On September 11 2017 I left Holland. It was after a 4 months experience in that country, where I had a work visa, a job, and a settled feeling. I first volunteered in a hostel there, and then worked for a beach restaurant on the busy tourist beach Netherlands West Coast, in a town called Scheveningen. It was an exciting, relaxing, more grounded part of my 9 months in Europe. On September 11th I decided to fly to Poland and do some traveling through Eastern Europe. This decision came after working for months in Den Haag (The town I lived in), and ready to continue what I started – seeing the continent. Below is an excerpt that I wrote, that I contemplated. At this point I had 3 weeks left on my trip, and was at this point nearly one year away from Canada, away from home. I feel it gives inspiration to the thoughts going through my mind, the heritage and roots that so many in the world have in Europe, and just the questions I asked in that moment. As well this is my first post among 12 over the next 3 months of delving into my writings and seeing what I find. Enjoy!
“When I was in the plane looking down on Europe I imagined how man has tried to have dominion over this land for millennia. People killing others in the name of tribes. Name of god. Name of peace. Before some of us came to Canada, some of us were from here. Where for me, my roots must be. Perhaps in Poland or Russia. Maybe Sweden. Or somewhere in the Mediterranean. There’s a certain home about this place. An ancestral home generations and generations ago. Untraceable maybe now. Unfathomable how long back the cord of ancestry goes. Like a past life, a blood line, of all our past lives. Real birth and endless human cycles gave birth to me. I wonder if my ancestors in Europe imagined this. 500-1000-1500-2000-5000 years ago. The newest generation, living on a new continent. Flying. Vacations and long term travel. Inexistent at the times. Maybe my ancestors were simple working class, never leaving their cities, or more accurate their village. And here I am, never staying in a city for long – the irony. How one, on a long enough time line and after enough generations, gave birth to me, and to these times. 7 billion other people all born within the past say 100 years, so much re-creation. So many eyes and varieties get to experience this thing called life. And in our separateness, we are combined, with living in this century with these abilities and these obstacles. We all have cheap travel, and we all have global warming. What seems disconnected is a fight and celebration we all participate in together. What seem like clouds and dark greenish bluish land from this planes eye view, is really are cobblestone villages, medieval towns, modern universities, a detailed-ness hidden from a height so high. The detail is in the cities, is in being on the same level as what you are witnessing. “
This was a small excerpt but is mostly about getting the ball rolling on my project.
Reflecting back on this trip today, 2 years later in the summer of 2019, I felt really astounded by the life I was living. Nearly every part of my life was a contradiction from the times long before. Transportation, food, clothing, mixed cultures, credit cards and cell phones. We have evolved so far, it was great to contemplate and see that. Europe to me was a glossy cover. Beautiful landmarks, food, way of life, but Europe had its fair share of dark sides. Its slavery, wars, tortures, inequality, diseases, and poverty made me really aware of the yin and yang of those times, and life in general. We too have our past, each and every one of us. The beautiful things all arose from a world where this existed too. It was really conflicting. How the creation for some of these amazing monuments and wonders were funded by the conquering and killings and various exploitation. I did not go to Europe to learn that but I came back realizing it. That reality made the picture less romantic. I struggled to imagine living in those times. The crusades. The wars between countries, plagues killing millions. I went to see the buildings, meet new people, and learn stories. Incredible that one couldn’t be separated from the other. That its history is intertwined to its losses.