The first time I really traveled solo – Amsterdam

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Shot from the rooftop bar at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam

I walked off the plane on July 1st, 2014, lost, tired, and delirious from the 8 hour red eye flight direct from Houston to Amsterdam. I have never traveled alone. I put my 40 lbs gear bag above the seat myself and I tried not to lean my head on the shoulder of snoring stranger next to me. I found my way to my new apartment/Airbnb where I would be living in Amsterdam for 11; only after standing in the airport for 30 minutes soaking up the wifi to feel connected to people again. It was unusual to feel so alone at first. After arriving to my tiny Amsterdam apartment above a cheese and deli shop around 9am the bed was screaming my name. It’s one thing to adjust to jet lag and to a new time zone with people influencing you to get out of the house but when you’re alone, it’s a lost battle, so I succumbed to a three hour nap.

I could needlessly walk this blog post through every event of my trip but have found the idea of that to be boring; since most of what I experienced on my trip was internal and indescribable in many senses. In short. I met new people, my mind has been opened and has grown, my brain was tested and tried, I gained my identity back, & I found myself amongst a sea of locals and tourists in one of the craziest and best cities in the world, Amsterdam.

Bikes, cheese, green light district, red light district, dykes, apple pie, Heineken, herring, pea soup, bitterbolen, french fries with mayo, koffie, & the color orange. An amazing culture and one that is truly unique and its’ own.

I spent 18 days total in the city and would be content if I never had to leave. Most of this time was spent traveling alone although 8 of those days I was busy taking a Dutch language intensive course in an attempt to be able to speak the language some day. Learning another language has helped me understand my heritage and has massaged my brain. My brain was forced to work in ways that it has, dare I say, hasn’t since college days 6 years prior. I appreciate learning something not photography related for once after being out of school.

I cannot recommend traveling by yourself enough, especially to someone who hasn’t quite figured everything out yet. In that time I have also fallen in love with the country that my grandparents were born in and I have grown to love my independence.

During my recent travels I have had a lot of people tell me how lucky I am to be doing what I do and how they only wish they could do the same. Yes, I am blessed, truly, but if you want to go see the world there are many ways to make it happen. So my best advice is to just DO IT!

Here are some random outtakes from my trip with descriptions below them. I did not take many photos so some of these were taken with my iphone. “The best camera you have is the one you have on you.”

I will be back.
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