25 August 2011. Filed under category Personal.

Heathrow Limbo

Map of Destinations Covered

Map of Destinations Covered

I left London early on a rainy morning and went to Heathrow. Chaos reigned free at the airport after the cancellation of three New York flights caused major knock-on effects for standby passengers such as me. I met fellow travellers who had been in this limbo for four days!

In my previous life, the prospect of losing four of my limited holiday days would have sent me over the edge. However, as a nomad, I am on no particular schedule, so I decided to make this an opportunity to make new friends and read my book.

In the end, I lucked out. The backlog of paying passengers suddenly cleared up and thus limbo was rescinded. After waving good-bye to three New York planes, I finally made the fourth and last flight.

New York and Long Beach Island

The LBI Beach House a.k.a. Neverwhere.

The LBI Beach House a.k.a. Neverwhere.

I had been travelling for twenty-three hours by the time I reached the Manhattan flat of my friend Yaron. I mumbled an understatement about being tired and crashed to bed. The next day, Yaron carried me to his car, stowed me in the trunk and drove me to his beach house in Long Beach Island.

I spent four days at the gorgeous beach house with Yaron, his partner Brandon and a few of their close friends. Activities such as body surfing, eating ice cream on the beach, drinking G&T in the rooftop hot tub and jet skiing won’t really buy me many Pocahontas points, but it sure was a sweet start to my visit in the US. We also visited the Blooming Glen Farm.

I had one day to enjoy Yaron’s luxurious central Manhattan apartment before I once again found myself carrying my bags in the pouring rain, heading towards the airport.

Long Beach

Don washing his/my motor home.

Don washing his/my motor home.

I was picked up at Los Angeles airport by Don, a cowboy, grease monkey and friend I made last year at the Burning Man festival. (More about Burning Man later. For now, imagine heaven covered with dust.) Don lives with his partner, Jim, in Long Beach, a city 30 minutes’ drive from LA. They don’t have a guest room, so instead I lived in their motor home parked in the driveway. That’s right; I got a whole motor home to myself!

I spent a lot of my time in Long Beach preparing for this year’s Burning Man festival together with Don. However, it was not all work. Don took me to see RMS Queen Mary, a 1930’s ocean liner with an exquisite Art Deco interior, and the Scorpion, a Soviet submarine. If you want a delicious apple and ginger Martini, go to the former; if you want to experience crushing claustrophobia, visit the latter.

My most fun memory from Long Beach was when Don and his friends brought me to Oil Can Harry’s, a gay country western dance bar. You have not lived until you’ve seen a room full of gay cowboys line dancing to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. The place also featured ‘two stepping’, a dance I’ve never seen before. However, three lovely cowboys taught me how to dance it. Perhaps they were flirting, but they said I was pretty good — for a city boy.

Los Angeles

I took six days off from the Burning Man preparations to visit friends in Los Angeles and see the city.

My first host was Tony who, like Don, I met at Burning Man last year. We went sightseeing to all the hot tourist spots such as the Hollywood sign, the star-studded Hollywood Boulevard and the Chinese Theatre with celebrity hand-and-foot prints. Tony also took me to Venice Beach, a bohemian town that reminded me of Camden market in London, except with sunshine and a sand beach.

The most interesting event for me was an early screening of a film in the heart of Hollywood: the Warner Brothers complex in Studio City. Walking in between the massive sound stages, I couldn’t help but be impressed by how so much of world cinema is mass-produced in these hangar-looking buildings.

When Tony could stand me no longer, he handed me over to yet more Burning Man friends: Bryan and Steve. I remembered Steve as a bare-chested horned satyr with a spring in his step, so I barely recognized him when I saw him in a perfectly human shape. Bryan and Steve are a couple living in a stunningly beautiful house in Hollywood Hills. They gave me the guest room, which was bigger than any of my London flats. Just outside the door lay the enclosed garden with a heated pool. (I’m now on negative Pocahontas points.)

I spent part of my days there counting my blessings while floating in the pool or playing with the guest room toilet with the built in bidet. (The toilet had a control panel!) However lovely such luxuries were, my most cherished memory of LA is a couple of unforgettable motorcycle rides with Steve.

Me and Steve's awesome bike.

Me and Steve's awesome bike.

Los Angeles is a surprisingly beautiful place. It is particularly beautiful when you have a big cruiser style motorcycle between your legs, holding on to a handsome man and swaying from side to side as you drive up the serpentine roads towards the breathtakingly scenic views on top of the forest-covered Hollywood Hills. One overpowering view after the other flashed before my eyes. The wind lashed against my face and the engine sound mixed with the haunting tunes of Sigur Ros in my earphones. I had one of those rare ‘God, I am so alive right now!‘ moments, a crystal clear and undeniable experience of pure mindfulness as all my senses come together in one.

Before Steve handed me back to Don, he drove me to San Pedro for a private pool party. The couple throwing the party had spent six years and a considerable amount of money to build a villa of such splendour that it made Steve’s stunning house look like a cardboard box underneath a bridge. It lay a stone throw and a few rattle snakes away from a lighthouse overlooking a dramatic coastline from where we could spot whales blowing up plumes of water as they surfaces to breathe. As mesmerizing as that piece of natural wonder was, we soon returned to the catered party with the free cocktail bar and three-course dining. (Pocahontas can kiss my …)


I want to thank Yaron, Brandon, Don, Jim, Tony, Steve and Bryan for taking me into their homes and showing me such generous hospitality. I can only hope that I will find a fraction of such good fortune on my future journeys. You’ve really made my time here unforgettable. You have my friendship and my love.

Stop the (word)press! Serendipity just hit my like a brick. I was proofreading this post when ‘Hollywood Hills’ by Sunrise Avenue played on the radio. I have never heard of the band nor the song before. It describes word-by-word how I feel right now, leaving you guys. Please, start the music and listen to the lyrics. I hope it moves you as much as it just moved me.

Mum and Motorcycles

My mother said that any son of hers who got a motorcycle would find himself disowned. (She doesn’t like motorcycles…) May I point out that there was nothing in that threat that said I couldn’t ride one. Moreover, Bryan is a doctor and worked the Emergency Room when Steve and I went for our rides, so I was guaranteed an almost instantaneous recovery if, on the highway, we had an accident and my body was flung across the barrier and hit an oncoming truck.


Satyrs are mythological creatures, the servants of Pan and Dionysus. If you come across one in a bar and want to know if he is Greek or Roman, check out the tail. If it is that of a horse, then he is Greek. If it is that of a goat, then he is Roman. Both kinds have lower bodies of goats and upper bodies of men. It is considered rude to comment on the size of their horns.

Snake Ring

I was in a bar with a bunch of Don’s friends when one of them, Tash, noticed my snake ring. “Oh! I have one of those,” he exclaimed and later sent his ring to me. It is a beautiful silver ring, given in the most random act of spontaneous generosity I’ve ever come across. I now wear it as a reminder of how awesome people can be. Thank you, Tash!

Next steps

I am back in Long Beach right now. Today (25/8), I’m heading up to the Burning Man festival, so I’ll be missing in action for a couple of weeks as I’m shrink-wrapping all my communication devices when I get there. As always, I’ve updated the map with the latest information about my whereabouts.

Personal Category

I’ve said it before, but it is worth mentioning again. Posts under the category Personal are not meant to be deep and thoughtful posts on the Nomadic condition nor informative Travel guides. Instead, they are postcards to friends, family and fans to let you know how I’m doing.


Long Beach, Long Beach Island and Long Island are three different places. If you are driving to one of them and follow directions from a GPS, take care when entering the address!


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  1. Paul Kolien says:

    Hi Gustav

    Just read, watched and listened to your blog.

    I LOVE IT!

    I’m so jealous I could scream!

    You’ve obviously made some wonderful friends and WOW what homes and scenery. To coin a phrase from Pricilla “I’m jealous as all hell”!

    Keep on doing it…. I LOVE the photos and the descriptions – it all takes me far away from my dull existence here 30 miles south west of London… oh, the clouds have broken for a minute!

    I SO wish I could take Sam on such a wonderful journey – I had to laugh… Pocahontas can certainly take a hike!

    Stay well matey and keep the blog coming!

    Paul X X

    1. Gustav, the Modern Nomad says:

      Go on, bring Sam! Just remember that this is bear country. You must hang young meat in trees to keep it away from them.

  2. Oby Wan says:

    WOW! Really got blown away by your blog! Loved the latest instalment. Sounds like you having a wonderful time…if I wasn’t determined to be spiteful I would admit a slither of jealous..Ok! Ok! I am mighty jealous!!!
    I particularly enjoyed the bits on the Cowboys line dancing to Lady gaga’s Bad romance (images of true blood sprang to mind for some reason)and you visiting the RMS Queen Mary (now that made my blood burn bright green!!!) I love art deco! Lastly I loved the piece about you experiencing a oneness of senses – it was a powerful description and I could instantly understand what you were trying to say and what you felt. That moment of Nirvana, of being aware of being aware of one’s place in time and space. Special.

    I have to say I was blown away with your writing…it is great!! Your style works, its conversational, entertaining and draws you in…Good job Mr Anderson.

    Miss you, stay safe and positive and keep the new reels coming…I gotta to have something to hate you for, right???


    Oby Wan

  3. Craig Brown says:

    Hi Gustav!
    1. I love your media additions to your blog. Uncanny lyrics indeed. But I was a bit disappointed not to see a picture of “our” lover at Heathrow, LOL.
    2. Indeed, I see rich and tasteful gay men attend Burning Man in spades and you make easy friends with them. Who cares about Pocahontas! (She’ll make an appearance at some later point and you can embrace her then).
    3. I agree with Mom. My friend Drew in Chicago just saw a motorcyclist get hit in Chicago when he came to pick me up at the airport. He said his head was nearly severed. Drew was disturbed the rest of the night. I won’t disown you though 😉 I admit I did the same once with a friend who’s skill I trust very much. Fun.
    4. Some motorhome!! Is THAT what you are driving to BM today? Have fun!

  4. Craig Brown says:

    P.S. If you are Gustav’s D3 companion at Heathrow, we were joking because you said I love him (me) for being (9?) places above Gustav. And indeed you won the race to New York.

    1. Gustav, the Modern Nomad says:

      Screw that! If you are that handsome Argentinian I met in limbo, come back! All is forgiven and I’ll raise your babies.

  5. Doug Burns says:

    Pocahontas can kiss my …

    Ha ha ha 🙂 Hooray! That’s what I want to hear.

    Knowing the eco-friendly, cheap, worthy and “interesting” stuff to come, I was relieved to read some stuff that sounded at least a little like what I might recognise as fun 😉

  6. Stephen Warner says:

    Fantastic fella. Beautifully written and it seems like you are cramming so much in but at a good pace. Great that you have maintained contact with so many friends too. Love the pics and the audio too. Take care

  7. I guess this is the turning point for you. You’ve enjoyed some luxury for the past few weeks – and boy, these guys have some amazing places! If Steve’s house is like a cardboard box underneath a bridge, then what does that make mine? Don’t answer that! Like Steve W said, you’re making the most of your time and it all sounds a lot of fun; I enjoyed reading about it. It brought more than a smile to my face to imagine you line dancing with a bunch of cowboys and wonder if seeing you try to “walk” on those stilts would have done the same!

    Now you’re off to the desert for an entirely different experience and I’m gutted not to be seeing it for myself. However, what I’m really looking forward to is reading about your life on the road thereafter. Keep it up!

  8. Brother Henrik says:

    Cant whait to hear about Burning man 🙂

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