Great day with my parents before going on another big adventure

When I tell people I go traveling for a long time in America, I often get almost jealous reactions. That’s quite understandable, because it’s a great privilege and a lot of freedom. Many people have a desire for adventure and I choose to follow mine.
Yet, despite all that excitement, there is always the challenge of stepping out of the comfort zone. Somehow this time I find it more challenging to get ready for the adventure, or perhaps I’ve forgotten a bit of the last times. It’s also that the past few years have been a bit more uncertain with everything going on in the world, but I’m thankful that traveling has gone back to normal for a big part. I do the usual travel preparing things, like planning out the roadtrip on a map, collecting all my documents and making a packing list. During the days, when I’m well rested and have energy, I’m excited about the adventure to come. At nights when I’m tired, I ask myself what I’m getting myself into again. Leaving my family and my house here behind and going on a trip of which I don’t know how it’ll go. I don’t know yet where I’ll be two weeks from now or where I’ll sleep. Probably at a campsite somewhere in nature. That’s the adventure, stepping into the unknown. I love it, but don’t always find it easy.
I’m sitting in the train to my parents while I’m writing down my thoughts. It’s the first blog since February. I haven’t posted anything since I came back from the last trip. The last half year I worked quite hard and saved up money for this trip. Maybe I worked a bit too hard at times, because I’ve been feeling tired lately. I feel like I actually need a vacation now, so the timing is good. The other day I was half joking with a friend when I said that I can get used to this lifestyle. Working really hard for half a year and then go traveling for few months. While I’m thinking back of my last trip, I remember the wonderful people I met, like Dale and Brenda and Mike and Liz and I’m reminded that my journeys always go better than I can expect. That makes me excited about traveling. I’m also looking forward to catching up with my American friends again. If everything goes well, I fly on Wednesday to San Diego for a new adventure. I plan to go on a long road trip, go camping and hiking in nature and visiting several of the national parks. It’s always a step out of my comfort zone to travel to the other side of the world, but I’m looking forward to it.
The day with my parents is a really fun one. First we have coffee with their friend Joke who is already 85, but acts super young and fun. She reminds me a bit of my grandma in Montana. After lunch my parents and I say goodbye to her and drive to a little old train station not far away. There is a steam train waiting for us. For years we wanted to ride this steam train and today we finally do it. It’s a two hour train ride through the Veluwe, the largest nature area in the Netherlands. It’s a lot of fun and we all enjoy the ride. It’s nice that this train is managed by volunteers. A couple of guys my age and younger are doing the hard work of throwing the stoancoal in the engine and making the large vehicle move forward. When the train crosses a road it makes the loud sound with the horn, which really adds to the experience. It’s amazing to realize that once people used to travel this way. It’s a hot day, but the windows of the train can open all the way down and it’s fun to hang outside the window and enjoy the view. At the end of the afternoon we’re back at the station, take few more pictures of the locomotive, talk with the staff and then go to a restaurant for dinner. I drive with my parents back to a train station. We hug goodbye and I get into a modern train. I’m sure I prefer the old steam train, but this one will get me back in Utrecht faster. The coming days will be about finishing up some last work, packing my bags and preparing for the adventure. I’m thankful for this beautiful family day and am now ready to travel.

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