Today marks the day we are exactly three weeks on our way again. It feels much longer. The first few days I felt a bit rusty, but now I am totally used to everything again – this lifestyle, with all its peculiar habits and happenings. In The Netherlands we stayed in Chewie for about half of the time, so it’s not like we had to get used to sleeping in a van or cooking in the most tiny kitchen or anything. It just that our lives were so different there. Much more laid out. Each day had a purpose and everything was always planned. Since we were in our home country, we could. We know how it all works there.
Now, we’re in Croatia and everything is new. To some, that could be scary, but I am liking it. This is why I’m in it. To not know what will happen instead of forcing myself to keep to an iron schedule, because somehow it always turns out like that. Even back in Amsterdam, having learnt all these precious insights on myself the past year, but it meant nothing: before I knew it, I took on too much work and got totally stressed out. (In my defence, we had a large amount of money to pay for the repair of Chewie, so it wasn’t like I had another choice, but I also took some joy out of making part of this rushed and busy society again – or was it mere recognition?)
But now I am totally ‘here’ again. Used to this crazy life once again. And in these three weeks I’ve already experience so many of the crazy but familiar things that make this life want to be my life. I’ve seen a shooting star (two even), we’ve got brutally sent away by a grumpy security guy from a shopping mall’s parking lot where we wanted to spend the night after having been to the cinema because I needed some happy time (we saw Wonder and luckily it lifted our spirits that high that we could do nothing but laugh about it and clear away our stuff so that we could drive, because we had already unpacked, and look for another spot right before midnight), I’ve already did laundry on a machine which language I don’t understand, I’ve already been super scared about the roof being pulled off because of a mega storm that went on whole night, we’ve already shared beers with kind, like-minded van travellers that made me feel understood and I’ve already seen at least six sunsets of which the emerging colours were so breathtaking that there was no way my camera could capture them.
But there’s also something that’s different. As opposed to last year I worry less. It’s not that I try not to, I just don’t. I just let things be. Stopped comparing. Not questing myself and my actions as much as I did last year. Not trying to seek this ‘happiness’ feeling as I used to, or at least think about whether I’m going in the right direction.
Playing our part
The other day I started reading a really interesting book by the late British philosopher Alan Watts: ‘Out of Your Mind’, although I’m reading the brand new Dutch translation ‘Weg van het denken’ (AnkhHermes). In order to come to your senses, Watts often said, you sometimes need to go out of your mind. One thing he proposes in the book is to treat life not as serious and rather like a play, like a game. In a way that we don’t take it as serious as we sometimes tend to do. Ourselves included.
Alan Watts mentions the word ‘person’, meaning our being – that what we are when everything is stripped away. It’s derived from the Latin word ‘persona’ that then referred to a theatrical mask. Back in the day those had horn shaped mouths so that the actors’ words could easily reach the audience: per means ‘through’ and sona means ‘sound’. In the end that’s what we are, Watts says. When you take away everything around you and look solely at what you are, you’re nothing but a role you’re playing. An ego outdoing itself. In the end we’re nothing but masks on a stage, so we might as well have some fun playing our part.