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15 november 2014
The plan was the write an update somewhat sooner but as my laptop is a nightmare to use these days I dread having to use it. The occasions for a new blog were plentiful since there have been a number of milestones that came and went recently.
In no particular order I shall try to point out a few in this entry.
My birthday was one of the before mentioned milestones. The big three-O, I am not particularly fussy about birthdays and I only celebrate them if the occasion happens to be right for it. But in all fairness I would have liked to do something more special for my thirtieth but because of a number of reasons I wasn’t sure what my weekend would look like when the big day was finally there. All these uncertainties made that when I finally did know what my weekend would look like I was far too late to plan anything in the sense of a party of sorts. Therefor I decided to try and at least make it a memorable day.
If I remember correctly I had previously spoken about the Hash House Harriers, a running organisation, and my plans to join them. I’d already joined their Facebook group and saw on that very page that they had, what looked like a beautiful run planned for Sunday the 19th. So I joined these guys for a healthy start into my thirties.
Now I’d been running quite a bit before so I felt like I would do okay running with these guys, but I soon discovered that running on flat and smooth surfaces does not prepare one for trail running in the mountains. I had been suspicious about the level of running with this lot, but they’re all running fanatics. I still did okay but I certainly wasn’t amongst the first 5 finishers where I’d secretly hoped to end up.
To explain a bit about the run, you have to imagine hiking trails through the mountains and hills where you sometimes even leave these trails to go straight through the forrest/bush/jungle or river for a while. The trail is marked with flour dropped along it and sometimes there’s checkpoint where they intentionally stop marking the trail for a bit so that you have to explore a few options before you find the trail back again. These guys have their own set of marking and communication which too some getting used but it’s a great deal of fun.
After the run there’s beer and snacks and then the down downs, which is the part where people have the opportunity to ridicule one another in a friendly manner where mandatory beers are downed. With some other runners having had their birthday or would soon have their birthday we got sang to in a very peculiar birthday song pointing out we’re one year closer to are imminent death.
When that part is over the lot relocates to a restaurant venue for “the bash” where local food is consumed together with lots of beer.
Since we were far away from Taipei we had to get there by bus and that’s how we got back as well, with more drinking along the way. Back in Taipei we hung out in a park for yet more drinking. They were truly living up to their name “Runners with a drinking problem”.
All in all a fun day and very memorable so I guess it was an unconventional birthday (and maybe I would have preferred to be on an island somewhere sipping mojito’s) but I have no regrets, well at least not until Monday morning.
There was also another milestone that is somewhat special. Now already some time ago I passed the 1000 days marker. It’s been more than a thousand days since I have said my goodbyes back home and left most of you guys behind. However since I’m not just travelling (as it certainly doesn’t feel like it these days) I don’t think it’s fair to say I’ve been on the road for over a 1000 days, but I’ve been away from home for a while now. Although saying that could raise the question where is home these days. And to answer that question, I think there are a few places in the world now that I consider my home. Some of those are places and others rooted in people, friends and family are just as much home as the places I’ve lived or lingered in for a decent amount of time.
So what have I done in those 1000+ days then, hard to summarize really. So far there’s 1 new passport, which is already more than half full again. Lived in 3 countries, visited 12 countries some as part of travelling, vacations, weekend breaks, and some for (too many) visa runs. There’s been many happy reunions along the way, with family and dear friends from back home and other reunions with friends from travels long ago and more recently too. Made many friends for life along the way, in the places I lived or the people I had the good fortune to share some of my travels with.
I’m not sure whether I’ve changed as a person since I left but I’ll leave that for you to judge when we catch up again somewhere, but I like to think that I’ve grown as a person. I embarked on this journey in 2012 and even after successfully living and working in Thailand there was still that trepidation again to see if I would succeed elsewhere too but I’m happy with where I am and what I’ve accomplished and now as always hungry for more. I am not sure where I’ll be in another 6 months let alone another 500 or 1000 days, but I’m curious to find out.
I suppose this also sort of segues into another milestone because it’s been 10 years since I first slung that massive backpack on my back. Taking a year off to go travel down under, 19 years old at the time and although feeling like I had been well prepared with all the vacations with the family and some amazingly fun vacations with my mates, I was actually green as grass when it came to the real travelling. Having to find accommodation, completely ditching Dutch and going into full English mode, navigating these massive countries on our own, managing your money, first experiences working abroad. It was all very exciting but I don’t think when I was doing all of it I could have guessed it would fuel a flame inside of me that has never stopped burning since. After that first year I was a changed man (boy) and with each trip or extended period of travelling since it became more and more clear that the day would come for me to pack up my shit and say goodbye. Of these last 10 years I’ve roughly spent more than half of them abroad, obviously massively helped by my current adventure. I remember being 25 and thinking, I could probably do this until 30. Being in my late 20 I thought I could probably continue until mid-thirties. Now I really don’t see why I would have to stop at any time, I meet all these amazing people that live fantastically interesting lives and I want to be one of them. Maybe it won’t be one gigantic stretch of living abroad, maybe I’ll go back to Europe for a while to visit much missed friends and family and let’s face it, there’s stuff there I have yet to visit too.
I should have probably divided this story into three or more separate entries but at least this is the gist of it. There’s much more I could’ve told you about the past weeks, 1000 days or 10 years, but if I tell it all here, what will I have left to tell you when we meet face to face again?
Until next time and I hope everyone is having a great weekend!
15 november 2014 12:36 | Door: Andrea
Weer leuk geschreven mardy! En idd: je verjaardag klinkt zeker memorabel! :D Ik heb afgelopen zondag ook mijn eerste trailrun gelopen en ik vond het fantastisch! Een stuk minder extreem als die van jou natuurlijk! ;) 1000dagen- Jeetje, wat gaat de tijd snel! Ik ben benieuwd wat je de volgende 1000dagen gaat doen/ meemaken! Hopelijk zien we elkaar weer eens een meer voordat de 1000dagen om zijn! X An