Thousands upon thousands of people take the trip of a lifetime and decide to travel to various areas of the globe. Some people take it easy, some take the adventurous journey, but very few really release themselves from the life they left behind. This is the story of Jeremy, the man without a plan, phone, internet or mission. The last of the great drifters.
How I met Jeremy
I first met Jeremy whilst managing the Angmoh Hostel in Penang. He arrived with the offer of free art work for free accommodation. After a light talk with him over a few beers, I decided to accept. Jeremy originates from the Isle of Jersey and grew up with his father in Thailand. He has a quiet disposition about himself, and he exhumes love and acceptance from within his personality. Previously married to a Thai woman, he had set off traveling after the separation. During his time with us I got to know him intricately, and spent many wonderful days with him on his various adventures. The entire time we spent together he never worked for anything other than food or accommodation, that was all he required.
Earning money by selling tea from wild plants
With a weekend without money facing us, and a thirst for alcohol, we devised a plot to encroach upon a local Sunday market and sell tea. Now we had no money to pay for ingredients or the table at the market so we had to use initiative. It was already agreed upon, that rather than try and find money for the table at the market, we would just sit outside the entrance on the grass and sell our tea. This scared me a little, us Brits are far too polite, but the thirst of a man doubles in the Malaysian sunshine. We took an old steel pot and wooden crate and decorated them in a rushed fashion, it was the morning of the market that we decided to prepare. We then scoured the area for a small blue plant known as butterfly-pee, this was the flavoring of our tea. Next came the hook, we advertised the tea as an ailment to sexual performance issues and such which we had revised on the hostel computer, and wrote it all on the back of an old pizza box we had found. Upon arrival we set up shop and within an hour, either to avoid embarrassment or adoration at our entrepreneurial fortitude, they gave us a space inside. Jeremy shined as he conversed with one and all selling this product. We got the hot water from the Vegan cafe next door, and the ingredients from around the gardens in our vicinity. We sold plenty, enough for a good drink and an actual table next weekend. We did the same, and made a friend Chris who agreed to cook something from the jungle to accompany our tea, which now had multiple flavors. This sustained Jeremy for a few weeks, before he moved onto another, more worldly project, building a homeless man Hadji a tree-house.
How he built a house for a homeless guy
During one of his many wanderings, Jeremy ended up talking to an old beggar in the area and ended up going back to his place so to speak. Hadji slept next to a grave in a small closed off area next to the chicken abattoir. You can literally hear the chickens dying in the eerie night just behind the grave. The grave belonged to an old Muslim missionary woman who had passed many decades previous. Hadji had spent many years collecting old wood, paints and tools. Jeremy pounced on this opportunity to really build something for this man, and set upon his quest to build him a tree-house, and small cafe in order to fetch a small income. Within days Jeremy had enlisted the help of many of the hostel guests and also random people on the street. The finished product, also where Jeremy now slept, was incredible. From such a collection or old unused rubbish, Jeremy built Hadji a home. It cost nothing, he gained nothing, but his heart as always, was full. Feel free to check out the facebook page of the homeless man with a tree-house. Jeremy left shortly after, and last contact he was in Ko Phangnan. I hope to see him again someday, with his lovely wife to be Tia, and thank him for opening my eyes to the wonder of wandering. To Jeremy, the last true drifter.