Travel Log // May 1, 2019
There is a rush that happens when I land in a new place. The week prior to departure I am overcome with nerves. For one month excursions, I may be leaving employment or in this case my house and my job, with all of my things in storage, and no definite plans except to write.
Three nights before takeoff, I am unable to sleep, my stomach is in knots. I am imagining the worst scenarios - scenarios I won’t dare to mention here. My dreams are a mix of nerves and palpable imagery of my worst fears, AND my deepest desires for the trip ahead.
This IS immersive travel. This is approaching the unknown and the unfamiliar. To write about it now, my words seem to fail to me. The intensity of emotion that rushes through my body cannot be captured in two dimensional white space, or on a flat screen, without the buoyancy of sound and feeling. The feeling is familiar. It is the same push, the same impetus to create.
Only now, as I’m preparing to land, does my mind go from foggy mess to inspired words, rolling out of me like a torrent. I am quickly recognizing pen and paper will not be able to keep up with inspiration, as I jot down as quickly as my thumbs can nimbly flow, simultaneously interpreting racing thoughts into coherent text on a mobile screen. Thank Goddess for the Notes section!
I cannot hold back, and watching expectant eyes hold me accountable to reveal the hidden, to discover the new, to express the play by play, and hash out all the details of what has become commonplace for me - travel, and for which because of my constitution, temperament and life experiences, I am more than well-equipped to do, and yet also thoroughly exhausted from the doing of it
Welcome to Copenhagen! It is ritual of mine when in Copenhagen to grab a Medister (the fattest, juiciest and more unhealthy of all the options) in a hot dog bun, covered with crispy onion chips, sweet sliced pickles, spicy mustard sauce, and a slightly sweet, fruity ketchup. Now I never eat sausages - ever! But when in Europe pork, dairy and bread become my temporary middle name. Steff’s Place in my go to spot, however I’ve come across a few organic options popping up here and there. Total price is 36 DKK for just the dog, a little over 60 DKK to add soda or sparkling water, or a good 85 DKK to tack on a Carlsberg beer instead. Although I’m still slightly full from my in flight meal (always get a meal with your ticket), the ritual of scarfing down a juicy, fleshy, messy dog tells my mind and my body that my journey has just begun.
I’m lost. I’m tired and lost. I want to relax, put my head on a pillow and sleep for a million years. But first I have to figure out where I’m staying. I thought it best to get a simple AirBnB nearby the airport. It cost about $100 for three nights, and ensured I had a dedicated space to myself for the next three days. A bed - check. A shower - check. Free breakfast - bonus. When selecting an AirBnB, pay attention to the distance from your airport or your final destination. How easy is it to get to from/to there? Filter out your search selecting Superhost, WiFi and when scrolling through options, look for breakfast included. When you’re on the move, every bit of food provided is less to have to spend eating out.
Getting lost in a foreign country is a great opportunity to practice your intuition. You know that Google Maps #travelhack, well it only works if you expand out all the directions. Capture the details of the bus, and the number of stops along the way, but don’t do as I did and forget to expand the walking directions after you get off.
I ask the bus driver for directions, and he awkwardly does his best to direct me. I’m beginning to understand that the location of my house for the next three days, is not as straight of a shot as I thought it would be. In these instances, it’s best not to panic...so I step off the bus and begin to walk.
About the second turn into the bus driver’s directions, I have a funny feeling I’m lost. I look around with wide eyes, useless disconnected phone in hand, and rolly bag making a fuss on the pebbled road behind me. Yellow and green rural fields seem to extend past the horizon. I try waving down a few cars, and rightfully so - they don’t stop. Haha, I even begin to walk up to one that has to stop at the intersection. I attempt to flag down a guy coming out of a building, and he pretends not to see me. Breathe. Not every will help you, but someone will.
I begin to walk down a path through the flat fields. I see a mother and daughter on top of their horses, and knowing about how spooked out horses can get, I approach tentatively with caution and ask for help. Turns out, I’m literally walking in the opposite direction. I smile and thank them as they gallop away, and I back track until I’m back on the main road and easily find my way - passing a Netto and noting that I’ll be getting my herring and strawberries there tomorrow.
Why herring and strawberries? Besides sausages, Denmark is known for their strawberries (although I’m not completely sure if they’re in season) and herring is often marinated in different sauces and placed atop rye bread for a light, yet filling snack. It’s a great way to stay nourished, full and take in a bit of the local customs.
Getting lost, and asking for help in a foreign country where you (still) don’t speak the language is a trust walk. You are not trusting in other people - or even yourself. You’re trusting that somehow, someway you will end up at your destination. The thing is not to get caught up in the details, your emotions or your head.
Not everyone stops to give you directions, to help - not everyone smiles. It’s not personal. Other people do not exist for you. Trust yourself and your worthiness. Trust that you are supposed to be here. Trust that you are supported in your walk through the unknown.
It’s not about the destination, it’s how we get there.