A bit more than five weeks ago I returned to the Netherlands. I had been traveling for more than one year: I had seen the most amazing landscapes, I had made friends from all around the world and I had learned more about life and the world in these months than in my whole life (maybe not, but that’s how it feels). So, I came home. Or, I came back to something that once was called home. Traveling for such a long period of time has changed me, has changed my perspective and has changed my feelings of being back in the Netherlands. Some people who have travelled for a bit longer than just holidays might understand this, but maybe they don’t. Sometimes even I don’t understand it, I guess that’s the biggest issue right now. It’s all so confusing!
So, I came back in the Netherlands. I hear you asking, why did you come back? Well… I ran out of money. Traveling for 14 months isn’t for free unfortunately, and although I had been working for most of the time that I had been away, it was time to start working again. I could have stayed abroad and start looking for jobs somewhere in the world, not particularly in the Netherlands. I don’t know why, but I didn’t. I booked my flight ticket to Amsterdam and it seemed normal to go back after such a long time. Of course, I wanted to see my family and friends again! That was the main reason for me to come home. I’d missed them a lot the past year, and couldn’t wait to see them again. So I flew back and my family picked me up at the airport. It was strange to see them again, it was amazing, I was happy, I was exhausted (because of my lack of sleep), I was cold. Yes, it was cold! After living in Asia for four months, I was freezing with temperatures around 10 degrees Celsius.
I guess that’s the main thing I tell people when they ask me how I feel being back in the Netherlands: ‘I feel cold! And it feels strange..’ A lot of people ask me this question, which is an important question after all. Honestly, I don’t really know how to answer. I love that I’m near my family, that I can visit them whenever I want and that we can share our lives together. I won’t miss anything important, because I’m not at the other side of the world anymore. That’s the same with my friends, I love talking with them about the things that happened last year and listening to their stories. At the same time, it feels like some connections are gone because I wasn’t around for a long time. It feels like some of my best friends are at the other side of the world, who I really would like to see right now. It’s hard to come back, the life that I lived here before I left, is gone. I quit my job and apartment, the only thing left here, were my family and friends. Coming home and not having a job and own apartment in the country where I lived almost all my life, makes the realization even harder that it’s not the same anymore. Of course I knew it would be different, and I don’t even want it to be the same (I choose to leave after all). What makes it a bit harder right now, is that I have to start over again. Again!
I have to find a job, a house, friends.. It feels the same like when I arrived in Canberra, Australia, or Malang, Indonesia. At those points, I had a job but I didn’t have my own life. I had a host family, who took care of me like my own family, but I had to built up my own life at that part of the world. Right now, it’s kind of the same. Which is okay, but strange. This was my home, now it just feels like another part of the world where I will live my life for an unset amount of time. That’s the thing with traveling: it makes you feel at home anywhere you are. My world became bigger and smaller at the same time. I know what I’m capable of, I know that I can live my life somewhere else in the world and I know that it’s not that hard: it’s possible! So why should I stay here? That’s a question I’m asking myself a lot these weeks, and until now I can’t really find an answer. My priority is to find a job, probably in the Netherlands. I really want to start working again, to meet people, to learn more. Once I get a job, I can start looking for my own house and from that point on I can start building up my own life. And who knows, stay there for a little bit longer than only a few months. That’s my intention, but we’ll see how it goes.
To be honest, the Netherlands doesn’t feel like the country where I want to live for the rest of my life. It’s beautiful, I love walking around in Utrecht for example to discover the history you can find anywhere. The nature is pretty, the streets are clean, it smells fresh, trains are coming when they have to come (usually), everything works how it should work. I’m not complaining, I love how easy it is to live here.
But just one more thing… what is it about the people in Europe? Why is everyone so moody outside? Why is no-one smiling? Why is it strange to say ‘hello’ to a stranger when crossing the street? Or even just smile? They are looking at you like you’re crazy. I really miss the friendliness I’ve experienced around the world, I just wish everyone didn’t live in his/her own bubble as much as they do. Life is so much more beautiful when you’re happy, smiling, sharing and caring. I’m only back for a few weeks, and I can feel that I’m going back into a same bubble, even though I don’t want to! Help! Traveling and, maybe even more, working abroad has shown me how life can be and how life should be. That’s my goal, and I will keep working on that.
For now, I’m glad I made it back safely and I love seeing everyone again, so I will just enjoy all the good things in life and keep exploring my homecountry. Eventually it will feel like home, where-ever I am. How wonderful is that?!