Has it really been a year since I did this last? I’m starting this blog as I sit in the Reno airport watching my bags get loaded onto the ittty bitty plane that will take me from here to Seattle. From there I and my bags, have exactly one hour to make it to the next flight to Amsterdam, then I’ll be home. One of my homes. This trip I realized that I feel at home a lot of places in this world, but I’d like to go into more detail on that next time.
Before starting my visit to the US I thought I would have the chance to reflect on the past 12 months and all the things that have happened since I last sat at this airport waiting to be flown across the big blue sea. However, after having been gone a year and wanting to make the most of the time I’d get with family and friends, I didn’t take the time to reflect. Instead it seemed that people did that for me.
Everyone I spent time with was interested to hear about the year. What is it I do, exactly…aside from all the travel? What’s it like living in Europe? What do they think of Americans? What has been my favorite trip? Favorite thing about the experience? Rather than internalizing everything, I got to share the experience with others which probably led me to different thoughts or ideas than I would have had on my own. I found out that people think what I did – moving to another country with a different language and where I didn’t know anyone – was brave. I don’t see it that way as it was just a decision I made, a thing I did and it turned out great. Even if it hadn’t gone well, my thought at the beginning was that it was only for a year and I could do just about anything for a year. So I packed up and moved. But I guess not everyone would do that and by watching me do this, they learned that about themselves and about me.
I realized that I’ve changed and other people noticed it too though they couldn’t quite describe what it was that has changed. Some said I looked different, better, happier, that Europe/Amsterdam appear to agree with me. I don’t know about looking different, but I am happier, more fulfilled, more engaged in life. Over the past year my views on the world have changed, especially when it comes to people from different backgrounds or cultures.
And here we are picking back up some 35,000 feet in the air just about to cross Alberta, Canada.
As I was saying…I do think my views of the world and the people in it have changed. I hope that I’m becoming more open minded, more curious, more accepting of others and that I can continue to learn and grow. That is one of the biggest long-term takeaways I think I can have as a result of this experience. That and the friends I’ve made along the way. Somehow my life seems to have taken twists, turns, and moves that I never could have predicted, from leaving Thousand Oaks to moving to Reno (a place I couldn’t have found on a map) to living in Amsterdam (which I also couldn’t have placed on a map). And somehow they’ve all served me well. Each move seems to have unintentionally laid the groundwork for the next and led me to a place I never would have dreamed and that no one else could have predicted. And that’s kinda cool.
I am more than ready to embark on the next year of this adventure and look forward to the new adventures, lessons, people that it will bring. That seems to be something else some can’t comprehend – living life one year at a time with no idea where I will be 12 months from now. I like it. It means there is literally a world of possibilities awaiting and nothing stopping me from the next move.
I’m back in Amsterdam! Settled back into my apartment with bags unpacked and everything put away. I’ll spend the weekend adjusting back to this time zone and going through the 400+ work emails waiting for me so that I’m off and running when I get back to the office on Monday. I’m happy to be back, and like the new found appreciation I had for things while in the US, I am already finding new beauty in this city. Here goes another year’s adventure. I hope you’ll continue along with me as it means so much that you’re out there reading and listening. Thank you.