No place like home?
Amsterdam Travel Blog› entry 47 of 47 › view all entries
Arriving back at the point of departure...
I underestimated how much I had grown used to travelling. I spent the first few days still living out of my backpack, still had my bag with toiletries in the bathroom and only realised after a few days I had cupboards to put all the stuff in. Also after a few days back home I caught myself thinking "well, I'm done here so lets move on." Oops, this is home...
And even walking around in AmsterdamI still had the automatism to grab my camera when i saw a nice 'shot'. But my camera wasn't hanging from my belt anymore 24/7.So after 8 countries, 17 flights, 45 scuba dives, a dozen ferry and boat trips, countless moped, trycicle and cab rides, liters of cap tikus/tuag/Bintang/SML/Red Horse, but most important of all: lots of travelbuddies, what does it all amount to?
I think travelling gave me a rare breather.
Another aspect of this was that err, to be perfectly honest, my life had turned a bit boring. Comfortable, sedate and utterly boring actually. And there's nothing like tramping through the world to shake up your life!
I've moved quite a lot as a kid in Europe and spent a lot of time readjusting from one country to another. It made me focus for a long time in adulthood on organising stability for myself and enjoying not living like a nomad. And after a while I realised there was a world out there I knew very little of. After my first trip to South East Asia 3 years ago I realised the full extent of my ignorance (prompting me to go on more trips of course), and I found travelling a hell of a lot nicer when you depart from some sort of basis. I guess you need a home in order to depart ;)
Getting back into the normal routine was going to take longer than I antecipated. The kind of steamlined adaptation to conditions here had gone, guess I had become thouroughly “deregulated” and had to get used again to doing all the practical stuff.
My first thoughts coming back were literally: how can people live in this country?. It's overcrowded, overregulated (how ironic I work for a company that makes software to manage government regulations), damn expensive and "decent service" is a 4 letter word here.
Something as simple as going to the supermarket here in
The typical thing is that despite all the bitching about everyday life here most Dutchies will still have an implicit chauvinism about their country: we’re still more liberal than everybody else, more precise and punctual than everybody south of the border, maybe a tiny country but economically a considerable power, etc etc.
It’s always funny to confront Dutchies with something one of my Philippino TB’s said (who actually spent a lot of time here): “It’s an OK country but I find the quality of life here too low”. You should see the look on their faces! Specially considering the fact people tend invariably to think that someone from outside Europe comes here to gorge on the fruits of this western paradise - that is if they don’t call him/her an outright profiteer.
Then again: it’s easier to take the person out of the country than it is to take the country out of the person. I know that moving to somewhere completely different from my own culture would imply a very high chance of ending up in the typical expat life, never really belonging to the place where I’d live .