#00: Preparation at the Wadden Islands
It’s 5 pm on Friday when I leave my desk at work. For many people it would have been the start of their weekend, but for me there was something special. It was the start of my 2 weeks of summer holiday, and even better, it kind of marked the start of the something huge. Although it still feels like far away, for me it felt like the prologue of the largest story I am going to write in my life ever. Something unreal, of another kind. A cycle trip around the world.
Finding the right combination
But now, a small cycle trip of one week to the tiny and unique Wadden Islands in the North of The Netherlands is in front of me. You see, I can cycle as far as I want, but what’s worth it if I haven’t even seen the beautiful places my own country had to offer. And it’s not only the great landscapes that attracts me to cycle to these islands. The restless beaches with never ending winds are the perfect place to get into the quiet depths of my own thoughts. Every now and then I force myself to go to places where distraction can’t reach my mind. These lonely moments are necessary in order to make big decisions. And there was a big decision to make. What if I will give up one day? What if I suddenly don’t like what I’m doing? What if I’m getting tired of cycling?
But the trip is definitely not only about cycling. Pedaling around the world is just a cheap and intense way of travelling. Meeting all kind of interesting people and diverse cultures is what colours the whole trip. And expressing yourself in such a way that the whole picture seems to come alive will be the everlasting engine to do something of this format.
And so I have to find a combination of activities that have to keep me motivated. And this 8-day-trip would be the perfect moment to find out if there is such a combination, before my choice is hardened out. And so I did find a very good combination.
Cycling the Wadden Islands
Right at the first day I met people on the road, visited my sister and Couchsurfed in Meppel at a guy’s place who imports biological wine from Portugal. And the next day I cycled together with my host, called Marchienes, while having this wonderful conversation about dreams and possibilities. The woman who lived in a yurt on a farm at Schiermonnikoog, the first island I visited, told me about her plans to move to Australia. In between these two meetings there was a hardcore 100 km of cycling. “Contrast” is what I would call the next day. It started with exploring the beaches with my cameras, and ended with 6 hours of cycling less than 15 km/h due to the major headwind and heavy rainfall. The last part bend my mental state and almost broke it.
The reward of the tough “contrast day” was found the next day as soon as I arrived on the gorgeous island of Terschelling. The island pleased me so well that I stayed for an extra day. Although I met a cycling couple, I felt lonely for the first time, a matter I have to try to keep at a fair distance. Luckily there were plenty of beautiful spots at the beaches and dunes in which the capabilities of my drone were nourished.
On day 6 I left the island to visit its neighbor Vlieland. When I arrived on the campsite I met the cycling couple again. Our interest in each other grew of course. After exploring this small and cosy island I felt the end of this trip coming closer. The next day I went to the last island, named Texel. To arrive on this island, I had to take a huge bus which drove me, the cycling couple and many other passengers over the beach to a small pier with a small boat. The small boat covered the rough sea for us. After the boat trip I had to say goodbye to the cycling couple for the last time. I was about to meet some new people at my Couchsurf host. The couple who hosted me have hosted more than 100 people, which was noticeable in the way they hosted me and another guy who cycled from Czechia to here in 8 days. The last day I was able to cycle with this guy to the main land. In Den Helder our ways separated and I faced the last part of this small trip.
I’m choosing the road instead of a girlfriend. I’m choosing the unknown instead of a secure life. I haven’t been in much troubles in my life so far, and instead I’m trowing myself into one. And why is that? As much as I like to answer that question, I have to be honest with myself and I cannot (yet) answer that question. But what I do know is that I found a good combination in this trip and as soon as I arrived at my grandma’s place in Castricum, I started looking forward to the real trip even more.