Wow, my planned time on this trip is getting short. I have plans through August, but September will see me at the end. What’s next?
First: a few parting thoughts on Amsterdam:
The city is fabulous. Easily one of my favorite European cities. Take time to walk around it. All of it. The central rings have a gravity to them so you will constantly get pulled toward the center and all the madness that is the Red Light district. That’s all good. However, you owe it to yourself to explore further than that as well.
- See the museums.
- Take a tour of the canals.
- Get to some nice restaurants.
- Rent a bike to explore further in town.
- Also: bike out in the countryside. Don’t think about it, just do it.
And then, there are some other distractions. Like touring the Heineken brewery. Culture? No, not really. But fun.
After taking in the brewery tour (and three beers, since they were provided as part of the tour…) A cruise along the canals seemed in order. I was surprised by the fact that as you cruised past many houseboats, you were basically just looking in on people going about their daily lives. Seemed a bit voyeuristic.
Still, it’s another beautiful way to see the city.
And then, what post about Amsterdam would be complete without a couple of signs. Neither one of these are bashing on the Dutch language though!
So, in the U.S. there is the saying “hang up and drive.” Here there is a different problem: people are cruising around on their bikes and scooters, no helmets, blissful and mindless, chatting away on their phones. Looks like they have put up signage to attempt to discourage this behavior. Isn’t working:
Lastly, I’ve engaged in discussions in the past about the obvious and inevitable trend towards a cashless society. Turns out the starting point is here in the Netherlands at a little bakery / market. Who knew?
Now I’m back in London, and I’m contemplating the end of my travels. I’m feeling a bit travel-weary, and can see that I’ll soon want a place that is “mine” again. To stop living out of a backpack, and have a place to put my toiletries and not pack them up the next day. I have one or two more adventures in store (Arctic! Edinburgh! Croatia!), but it’s time to plan for what happens after that.
So, when I started this, I wanted to accomplish a few things:
- Figure out what is next for me career-wise.
- Decide if I want to re-build a life somewhere other than Seattle.
- Figure out what life I want to build next.
Basically I thought I wanted to “find myself” but actually I think I wanted to lose myself. To do this I selfishly cut off all ties I had: people, job, responsibilities, and looked to experience new things with no pre-conceived notion of who I was or how I would deal with them. I feel like I’ve gotten far enough away that I can now accurately see back to who I was and what my life was like.
I know that I had it pretty good. Amazing friends, fantastic job, great city, the works.
And it wasn’t enough. Why? Well, no surprise: ’cause I wasn’t settled with myself.
Now? Still not there. But I’ve got perspective.
- I’ve spent time in places that I fantasized about living. Mexico (nope, couldn’t live there), Spain (Barcelona and Valencia are tempting), Amsterdam (kinda in love with this city right now) and London (pretty attractive… but man there are things I would miss about Seattle).
- I’ve found that I just don’t stick with any sort of drawing like I used to when I was younger, when I would lay in bed all day and draw comics. So, art? Probably not in my future.
- Writing: love it. I write every day now, sometimes for hours, sometimes for minutes, but every day something. I have a “story ideas” folder that runeth over. Can I make a career of it? Would I want to? Well, it’s worth seeing how I can take it to the next level…
So: September. Probably time to get gainfully employed again. Having this amount of time off from working makes going back to work very scary. All my freedom, gone! My free time, gone! Shackled to a desk, responsibilities, deadlines, stress and demands!
Also: teammates who become friends, satisfaction at making a difference, doing good work, creating things that others need or will use, learning and being challenged. Oh, and money. That’s always nice.
So, my next job I need to ensure one of two things: either the job allows me time (and brain power) to pursue my other passions (which right now is writing), or ideally: it enables me to exercise my passion at my job. Now, most writers I talk to say “dude, you don’t wanna be a paid writer, it sucks, the pay is awful, and it takes your soul away”. Okay, warning heard. But I will still look for something that could light me up. The alternative is a job that I can still have enough energy in my spare time to pursue writing as well.
Where to re-build my life? Ah, that’s a big question. Luckily I still have July and August to stew on that one. And to check out potential jobs. And to answer all the questions about my life. Sweet.
However, next: bring on the arctic! I’m quite excited: this will be so very different from all the traveling I’ve done to date. No big cities, no works of man to admire, no teeming crowds and exciting restaurants and new bars to try out. No beaches and sun and warmth. Nope: a boat, a bunch of ice, cold weather, never-ending days, salt water and barren tundra and freezing winds. Plus: no Internet. Gasp.
Hmm. Is it too late to just go back to Spain?