just read online that it’s currently enroute to the listed address. My listed address is in Australia and I specifically asked the man I handed my application to to keep it here at this office so I could pick it up. You know… so it doesn’t get sent back to Australia… when I’m here… in Berlin.”

“OK, what is your name sir?”

“It’s Christopher Cody.”

He fucked about behind his desk for a minute or two.

“Well it appears we’ve got your passport right here, Mr. Cody.”

“What? How long has it been here?”

“Since the seventh of October.”

“That’s more than a week ago.”

“Did no one email you?”

I refrained from tearing his head off. The bastard looked down in an attempt to avoid my empty stare. He then said:

“I have to ask you now to open the parcel here to determine whether it all went OK.”

I tore it open not thinking much of anything at all and went for the passport, flipping through it to see if the visa had been set in place; the clerk went for the accompanying documents. I’d been through a lot to get this far: the endless hours online, the verbal and written battles, the broken links on the WorldBridge website concealing vital information and now the cherry on top of the big seathing mass of fuck-up-let-Chris-down cake, the notification, or lack thereof, of my passport ariving back in Berlin. I had been dealt a bad hand time and time again but I’d stuck it out. And in the whole month we waited, not once did I really consider the possible outcome after submitting the application that I’d be refused.

I was refused.

After nearly six months of living and traveling together, it’s over. Mitch will continue on to London, where he would be and has always been more likely to be happy, and I will come home, but as of the 26th of October, the Gentlemen Of The Road will cease to be.

It’s been at least three years since Mitch and I started planning this adventure. Only last year did we both decided to finally get the fuck on with it. I worked up north in the Kimberley for six months earning a rather attractive sum, while he shipped himself off to Korea for God knows why. We worked hard and planned even harder for nearly a year straight. I left thinking we’d travel the whole world in a single hit, spanning maybe two or so years. From Australia to Asia to Europe to Africa to South America and then up through the States to Canada. Three weeks into the trip our idea of travel and the “backpacker life” had changed dramatically. The biggest lesson I learned was right there in the beggining: don’t stick to something just because you said you’d do it. If it isn’t fun, stop doing it. I mean, we had like forty-something thousand dollars between us.

It has always been apparent that Mitch has enjoyed the better part of the trip somewhat more than I. And despite his constant banter and complaining, you’d be right to assume so. He’s incredibly adaptable and contrary to all of those back home who still treat him like the twelve year old he once was, he’s done more than most of you have with your lives and he’s done it quite well if you ask me thank you very much. I on the other hand have struggled. Struggled in many ways I’d never have dreamed of when we were back home. Many times throughout the trip, we came dangerously close to renaming the blog Gentleman Of The Road. Even in the early stages in Cambodia. Then again in China and Mongolia and even here in Berlin. For Mitch this was an adventure, a better look at the world. For me, it was an expensive escape route. But instead of leading to the wonderful ending I’d hoped it would, it made me realise you can’t just fuck off to the other side of the world and expect everything to fix itself. To this day, I belive I went on this trip for all the wrong reasons, and I have paid the price for it.

Although, I do not regret it.

Thank you Mitch for carrying me as far as you did.

(You’re still a pig though.)

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