The last blog

Dear everyone, this is it, my very last blog. I realize I’ve been spending less time on it lately and I’ve been wondering why. This made me realize that my slackened attention is coming, because I have decided to go home. By making that decision it feels like the adventure is over. Things don’t open anymore, doors close, because you have to choose with a limited amount of time. 

Freedom

In the beginning I found this swallowing, because it didn’t feel the same anymore, I immediately missed the feeling of freedom and a feeling of suffocation came up. Suffocation sounds heavy, but I soon get a feeling in my throat as if it is being squeezed. I’m not sure why, but my freedom is my greatest asset. If you can own this. I get itching from people, habits or things that you supposedly should take away my freedom or sense of freedom. Relationships were part of that for a long time, I’m afraid, or children. 

All right, so freedom. 

And it sounds crazy, but it also seemed to me to be the worst of what could come for a few weeks: going home. I said it before in a blog, the hardest part of travelling is going home. Going back and then meeting expectations, because that’s how it feels. You have followed me during my trip and now I have the idea with the dreams I have shared that I really have to live up to the expectations of the dreams. The crazy thing is that I still have those dreams, that I want to start for myself and I’m going to do it, but going back and really doing it is scary, because what if I fail? 

Tanzania

‘Real life’

And then I’ll be just like everyone else. I’m no longer travelling, but just someone who lives and works in the Netherlands again and has to make something of it. The strange thing is that so many people ask me during my trip when I go back to ‘real life’. Real life. What is that? Travelling is for many apparently not real life. I don’t agree with that. My trip around the world was not the end of a wish I wanted to fulfil, but the beginning. 

Contrary to many people I meet, especially couples or someone in a relationship, who see their journey as their last ‘crazy’ splurge before ‘real life’ and by that they usually mean house, tree and beastie, begins. And those people are usually young, unbelievable, that some people at the age of 23 or 25 have the idea that they have to do things. And they all say that they feel this, but that they also want it, but yes, well, they just do it, something like that. 

Ethiopia

Travelling 

Of course, everyone has to do what they want, but this is not how I want it. Travelling is part of my life and will remain so for the rest of my life. My example is the 88 year old French woman who was drinking a beer in Malaysia, all with young people and a friend of 70 years old. Just enjoy it.  

Inspiration

And I met a lot of inspiring people during my trip. Or moments from which I have learned a lot myself. I cherish that. So many beautiful moments and nice people. Not only during a ten-day silence, or during an argument in Australia I learned a lot, but also from all the moments that I stared out of a window in a bus or train. Delicious. 

The best moments were when people held up a mirror to me or a good conversation about life, politics, culture or whatever. Because you meet so many different people with different cultures and backgrounds, you also learn so much more about your own. How crazy some things are in the Netherlands or how weird Dutch people can be in the eyes of our fellow world citizens. 

Australia

Nice people

And I realize that the news is really less that the tip of the iceberg. I’ve met so many sweet, nice people. 99% or no, more than that is nice. What we see on the news is news because it is exceptional. Let me repeat that: the news is exceptional. It’s exceptional to meet sour, evil people. Most people are incredibly nice and are daughters, sons, fathers, mothers with friends and a life. A job and a house. No matter how poor or rich. In most countries they complain about the weather and people often talk about food. We look different, but in essence all people in the world are the same. The news is exceptional. 

India in 2018

Love 

And about the other love, the “real” love. Did I find it? No and yes. I have rediscovered my belief in love. Of which I didn’t know I had lost it. I sometimes felt in love that I didn’t know I could be, but did I find the one? I don’t know. The future will tell. I am very happy with all the love I have felt during this journey and I am sure that for the future I will find someone who wants to be my buddy, because I don’t want to be alone. I don’t like that at all. Living alone? No, thank you. All the hostels with I don’t know how many people, families where I stayed once in a while, wonderful, I love people around me and I want to keep it that way for the rest of my life. 

The time of the world

I’ve changed, not that I’m completely different, but a little bit if I’m honest. I have time, because we all have time. I notice that in many places in the world there is plenty of time, but not when I meet western people. Then it’s often about what time we have to be somewhere and whether it’s time to eat. At the beginning of my trip I once asked a boy what time it was. He looked at his hand where most people have their watches, but he didn’t have a watch, he had the globe tattooed. Let’s see,” he said, “I think it’s time or the world. 

He opened my eyes, because indeed, I’m traveling. It doesn’t matter what time it is. When I’m hungry I eat and when I’m tired I sleep. Time is irrelevant, at least when you travel. I still meet a lot of people who race against the clock or say they don’t have time for things they just told me they would like to do. That’s nonsense. We all have time. We may not have the money to do anything, but time is available to everyone no matter where you live or come from. Time can never be an excuse. 

Marleen Weener Malaysia 2018
Malaysia in 2018

Dreams 

My mission now is to make my dreams, starting for myself – my next dream – come true. I look forward to it, because it is a new challenge. I love new things, discovering and doing new things. That challenge is now a bit like travelling. I feel comfortable, I feel at home in my backpack life – which has never bored me, by the way – and that’s why it’s time for the next step. 

Standstill

Also, I have more or less come to a standstill in travelling. I have been in Guatemala for almost three months, ‘living’ with a family in one place and have a rhythm of volunteering in the morning, Spanish lessons in the afternoon and on the weekends with ‘friends’. Maybe it’s natural that everyone, or at least I, goes back to some kind of rhythm. It’s not that I missed the rhythm, but I like the normal food instead of eating every day in some kind of restaurant. 

Missing Friends & Family

And on top of that, I miss my friends and family too. It’s great to travel and modern technology allows you to see your family and friends over the phone, but that doesn’t replace a good conversation where you can look each other in the eye and that’s what I need. Moreover, I realize more than once that I have very sweet, nice friends and family. I just want to hug them again. 

Life

And in a year, yes, it has been almost a year (in total I travel 14 months), more happens than you think. My father lost 25 kilos and is unrecognizable – well, my grandmother died, my friends had seven children, none of whom I have admired yet, some changed jobs and sold and bought new houses. Actually just life. It would be nice to see everyone again. 

Three more months 

It may seem crazy, but I have three months to go, yet it stops here. The last three months I’m going to enjoy it to the fullest, not that, but the unexpected, the spontaneous is gone and that makes my journey feel like it’s over and so does my blog. My blog was my outlet for my adventure, not for my holiday. I don’t want to tell you where I bought my ice cream and that you should go there too, although I did, but that’s not why I started this blog. No, I wrote this blog to get rid of my feelings, to express myself, to show myself and because I liked to write. 

Sweet

I appreciate all the messages I’ve received on my blog. Only positive, that I’ve gotten better in my blogs, that I don’t have to care so much about what others think – quite true – and how inspiring people thought it was but that they didn’t dare to do it themselves or would never do it. And a lot of stories about people who followed it and who went through depression themselves, all peers. I don’t know what ‘we’ do to ourselves that we have so many people in their twenties and thirties in the Netherlands who go through it. I still think that the expectations I mentioned earlier – I mean, job, relationship and children – together with not failing and try do succeed in everything, are related to it, but I’m not an expert. 

Russia in June 2018

I’ll be back 

This written farewell is not final. You will see me back in 2020 – yes, as long as – with my new company, passion and source of income. I don’t know how and what exactly, but it’s going to happen. Until then, I go on a retreat to develop myself. Now it’s in Spanish, yo hablo un poco español, but I want to develop myself in other things and I want some time for myself, friends and family to land in the Netherlands in peace and quiet. 

A very big hug and a lot of love for this year and until 2020. Kiss! 

One thought on “The last blog

  1. Wat een rijkdom heb jij opgedaan Marleen!
    Ik denk daarbij ook aan mij dochter. Komt morgen terug uit Texas, Vrije vogels. Hartelijke groet.

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