Notes from the road – edition 30: Lost and Found

So, to be completely honest, I’ve been feeling pretty lost and directionless for a while now.

I came to the Netherlands with what I thought was few or no expectations, but I think subconsciously I was actually expecting quite a bit. Primarily, I wanted to get back in touch with my lust for travel. To go exploring every day and hunt out as many new and exciting experiences as possible. I had forgotten what it was to live in a city though, and as much as I like Rotterdam, I really, really don’t like cities in any form. Because of various circumstances though, mainly involving the cost of travelling in Europe, I’ve been bunkered down here for nearly two months.

Being in an environment that I don’t resonate with has played absolute havoc with my headspace and motivation. I gave in to lethargy and laziness, spending entire days lounging in the hostel where I’m volunteering. The good days involved a run and maybe some writing, the bad days didn’t.

Rotterdam does have some awesome green space, but there is only so much a park surrounded by busy roads can do to calm a frantic mind. There is simply no substitute for empty forest trails, the feel of diving under a big wave, or the view from atop a mountain.

Unfortunately, I let all this get to me, and resorted to some old habits of escape, partying and drinking too much.

Then I went to Lowlands Festival, and while it was an escape in itself, it was a completely different yet familiar experience. Music festivals back home are one of my favourite environments and being there seemed to be the kick I needed to get out of my slump. That combined with a few good phone chats with friends both abroad and back home seems to have brought me to rights. I’d say the sunshine hitting Rotterdam after weeks of grey skies probably has something to do with my improved state of mind as well haha.

I really don’t mean to paint Rotterdam in a bad light, it’s a great city, I just struggle to be myself in cities.

In other news, I’ve locked in my departure from Rotterdam and the Netherlands! (fopr now) My friend Elliot (link to insta) is competing in the Ironman World Championships in Nice, France at the start of September. I promised him at the start of the year that I’d be there at the finish line when he crossed, and I’m stoked that I get to keep that promise. A few days in Nice, then off to a destination that has come onto my radar in a big way this year, the Dolomites, Italy! I’ve hired a car for ten days with the idea that I’m going to hike as much as possible, live off peanut butter sandwiches, and get a healthy dose of mountain frothage after months of living in the flattest country on earth.

Here’s hoping the sunshine holds for a while longer yet! Until next week, happy voyaging!