My name is Jeffrey Hayes. On best days I can be found in the woods. Average days find me conducting language courses for a variety of folk of all ages, shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. I have an over-active imagination which bursts out of my head in various forms. Mainly spoken/written word and song. I’m an American Expat living in Munich, Germany with my long-time partner in crime and our two furry pups. Read on for more info…
I started traveling at an early age I suppose. Among some of my earliest memories of life is a trip our family took. Summer road trip from New Jersey to visit my father’s mother, Grammy Whitworth, in Illinois and then onto Wisconsin to visit my parents’ friends and former neighbors, “Aunt” Stelle and “Uncle” Ed. To be honest there may have been more than one trip involved and if indeed there were, they seem to have blended into one in my mind over the years. I do remember many things though about the summer trip or trips.
The station wagon we traveled in, the green luggage tied to the roof, and sitting in what we called “The Way, Way Back” of the car. There was the front seat where my Mom and Dad sat, then there was the back seat where my sister Susan and brother Roger sat and then The Way, Way Back where my sister Cindy and I sat.
I remember other parts as well. I remember Cindy and I waving out the back window to the cars behind us. This must have been the summer of 1970 or ’71 I suppose. I remember we also lost a suitcase from the roof of the car somewhere along the way. It was recovered I think. Not sure if my Dad drove back for it, or if someone had found it, or if the police recovered it and tracked us down. I think we were at a motel. Ohio or Indiana or ? I don’t know but I kind of remember that beat-up old suitcase being returned. My childhood joy and happiness after learning the news. Not that I was even aware what was in the suitcase. It just seemed like a big adventure.
I remember a motel room. I may be right in thinking that my father preferred sleeping in the car and not spending money on motel rooms. But I do remember a motel room and sleeping on the floor beside my father. It may have been a rare occasion. It was so long ago.
Ah, and then there was The Fox! A red fox. My mother being excited and snapping a picture of it. I only saw a speck of red off to the side of the highway and when the pictures were developed , even less of a speck on the blurry picture.
I recall a story about hitch-hikers. I think we passed one and Cindy, Susan, or Roger wanted my father to stop and pick he or she up. Then we were told a story of how “Aunt” Stelle had stopped to pick up a hitch-hiker. He was Japanese and he robbed her at knife point. This could have been on the level of the “I knew a kid who put his arm outside the moving car’s window and he lost his hand” story. Anyway, it stuck with me and I’ve always thought twice about picking people up on the road and…I still have both hands too. So if these were indeed cautionary tales, then they’ve worked so far.
So I do believe this was the start of my love of being on the move. Truck stops in the middle of the night, being allowed to be awake at midnight on warm, humid summer nights in gas station parking lots. Sipping my mother’s coffee that was loaded with milk and sugar. Car moving on empty highways in the dark and lonely night. Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Lookin’ Out My Backdoor” on the radio.
From 1999-2006 I found myself on tours of Europe. Playing concerts in all the major and some lesser-known European cities. It was work and even the travel required a kind of workingman’s attention. Navigating, getting to shows on time, converting money, and dealing with customs when necessary. Was tiring work with long drives but fun too. What I discovered was a highlight of those tours though, was getting up really early in the morning and walking around cities and watching them come alive. The human aspect of different cultures. Last of the party people stumbling the streets while street cleaners were starting to mop things up for the new day. Commuters hurriedly on their way to work. Bakeries with their fresh local breads and coffee. Watching it all and taking it in.
I soon learned that travel was actually what I craved more than the road work. Getting to see how people live. Diving into the rich history of the areas and the folks and imagining how things were in the past. Trips to fuel the imagination. Meeting people for real and in dream.
Today I cycle, hike, and the occasional road trip. Camping in campgrounds, out in the wild, invited into strangers homes, friends’ places, night trains, overnight ferry and boat trips, and the occasional hotel/motel which always takes me back to sleeping beside my father on the floor of that room somewhere on the road west way back when.
I’ve made some lasting friends along the way and have developed quite the cast of characters for stories and songs. I travel alone, with my dogs, and when fortunate enough with my partner-in-crime, Miriam. Should you choose to follow the adventure of the Roadside, then you will come to know her as Mirry. You may also get to know my other partners-in-crime, Lexa-Lu (a.k.a. Lexi, Lu, Lucy) and Paulina (a.k.a. Pauli, Pauli Beans, The Beans, Piggy, etc.).
Over time, I hope to be able to share the experiences of my travel adventures through story, picture, video, and even from time to time through song. Travelogues including gear lists will also be added.
So should you join us, I look forward to sharing The Roadside with all the friends along the way and thank you in advance for being part or the trip, the whole trip!
Stay well, stay happy, and most of all…stay out of trouble!