I just realized that I am back for half a year now – a kind of a landmark. And I completely missed it. Maybe it’s a good sign.
Or maybe I was too pre-occupied with the two-year landmark: it’s been two whole years that I left on this trip. I really can’t believe it.
I start to live this trip again, and I figure it’s a good way to go through all those 55.000 photos that I have taken, bit by bit, every day.
I am still settling in. I haven’t found any answers to the big life questions I posed myself when I came back: do I really want this? What am I doing here? What could I do instead?
I just went along with it the last six months, travelled a lot on the weekends, and otherwise re-discovered Brussels again.
I had a love-hate relationship with Brussels. Before I left, I’d really had it. I couldn’t wait to get away, it felt like Brussels and me was simply over.
Coming back, I feel there’s still something left. Of course, it’s home to me, having arrived in 2001 in Belgium and moving to Brussels in 2002… It’s a big part of my life.
I do enjoy it, and I see it with different eyes. I think it’s become cleaner, there’s a lot of investment going on in public transport, and there’s tons of cool places to discover, from cool hipster bars and restaurants to weird corners where all styles of architecture and life collide and try to fit… and create something genuinely bruxellois.
Creatures of the night.
I go out a lot, a lot more than before, and have spend a few weekend nights out till dawn.
It’s when I feel most alive in Brussels, with all its people, different nationalities, cultures and languages. And a beer, of course.
I realize at the same time, that, as I am working again, I simply can’t do that too often. And I’m no longer 20. I’ll pay for those nights, big time.
Brussels won’t be my favorite city in the world. It’s still chaotic, it’s sometimes grumpy, and dirty. But it’s part of my life, and so I embrace it.
I am still thinking to buy an apartment here, but with the lack of funds (I just about paid off my debt to my friends for the last weeks of the trip, and the Madonna Tour tickets..) it probably won’t happen any time soon.
I have looked at a few places and talked to some banks (so far none of them wants to give me the 110% mortgage I’d need).
Maybe it’s a sign that I should rent. And safe money for the next big trip.
In the meantime, I have gone through the boxes in the basement. I have taken out some of the books I bought but never read, to finally read them and then decide if I keep them or donate them to that little free library at work.
I am going through clothes and kitchen stuff and I am still getting rid of things. Why on earth do I have to have so many more things here than when I was travelling…?
I guess you could call it accumulophobia or something. I cannot stand having so many things around me.
I wonder why I have 30 shirts, when I have worn ten of them once – in six months. And I’m not even beginning to count the t-shirts!
In the meantime I keep on traveling like crazy. Weekend trips to London or Paris, this week I am heading there just to see a band play in the evening and head back in the morning…
I keep on planning the Madonna Tour and a couple of side trips next year.
But I also realize that my horizons have totally shifted. I am looking into a longer weekend in Montreal in the winter, I actually checked prices for a weekend trip to Tokyo, or to Cape Town.
Other people spend a weekend at the seaside while I’d hop on a plane to Japan. I know this sounds totally crazy and over the top.
I don’t really dare to tell anyone, except my friend Sabine, who, working in aviation for over a decade, is also prone to fly to watch a sports game in Beijing. I feel she’s the only one who won’t condemn…
The globe has shrunk so much, and having lived in these places, and still being in touch with friends there, makes it all look so much smaller than before…
Now autumn is here… the leaves fall, and while the days are surprisingly sunny, the days have become way shorter, and the nights chilly. Cold, actually.
There’s no denying, we’re heading into winter. No idea how I’ll survive that, after so much time in constant summer…
But in general, I fell ok. You can survive coming back, even after such a long trip like this.There’s hope.