I didn’t really expect to have to (or want to) write something like this. Foolish, I know. Naive, I know. But this is what life is all about. Not just in the travelling sense, but in all aspects of it.
The past few weeks haven’t been all that great when it comes to me and Jessie as a travelling pair. Hello awkwardness. I know you’ll read this some day soon, Jessie, but I’m so glad we’ve gotten over the bulk of it.
It’s 10:58pm in Lunteren. The sun has just bid it’s farewell on this side of the world and retired for the night. It won’t stay dark for long here, though. The first light of the day comes earlier than 5am and stays until some time between 10:30 and 11pm. I am really into these long days, I must say. Talk about Iceland, where the sun never actually set. Another story. The kitten is curled up in my lap, purring away while I type, somewhat in my way but I won’t wake her. Jessie knows that I secretly like them, but I still tell her I’m allergic to them. We named her Jennifer. Another story, again.
I’ve detoured. And I’ve noticed I detour a lot when I am writing things that I’m not so comfortable about writing. But that’s what makes it real. Raw. What I think anyways. The last few weeks have consisted of nothing much more than waking up somewhere between 11am and 2pm, scrounging off the little Wi-Fi that manages to reach the garden-house from the main house to catch up with the day that’s been and gone back in Adelaide, visiting Jessie’s friends to scrounge off their WI-FI, cooking dinner that’s usually worthy of first place on Masterchef and falling asleep in-front of a movie at 1am. Sometimes we’d take the train into Amsterdam. Sometimes I’d go alone. But we hardly talked. The days were boring, the laughter, pay-outs and banter that lasted a lifetime between us was gone and nobody knew what to do. It was sad, and sometimes it still happens. Less of it, but still not the same as the days we had back in America, or Iceland even. We’d fight but always talk about it the next day. And then things would seem as if everything was fine again until it felt too forced, and I’d go back into my own little world.
As sucky as it was, I learned so much about Jessie and about myself. Invaluable things that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. Of-course we work differently. We handle things differently, we were taught in different ways and we are different people. Forgive me, Jessie, for thinking that you would be the exact person I thought you would be. Because before we started travelling, I thought I had you worked out. I thought our ideas of travel would be the same, I thought everything would fall into place as soon as we started travelling, and I thought it would be the same all the way through. Too much thinking. Too greedy.
A 6-pack of Radler only cost 2 euros here. I think I could really get used to living here. A few days ago I was told that Lunteren was actually the geographic heart of The Netherlands, yet it only takes 2 hours to get to the west coast by train. Coming from a country that takes 10 hours just to get into the next closest state, I think this is a living dream. Travel times are minimal, which means prices are also minimal, right? That’s a discussion for next time. From Lunteren, the next closest, bigger and more widely known town, Ede (ay×de), is only a 20 minute cycle away. Belgium and Germany, for goodness sakes, are only 2 hours away! But with the pro’s come the con’s, and I quickly realised that it’s very easy to become claustrophobic in this small tiny country. Take a walk in the city and you’ll quickly understand this. Houses are built on top of 4 other houses, buildings are a minimal of 3 stories high, and the people! Talk about a crowd, Amsterdam was crawling with the creatures! For an introvert, personal space is needed. Lunteren is his dream. For an extrovert, Amsterdam was his heaven. For me? God help me, Lunteren is my paradise but it’s still too far away from the fun. For now, though, I guess I am happy.
I’ve detoured again. A week ago I packed a small bag of clothes and headed out to the city. 4 days alone was, maybe, what I needed. I was hosted by a couchsurfer for 2 nights and I stayed in a hostel for 1. I was showed around Amsterdam, made new friends, contacts, caught up with old friends, partied and explored. I was being me. Travelling solo again. And it was really bloody awesome. And when it was over, Jessie and I caught up in Amsterdam, we joined a free tour, went antique-ing and partied. It was good. Things were good. We had things to talk about, but the feeling that grudges were still being held was more than real. This friendship is worth more than that. Any friendship should be. There isn’t anything I want more than for the fun we used to have to be back. It’s still there, I know, but maybe it will take a little while longer to get there again. For now, I’ll try my hardest to get there quickly.
Today I woke up to a burning head, feverish cough and a nose leaking like a burst water main. But today was also a 29-degree day, the sun was shining and I could finally trade in my pants for shorts and a jumper for short sleeves. Today we went riding for hours, visiting 2 neighbouring towns. We sat in-front of a lake, trespassed through farms and made the most of the beautiful day. And for once, since everything first started happening 2 weeks ago, we used the GoPro, took pictures, laughed, talked. Just like the good old days. And I had fun. Here’s to more days like this. More photos, more laughs. More good times. Because that’s what we came to do, and that’s what we will do.
Jessie, there’s more ups than downs with you. More pros and less cons. More good. Thanks for sticking with me through everything. Thanks for being my travel buddy.