Change of plans

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m sitting in the plane from Helena in Montana to Seattle in Washington. After 12 wonderful days of Christmas it’s time to travel further again. I’m always a bit sad when I leave Montana, but at the same time I’m thankful again for the great time we had together. My grandparents just dropped me off at the airport, right where they picked me up at Christmas Day. The nice thing of a small airport like this one is that you can show up less than an hour before departure and still have plenty of time to get on the plane.

Usually when I’m traveling I write almost every day, but I didn’t want to spend time on writing while being here with my grandparents. The days here are very relaxed. I still have to work, so I wake up at five most morning and work a couple of hours before my grandparents get up. Then we’ll have breakfast together and do fun things like playing Scrabble, going for a short walk or drinking coffee in town. In the evenings we watch our favorite tv show, Last Man Standing. It often makes me laugh out loud. Being with my grandparents make me feel like a child again. I have to admit that I’m a bit spoiled when I’m here. Grandma makes delicious breakfast in the morning and they love me as only grandparents can do. One afternoon I go for a long run and another day I go on a short road trip. A few times we have dinner with the other grandchildren and play card games together. We visit friends, walk by a large lake and do groceries when needed. I think my favorite part of it all is just living live together. My grandma is the one who thought me to live more in the moment and that’s what I’m doing more when I’m here. It’s so easy to get caught up in worries, but I know my time here in Montana is limited, so I don’t want to waste it on that.

Working in the mornings
Watching a Christmas movie with ice cream
Going for a short hike 2
Breakfast with grandpa
Watching a Christmas movie with ice cream 2
Going for a short hike 3
Breakfast with grandma
Going for a short hike
Going for a short hike 4

The sun shines almost every day here in Helena, I enjoy it so much. I realize how much I dislike the rain I had in Vancouver and I start to think that I don’t want to go back there. The other day I had an alternative idea of going to San Diego in California, but I looked up Airbnb’s there and it’s super expensive, so that won’t work. I think about it a few more days and then decide for sure that I don’t want to stay in Vancouver two more months. I contact Icelandair and find out that it only costs about 100 dollars to change my flight to a different date. I think that’s a good deal. I still have to go back to Vancouver though, because a friend is visiting me there in about a week. I decide to take the same flight back as him, so we can travel together to the Netherlands. That means I’m back home at January the 21st. Some people might say that ten days was quite short to discover a new city, but I’ve seen a big part of Vancouver and I know I don’t want to live there for a longer time. The goal of this adventure was to find that out and now that I know, I’m fine with going home again. I’m actually excited to go back to my own city and see my family and friends again. In total it will have been only five weeks, but that’s fine. I’ve made new friends, visited old friends and stayed with my grandparents, all with all a great trip.

My grandparents furniture store
American size movie snacks
Going for a run in the mountains 2
Going to the movies with my grandparents
Time to reflect on the year
Going for a run in the mountains 3
I love the return of Mary Poppins
Going for a run in the mountains
Going for a run in the mountains 4
Going for a run in the mountains 5
Going for a run in the mountains 8
Going for a run in the mountains 11
Going for a run in the mountains 6
Going for a run in the mountains 9
Grandpa and I both like ice cream a lot
Going for a run in the mountains 7
Going for a run in the mountains 10
I built a snowman

While we’re flying over the mountains of Montana I feel like I left a part of me behind again. I think I read a quote sometime that said that when you travel, you’ll never feel completely at home again, because parts of your heart will be somewhere else. For me that’s really true for Montana. I love this place and it’s people so much. This is the real Wild West, one of the most beautiful parts of America. I’ve been here about five times now and it feels like home. I know the city of Helena quite well and remember feeling like coming home when I drove into town during my road trip last Spring. Thinking back of that road trip brings a smile on my face, that was absolutely one of the highlights of 2018.

Around New Years I always take a moment to review the year and set goals for the coming one. Some people might find it cliche, but I find it a great opportunity to focus. The other day I had coffee with a friend and he told me that being successful is all about skill sets. I had already made up my mind that I would focus more on that in the coming year and it’s nice to hear the importance of it again from someone else. I want to improve my programming and designing skills and probably learn a couple of other things in the coming year. A few days later some other friends talked about how they want to become financially independent in a couple of years and I find that very inspiring. It’ll be another thing I’ll dive into in the coming time.

Time to read a book
Dinner with family and friends
Catching up with another friend
Christmas decorations at a friends house
Looking forward to the year to come
Snowy trees
Christmas decorations at a friends house 2
Coffee by the fireplace
My grandmas delicious fruit pie
The temperature outside is cold but its actually very comfortable
Going on a short roadtrip 2
Selfie with grandma
Happy snowman in my grandparents house
Going on a short roadtrip 3
Beautiful view from my grandparents house
Going on a short roadtrip
The American flag in front of the mountains
Going on another hike around a lake

Before I know it, we’re landed in Seattle. It’s grey outside. When I walk into the airport I feel like waking up from a dream. A fantastic dream that fortunately was real. I take the train to downtown and have a nice conversation with a lady and their daughter who just came back from Arizona. I like having conversations with random people and get to know them a bit. After about half an hour I’m at the train station and it’s only about a five minute walk to the hotel. I drop my luggage and go to a pub to get a burger and some fries. Normally I like Seattle, but not tonight. I’d like to be either in Montana or the Netherlands. It’s okay, I’ll be going home in about two weeks.

Going on another hike around a lake 2
Dinner at a Mexican place
On a roadtrip with grandma 3
Going on another hike around a lake 3
On a roadtrip with grandma
On a roadtrip with grandma 7
Only in Montana
On a roadtrip with grandma 2
On a roadtrip with grandma 8
On a roadtrip with grandma 4
On a roadtrip with grandma 9
Baking cookies with grandma
On a roadtrip with grandma 6
On a roadtrip with grandma 10
Baking cookies with grandma2
On a roadtrip with grandma 5
On a roadtrip with grandma 11
Baking cookies with grandma 3

Sunday morning I go early to the station and just like last time there is a bus again instead of a train. It might be bad timing, but in my experience Amtrak is not very reliable and if you want to travel by train in America you have to be prepared to be delayed or have a different kind of transportation than you booked. At some moment in the bus I realize that I can choose my perspective. I can either find it a bummer that I didn’t get the beautiful train ride I was hoping for or be thankful that there still is a bus to bring me to my destination. I decide on the last one but keep in mind to write an honest review about Amtrak. The bus ride is smooth. I watch some series and do some studying, because the view is not that impressive. The railroad would follow the ocean for the largest part, but the road is more land inward and has less view. Crossing the border goes very easy compared to going into America and just before noon we arrive in Vancouver. I’m surprised it’s not raining at the moment, but dark clouds on the horizon doesn’t promise much good. I miss the clear mountain skies of Montana.

Grandpa and grandma making breakfast
One last walk together before I have to travel further
King Street Station in Seattle
I love having breakfast with my grandparents
Goodbye for now - I will miss you
In the bus to Vancouver
Playing Scrabble with my grandma as we always do
Flying over Helena Montana
Back in Vancouver

I take the bus to my Airbnb, drop off my backpack and go back downtown to the most American place I know here, Starbucks. I spend the afternoon doing work for clients and get some groceries for the coming days on my way home. This week I’ll mainly be working long days to catch up with the business and to hopefully enable me to do more touristic things in the last week in Vancouver.

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