Collected thoughts about how much travel has changed me. I hope it makes a coherent story.
Fragments of our old life in Amsterdam were flashing by as we sat in a tram, on our way to a late breakfast with a friend. Raindrops on the window, slowly spiraling down. How much have we changed? How different are we compared to 5 years ago? With Amsterdam floating by, I realized just how much this past year has shaped me. People told me our trip would be life changing beforehand. But I have to see and feel to believe. And I believe.
In the tram I made a list to describe how I was feeling at the moment. Growing up. Changed perspective. Mature. Confident. Open minded. Loving. Caring. Compassionate. Open armed. Free. Understanding.
On the road we talked a lot about how this trip might affect the rest of our lives. We talked a lot. But we never ever thought it would be like this. I was surprised when I realized just how much I have changed, we have changed, us has changed. You see, I believe people can change. If you want to, you can. But it’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to be pretty. But you can. And you’ll be proud of yourself.
I let go of almost all of my fears.
I have learned to go with the flow, roll with the punches. I have learned to let go. I feel confident. I have found my limits, broken through them and imposed new limits on myself only to shatter them as well. I have learned to love, with all my heart. I learned to smile. Smile as wide as I can. Smile because I’m alive. Smile.
Do things that make you happy. You only live once (yes, I went there). Cliché’s are often true. You will never get today back. Today is your day to shine. And so is tomorrow. Learning to embrace this is the most valuable thing you will ever learn. If you live each day exactly the way you want to, you will be grateful to yourself when all is done and said.
Embrace what you have, but learn to let go. Your body is your own. Treat it well, it needs love to be at its best. Learn to let go of all the clutter in your life. Learn to let go of resentment, regret and hate.
When you’re traveling, the traveling itself becomes everyday life. I didn’t walk around exclaiming ‘oh my god, I’m traveling the world, it’s so awesome’ all the time. It’s just how it was. When it’s your everyday life, it loses most of its ‘oh my god’- factor. Now I’ve had some time to process it all. Looking out of the tram window it finally hit me: ‘Oh my god, we’ve traveled the world for a year and it was awesome’.
There’s this restaurant. When I lived in Amsterdam, I passed by every day and I never understood its name. Somehow I always thought it was a made up word. We passed by it again in the tram and for the first time I understood its name. It was ‘hello’ in Thai. Simple things like this make me want to travel more. I want to learn more of the world around me, I want to learn about the simple things and the deep insights. About myself and about the world. I want to experience. I want to eat sushi in Japan, speak Spanish (and eat tortillas) in Mexico, climb mountains in Nepal and swim with whales. I did find out I really need a place to feel at home, a place where I have some roots and where I can hide when the world overwhelms me. A place that is mine and ours.
I believe that everything that happens, just happens. There is no regret, just lessons.
It’s not just travel that changes you, it’s everything. You’re always changing.
Please share your thoughts, I would love to know what you think!
This picture is exactly how much I show of myself here. I’m behind the camera. I show a little bit, but not much. For months this blog has been a lot about our trips and not much about us. Or me. Nick gave up blogging months ago. Some of you also pointed out a complete lack of pictures of me. It’s a photographer’s curse. Always behind the camera, never in front. I’m working on that. (Honey, I know you read this. Take more pictures of me).
I’m learning how to be more open. It’s something that started while we were traveling and I think it’s one of the best things I have ever done. Opening up gives a lot of freedom. The freedom to be yourself, to share and to care. It is time to get personal!
Here is to me being more open: 10 things you should really know about me. In random order:
- I believe everybody can do anything. If you really want something, you can do it. You can achieve great things. Just make an effort, go for it. Try something new. Try something you hate. Don’t get stuck in everyday life, feeling like things are out of your reach. Nothing is impossible.
- My favorite food is pretty much anything as long as it is prepared with a lot of love. I don’t like store-bought treats, but I love home-baked things more than anything.
- I grew up in a tiny house in a medium-sized city in Holland. My room was just big enough to fit a bed and a little cupboard. Somehow I managed to spend my entire teenage years in that bedroom without going crazy, with friends and everything.
- Ever since I got a tattoo of an owl on my arm, people have been buying me owl things. I was never into owls, but I have quite the collection now. Please don’t buy me owl stuff.
- When I first met Nick, I knew. I knew I would fall in love and I knew it was going to last. I didn’t want to fall in love, but I couldn’t resist it. Now, after almost 6 years, I still thinks he is the greatest man who has ever lived.
- I always dreamed of being a rock star. But I never learned to play an instrument or how to sing. I did take singing lessons…once. For our 3rd anniversary I recorded a song for Nick. I didn’t give up on my dreams, my dreams changed, grew. Now I dream of being a really awesome designer and photographer and living on the beach.
- Okay, this is not about me, but I was so fascinated when I found out, it’s worth sharing. Nick was born only 500 m from the sea. Last week we biked by the house he was born in and when I was looking around I suddenly realized how close to sea the house is. I don’t think there are a lot of people who can say they’ve been born this close to the sea (except for his brother and sister).
- I believe you should try something before you can say you don’t like it. In this spirit I have worked at a garden center, I have cleaned elderly person’s homes, I washed dishes, I worked as a hairdresser, I studied fashion, small business & retail management and art, I lived in several different cities and I traveled the world. I also try to eat something I claim to dislike every week. I guess you can say I like to challenge myself. ‘Oh so I don’t like cauliflower. We’ll see about that’.
- I drink about 5 to 10 cups of tea every day. It’s mostly herbal tea. My favorite at the moment is something Nick made me the other day. A mixture of fresh lemongrass, lime, mint and ginger.
- When I was 15 I dyed my hair for the first time. Black. For the last 10 years (holy shit, I’m getting old) I’ve bleached my hair. On our trip I didn’t dye it at all, turns out my natural hair color is kind of awesome and I now have a really nice looking dip dye. I also have some grey hairs. I’m only 27 for God’s sake. I”m not sure if I will dye it again.
If you want to know more about me, like my shoe size (39 or US8.5) , my zodiac sign (Scorpio), my dog’s name or breed (Zena, a mut), my favorite breakfast cereal (home-made muesli) or anything else. Send me a message, find me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or leave a comment below.
Now, tell me. What is something I should really know about you?