Brisbane

Some time apart

I won’t lie. Four months together in a van — 24/7 literally — aren’t easy. In fact, it got to a point being unbearable (for me), which is why I decided to take some time off for myself. Traveling together exposes you to moments of extremes, both good and bad. Just as it brings out both in people. It’s an everyday learning process that requires openness, willingness to discuss and the disposition to make compromises. A lot of things that you have when on the road are new and exciting, valuable and unique. At the same time traveling together isn’t easy as it pulls you out of your comfort zone and takes you back to some very basic life organization (Where do we sleep? What do we eat? Where can we shower? What will we do with this day today? Where will we go tomorrow? What job will we do next? And so on.) It strips you from having your own space and time for only yourself, usually for a long period of time.

But not enough. Aside from these everyday quarrels and difficulties there’s the hard stuff, the wiring of each person, the habits and characteristics that (and everybody who has ever had a long and healthy relationship knows that) make you go crazy sometimes. I kind of like the picture of us being two gearwheels that are correlated and bring both our bright sides to the surface, as well as our darker ones. You can decide to ignore them, deny them, or naively hope they’re going to solve themselves through time. Or you decide to look at them, suffer, cry, be angry, pause and welcome them because you understand their potential.

Not that I am always capable of doing that, but I guess this is the theory, no? The place where we want to get to. Somehow. Somewhen. And hell yeah, it’s painful.

Thing is, after one and a half weeks of being apart — after a pretty nasty parting — we are finally back together again. After going through depths and heights, through outrageous and destructive feelings and thoughts as well as noble-minded and conscious ones we re-connected in Cairns, having understood how we had missed each other. Missing, a feeling I had missed.

But now I don’t want to bore you any longer with these high thoughts. Let’s get down to the facts. What did actually happen during that time? On December 28, I spent my first night alone in a hostel in Brisbane. A tiny 4-bed chamber with air-conditioning and 3 empty beds. Perfect to cool down. The entire hostel was packed with backpackers of 18 years, eating terribly. How would I be able to find a person here to celebrate New Year’s with me?

The third night I was lucky to get to know a Swedish girl named Mickis, who volunteered to join me in my plans to celebrate the last night of the year in The Foundry. Exquisite 80s and 90s hits in a dark, spacious location with a long bar and free neon bracelets to put around your wrists, heads, legs and necks. Around 3 o’clock we made our way back “home”, walking in not-so-straight lines with linked arms for improved stability…

January 1st, I changed homes and arrived in New Farm, a central part of Brisbane, where I was awaited by my new host family. David and Gavin had known each other for 15 years, before, after half of it, they decided to have kids. And life gave them twins!

Anneliese, myself and Marleina

We spent our days playing board games and cards, hopped in the pool whenever it got too hot (playing “Escape the evil nanny!”, “Red Rover” or “Fishy Fishy”), dyed our hair (Marleina pink, Anneliese blue and I myself orange), ate plenty foods and enjoyed movies or played Karaoke in the evenings.

It was a pleasure staying with you and be part of your family, even if only for such a short period of time! I am very much looking forward to seeing you again soon!

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