The small and flat Netherlands
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Since I’m on a tight budget I couldn’t travel to the other way of the world like I wanted to. To challenge myself anyway I tried to life with a totally different lifestyle in a country close to mine. I wondered if I could start ‘blank’, without a certain set of friends or habits, and see where I ended up. Would I end up roaming in similar circles? Would I end up liking the same thing? I decided to take 4 months off and try it out! I’M CURRENTLY 2 MONTHS IN.
I’m a middle-class man, between 30 and 50 years old, and live in an amazing neighborhood. Most of my friends live close by and are mostly upper-class, young families.
In my free time I enjoy reading and playing golf with my friends. Something about being outside and focussing on only a single thing calmes me down.
I tried to leave my preferences behind as best I could and totally start over. I did bring some money, but ended up living on a 600eu/month budget (I had to last 4 months and do not make a lot of money).
I feel that my journey truly started the moment I woke up in my ‘new’ appartement. Waking up in a new bed, new room and strange place is weird at the start, but really easy to get used to. During my stay I lived in AIRBNB-like apparements and had to move a couple of times in order to keep rent as low as possible.
The first day I went out and explored my new country. After a long walk I ended up in a bar, where I met a couple of regulars. I would have stayed away from these ‘drunks’ normally, but decided not to as I wondered where I’d take me. Turned out two of these guys where actually really cool, smart people and I ended up spending time with them each week for the next months!
2 Months in
There’s a weird attraction towards marijuana in The Netherlands. I’ve never been a big fan but I recently let a friend take me to a coffeeshop. This coffeeshop (smartly-named ‘Sky High‘) was nothing I like expected it to be. I expected a really shady, poor place with a couple of lowlife thugs in it. But to my surprise coffeeshops aren’t anything like that.
I’ve been to multiple coffeeshops (they sell both weed and coffee) after and they all seem to be luxurious and quite modern. Many different kinds of people go to these coffeeshops and a lot of conversations just spark up when you sit in one. Some people are addicts, but most are really normal, intelligent people! I’ve had some great talks at ‘Boere Jongens‘ in Amsterdam (which I learned translates to ‘Farmer Boys’) – which is kind of famous after winning some prizes (yes, there actually are competitions for these coffeeshops). Because of this many interesting and locally famous people go to this particular coffeeshop.
All and all I’m hanging around with people I never expected to hand around with, and going to places that I’ve never even considered going to. Altho I find this very interesting, I’m also starting to get a little bit worried of what else I might be doing after two more months. I will post an update…..