Going home

When I have a flight to catch I usually set three alarm clocks in the morning. I wake up before they all go off and for a second I don’t know where I am. Then I know I’m in the hotel room near the airport. I wake up and post my blog of two days ago. The nice thing of being a little behind with blogging is that even when I’m back home, the story will go on for at least two more days. When I’ve finished the blog, I take a shower and go downstairs for breakfast. I always like to be early at the airport, but I still have plenty of time. I get my bags ready, go for a second breakfast and then make a planning for the week in my bullet journal.

Around ten o’clock I check out of the hotel and return my car to the rental company. I will miss this fine ride, my mobile home for the past six weeks. When I arrive at the airport I realize that I’ve forgotten my jackets in the car. I quickly get back into the shuttle bus and fortunately they have my jackets at the rental company. It’s quite a challenge to take everything with me, because I have a backpack, a large suitcase and my carry-on luggage. The luggage is a bit overweight, but I move a book from the suitcase to my carry-on and then I’m good to go. Security goes really fast here at Denver this morning and so I’m perfectly on time by the gate. The first flight is only two hours or so to Minnesota and from there I fly further to Amsterdam. I take one last look at the Rocky Mountains before I get on the plane. In the plane I can finally relax. I’ve flown a lot, but still I find it stressful. Probably because I always take so much luggage with me. Maybe I should learn to travel lighter, but this time I managed it again. While we’re flying out of Colorado I watch a few episodes of Friends. It reminds me of that day in Warner Brothers Studios and I think about how I’ve got so many new good memories. That’s one of the things traveling is all about. I’d rather collect memories than money. Although money is handy for traveling a lot of course.

While I’m in the plane I think about how unreal this feels. It’s like watching a movie and not ready being there. I know I’m going home, but somehow I can’t comprehend that yet. It all happens without being fully aware of it. The flight is quite short and before I know it we fly lower and are about to land. Just when we’re almost landing, the plane takes up again. This I never had before. The lady behind me says that it’s probably because of the strong winds. It’s very strange, we’re only a few feet above the ground and then the plane takes off again. After a few minutes the pilots apologizes and say that we’re gonna land soon. The second try is successful and we have a smooth landing. We’re right on time and so I have 2,5 hours to spend at the airport. I get some coffee and something to eat and write in my bullet journal until it’s time to board on the next flight. When I take off for the second time today the realization of going home starts to sink in and I feel okay with it. This has been one of the best adventures of my life, better than I could have imagined and I’m thankful for the great time. I will miss America and the lovely people I’ve met and will look forward to my next visit. As one of my new friends writes to me: we will meet again. I’m quite certain of that. The coming months I probably have to work a lot, but 2018 is not even on its half, so who knows what more adventures will come this year.

The Western hotel at Denver airport
Last view of the Rocky Mountains
Quick break at Starbucks at Minesota Airport
A reminder in my notebook
Ready to fly
Blessed are those who live in each moment
Goodbye nice car
Sunset in the air
Some art at Minnesota Airport

I try to get some sleep, but I can’t. Usually I buy a seat with extra leg space, but this time I didn’t and it’s quite small to sit here. Halfway I decide to walk to back of the plane and talk with the staff as I usually do when I’m flying. It’s a nice way to get some movement and some social time. When I go back to my seat it starts to get light at the horizon. A new day has started and I realize that this blog post will cover two days. It’s still 3,5 hours flying so I watch a few more episodes of Friends. I think the main challenge of today will be to stay awake until tonight. I’ll probably drink a lot of coffee during the day. Maybe I’ll go to my own Starbucks store again today, that is something to look forward to. Today I don’t have to work yet, that starts tomorrow again.

Half a season of Friends later and we’re about to land in Amsterdam. It’s easy to see the difference between America and the Netherlands from the air. In America you can see long endless roads, wide open nature and big houses. In the Netherlands the roads are not so long and almost everywhere you see smaller houses. When I see Schiphol Airport again it feels strange. Here nothing seems different, but I have changed again. New experiences, new lessons learned, new places visited and new friends made. I’m a richer person than I was before this journey. Soon normal life will start again, but I think I’ll look differently at it. I’ll never forget this great adventure.

On my way to the Netherlands
My mom, my aunt and me
Catching up with one of my happy friends
Sunrise in the air
Almost home
Biking in Utrecht again
Welcome home Ed
Back in my own Starbucks
Nice Minestrone soup my mom made for me
Getting ice cream with another friend
Cup of tea at the balcony with a friend to end the day

Security goes faster than last time I came back in Amsterdam and soon I can pick up my luggage which also arrived without problems this time, so the arrival is good. When I go through the exit doors I see my mom waiting for me. A big hug follows, it’s nice to see her again. She also brought her sister, my aunt, it’s nice to see her as well. The three of us have a coffee at the airport and talk for a while. They both read my blog, so they know about the adventures. Together with my mom I take the train to Utrecht and say goodbye again there. She goes back to Groningen and I go to my apartment to drop off my luggage. There is a nice little surprise when I come home, my housemates have decorated my door with balloons and happy signs saying Welcome Back. I’m happily surprised and drop off my bags. No one is home, so I think I’ll see them later tonight. I take a quick shower which is very nice after a long flight and then go outside again. I figure that I have to stay awake until tonight to deal with the jet lag as quickly as possible. On my way to my local Starbucks I stop by a friend. It’s nice to see him again and catch up with each other. He tells me that he can see that my eyes are tired, but that my mind is clear. I like that. Traveling is good for you. It’s interesting to bike through Utrecht again, it feels a bit like being a stranger in my own city. At the coffee place they’re happily surprised that I’m back and I share some of my travel stories. Then I sit down to update the blog. I feel that I’m very tired now, but I’ll do my best to stay awake as long as possible. I think I’ll do some groceries so I’ll have food in my house again and then probably start with unpacking.

When I’m back home I hang out in the kitchen with some of my housemates and tell travel stories. For tonight my dinner is already taken care of, my mother gave me a nice Italian minestrone soup that she made the other day. After dinner I walk with a friend to one of the Italian ice cream places in the neighbourhood to get ice cream and later another friends stops by at my house and we have a cup of tea together. Around nine o’clock I’m too tired to stay awake, so I go to bed and hope I’ll sleep the whole night through.

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