How old are you?
I am 55 years old. This is my chronological age, but my biological age is much younger.
“I would like to cross Europe and walk to Asia.
Where are you from?
I am from Constanta, which is a very big city in Romania.
Where do you live now?
I am living in Farnworth in a flat now. It is good but expensive. I have to pay rent, council tax and bills. This money I make from selling the magazine and I also recycle rubbish and make some money doing that.
What’s it like selling the magazine?
I like it, but I work very hard. The secret to selling a lot of magazines is to have a good physical condition and stay a long time on the streets. One time I stayed on my pitch from six in the morning until eight in the evening. I stayed there and sold around 30 magazines, which was a record for me.
What do you do in your spare time?
In my free time I go to the park to train for running and exercise. I train about five to seven times a week and train at an athletic club twice a week. I keep fit and I run a lot. In 2013 I was the Romanian national champion for the 3km race.
Didn’t you recently take part in the Manchester 10k run?
Yes. This is the second year I have done this. Last year I finished the 10k in 42 minutes and 58 seconds. This year I ran quickly in the first 2km and if I had carried on running like that I would have finished the race in 35 minutes, but my body could not take it. After 2km my body said to me: “I am dead”. So I had to slow down. I finished the run this year in 43 minutes and 27 seconds.
And you’re also learning English at the moment?
I am going to school to learn English five days a week. I don’t always understand what people are saying but I am learning new vocabulary every week.
What are your plans for the summer?
I was going to Romania to see a dentist to repair my teeth, visit my friends and visit my mother who is 86 years old and who is not very well. I also wanted to go to a thermal spa to help with my joints and muscles. But I missed my flight and so now I will have to wait.
And what are your plans for the future?
I once walked from Romania to Egypt.* Now I would like to cross Europe and walk to Asia, a journey of about 40,000km. It will take about three years to do this. But I will have to wait. In about 10 years I will do this.
What do you think of the magazine?
I think god likes Big Issue North because it gives customers intelligence and culture and (by buying it) customers give bread to vendors.
Interview: Christian Lisseman