Today, exactly three years ago, we arrived in The Kingdom of The Netherlands to a completely empty apartment on the Valkenburgerplein in the beautiful town of Heemstede. Our team of four, each bearing the airline’s maximum luggage allowance of two suitcases, began our Dutch adventure together: sleeping on the floor, eating off plastic plates the meals we’d cooked in small tin pots, sitting on the floor with storage boxes as furniture, all part of borrowed camping gear, that was certainly a way to relinquish control of all that we knew, had amassed and had become so comfortably familiar with in our South African life. We learned to rely on and accept the generous offers of help from our old and new Dutch friends, without whom we would not have become so happily settled into our new way of life – what a privilege it has been, the exciting and happy bits right along with the not so exciting nor happy bits, BUT, the next big adventure beckons and a new leap of faith awaits that first scary step…
There is something magical in anticipation and nothing quite as humbling as a good dose of anxiety in the unknown as it forces one to relinquish control and resort to my favourite mantra: SURRENDER to the ADVENTURE!
Familiarity is a sneaky old devil as it lures one into a place of complacency and comfort in the known and the safe and calls one back continuously with the soft, soothing voice of memory.
I have loved becoming a part of the community, a friendly face in the local shops and a local able to help with directions to strangers, these rank as highly as being able to drive to places without the need of the maps app to get me there and back without taking too many a wrong exit and ending up in another country!
Darling, having served his three year contract as hockey coach at our local club, has opted for a gap year/season which frees us up to recall something of our student days, which as students we were never able to afford, and to optomise our European adventure: we are heading off into the relative unknown, relative because in this day and age of technology, there is nothing that cannot be googled, right?! Given the global covid conditions, there are also very few dates and plans that can be confirmed which forces us to truly “wing it”, “fly by the seat of our pants” and above all, trust in God’s divine plan for our lives – PHEW!
The only sure date is the date that we have to relinquish our hold over our beautiful apartment home. Those family and friends with whom we’ve had the privilege of sharing this incredibly light, bright and spacious home with, inclusive of guest room with second bathroom which is a rarity in the average Dutch home, our next home may not be as spacious as you may have to crash on a pull-out in the living room and share a bathroom with us, you’ll be welcome all the same! We vacate on 1st September and head off as the Wandering Wilburys/Nomads/Happily (haplessly) homeless to Switzerland where we will ensconce ourselves in the cozy, rural mountain chalet of dear friends who have so graciously extended their generosity to us once again.
An extremely important aspect of adventuring is earning one’s keep and that has required a certain amount of reinvention, certainly on my part, which has been equally extremely painful and rewarding. I have ventured FAR out of my comfort zone to embark on a means of gainful employment. In the way that Darling is able to work remotely, I too need to be able to work from anywhere in the world where I have access to a laptop and decent wifi connectivity, both of which have been supplied by the same generous friends. I am now able to count myself as an accredited subtitler, having completed a professional online course which checks the required boxes for the sort of adventuring that lies ahead of us.
In an ideal world of planning and preparing, we would enjoy the peace and tranquility of the Swiss Alps for a couple of months, followed by whatever house-sitting gigs we are able to secure, until such time as we head over the Atlantic to be with our youngest daughter for her graduation in USA and from there to South Africa to be a family of four again for Christmas in the warmth of the southern hemisphere summer… not a single aspect beyond our departure date is certain which is, in a weird sort of way, LIBERATING!!!
Our journey will hopefully bring us full circle in time for the miraculous spectacle that is the Dutch spring. Until then, hang onto your hats and our coattails and enjoy the journey of our adventure!
The Traveling Wilburys hit song “The End of the Line ” seems an appropriate theme song for this stage of our lives – take a listen to the lyrics and think of us in a month’s time…!