Lucky 13

posted in: Travel 1

A new month has dawned over night. I left my cosy little flat in the Linden Massive now 13 months ago. Since then I have lived in guest houses, a friend’s spare room, a pub and a series of sleeper couches and backpacker hostels.

You’d think I’d be tired of it by now. Well, I am. The last couple of weeks has seen me change cities rapidly, and frankly, it becomes not much fun. 1st world problems, I know. Self induced, I know. Note to mental self: plan differently.

I may have mentioned this before, but there are many things that, when praising the virtues of traveling the world, especially, solo, that people just never tell you. This is one of them. That it gets tiring, things start to blur into one another.

This is partly a function of the country I am crossing. Belgium is cool, laid back, fascinating and tiny! Unless you are very comfortable with doing nothing for days on end and have the budget to really integrate yourself into a city, you need no more than 2, maybe 3 days tops in most of the Belgian cities. This is all I have been doing.

All 3 cities (Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp) have unique characters, amazing architecture, museums, sights, cool people and lovely food, bars and restaurants.  But I don’t have the budget to go into every one, eat everything or stay long enough to see everything. I walk and I absorb and I take photos, I write, I think and then… I leave.

From tomorrow I will be basing myself in Amsterdam for nearly a month. My old and good friend Julian Kievit is putting me up and we aim to hang out, catch up, make some music and generally make like the good old days. I will use Amsterdam as a base from where I can do 1 and 2 day trips to closer, smaller places as well. It will be nice to be able to leave most of my kit somewhere while taking only the small and necessary things.

Caterdral Antwerp
Antwerp’s Stunning cathedral…also under renovation!

Then we come to the guitar… man! I have been carrying it now for 5 weeks and have played one show and practised about 5 times… I am wondering about the guitar thing! I am totally taking it to Switzerland with me for the end of the year but after that… the guitar might get left somewhere. Which would be a shame, but it’s not really practical. It’s romantic and cool, and like I said in a previous post, may reflect how I once would have loved to be seen. I am not sure if I care about that that much anymore. And let’s face it, it’s not like I am really that good anyway!

Traveling like this is good for restlessness. You begin to ask why you are restless, why the need to move? It’s good for the eyes to see so much new stuff. It’s good for the soul because you have to stand on who and what you are and are about. But it isn’t clear-cut or easy. There are no definitive answers about your future or your career. It’s about who you are and how you are, if the two can be divorced even.

You start to un-wrap your assumptions about traveling itself, about yourself, your motivations and what you are doing with your life even now, right this very breathing second. We don’t get much chance to do that in the so-called real world. So it’s invaluable. Most of all I am very grateful that this is something I have the opportunity to do.

Antwerp autumn
Clear and sunny autumn skies in Antwerp

  1. colleen lewis

    David, just remember that here we have e-tolls, the waves of Marikana linger on, we have Juju’s scary EFF, election-hype is hotting up, Mugabe has just triumphed at the polls again, the Westgate attack in Kenya is fuelling xenophobia in SA about the Somalians who have found their way here (judging by the phone-ins on 702), complacent incompetence continues to reign, our trade deficit is soaring and I don’t have to tell you what’s happening to the value of the rand. I love SA and especially love spring in Jo’burg, but I wish we could all have time for the self-searching that you are now enjoying. Hope you can take your time for a while more before you have to return to the real word.
    Cheers, Colleen Lewis

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