As each day draws me closer to my adventure's end, more and more of my actions become the cause of a feeling of ominous finality. I am constantly making note of lasts: my last load of laundry... my last cash machine withdrawl... my last train ride. These are the lasts of not only my holiday, but also of a period of my life which describes its entirety, even to the point at which I write this. My commitment to past activities like high school, Boy Scouts, university, and even this trip, emerges from a mostly unconscious obligation - I simply do because it is expected from me and it seems the natural thing to do. When I return to the states on August 2nd, my life will be in my hands in a way that I have never experienced. The pursuit of a career is the obvious next step, but I have become self aware enough to realize that isn't what I want to do - at least not yet. The newness of this looming next chapter keeps me uneasy, but I am excited nonetheless and intend on making the most of it.
"Happiness is only real when shared," appear to be the last words and then final revelation of Christopher McCandless in "Into the Wild," and without trying to imply that my experience compares with his own, I still have to say the subject matter in the film spoke to me much more directly when experiencing it again at an open air screening in a park in Paris. I have met some amazing people while abroad, and their company has indeed made my experiences all the more real, and even though most I will never see again, I am grateful for them in ways I find difficult to explain. Even my exploits while alone are the more worthwhile knowing I get to share them with people I care about, and so even you I left behind am I grateful for and look forward to reuniting with. I've been ignited with a lust for "simple beauty," and I can't help but feel that will define my pursuits for years to come.
Holy crap, as I am scribbling this down on a train near Rotterdam, I saw three horses nibbling grass by a brook surrounded with low hanging trees and unreal patches of yellow flowers.
Bruges has been called the Venice of the North, and I can't argue with that myself. The two are wrinkled with charming canals and remain the most well preserved (and romantic) medieval cities I have seen. Swap the gondolas for horse drawn carriages and the wine for beer, tweak the color hue, and it is practically the same thing (not true, but it gives you an idea). The Belgians seem incredibly fit despite the cusine they have become known for. I have had plenty of waffles, fries, chocolate, and mosastary brewed beer in various combinations, but regretfully never at the same time.