I was at the end of my tether, travelling around Europe, with only $20 to my name. My plan was to arrive in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and begin busking, doing my coalminer human statue act. It was Sunday and the town square was alive with markets and festivities, I dropped my bag at the hostel, got into costume and made my way back into the centre of town, stood on my box and busked the day away. I came away with €200 and knew I’d hit a gold mine. And thank god, because I literally had nothing. I ended up staying on in Ljubljana for a month, busked the whole time so I could continue travelling, made lifelong friends and lived it up in one of Europe’s most beautiful, idyllic best-kept secrets.
I was on a bus on the way to Delhi. The kind of bus that feels like it could break down at any moment — no suspension, people packed to the rafters. I was meant to meet a friend, but he had to leave town on business. When the bus arrived on the outskirts of Delhi, there were throngs of people, it was night and we were dropped off under a motorway bridge, down a slight alleyway and next to a cesspit of a stream with so many mosquitoes that I feared I’d instantly contract malaria. I was having trouble contacting my friend, but finally did. And he said he’d sent a driver to come and pick me up. So I took my 25kg bag and waited under the motorway as instructed. I had usually felt safe during my travels, but this time I didn’t. People were staring as if they’d never seen a westerner before in their life; some with amazement, some with great interest and some with apprehension. A gang of children started surrounding me, pulling at me and generally causing a commotion. They showed me a box they had that was full of chickens while the family, who appeared to live under the bridge, looked on. I saw a police officer and asked him if he could tell me where I was but he ignored me and continued walking, before backhanding one of the people who lived on the streets for no apparent reason other than he seemed to be in his way. I suddenly realised that I was completely alone in the depths of Delhi in what seemed to be a lawless society. Hours passed and I still hadn’t heard from my friend, I feared I would have to sleep on the streets. Then thankfully I got a call, the driver had arrived and I was whisked away to safety.
Jordan Mooney appears in Westside, Mondays 8.30pm, on Three