Categories
EU

Amsterdams allurement

The thought of a plane awaiting her at the runway loomed over her as our final month had commenced. Sudden combustions would ignite her mind and cause her eyes to bawl tears of sadness with the passing of days. Her eyes plead and begged for her, as they expressed melancholy and simultaneously anguish for the long and tiresome flight taking her away from the Promised Land to sit forlorn staring out of the small window and weep as paradise sadly, for the two of us, comes with closing hours. As I had once sung during her gloomy days of dysphoria: “I’ve got two tickets to paradise”; duo tickets turned out ridiculously optimistic. With regulations and visa’s keeping us captive from being with one another, we required an entire box of entree tickets. To tease and perhaps with genuine intent I suggested hopping the fence or digging a tunnel. But when one returns to reality, how does one hop a fence from the Philippines to the Netherlands and in such a way she can still return? Releasing herself from my grip, she snivelled once more before wiping away the wetness from her cheeks reddened by the Dutch cold.

I bemoaned the whole ordeal too, however the rainy days remained rather intern. Only days after the take-off of the plane I’d lose my sanity attempting a panicky depart like a rat in a lion’s cage that is on fire. However, the exit-strategy, nor the doleful distance that was an onset imminent is not today’s story. We had found solace in my abundance in free days which was the genesis of a trip to what every tourist considers to be the Netherlands; Amsterdam! To me it’s known as a city compulsory to pass by when bound for the airport, others viewed it crucial for a visit, though these are interchangeably drunkards partying in Amsterdam with only remembrance a hazy state and those that admired the awing parts of the capital whilst oblivious to there being anything within the dot of a country besides it. But besides passing by and waving, the city already had given me some memories before the arrival of our train.

One was a young boy staring into the daunting eyes of a police officer seated on his tall horse preparing for battle and a bloodthirsty hound with darting eyes held by his fellow soldier on foot. The kid in me got filled with excitement and I stepped forward as my father and stepbrother bounced back. I peeked passed the horsed men and saw a tank of water rolling by shifting its gun towards the congregated hooligans spewing words of fury and nastiness ready to destruct, cause havoc and if possible beat the man responsible for this uproar to a pulp. They were out for blood and the men in blue stood ready to fight the chaos brought on to the calm square. A square which ought to have been one of serenity for another hour as all the shouting and spilling of beers should have been inside the arena whilst men and women enjoyed a game. That remained until a man of low intellect had attempted to plant his flying foot into that of the goalkeeper’s neck, failed and received a pounding in return with a result of a red card for the goalie. What followed was a team protesting, a crowd howling and roaring and taking their anger forcibly outside in hopes of finding the arrested wrong-doer and showing their maliciousness to the town’s property. At last, my father’s words had reached me and I turned my eyes from the chaos to walk beside them as we retreated the battle ground.

A second had been waving my sister off on her brave endeavours to the great Canada. With my little brother, mother and stepfather we wandered into town in weak attempt to broaden our world. Though this story revolves around young me finding a longed for KFC to have my first ever indulgence in their chicken coming from small towns previously lacking such extravagant chains, it is one bearing value for me as it was one of the few I have of the man that charmed my mother’s heart before he tragically ended his life. Full of character and spirit he had often gone out of his way to please us. Mention an interest or liking, and the weekend to follow he is smoking up the kitchen with a spicy marinade to douse the spareribs during an hours-long recipe. And thus, we skipped through the busy streets to find me my chicken and then we munched them away on the steps of a fountain.

Those where all my memories and I was keen to extend the list, by meandering the streets and alleys with red ears tipped with lewd excitement, or face painful history within the tiny hide-out of a well-known girl carrying naught but a diary, but also take a walk in the park and imagine the life my father and grandmother and so on had in this bustling city. Though indeed, Netherlands has far more to offer than this capital of coffee-shops, red light district and drunkards, a trip to this world of imaginations is one to be unforgettable. Architecture, though far from the view visitors wish to gaze at, remains beautiful. Canals, though familiar throughout the country, remain picturesque. But there is also an ambience to a place no longer hiding behind pretty words and throwing away its prudeness as signs no longer leave a subtlety with “gentleman’s club”. No, buildings shout “SEX” as red lights paint the streets, shops endorsing and displaying toys large and larger and museums shamelessly depict a history of sex and rock & roll and drugs not minding the nudity coming with it. I find it fascinating when men push a young boy with loud cheers into a door where he will begin his journey to manhood whereas it usually is an activity meant to be hidden away.

But please, for the sake of the Netherlands, when in this wonderful country, leave the capital in search for towns nearby. Take a tour to the Zaanse Schans, quickly visit the Hague or Rotterdam and buy all the cheese you can at Gouda before heading North. There are too many towns that have their own little allurement and are worthy of a visit from the ogling folks. But, so is Amsterdam.

Categories
EU

Keukenhof, a could-visit

Stuffed inside a car on a late April’s morning, the four of us along with a drooling shih tzu headed for the well-known Keukenhof infamous for the fields and paintings of tulips. Perhaps too well-known, as the man blasting from the radio told of traffic jams leading to our destination and before tomorrow being the worst possible time to go there. However with date specific tickets tucked inside my pocket, the only chance we had was departing before dawn and counting on late risers as we enter the park before the masses gathered at the gate.

Alas, luck be far from our side when many had amassed at said gate, as we spurted through the sea of parked cars. Amassed at the gate, through it, on the paths and practically anywhere within the vicinity. Bundles of nationalities came packed with overly large cameras and squandered their day of heat to be skin-to-skin with hundreds of other flower enthusiasts. In a slow, steadily pace we polonaise-d through the gardens in the shape of a thousand-footed centipede with “awe” and “ooh” sounds escaping people along the way.

As flowers blossom at the law of nature, it is understandable that all desire to witness this miracle and with that the attraction of Keukenhof resembling that of ants to syrup and bees to honey, but the gathering of groups and mobs practically killed the experience. Though given the option, as overall experience I’d choose it again and again. The sky-high number of people was overkill, but throw away the sour attitude, embrace the beaming sun and meander the many paths of the mega-park and you’ll be in for a great, fun day. Bring along the girl who mentioned she adores flowers and impress her with the haven of it. Take your family for a day out or go by yourself to indulge in sights and smells leaving you with pleasing senses. Come on in to explore all the wonderful, colour-rich creations and, as advisory, upon departing drive some kilometres towards the actual fields as in my mind, they are the true enchanters. Doing such, you’ll ensure yourself with a splendid day and resulting with a field giving you the opportunity for a shot worthy of your feed.

What is an overrated/largely visited attraction you’d still recommend going to?

Categories
EU

Dutch Venice and its sour inhabitants

Known as the Dutch Venice to those coming from afar was to me a place of drinking sour milk and getting slobbering kisses as the nearby town of attraction correlates to that of my grandmother’s home. Back in the day, we’d eat our sweetly custard from the bowl-shaped plate still carrying potato and broccoli remainders while they indulged in the sourness the kid-me couldn’t possible keep in unless someone had generously doused it with a rain of sugar. Some years after grandpa passed, she moved, within the same town, to an apartment with caretakers present. Logically, my girlfriend has cycled, taken the bus and been by car plenty a time for a visit, however t’was nothing but a tease as she witnessed the congregated Asian masses stumble out of the buses with lost eyes wandering through the clear blue sky in wonder where to head. She had been fed a fish smothered with onion in a traditionally vertical manner as foreigners took pictures surprised by the act. We walked a few meters along the water, yet no more. Something was there that appealed to a great lot and she was eager to venture in their footsteps. Soon, she’d finally find out. And coming in the right, or for some indubitably wrong season, the tourists will collectively, en masse, storm the waters with their lacking sailor’s experience and turn the waters into one grand bumper car boat attraction.

Same would have been for us, barring the weather being indecisive. Unsure whether the day wanted to be cold and rainy or let the sun shine through, it struck enough with fright of the water to give us free way. For take-off, I gripped the gas and took off with the speed the little boat could go. Minutes away, my love reached for the cold bottles brought along to quench were the sun to announce it appearance. And for the greatest part it did. Cruising the waters once again, I felt calm. The bouncing of the so-called whisper boat over the waves caused by a strong wind and the coinciding breeze going through my hair and onto my face. Truth is, though many, if not all locals complain about the overabundance of tourists, we are fairly lucky here. Surrounded by beautiful pieces of nature which we get to share with overly excited people from all over the world sharing their journey on to family and friends through mesmerising pictures and tales crowning the town into a worldwide known spot. A reason our train station, a stop at a hole of a town, gets crowded and busy as people climb onto the platform to scuttle off to a bus, taxi or rental bike. People come to our town for an allurement and they get charged heftily for it too, along with anything and everything within the tourist boundaries. We milk these innocent people, yet all we do is whine and complain about their presence.

Sure, they have hard times understanding the rule of one-way traffic and have to get used to on water left being right and right being left causing them to bump other boats and sides. Some get lost and find themselves in someone’s home simply because they do not know better. They’re only humans, wishing to feel that same wind pressing up against their cheeks as they breathe the fresh air and admire the cute and cosy houses. To me, having something people would commute hours for to experience and with that invest their money in businesses, is something to be grateful of, even if it means giving up a piece of serenity during certain seasons. After all, don’t we Dutchies do the exact same during summers in Bangkok? Phuket? Bali? Anywhere the sun shines and beaches call? So I suggest, that next time busy hour strikes, take away the sour hat and smile. Be appreciative of the love the town gets and don’t smear all tourists due to the few bad apples. Especially to the ones profiting off their visits. Life would be a whole lot better for all if we stopped behaving like sour, crabby humans that do nothing but complain.

I didn’t mean to take this post into this direction, but I guess I am leaving it as is. What is a place you consider rude towards its visitors/tourists?

Funnily I wrote this before the pandemic and now it seems they got their rest. Though undubitably plenty are not pleased with the decrease in money spent by tourists.

Categories
EU

A Filipina on Vlieland

Laying on my back at the bottom of the bunk bed, I watched the upper bed through my slightly opened eyelids. I was slowly returning from a dream, awakened by a soothing, serene sound. Tiny droplets fell with the thousands onto the canvas of the tent-house causing a choir of acoustic plops throughout the entire place. Most shivered at the thought of a rainy day on their one week away, however, the peace had been a party for the two of us. On these days, we’d slam open a book, sip some delightful herb-bitter and warm our feet with the little heater. With a smile, granted by the absence of work, I rolled to my side and leaned over the sleeping beauty. As I moved, the blanket descended off my shoulder into my lap and along with it, the warmth absconded and in lieu the cold transported over the island by the fierce wind had taken over. A wind all the while brushing and sporadically banging with increased force against the sides of the hut. Despite the accommodation’s main build being a thick tarpaulin, which made the hits of the wind echo at high amplitude, it seldom struck us with fright. In a way, it brought comfort. I used one hand to move away some of the hair fallen into my lover’s face and with a freed ear, I whispered her awake and into the start of our day.

Manoeuvring myself out of bed, I placed my feet on the wooden floor and bent forward to avoid bumping my head as I got up. In my near birthday suit, I shuffled out of the bedroom and into the parlor well-lit by the sun some hours into its day of work. The planks underneath my feet were coarse as it had a texture of sprinkles of sand. However, it fit well with the setting and as all did on this island, it brought out another piece in a world of nostalgia. In this tent-house, though it grows bigger with the years, many memories of mine rest as the family would take off from home and remain a fortnight here. In illness and joy I have wasted away hours on this island. Surfing down the dune of marram grass, gaining speed with each slide as the flattened grass blades would become smoother, before taking a dive head first into a bunch resulting in one of the blades stinging into one’s eyes. Then bawl for a split second before jumping on the board again to redo the whole stunt. Making friends solely for the durations of the stay without knowing when the last time will be. Munching pizza’s at the nearby restaurant, getting sand in every hole and pocket at the windy beach, poking the pink, slimy jelly-fish and simply doing what kid’s do. Standing in front of the door leading to the porch, I viewed the path of sand leading downhill and reminisced the time I had dug a hole with as only purpose to make a trap by covering it with a lid of green. The innocence of the child had not taken into account the chances of major injury and was simply out for laughs and giggles.

Soon, my love would join me and we’d sit for a breakfast to start the day. From the camping’s store, we had bought a carton set of mini toppings. This included minuscule portions of jams, sprinkles, peanut butter and chocolate paste. To compromise for the healthier, along with it came sliced cheese and bits of ham. But in honesty, our life on the island was far from the healthiest. Before noon had hit, a can of cold beer was popped open and so was a lazy chair in the warming heat of the sun. Long, sauntering walks on the cold, windy beach would be enlightened by the warmth of the liquor herb-bitter as we splashed our bare feet in the absolute freezing water. Peculiarly on a hosing day such as today, one finds a quick excuse to seek the better end of a bottle as the body wishes to flee from the biting cold. Besides, who plays Yahtzee sober? As I pondered when it would be acceptable to suggest a drink, she poured me a cup of tea and looked stunning as ever while doing so. The advantage of a make-up-less girlfriend is the akin beauty in the morning being indistinguishable from her last night’s glow. It felt special to take her away to a place of peace and comfort that for the kid of me had always been a getaway.

And befittingly, a day before we had walked the footsteps of young me as we got onto the massive jeep racing us over the beach towards the Sahara of the North, accompanied by a jolly man singing his ballads on an accordion. With a bit of luck, the day had been dry and all that poured was the sand carried like clouds by the wind forced up as the grand vehicle pushed with speed over the sand. The insides got soon filled with sand and that included the pockets of my jacket, out of which I could fish grains of it even weeks after. Parents covered their children securely as the sand was cutting and whirled around into the eyes of some. Which was a pity, as the sights were pleasant to admire. Passing by a military base for target practise of jets, we headed towards the refuge of shipwreck victims turned into a beachcomber museum. Now, it bears all found on the long strip of sand, including bits of sunken containers’s cargo that flowed ashore years ago and all else that came with shipwrecks. Inside stood dozens of jars filled with water and sea creatures resembling the serial killer’s cabin in a horror movie. After the jester’s tour of the shed was finished, as group we traversed to the far end of the island from where people admired the neighbouring island and equipped with binoculars viewed the bathing seals.

Though not all we did was pertaining my childhood and past activities. Bringing my present and future to the past and guiding her through an island of memories, it made more than sense to create new ones and on rented bicycles we did. Traversing for surprisingly long as my child’s eyes had only remembered the island for as far as my trembling legs carried me, we peddled a distance with a map as guide to both far ends of the island. A haven of nature with plants, shrubs and flowers beaming with colour, whistling birds and gallantly galloping wild deer in a bunch. Seeing a side I hadn’t seen or recalled, I was cordially shocked. As treat for our inputs, we entered a homey restaurant and indulged in a lovely pie along with cups of tea. And though the day ended in a soaking splash as the sky tore open with buckets and buckets pouring down, it was a day of peaceful bliss.

It was hard for the travellers to not wander about and with the beauties of the island it is understandable. However the days we didn’t, beginning the day calm and loitering around the tarpaulin-cabin or ambling to the shop for fresh croissants, we embraced the lack of sound. The camping was shared with only few others due to our perfect timing and with a job draining me with the passing of days, we welcomed rainy days and listened to the singing. We welcomed days of reading books and playing games. To be honest, for short-term, the opposite of hauling heavy backpacks through humid Asian heat before embarking on the nth vehicle for a duration in the double digits to do it all over again and an off-day including an hours-long hike in the jungle, it was great. With the only downside being a beach demanding layers and layers of clothing to be worn.

Where do you catch your breath? What is a safe haven, a place of comfort and serenity for you? For me, it’s not always a place with literal quietness.

Categories
Life outside of travel

Welcoming her home

At last, the tiny Filipina hidden behind her trolley rolled through the gate with tired eyes and a dreary face that screamed to have gone through hell. Short domestic flights with her hand tightly gripped into her lover’s had been an anxiety-riddled adventure. One must imagine the peaking of adrenaline and anxiousness when she stood alone on the Filipino airport, about to embark on a multiple flight journey of over 20 hours. Cheeks came doused with tears, dried over the hour-long flight and a heart was beating at an alarming rate throughout, but she bit down and fought through to finally arrive in Schiphol, Netherlands. A smile of exhaustion and weariness painted her face as she shyly moved closer to me and my father. A father I was glad to still be there and not hauled off by the Dutch military police after a near incident. After introducing the two to each other, we walked the same route I did a month before upon returning home.

I remember the drive home being foggy as ever, diminishing the views of the lowlands from our car, however with a dozing off girlfriend simply pleased to be back in the arms of her boyfriend it hadn’t been the greatest bother. For once, the restaurant on the way as usual stop was skipped and we headed straight for the house. Her to-be home. The pets and cuddles with the dogs were curt, since we quickly thereafter had taken on a horizontal position and caught up on some due sleep before introducing her to the initial Dutch unhealthy snacks.

From the day that I met her til the moment she stood bearing her encharming smile at the airport, I indubitably got to know more about her than anyone can claim. To this point, she seemed a perfect fit for me. For reasons unknown, she puts up with my weird, childlike behaviour and accepts as well as endorses and loves the wandering side of me, which means the acceptance of staying at our future home whilst I am off and to be open to migration more than once. However, the final tests remained within the Dutch culinary masterpieces and her opinion on such. So, the same day and weeks to follow I dragged her to local snackbars, the Wall of Febo and through stands of liquorice, stroopwafels and baked goods at supermarkets. With hopeful eyes I gazed at her as she put her teeth into a soft bread with a long croquette and atop of it a mush of mustard. My prayers and pleas had been answered when she shivered out of giddy excitement and exclaimed her love for the food, along with all other – admittedly unhealthy – that I had shoved down her throat.

After the Dutch delights, it remains without a doubt important how well she fares with my family. Bearing gifts from the marble capital Romblon, the two of us trotted up and down, hopping on the train for a weekend at my mom’s, followed by cycling through town to visit the grandmother, another deceased grandma’s sister and my aunt, meeting up with my sister and bonding with the younger brothers. One of them already excelling in English would understand every bit whereas the other would progressively gain more knowledge during her stay. And besides the grandma, everyone appeared to have a handle on the language and within family she clicked in perfectly, as she learned my trait of weirdness had been an overflowing mixture of that of both my mom’s and dad’s. And having met my sister and younger brothers, it is clear that there runs no exception. Nonetheless, she coped and chuckled along with the jesters.

Though, 18 months had been far too long. And you might take the globetrotter and put him back in his country, but you can’t remove the wanderlust nor stop the flowing of his traveller’s blood. At times, its flow is tranquil and hardly palpable, but with every beat it flows. So, the second the commotion of welcoming and uniqueness had died down and work, the same, unaltered, routinely tasks had reached boiling point of the pot that is monotonous, stale and bleak, my lust for being on the move came to a rise. The only distinction was, with an Asian’s arm locked into mine, I became tourist in own country!

For those utterly confused regarding the timeline, this belated blog post is written about the events on begin 2019, shortly after returning home from my South-East Asia and Australia venture. However, with the rapid speed I am currently writing at, soon, hopefully not too soon, they’ll be completely up-to-date. For now, to the travellers reading this, have you been tourist in own country?

Categories
Life outside of travel

Grateful for my home of family and friends

Returning home after a year and a half of travelling and working had been one of the strangest feelings I have had. Upon arrival, my father had been at the airport along with my younger brother whom had shot up into the sky over the past time. In a few minutes we caught up before striding the usual path towards the parking lot. Then, after a dull ride and the usual stop at the restaurant along the way, I saw my house again, standing with few minor changes at the same spot it stood when I had left. The Belgian Shepherds had whined and cried upon seeing me and I shed a near tear when over time their fur had changed significantly and for a split second I barely recognised them. Soon, I gallantly flung my backpack onto my shoulder and marched upstairs on the spiralling stairs to my room. A room barely touched, apart from the swept dust and vacuumed carpet. I had felt odd. Even to this day, I find it hard to believe to have been separated from my family and friends for a period so long at that age. Though the years of travelling have gotten me acquainted with, heartbreaking as it is, saying farewell to many newly-made friends with expectations of never seeing them, it is a different story and feeling when those friends – and family – are the ones from your country of birth. The country you had your childhood in. Despite my school years not always having been the greatest for me, though I have no clue why I had struggled, I was accompanied by a bunch of great friends and in the weeks to come I was to see and meet them and it felt strange.

Strange, because I was unsure about how thick and close these friendship truly were. Eighteen months is a long time and for some moments I had felt further away from them than I wished to feel. Of all of them. I had travelled and worked and along with it bonded through which I created and shaped friendships I never imagined would continue to be. Brothers and sisters in Malaysia, both locals and other travellers, with whom many drinks and tales have been shared, a new family in the Philippines and Aussie workmates turning into everlasting buddies had entered my life and it frightened me a bit to have them at such a distance and that perhaps my riveting ventures had caused a distance between me and my old friends.

There is no shame in it and I wouldn’t have blamed anyone as I had vanished from everyone’s life for what seemed forever. However, despite my disappearance, friends I hadn’t even realised to still have re-entered themselves into my life through a psychedelic experience, my ever loyal friends made time for me and we caught up on stuff in the time we had and I went by train to other towns to view apartments and slurp the end of a cold bottle. A previous co-traveller showed up in town and the same foolery had been present.

It made me grateful of having expanded my group of friends to a broad international one without losing a single compatriot, despite being away for seeming ceaseless periods. It makes me proud to say I have a great set of friends and that is something to cherish in a treacherous world of distrust and wrong-doers. It made me, besides the happiness I got from seeing my family and relatives over the days of the first week, feel glad to be back home and though I got many questions asking if it was hard to return to a travel-less way of life, it felt right.

And I am grateful of you, for still reading these swiftly jotted down tales and thoughts. Up next, I will take you into the world of psychedelics as I go through my own experience.

Categories
South-East Asia (2017-2018)

Dubai Airport

The Pakistanis did not leave their habits at home as they took off from the Islamabad airport. I noticed this when upon landing in Dubai, the insides of the air-plane at seemed as if someone had run by with a torn garbage bag. Despite the effortless attempts of the stewards and stewardesses to collect everyone’s empty bottles, plastics and other junk, the passengers had hoarded it, to at final minutes litter the entire place. Baffled by the disrespect and lacking of courtesy, I stepped over the left-behind mess and made my way to the exit. Initially, I was supposed to have a few hours on hand, however a sudden change with my airline had left me with half a day in this capital of emirates. Unlike in Oman, I had no intention of heading for the city and attempted to make the airport my temporary home the way Tom Hanks did in the Terminal. For that reason, I took my time and calmly sauntered through the gateway leading me away from the plane.

The last bit of traveller’s spirit had dripped out during my stay in Pakistan and I had been yearning for my home. To make these long-some hours pass by more rapidly, I had entered the well-known Hard-Rock cafe to only be reminded by my second home. A young Filipina welcomed me into a stool and with a broad smile stood before me awaiting the order. As I asked for a beer from the tap, she raised her eyebrow and with an apologetic tone she asked for my passport. A melancholic-doused smile appeared on my face as I slid a hand into my backpack searching for the passport. The hint of her accent had made me beam, however it reminded me I was far from seeing my love again. As she confirmed my age, explaining that here the age is 21 and above, my eyes wandered around and I noticed many a Filipina and Filipino galloping around the bar either scribbling down orders on their notepads of people coming for a meal accompanied with music or carrying trays bearing tiny glasses with inside a translucent liquid most likely to numb the senses and crush the filter of words.

Lily poured me one of the finest crafts, as she answered the question on my mind; “The Filipinos basically run this airport.” I could find a trace of pride when she talked about all her fellow compatriots that went through the same effort to work alongside her on this side of the security. She sighed with a smile as she placed the beer on the coaster. As soon as she did, the tiny droplets on the outside of the tower of a glass descended down and wetted the coaster. With Pakistan’s beer coming in a can and tap beer being scarce in the Philippines, it had been some months since I had a beer so mouthwatering. Taking in my first delicious sip of the golden drink that came in perfect to speed up time, my thumb and index finger folded open the receipt which I studied intensely. Unexpectedly, I had a hefty amount of rupees left from my trip and that what I could, I had exchanged moments before entering the bar. With my wallet full of dirham, I was unaware of its worth. Possibly the distraction of the Filipina and her reminding accent or the bewitching keg of draught beer had me forget the number one rule of travelling; to always check the currency.

As I choked on my lavish beverage upon seeing its costs in my own currency, the bartender had returned and asked me if I had ever been to the Philippines, now that I knew her nationality. This question had been a gateway of topics that had us conversing for the majority of my beer. A beer I nurtured due to its price. Apparently, she and I had a lot in common as we both lived in the torment of a long-distance relationship and the same issues as well as thoughts on how to cope with those. As we talked the time away, a black man had watched us with his perfect, white as snow teeth shining from the dimmed booth he shared with Lily. He wore the same uniform and stood alongside her, though rising far above her, thus I assumed he worked there as well. However he was obviously not one of her compatriots, which rose my curiosity. Seeming eager to jump into the conversation, he grabbed his opportunity when she had to trot off to continue work. During this, I had shamelessly ordered a second posh beer, waving away my guilt by stating it is my last travel money anyhow. Picking up where she had left, the man engaged me with tons of questions before proudly, and warranted to do so, explaining how he, a man from Nigeria wound up serving drinks and meals at an airport in Dubai.

But nearing the end of his tale, he got interrupted by a cheerful blast resonating from a speaker somewhere near. He sighed and chuckled as his eyes averted to the ground. “It’s time”, he said in a voice of subtlety leaving me with a mind of questions. With long strides he marched towards the entrance where there stood a small podium. Taller than all his coworkers, he joined them by stepping onto the stage when a familiar sung began to play. Seconds later, I emitted a quiet cackle as I watched them all dance the YMCA. Where the Pakistanis took their habit of littering into the airplane, the Filipinos carried there culture of singing into this filipino-controlled hard-rock cafe and it was an astonishing phenomenon to witness. Upon the finishing of the song, I had a laugh with the two before parting to lounge on one of the comfy laid-back chairs I had spotted some hours before.

I began to feel light-headed, in the dreamy way, as the two tall beers had sufficed to take me on my empty stomach to a state of tipsiness and dreaminess which had made drowsing off relatively easy. Despite a half-day being immensely long and usually seeming to drag on when that time is spent waiting, my Pakistan-Netherlands journey had been one of ease and comfort if you take into mind that I had been gone for 18 months. 18 months and no member of the family, no animal nor human had fallen ill or gotten injured, no grave events had occurred and I was a day away from seeing them and holding the two Belgian Shepherds I cherish so deeply. Going on trips to see my close relatives before heading to the shop for my oh-so longed for unhealthy cravings. To actually ride my rinky-dink bike again that by now, as I write this belated post has been replaced for a superior one. Perhaps most importantly, to be sleeping in my own bed again. With that thought, I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

Categories
Cycling and Hitchhiking (2016) EU

A New Upcoming Travel & Old Pictures

Once I returned home, surprising my family with a sudden knock on the door – followed by an hour waiting as no one was home – things quickly got back to the routineus life that had pushed me to travel in the first place. A few breaths and my feet were scurrying from pole to pole, resumes in my hand. I switched jobs faster than tides until my employment agency placed me into the transporting business. Seven months working in a warehouse amidst all kinds of coworkers.

During these months, I had the opportunity to ponder over what the story of the following chapter of my life would be. Many suggested study. Some seemed to know what was best for me, cocksure what I should do. Too many foolishly thought I would actually cage myself within the walls of a study. A moment’s thought, so did I. However, for me, depressions seeps from these walls. As long as I have no motivation to enter such building, bearing the answers to my life passions, it will be a place to drain my happiness. The friends that knew me best, pushed me to follow my heart. Soon after, I was convinced.


Thus, the making of a new travel plan arrived. With heavy heart, my family smiled upon me, as their dreams of me in college shattered to the ground. As expected, they had my back and with every step I took, they were there offering a hand. Their support allowed me to work hard and save my money tight as if a new economy crash was upcoming. To keep my mind out of the gutter that is the boring life in the Netherlands, I spend my time focusing on the upcoming trip and writing about the past one. Even during work, my mind was on the beaches, in the jungles and so on. This worked for some time…

Until the well of motivation had gone dry and my taste for the water faded. Feeling caged in my world of writing, I had to bring a pause to my stories. Unhappy with the words on my screen, feeling forced with every post, I no longer wallowed in the bath of words I used to love. Days were slow and boring, yet my mind was at all times a roaring lion, a machine gone to overdrive, a tornado and volcano burst at the same time. Thoughts, worries, and fears flew in thousands. They hung heavy in my head, bringing exhaustion. Workdays got longer and slower. The same faces, the same boring conversations, the same dumb questions over and over. Days off, I often felt bored. I wanted to go out and live.

But for once, I felt afraid of travelling. I had announced to make the longest trip I ever would. That wasn’t what brought shrivels down my spine however. What shakes my mind, is the fear of being unable to find a path for my life. A direction. Of failing myself. Despite that constant dread chaining me down, I prepared my wings for the next flight. Taking a leap from the nest and hoping my wings would carry me. To find my purpose. Quitting my job to be with my family was a begin. Buying my ticket a second. It took a while before that happened, as I didn’t want to say goodbye. I didn’t want to fly, afraid of falling. Nonetheless, I did. Giving up on studying, I hope I find what I desire out there.


Now, about my posts. Fresh, I shall begin, hopefully finding my spot in the world of writing. But not before I give you a nip of the last months in Europe (+ a short family trip in Sweden).

 

Some poorly shot pictures of the beautiful town that is Odessa, Ukraine. 

Then, sweltering in a train, I made my way to Chisinau, the capital of beautiful Moldova. Here a wonderful family took me in and showed me around for a few days. Two young, but incredible smart and talented children. 

 

After giving me more than I could take, I was shown the ancient Orheiul Vechi, a lovely village on the side of a hill. Thereafter, I moved on to Romania. 

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My travel through Romania was rapid, however grand. Turning into a smelly swamp at 40 degrees, I received long rides in a beetle, a bus and a worker on duty, offered food with some gin by dry-humoured workers in a warehouse, slept in a warm guesthouse bed in Bran for free, braved the vampires and hitchhiked together with a first-timer. In this week of Romania exploration, I have not a single bad word to say.

I soon arrived in Austria, heading to my work-away location. A small village, filled with drama. Taking care of camels and horses was my job. In exchange, accommodation, meals and riding lessons were provided. A village of all kinds. Four weeks of getting to know them all through long conversations. Besides the village, I visited the town Melk nearby, beautiful Vienna, and some farms.

Then time had come to head home. Without letting my family know, I hitchhiked in three days across Austria and Germany. Astonishingly fast I received rides of many nice people all the way up to final city.

Up next follow a few pictures I took when in Sweden for a family trip (Stepmother’s side). 

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For now, I am doing well. I have all under control and I feel ready to embark on my new adventure. The 11th of August, my trip will begin. I feel ready. I will live, smile, write and be happy. Pictures will come. If you want to stay posted, you may follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook.