I am from Holland, where the fuck you're from
I am sitting in the airplane from Las Vegas back to Amsterdam. In the taxi ride, leaving our enormous 350m high hotel to the airport, in surely one of the most crazy and superficial cities in the world, my dad and I just had a rather serious chat with the taxi driver.
A chat that quickly evolved from his average daily rides, to the Dutch soccer phenomenon 'van Basten' to the terrifying results of the dictatorship back in his own country Ethiopia. Where the government basically sold a piece of land as big as The Netherlands to one single Indian investor. Consequently, all the food that is harvested is being exported leaving it's own people suffer from hunger. I wish this guy will be able to take his family back one day to where he really wants to be.
While staring out of the window, I wonder about last two weeks, so fully packed with experiences I will definitely need some time to integrate all of it.
A BOYSDREAM COME TRUE
Last year november my dad and I turned 60 and 30. Born on the exact same day, which was even noticed by the American douanier when checking our passports. Back then he surprised (the shit out of) me, by fulfilling a lifelong boysdream: driving on a motorbike through the USA. Together.
With an organized group of 15 motorcycles we drove the so called Indian Short Cut route. Taking of in San Francisco, going south along the coast passing Santa Barbara, Hollywood, Joshua Tree Park, heading to duzzling Los Angeles. From there land inwards through part of mythical Route 66, a few gosts towns, Grand Canyon and several stunning National Parks in Utah, all the way to bloody hot Las Vegas.
I SEE I SEE WHAT YOU CAN'T SEE
For me there is no point in showing off how seriously cool I am on facebook with all the places we have visited, so I won't. But besides the fact that I sincerely enjoyed the richness of it’s landscape, you know that my eye is always looking after things that surprise me, so to say. Not referring to the 'don’t they have a broodje kroket', 'everything is big here', the 'coffee is not as strong as back home' and 'in Holland at least eveything is well organized' observations from my fellow country citizens. In that sense, for me being in a group of Dutch people was more of a culture shock and discomfort than the American culture, climate or food. Which was a life lesson on it's own.
Besides 'minor' observations like an airline sponsored by Coca Cola, endless fields of pesticed monoculture crops, giant tastless GM strawberries, a big sandwich chain showing off with non antibiotic treated chicken, the general (not all around) absense of 'real food' leaving parts of the population overweight but severly underfed, there is one thing that striked me the most. Where for a long time global warming was only visible at the Northpole, far away from home, it now comes seriously close to the world's public. The once allmighty Colorado River (which co-created the earthwonder Grand Canyon) as well as the Hoover Dam (symbol of The Machine Age and good for serving over 1.3mio people of energy) are drying out at a very very high pace. There is basically almost nothing left.
FROM GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE TO INTROSPECTIVE
One day during lunch my dad asks how far I think I am from 'being back'? Referring at the time, not over a year ago, when I was seriously unhappy (not saying that is a negative thing, as one got to learn how to read the signs in life). The answer that quickly came up was: "I belief I luckily can't go back anymore." In this answer I felt very vulnerable facing my dad but also powerfull to the commitment I made to my (inner)self starting to live up to the life I deeply desire. Since my personal goal for 2016 is to succeed in realizing a basis of being able to create stuff (whether it are companies, projects or blogs) that I love to work on and think that matter, meanwhile enjoying a joyful, inspirational and healthy lifestyle. So technically, as I funnily explained to my dad, I am nearly over 25% on my way.
At the second last day, one fellow group member of my age, asked me if I have to go to work straight after we got back. In a flash I think ahead about the talks I will have and things I can do the day after arrival, and say "Yes absolutely!". Huh, yes..?? He recalls, being clearly surprised about my answer. After shortly explaining what I am working on, I leave him a bit puzzled just before we have to get on our bikes (I was driving a Harley Davidson Roadking, oké still showing off a little bit-;) and while hitting the road I realize, maybe I am further (away from) 'back' than the 25% I thought I was.
To my loving dad for (sharing) this unforgetable trip, thanks to US Bikers for the very well organized and safe tour, thanks to America for having me enjoy and wonder your country, and thanks to everyone who took the effort to read this, in a world full of (exciting and distractive) extractions.