PRESSGO ventures

Free venturers sections of the book, initially in support of the DriveforUkraine mission, for anyone who’s involved, interested! or contributed “THANK YOU VERY MUCH” Steve h’

Because things often don’t go the way we plan, I originally started at venture 11, why not, it’s kinda free range based! This venture could be titled ‘Why Move’ ? now – December 2023 in Slovakia, almost at Ukraine, I start to add the sections from V1 onwards, it’s after Love, hope, dream, smile;

these digital extracts are spontaneous, ongoing works in motion – like it ‘might change, update, ‘always evolving’ & also includes various notes, photos and observations;

love dream hope image

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

so, some V1 /V2; live from Czechia:) Dec 2023 on mission driveforukraine 🙂 and all funds raised are literally going into eastern Europe Poland Ukraine border this week, inshallah) via Slovakia.

Discovering spontaneous combustions along lives highway

Istvan randomly decided one day – he’d move his entire house contents 150 miles to a bungalow in London, a slight issue was ‘he didn’t actually own a bungalow in London, nor anywhere else. This wasn’t going to stop him, after-all he’d already transported himself from Budapest to Britain, fleeing from the Russian uprisings without documents, no idea where he’d ultimately end up or what he’d do once he got to ‘where-ever’ he was heading. He must have literally just decided one day ‘I’m not a tree – I can move’ – so of he set with just a bit less than he could carry. Istvan V1st was my father, who I never got to know so well. He died riding his electric scooter to Safeway’s, irony. But before he past go, I did get to connect a few of the dots.

PressGo takes inspiration from Istvan’s willingness to ‘go see for himself’ spontaneous, mystic influences from our past and its ability to bring out the adventurous in us. A collection of personal journals and learnings from over a million miles on the road, shared experiences, thought provoking insights + some free space (paper style book tbc) for you to add your own thoughts, ideas and ventures – costs a little extra, but hey – you only live once.

Wether it’s 30 miles to the store – 300 miles to see friends or 30,000 miles around the world, it all starts exactly the same – just press your go button.

I’ve felt the same nervous trepidation doing all of the above, it’s fine, natural – for different reasons we can all find ourselves afraid. Cast it aside and follow natures momentum – it starts by moving.

What-ever you’d like to do, it’s possible at some level.

Take simple me, Istvan II – no real qualifications or training.

Drove a million miles overland; never taken any advanced driver lesson.
Rode miles through desert tundras; with zero off roader lessons.
Operated world overland expeditions; no management training, leadership or anything travel business related what-so-ever.

I didn’t wait for permission, approval, training or courses in any of those things – I’m not really expert at anything, but I have a go, simply, by pressing go. Writing’s the same – I’m 58, there’s no time to go learn a writing course. How can I write about a million miles of spontaneous momentum by doing some course!

V1/2 extracts

non-conventional 17

Driving to work – Mansfield to Copenhagen via Paris

Setting out alone on mini-adventures never really seemed strange or anything new to me. 
Age 4 I’d got a pedal bike, took off un-be-known to parents (don’t ask!) crashed down a building site hole, started eating bugs and soil and ended up on my first hospital adventure. Parents didn’t used to stay in hospital with you back then, so I’m told! Hence my first taste of solo adventure age four. Being lost, alone, stuck or kidnapped were all things I felt accustomed to by the time I was ten.

From about age six I used to get shipped of to stay with my Hungarian dad, Istvan, on odd weekends, or holidays – which would usually consist of him spending most of the day working on a building site whilst I was wandering around some dodgy yard or cooped up in one of those builders site cabins – the type that you’d see on every border crossing.

Think I’ve spent the equivalent of six months of my life waiting in porta cabins for builders or customs!

No-wonder I’d got very comfortable with travelling lone ranger style. Just a year or so later I’d spend more time going to stay with an aunt in Derbyshire. Mum would drop me off at Mansfield bus station with 50p and I’d be off into the un-known, not a bloody clue where I was going or what I’d do if anything dodgy happened on-route. If I was lucky, Aunt Inez would meet me at the other side outside Ilkeston bingo hall. Uncle – ‘Tom’ used to drive a tiny Mk1 Mini, but aunt ‘Inez’ (inspired by a Spanish affair of my Grans for some reason!) never trusted Tom to drive her further than the 7 miles to Ilkeston co-op, 8 miles out with Tom in the mini Italian job was beyond her ‘comfort zone’! What’s the worst could happen? 
Uncle Tom, having been a naval mariner was desperate to prove his navigational skills beyond Ilkeston, but alas it was not to be and at the time of his departure from our shores he’d never got to venture further than the co-op by car, all be it he did know his way around Ilkeston very very well and could find his way to the co-op blindfolded! 

40 times around the world

Press go

I never set out to drive or ride motorcycles long distances and for sure not like 40 times around the world. You’ve got to love it in your heart to want to leap out of bed each day and keep going further. If you’re feeling a kind of dullness, lack out clarity, blank, numb mindless like, the chances are you’re not doing what you’re meant to be doing.
If you feel a flutter in your heart, a tingle in your toes, it’s because there’s an emotional connection, it just feels right.
 There’s no better formula for getting things done, than just starting out. As a youngster I was full of determined desire to start driving, so much so that I could hardly wait until 17, the legal age to get a driving license and start my four wheeled adventures. I’d imagined myself successfully driving right from the first day I hit seventeen. From that first mindset the world colluded into steering me toward that goal. In my case, getting some slightly un-orthodox early driving lessons on back roads helped with the technicalities. Once I’d visualised and started the emotional aspect of affirming that I was going to be a driver, the actioning side of making it happen was just a formality. I’d arrived at the driving test centre as a slightly nervous budding new driver who wasn’t especially good at driving, nor the highway code. Actually the first challenge was to pass the eye test, since my vision was slightly under the required driving standard! yet for some un-be-known reason I refused to wear glasses and instead opted to convince myself I’d figure a way to read the required number plate at 60 yards! I’d spotted the most obvious looking car parked down the road and already started memorising that number, before the driving examiner even got his clip-board out! I set of on the road test and with each instruction I was focused on doing it in a relaxed way which gave of an aura of confidence, the test was passed and I ditched the L plates that day, driving my very own bright yellow MK1 Ford Escort home from the test centre on the first day of my year seventeen.

People aren’t usually looking for perfection – competence works fine.

I’d saved ahead the grand sum of 300 Pounds and already paid in full for my first car. in the 80’s cars used to be priced like £295 ONO. ‘OH-NO’ referenced how we’d feel each time the bloody thing broke down. OR NEAREST OFFER, was more like the ‘half your money back’ you’d get when we came to upgrade to a MK2. Who’d ever have thought those rusting ole’ Jalopies would go for 100X nowadays, if only we’d looked ahead! MK1 Escorts were a rare breed that required electrical intervention at least once a fortnight, something welding back together for every MOT, (transport test) plus annually – a full toolbox out job for either a new engine, clutch or gearbox, or in my case all three. I’d constantly be under the bonnet making some small adjustment to the contact breakers – a simplistic little device, hiding beneath the hood, which controlled the degree of bright spark sent to the ignition plugs, thus causing a highly combustible fuel to explode and make things move. Getting the ‘gap’ and hence amount of sparking juice just right could squeeze an extra half horse power out of those little 1100cc escorts. Often we’d stop mid journey just to make that mechanical adjustment. Small things made all the difference.

About a year, an engine, gearbox and lots of welding after getting buying my first MK1 ford Escort, I upgraded to a MK2. Now, armed with 1.3 litres and 76 horses, the world beckoned. MK2’s were an altogether different beast (they were actually probably just a different body shape) but in my mind, now I had a modern high powered car, driving to Paris would be a breeze. Actually, it wasn’t quite a whole year after passing my test that I set off to Paris, as I remember I was Police checked for underage driving in Germany as you had to be 18 to get a license there!

It had been suggested that were I able to arrive in Paris at a given time I could meet ‘Patrick’ who would be interviewing young French people to go work door-to-door selling paintings in Scandinavia. If I met the rendezvous I’d be paid £100 to take a car full of budding French artists with me from Paris to Copenhagen. I’d never been to either France or Denmark, actually I’d never been to Dover never mind overseas, not even the Isle of anywhere, so a £100 cash job to go discover Europe seemed an offer not to refuse. Plus I was keen to give the ‘travelling artist job’ a try myself, so, rather than go directly to Denmark, I’d go via Paris and collect 4 Frenchmen and a hundred quid on the way.

Since I’d never driven abroad before and didn’t know the way to anywhere, I’d not even considered taking a map. I thought at the time that maps were just for people who got lost and since I was heading to Paris, the capital of France, how could I possibly not find it?

If you’ve never set of spontaneously into the unknown of wilder or foreign places, it’s highly recommended. You’re immediately stimulated and awaken to new sensations.

Departing the ferry I’d initially been surprised at how quickly I was allowed to be a continental driver, almost instantly set free into a foreign land. My advanced intercontinental travel advice came from my uncle Bill who’d drove a lorry full of tanks to Dover in the war; “it’s easy enough driving abroad, until you get to an Island or need to turn left”. I remember paying particular attention to go round the first round-about ‘the wrong way.’

I marvelled at the French placing 20 roundabouts right outside the port for the British to practice on. How considerate.

I was having so much fun driving the wrong way I went round the second island three times. Why wasn’t Paris signposted from the industrial estate!? As I finally ventured out of the industrial zone and picked up my first taste of continental driving, my first impression was just how different France smells. The further I drove, the more different the smells became. I was enjoying this new found sensation, a part of my smell buds that had never been instigated before, how exciting. I drove until dusk, pulled into the side of the road and got a few hours sleep. Having survived the first hundred miles, I was feeling confidently French, enough so to go practice my failed french exam in a local coffee bar. “Una’Crasont’siv’l’pay” and a coffee please”. I instantly liked being on the continent, just a boat ride away – I was thrust into a new world where anything might be possible and no-one knew nothing of my limitations. There was no where I couldn’t drive, well so long as I found Paris, passed go and collected my £100.

At seventeen and on my first trip abroad, having found my way to the heart of France at just the right time to make a connection. What gave me anymore qualifications to be there than these other youngsters who were having to undergo the torrent of Patrick’s glove waving? Well I could drive, by now I’d upgraded to a MK2 Ford Escort and I was there – that was my qualification, I’d showed up!

99% of getting a chance is showing up.

Show up often.
 Even if you’re not always feeling like it, show up anyway.

On an overland journey, you show up every morning. Part of setting a far away destination, means you keep doing the daily processes to make each stage happen.

I’d not thought about currencies or how I’d pay for anything. All I had to do was reach Paris, then see what happened from there.

Since I didn’t speak more than 3 words of French, It was impossible to glean any of the Scandinavian invasion plans, other than I’d take a car load of French guys to Copenhagen. But what about my £100 expenses I’d been promised?

No way to drive now pay later! No back up plan- I had no safety net, little cash and zero credit.

Actually I wasn’t old enough to qualify for a credit card. If I couldn’t hustle my battered old ford escort and 4 french aspiring art dealers to Copenhagen, in time to meet a mystery french, Asian art smuggler, I’d be stranded in Scandinavia at the mercy of those fair haired goddesses to pay my way. “Ah well, I can think of worse ways to go”.

You know that nervous kind of look you have when something new is about to be thrust upon you!. Patrick would waft his glove in my direction and that was that, my new travel companions were allocated and as for the £100 expenses; “collect that if you get there”!
Now with a hundred pounds on the line, I don’t think it ever crossed my mind that myself, 3 Frenchmen and a young lady, might not make it trans-Europe, in a 1983 MK2 Ford escort.

Had we have been pre-selected for Motorola’s first prototype testing, much of the ensuing fun would probably not have happened. E.G. there was no back up plan and not only no-one to phone, there was NO phone!

I’d knock on the door, totally cold, and keep it simple, “Hello, I’m artist from England, can I show you my paintings?” the same line every time. I guess it was just enough back then to raise a little curiosity.

Never say ‘sorry to bother you’ but, rather, ‘pleased to see you’

( V3 – V10 will follow, asap) meanwhile here’s a taste of V11 – since it’s most relevant at the moment, as I driveforUkraine

V3 – 40 times around the world

Bodies like to survive in a close 2 degree range

Overland motorbiking adventures for me started out like they did for many of us. Age about ten, every Saturday I’d religiously go up to the top floor of the Co-Op and stare at a mini racer style bike. It was £25 and way beyond anything I’d ever be able to save up for. Actually by the time I started my first job at fifteen as an ‘oppo’ budding bus mechanic, my whole weeks wage was £25! Somehow we used to be able to start working at fifteen in the Eighties and Five Pounds a day was considered fair wage, basically modern day slave labour.

Progressing over the years to bigger bikes, I was eventually motorbike couriering through winter, if that’s progress! I’d be shivering with loss of movement in my fingers, plus confusion, all signs of approaching hypothermia, but I just used to think that I’d lost my way and that it was time for some coffee and a compass check. Heated jackets and grips hadn’t been invented, at least not in the Midlands. The gear wasn’t especially rugged at all in the Eighties and Nineties. If it was peeing down for 150 miles to London, I’d stop and buy some new socks to get some feeling back into my numb toes and soaked feet, before doing the last 30 miles across London, all blind, no GPS, just an occassional glance down at a sodden map strapped the tank bag.

We learned routes and found our way instinctively, or you simply didn’t last long in the job. I was ok, when I’d set off to Paris for my first drive at seventeen I’d taken no maps. Everywhere after that adventure seemed a lot easier, especially in Britain where we could always ask a local, although over the years as people became less local, that technique became more hindrance than help.

Later, in far northern Alaska when my well worn riding gear failed and I almost froze to death.

If water soaks through to your skin in extreme cold conditions, it gets dangerous, since in reality the human body likes to survive in a close 2 degree range, about 36-37 degree ish. In my mind the State of Hypothermia is now close to Alaska (less than 35°C / 95 in old money °F) Up in Alaska I got totally soaked through to the skin while riding a 670 mile day, from Deadhorse to the top bit at Prudhoe Bay and back again the same day, in close to freezing temperatures. Most people do that 340mile ride up to the furtherst drivable point on the Alaskan highway and then lodge overnight at Prudhoe. It’s hard to imagine the muddy terrain and bitter cold, until you’ve done it. It’s without question the hardest ride I’d ever done, even as a hardened courier. The 340 miles is intense, cold, often riding through deep mud, it’s very very difficult to stop and get off the road, since the road side gets plastered with thick mud churned up from those big wagens running oil supplies up there, 24/7. It’s like deep snow, hard to stop a car in, impossible to stop a bike. Then there’s the bears. Hungry bears! they motivate you to keep moving! If you get wet, as I did, using old worn gear, it failed and once the water gets through you’re knackered, those arctic winds soon take hold. There’s no fuel on-route either. Zero! and my 660 Yamaha had a maximum range of about 300 miles, that’s 40 short, so carry an extra 5 litre can and add that for the last 50 miles, then pray! there’s eventually fuel at the oil camp, you fill up there and do it all again, if you’re sensible the next day!

Intense shivering and numbness are signs to find shelter and get warmed up a degree. 

In my case, a degree of panic and fatigue had set in. I didn’t want to a/ pay $200 to camp up there, nor b/ risk it getting even wetter and more umpassibly muddy the next day. I somewhat foolishly opted to turn straight round and ride the 340 miles back to Deadhorse. If I was lucky and didn’t get eaten by bears, I’d just about make it by dark. One saving grace is that night comes quite late in summer, all be it nothing feels at all summer like in Alaska’s zero degree climate!

As a courier I’d evolved to driving 300-600 miles every day, in any weather. Minus -10, ice and snow, we didn’t stop, day or night. Courier bikers couldn’t look down at maps, at least not for long without crashing! There was no GPS, tracking or mobile phones, we used experience and instinct to navigate. Usually getting lost was part of getting there.

Driving extreme distances is something we can all get used to, it’s relative.

As a child I’d be out gathering up old spark plugs from the street. I guess in the seventies cars got through a lot of spark plugs. I’ll still pick one up, to this day, 50 years later, if I spot a nice spark plug in the street!

Funny how things stick with you

Moving on to 4 wheels
My biggest fear was that all the heavy cases of ordinance would come crashing out the back door and explode.

I’d started sub-contracting for the aptly named TNT and jobs were getting more varied, like collecting boxes of ammunition from a somewhat remote military ordinance supplier. It must have got known that I’d driven abroad once before, because when an urgent job came in to deliver a van full of left shoes to Hamburg, they asked me.

Having driven abroad once before it seemed no big deal, no need for any extra paperwork, I’d just load up a van full of left shoes and hit the road.

I had absolutely no idea what I would do if I broke down in the middle of East Germany, there wasn’t even many old Mercs around then either. I had an address to find in Hamburg, but yet again, no map, telephone, GPS, nor did I speak a word of German. What would you do?

Ask someone – even if it’s yourself

In later years I think I developed a part of my brain receptors to be especially tuned to knowing which direction to go! Like on my very first entry into Russia at night, when again I had no ‘road or street GPS’ yet was able to calmly navigate. Knowing roughly where you are and how to get roughly where you’re going can be accomplished effectively using just a cheap compass and instinct. It’s amazing what thousands of years of instincts you can tap into – doing nothing else. I always carry a small little compass, even in the current sat-nav world. I did get lost in Kazakhstan once though, because the non road, ‘dirt tracks’ just stopped going anywhere navigable. 

Your 6th sense – just go venture

Asking for directions, ‘just asking’ is becoming less common. Can you imagine arriving in the centre of a strange foreign city nowadays and relying on asking a passer by for directions? As motorbike couriers, that’s initially how we found places. Or stopping at the first newsagent store to buy a paper map became the easy option, over the years I’d gather a collection of maps for virtually every town in England, plus a few off-grid places.

Paper maps are still a nice thing to have – it gives perspective

‘just asking strangers’ was a useful trait. In most situations, the best way to find out something or make progress is ‘just ask’ or ‘just go do it’

Strangers hold a lot of the answers we’re searching for, yet we’re often told not to talk to strangers.

Just like the old days, plastic bags strapped to our legs! was our gortex

V11/@53 Why move

In 2015 we were seeing growing images of refugees fleeing Syria, amongst other places, people literally walking through fields with their only possessions, what-ever they could carry. Families with small children fleeing their homelands in search of sanctuary, security or perhaps dreaming of a new start away from fear and hardships. Those tv images immediately struck a cord, I strongly related them back to my fathers journey, fleeing eastern Europe in the 50’s. It was a journey I knew nothing of, but intuitively knew he had to have been afraid, on foot, carrying little, knowing of no-one or no-place on the way, nor what would await his fait. All of these people took a leap into the unknown, they were at the mercy of fate, driven by their determination to move forwards, towards something of which they could only dream.

That connection instantly kick started my own butt to think practical. People were walking through fields, crossing Countries, sleeping outside railway stations hoping for a faster journey, then being moved on by un-appreciative governments along their route.

balkans map refugees route

It’s a challenging situation for sure, when thousands of strangers arrive from a foreign land, but in my mind I’d already constantly questioned what is it that creates borders and a stronger right to be there from one person to the next? The EU was, at this stage, deeply entwined in the notion of freedom to travel and borderless existence, of which Britain was also a participant.

refugees walking to hunary and balkans

I only took literally a handful of photos, but these people were amongst the first I encountered who’d actually managed to walk through the wooded region, crossing from Serbia to Hungary (it’s right by the border) taken literally hours before the Hungarian authorities sealed off the border, trapping thousands of refugees on the Serbian side, which within days, would develop into a heated conflict. Guess these were the luckier ones. I often wonder where they ended up settling.

Driving east to lend a helping hand

For a moment, I’d contemplate contacting a couple of the major charitable organisations involved in the help for European bound refugees. Both the Red Cross and other xyz help for refugee’s – replied to my request to help with words to the effect that it was not possible to take a vehicle of supplies directly to the people, they needed various meetings and approvals. It was useless, in my mind the people were there on the front line sleeping out rough with winter months fast approaching. I’d already travelled in those regions during September – it can already get close to freezing in the night-times. Why wait? Hungary was just a few days drive and I already had an empty truck sitting outside my warm western terraced home. Those stranded people where there, right now, literally trying to walk towards a better life and perhaps hoping that something would happen to help their fate along the way west. One day of emails, was already one day wasted, actually it was one day going in the wrong direction for getting anything done, talking to ‘oranisations’ had already almost dis-organised my task of getting there and being effective.

I figured it’s better not to make a fuss about things, just gather what I could muster quickly and drive out to Hungary and maybe the Balkans, but first Hungary – that being the place we were being shown images of refugees being currently stranded. Before I’d set off, it dawned on me that some other local people might be interested to help a little also. I’d quickly print up a short note and pop it through a few local letter boxes, it read something like; I’m driving out to Hungary to help the refugees – take out some things they need, right now, it’s cold there and these people are literally walking though fields with their children, sleeping rough, lets try and help. I was amazed at the instant speed of kindness from our neighbours, or maybe it was the perfect opportunity to get rid of those old camping kits they didn’t know what to do with, what-ever, it also helped both sides of the trade! Within 24hours of living room floor resembled an army surplus store, seemed the whole street possessed three sleeping bags and eight pairs of shoes more than they really needed! oh – and some strange bags!

Someone decided it’d be interesting to mention it on the radio, so the lady eight doors down popped by with her microphone and asked a few questions. All seemed harmless enough, until next a tv guy wanted to show up for a short news feature. More distractions, which in reality wasn’t especially going to help the people in urgent need.
Still I agreed. A guy turned up with a big camera and asked me to clatter some things in the back of the truck. I’m not sure that helped either! Mikos the lad from next door, helping load the truck and then go get us a pint of milk, which was much more helpful. You see – simple real things, taking action.

Seemed a good idea to at least paint something onto the truck that looked like I was helping. The only think I could think of drawing quickly, was a red cross, so that’s what I drew and stuck a few randomly around the truck. Ready to set of, I’d blast down to Austria quickly in one go, via Dover. The guys on passport control took me to one side and asked I wait for a special check. Passport was passed over to some guy in the far corner, who came out to inspect me and the truck, said ‘we know about you already right’! I nodded the secret nod and off I went, no more questions. Europe was just another dark blur and 15 hour grumble of a 2.5 litre Hilux diesel. Next thing I remember was waking up to the sound of gun-fire. I’d totally lost all sense of where I’d pulled over to sleep. It was still dark as I opened the truck door and stepped out to surrender. To be greeted by dozens of Harley-Davidson riders barking, coughing, exploding their way into the motel car park, in which I’d pulled up for 40 winks.

Next stop would be someplace in southern Hungary, the ‘flat bit’ that’s all I knew. Being half Hungarian, I only really knew about the top half. Using the god of google I spotted a really grand looking apartment for rent, incredibly cheap, like €20 a night for the whole place. Sure to be a scam and would be more like the cow shed when I showed up, but since it was conveniently just a hour drive from the Serbia border, it’d do just fine.

When I finally showed up, it did indeed look way to grand for €20, a big property with a huge solid wooden gate across the entrance, well more like a castle really, no way to even see beyond the gates. I’d got an online booking, so must be real! After 20 minutes pounding the door, eventually a rather well to-do lady came into the street and announced it was in-deed her residence and I should go around the next street and enter the side trade entrance. Here we go, cow shed for tradesmen! Once inside, she guided me to my part of the residence. It was inside another building to the rear of their quarters, a whole building to myself, with kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms and open use of their grounds. Apparently their parents used to occupy this building but had died recently, so they’d figured just rent it out to passing strangers with a truck full of old cloths. I explained I was here to go try and help the refugees who were heading their way, to which they didn’t seem best pleased. but so long as I didn’t bring truck loads back to their place, they’d guess it seemed a good idea, gave me a set of keys and wished me luck. “Just settle up when you’re ready to leave.”

  • a brief note regarding these sometimes rather grand, or other times rather characterful accommodations; if I’m doing a fund raise, or supporting mission – I would always a/ look for good value and b/ I always cover the actual cost for any lodgings myself. i.e. it doesn’t eat into any funds that friends have contributed to help the cause.
  • I also tend to sleep in the vehicle quite a lot, which I also cover the cost myself, even if I turn the heating up on a freezing night, it’s more like wilding camping, but over the years I have perfected the art of basic living on the road. Truckers call it tramping! It’s actually an interesting pastime in it’s own right, with various things to learn, tips I shall share later.
  • My own subsistance, I also keep very minimalist whilst travelling, I can live on fruit, nuts and water like a squirrol for weeks on end:)

Bizarrely – I have no recollection of the light aircraft or why it was there! Just another of those randomnesses you often encounter when you leave home. Figure it must have been their parents hoby.

And so, now like an act of god, I suddenly had my very own secluded compound, like the UN, complete with light aircraft! I could come and go at leisure. Rather than sleep in the truck, I’d base there a couple days, whilst I figured out whats happening on the border and where might the refugees be that were still crossing into Hungary, on it’s southern border, which as yet, still hadn’t been totally encircled by the infamous fence.

Early next morning I’d drive down to the border and then start zig-zagging up the tiny b roads and forest tracks which ran up to the Serbian border. So long as the Harleys weren’t camped up there, all should be quiet enough and if I did approach a border post, I’d simply use the border nod, as tried and tested at the port of Dover.

First sweep of the closest road I could get to the border, a small lane cutting through dense woodland, I quickly came across a family of four on foot. I pulled up the truck, walked back to them and offered if they might need any help or a banana. It was instantly an emotional encounter, this poor family, a father like myself, his wife and two small children, just walking some place, far far away from their homelands, carrying little, no idea where they really are, where they’re going, or how to proceed. Really I think, very much at the hands of fate.
I gave them fresh bananas and water. That’s all they wanted really. after that they set back of on foot, along the road. It was very hot and all I knew was it’s at least a week or more walking up to Budapest, if that’s where they’re heading, to join hundreds more who’d made camp up at the railway station, before then being moved on, again on foot, as people set off again walking towards Austria and then maybe Germany. A few miles up the road, some local volunteer group had set up some tents, where people could rest. Another sanctuary. I stopped by and offered out some extra things to people resting up there, a few things for the children, who so long as they’re safe and with mom and pop – always seem to have an adventure and look optimistic, for what else do they know to do.

On my next lap of the woods, I did indeed come across a police check point. These two guys seemed a bit more serous than usual. The bad cop one insisted I leave the vehicle and walk to his post. Then sternly questioned why I felt needing to be helping people and what right have I to hand them information and things. These pair were German cops – sent to ‘assist’ their European counterparts. I gave the good cop version a banana, fresh water and advised him ‘they know about me’ with the usual wink and a nod. Although they didn’t take a liking to any of the shoes and handbags I offered them, they did seem to also appreciate a random stranger turning up with fresh supplies though and the mood was soon more jovial. They decided since I hadn’t broken any German laws, whilst on Serbian-Hungarian soil, I could go about my way. I was once again a free english-man, with a truck full of shoes, fresh bananas and handbags, amongst other of life’s essentials.

Part of my quickly jotted fund-raiser page from 2015;
I am an English / Hungarian who’s father walked across those fields to escape Russian persecution in the 50’s, in search of safety and freedom. I am in a position to personally help some of the stranded refugees, I know the regions and have a truck ready to get help there fast.

According to the United Nations, every day about 1,000 refugees are crossing into Serbia & Hungary on their way to Europe. Most refugees have fled the war in Syria and have been walking for days and weeks in order to reach safety.
They are finding themselves in cold wet fields, fenced in with barbed-wire or forced to prison like camps, desperately not knowing where to turn to for help. Families with children are sleeping in fields and ditches, out in cold fields with no shelter.

Together with friends, we raised £1,295 to take supplies & assist stranded refugees in Hungary, Serbia and Croatia.

I arrived to the Serbia side, Horgas border – literally as Hungary closed the border and hundreds of refugees were walking up the road – heading to Croatia, on foot.

It was 35 degrees and people clearly couldn’t walk the route I’d just drove. I encouraged them to just rest in the shade a while and take stock of the situation!
As they sat by the road, they started to tell me their story, I happened to have my small tape and camera recording – I think it’s quite a powerful short film,
It captures their situation having just fled the border, unsure where to go next.

It shows that these are ordinary Syrian refugees that are carrying their passports and Identity papers (I also photographed some of these)
They say they were literally beaten back from the Hungarian borer, there are pregnant women and children in their own group of 23 people travelling together.
No-one has differentiated them from young men travelling alone.

The Hungarian police said ‘go home – you’re not our problem!’

My footage captures their dilemma – where to go?, how to get there?, who wants us?, how can we reach family members in Europe ?
I think it also shows that there’s many refugees who do just need to get to safety and have an opportunity to start a new life and the opportunity to work. They say; “we do not want money, we want to work ourselves”.

I didn’t set out to record anything! I just went to help, just seems this moment landed upon me and I think there’s some messages in there people might like to see. It’s 10minutes 9 seconds – 581mb (was too big to email! so never shown as yet) I think it’s HD! my little camera says HD!

oh the Hungarians said I was a spy with a spy camera!
That wouldn’t be the last time I was accused of being a foreign spy! tbc ….

There’s quite a lot more to this venture, as my journey continued through the night, keeping up with the journey that many of the refugees were making, literally as they tried to thread their way through friendly borders towards their destination, which in many cases appeared to be a slanting for Switzerland or Germany. Please bear wth me as I update more. I start adding V1 onwards soon!

V12 will come soon, as it’s currently live in motion – half way to Ukraine Poland border 🙂

all thoughts and feedback welcomed – get in touch
thanks, Steve H’

traveller motoexplorer