Every day here in San Diego has been filled with new experiences so far. This morning I call with my family and tell them that I’ll keep writing daily as long as there is something to write about. And today I’m in for a fun trip again. Around 10 o’clock in the morning Brittany is at my house with two mountainbikes on the back of her car.
I see a text from my friends Nancy and Matt from Orange County that they’d like to drive down to San Diego to meet with me today. I’m excited to see them again after about 2.5 years. We had a lot of fun last time with some of the highlights being that they took to me to Disneyland and also to a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert. They’re some of the friendliest people I know.
It’s Saturday morning. The sun is out today and it’s probably the most beautiful day in Vancouver I’ve had so far. It’s true what people had told me. The city is completely different when it’s sunny weather. Last night I had dinner with friends and we went out for drinks until late and so they offered me to sleep on their couch. We had a great time and this morning a lovely breakfast together before we said goodbye.
It’s such a joy to be with my friends in Olympia again. The last time I was here it was Spring and we played a lot outside. Now it’s winter and we spend the time inside. Eva, one of the children has the great idea to bake Christmas cookies. First we go to the store to do some groceries and then we go for a short walk in a park with a big waterfall. The weather here is about the same as in Vancouver, a bit of sunshine in between the rain showers. Angie, the mom of the family, explains me that the art is to imagine that it’s not raining. Apparently that’s what most people do here. Rain or no rain, they go out for hiking. Most of the time during our short walk by the river it’s dry and we enjoy some time outside before we go back home again.
The day starts early as the alarm clock wakes me up just after four a.m. I pack my last things, have breakfast and get ready to go. My Airbnb host drives me to the train station. I thought it was just a friendly act of him, but when we arrive he tells me that it costs 50 dollars. I should have gone in discussion with him, but at the moment I’m so tired of all the travel trouble that I just hand him the money. Later during the day I still find it a bummer that I let myself get ripped off this way, but at least I made it to the station in time.
It’s Friday morning and I’ve been back in the Netherlands now for almost two weeks. When I was traveling I hoped to be able to continue writing each day, but as expected that turned out to be harder while being back home. I wrote some pages on the first days that I was back, but I didn’t post them because it felt like it was quite mundane. Now that I quickly glance over the stories I realise that it could have been interesting to post them, but it’s okay. When I was traveling I wrote about what I did each day and that was great, because I could share my adventures with the world. If I write about my days while being back home, it feels more like a diary and since most people are quite busy I don’t think many people would have the time or interest to read it anyway.
Talking about being busy, that’s one of the first things I had to adjust to coming back home. People here are so busy. In traffic and in public places, everyone seems to be rushing. Coming back from high mountains, big forests and wide open fields, it takes some time to get used to living in little Netherlands again.
When I wake up and walk into the living room, Darin is about to drive to Starbucks, his morning ritual. I’m happy to join him on that morning ritual and so a bit later we’re getting a coffee and drive back home. While the rest of the family leaves home to school and so, we sit down at the couch and have great conversations about life and God. Darin has some revolutionary ideas about believing, very different from what they teach in church and we find a lot of common ground. In church it’s often about doing all the right things, where as we agree that believing is all about love. We talk about a lot of things this morning, too much to write down now, but it’s an interesting conversation and time flies by.
In the afternoon we drive to town to pick up the kids from school and we also make a stop at an outdoors store where they sell everything you need when you go camping and also a lot of hunting gear. For someone from Europe it stays a bit strange to see all those guns in the store, but we also have fun shooting some play guns in a shooting gallery where you can shoot for points. I manage to get the same score as Darin does, so I think I’m qualified to live in the Midwest. We have lunch at the outdoors store and then drive back home.
The rest of the afternoon I hang out with the children. We play volleyball in the front yard and some video games at the Wii. It’s a nice relaxed day and I enjoy staying with this family. Another nice thing is that Darin used to be a chef in a restaurant, so we get very nice food here. Tonight we have pasta carbonara for dinner, delicious. We have fun times together and it’s also a good change from traveling all the time. Even though I would love to stay here longer, I think I’ll hit the road again tomorrow to visit some of the National Parks here. There is Mount Raineer and Olympic National Park, both must be beautiful nature to hike, so I’m curious.
When I woke up this morning, I didn’t know this day would be so exciting. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in Central Perk, the coffee place from friends. But let’s start at the beginning of the day.
I wake up around six o’clock when one of the guys goes outside for surfing. I grab my laptop and update my blog. Then I take a shower and drink a cup of coffee. The nice thing about being on a road trip is that you appreciate simple things like a shower much more. When I’ve packed my bag and said goodbye to me friends, I start driving downtown via highway 1.
When you’re on a road trip there are two kinds of driving. Functional driving and recreational driving. Functional driving is to get from one place to another and recreational driving is just because of the beauty of the ride. Last days was quite a bit of functional driving to get to the west coast as soon as possible, but today is totally recreational.
Around sunrise I wake up. I walk to the beach, brush my teeth and start driving again. After about fifteen minutes I see a Starbucks and stop there to update the blog and to do some work.
During the night I wake up a few times. Partially because of the jet lag, but also because it gets very cold in the car. I’m glad that I bought a little more expensive sleeping bag yesterday. It does a good job in keeping me warm. Still I turn on the heating a couple of times in the night to make it a bit more comfortable. Around 3AM I’m fully awake and can’t sleep anymore. I’m happy to remember that the barista of yesterday told me that the local Starbucks opens 4.30AM. When she told me that I was really wondering why that would be, but now I’m happy that they’re open so early. After I have had breakfast in the car, I walk across the street and get a double espresso. It’s an early start of the day, but I think that’s okay, so I can do a long hike this morning.
After I update my blog and check my e-mail, it’s just about the time of sunrise and I drive to a place in the Rocky Mountains that Chris pointed out to me yesterday. Just after seven o’clock in the morning I enter Rocky Mountains National Park.