Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thoughts on a flight back version 2.0

I am still adjusting to being back home. I am trying to keep myself entertained, ready to get back to work, and mentally prepared to go back to school. But for now, I have this to share:

7/27/10 7:22 PM (+1 GMT)—10:22 AM (-9 Pacific)
            According to the little screen in the seat in front of me there are seven hours and four minutes until I arrive in San Francisco and the melancholy of wanderlust has already begun to settle in. There isn’t any amount of words or images that I could compile that could explicate to the fullest the adventures I have lived the last 35 days. As much as I miss my family and most importantly my daughter, I have to admit that a part of me wants to continue forward with the adventure but all good things must come to an end and this adventure is no exception.
            I received a very special gift from my friend and penpal Ellenita, as I call her, to read on my train ride from Antwerp to Amsterdam. She gave me a list of her 50 favorite traveling quotes to read. As I read them I cried because I not only related to the words immensely but because I had left behind a true friend and I was not sure when I would see her again (I hate goodbyes). These quotes came at a very important time in my journey where I felt so scared and vulnerable of what the future of my trip would be like…when I was so close to regretting leaving home and thinking very strongly about coming home early. Ellenita, although only knowing me physically for only three days (but about six months through handwritten letters and art) knew exactly what to share with me. In these quotes I rediscovered all the joys of traveling and finally organized my thoughts as to why I love traveling so much, it is realizing that traveling has the ability to make us vulnerable and trusting to humanity to a degree that can only be comparable to falling in love. To me traveling has become not about what I see but the experiences I share with those I meet. Believe me, sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower alone was great but it suddenly became far more amazing when a young French man approached me and told me not only the history of the Eiffel tower but his personal heartbreak story which included this iconic tower, an affair, and ultimately to the destruction of his relationship. It is these genuine stories that make traveling so fulfilling—it is the little things that people can only share with you because they’re not paid tour guides designated to share with you a certain story but because they are real people with histories and experiences. One cannot help but conclude that in the end, humans are humans no matter where you go and that we all fundamentally feel and desire similar things. In traveling we realize the only thing that really changes are languages, cultures, and environments. These things we call borderlines are just fictional lines that categorizes us into labels that sets a group of rules on the way people see us. Amazing (verbazingwekkend).
            Maybe being a lonesome traveler has made me become that bartender that listens to all the stories of clientele coming into the bar. You hear all sorts of stories from all sorts of people of all sorts of walks of life. Some people you meet along the way you know that you will keep in contact with, some you feel so insanely connected you can’t help but wonder why the universe is so cruel to keep you over 10,000 miles apart, and others, well, they are just people of the moment or enter to give you an anecdote. In any case, each experience is gratifying and has some inherent lesson. And oddly enough by being a lonesome traveler I have discovered that I am never truly alone. Loneliness is the one bond we all share.
            Before I left, a fellow artist said to me that he had read a very interesting book about randomness and that life is composed of continuously random situations that are meaningless. I find this so difficult to believe because every single experience has lead me to something greater, something more grand and fascinating. And if it is all just randomness and chaos, what a beautiful randomness and chaos humans live in! Even daily and ordinary life can be extraordinary to the eyes of a stranger.
            So you see, I can show you all the images I have taken, I can tell you of the places I saw and the people I met but it is just not enough. It is not enough to tell or show, it is something that can only be lived. Then again, maybe if I had the gift of writing I could share with you the details of each and every one of my experiences. And so this is the beginning of an end and I am completely transformed once again.
            To the people I have met along the way, I have to thank EVERY single one of you, you have all played an important part of the story of my life. Each one has left me stories to replay in my memory. I love these memories, to contemplate them in the moments of the mundane routine.
            And so since I already wrote a blog of my experience in London, the only logical conclusion is to share my experience beginning in Amsterdam on June 26 but this writing I will begin in another moment because my laptop battery life is running low and I think I want to take a nap to kill some hours to San Francisco. The plane ride home is always the hardest because there is too much time for reflection and fermenting of memory…the longing and desire to go back.

And by the way this time, I didn’t miss my flight home…just in case you were wondering.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Travel Blog: London

I really wish that I was good at live updating when all the excitement from my adventures are fresh but due to the excitement and the desire to live each moment to the fullest, I avoid spending too much time on the net or editing images.
I feel like it was ages since I was in London but really it was only 24 days ago...well in the normal world that is not a long time but in the vacation world, it is truly an infinite amount of days.
My time in London was a great prologue to this vacation. I saw many of the famous spots in London and even visited the Tate Museum. I think it is pretty good considering that I was only there for two days. I have to admit that I got very little sleep which is probably made it so that I could experience more. I met many amazing people, including my Spanish penpal Javier. The only regret I have is not spending more time in London--maybe next time I visit Europe. Here are my favorite images.


on the Underground from Heathrow

I had written down the name of the street in my journal but currently it is not in my possession any longer (this story will come later).

view from the Waterloo bridge

I heart bikes too

The Houses of Parliament

My penpal Javier

View from the Queen's Walk at Sunset

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hup Holland Hup

It is a shame to think that I am horrible at live updating. Amsterdam has been absolute chaos during these weeks due to the World Cup. It is a shame that I did not witness the historic event of them being champions but I have to admit that it was fun nonetheless. Today the Holland team returns and there will be a parade going through the canals and ending in Museumplein, if I am not mistaken. Therefore as much as I would love to share photos and stories of my Dutch adventures right now you'll have to satisfy yourself with a cute picture because I need to get myself out of the house and celebrate! Dag (Bye)!

I need to travel!