A Horse With No Name


I first met him in a hostel in Tangier. I had just finished unpacking my things after arrival, when he walked into the dorm and dropped his bags on the bunk next to mine. On his way to Cape Town, he was carrying remarkably little: a small backpack with some clothes, and a kit bag with his camera and tablet. We met up at different places in Morocco and Mauritania, submitted our visa requests together at the Mauritanian embassy in Rabat, and went to get ice-cream afterwards. He talked about life in Hungary under the Soviets, about his daughter, and about his desire to see the world.

The last time I saw him was at the Nouadhibou train station, boarding the iron ore express to Zouérat, deep in the Sahara. I never heard from him again after that day. No messages, no calls. I tried to get in touch with him several times since. I searched the Saharan and Sahel regional news, and enquired with the foreign office in Hungary. Friends who happened to speak the language searched the Hungarian news, travel blogs, and obituaries. Nothing came up.

Sometimes I wonder if he’s still out there, making his way south. A tall Hungarian travelling light, a permanent grin etched into his sunburned face.

Desh, this one’s for you.