I met Patrick, while traveling through Texas. Some of you might remember, that I hitched my first airplane. That was with him. I mean, it was not really hitched, rather he offered me a ride through half of America, because he needed additional hours for his pilot license. It is always a pleasure, if you come from a long trip and you can give something back. For me it was as well something special and it will definitely remain. My first Aerohitch, that was you Patrick Faltermann.
I wouldn‘t say he was a friend, because for friendship I did not know Patrick long enough. I would say he was soul mate. I felt like two brothers in spirit with him. We did not only share the same hitchhiking route but also the same attitude towards travellng and life. It is not only, that he could understand, but also could always contribute with an own anecdote. He was part of the hitchhiking family. A special one.
In 2009 Patrick went without money from Texas into South America. He was on the road for about 5 years in total. He worked in a shitty job in Brazil for local wage, to buy himself a canoe. He went for 2 years, more than 4000 km through the waterways of the Amazonas jungle. He is probably one of the first hitchhikers, who ever made it through the Darien Gap and the only person I know, who hopped freight in South America. He was a Texan original, totally crazed guy, in a positive sense.
Through his Darien Gap expedition I started to get in touch with him, because I was preparing my own trip through that area. I knew his blog before. I think it is the best English-speaking hitchhiking blog in the web. His way to tell stories inspired my own writing and made a huge impact on my style of storytelling. When I was in Bolivia I came into a deep creative crisis. Patricks‘ Blog helped me, to get out of this. His humor and way of observing the small, inconspicuous things are very entertaining. And you can feel, that he is an adventurer with heart and soul. I always wanted to write like he did.
„Sorry for doing that in your car“ is one of those stories, where I still start laughing, when I think about it. Patrick describes here, how he almost suffocated, while swallowing a piece of meat „roughly the size of a computer mouse in one go“, because he was so creedy after not having a proper meal for a few days. This story was one of the reasons, why I started to go without money during my long-distance hitchhiking trips. And in Peru I followed his example and tried to hop the same freight like he did. King of the road was the name of this article. Yes, your really were the King of the Road!
He was flying with me through half of the states and we had just a wonderful, crazy time together. We somehow escalated together, like two boys who should not play with each other. This encounter was so special to me, that I even wrote a whole article about this and about Patrick. I promised him, that I would show him the article before publish. It is ready since months. But I could not translate it yet. He will never be able to read it.
Patrick and his friend Zach Esters died on the 3rd September while performing acrobatics with his small airplane. He was 26 years old. He is gone. Nothing can bring him back. I cried a lot because of this. It is just too confusing. But I was also smiling a lot and being happy that he was there. That he lived his life to it‘s fullest. That I was able to meet him. About his childish curiosity he kept himself and which was the base for his open minded personality that brought him so many adventures. Happy that he was the guy he was: A totally crazy but pure hearted freak! I will miss him, not like a friend, but like a soul mate. And you will still inspire me. Thank you for everything!