Upon arrival to Amsterdam Centraal, one immediately feels energized.
Nothing beats the feeling of going under the ground at the station, floor by
floor, then taking a train and setting out to see something new.
Wednesday afternoons, we meet with my husband
at the station. He is usually a little bit earlier than myself. Me, slightly
troubled by the guilt of being late, I give him kiss to apologize and we start
walking. He walks with big steps, a little in haste as usual, and I accompany
him in silence. We quickly pass entrance floor and -1, where there are local
trains. As we pass -2, which is for flight-connected trains, I feel slightly
envious of the people going overseas. At -3, there are platforms for trains
carrying no passengers, only the captured CO2 from the trains. I tend to slow
down, gazing towards the escalators going up and down, machines moving around
boxes of CO2 rapidly and in perfect synchronization. I feel something I don’t
know how to name, but it feels peaceful. There, everything feels in its right
“Come on!” my husband usually says, slightly worried,
“We don’t have time”
I move on to catch up with him. We arrive to
-4, where there are international trains within the continent. Our train is there;
we get in and start moving in no time.
In 2046, we bought a 5 year weekend Spanish
package from RyanExperience. My husband used to work for an energy company and
when he was made redundant he wanted to take a break and live on the global
basic income he was offered. He had lots of time and did not really know what
he wanted to do with it. I am working for 3 days a week like many of my
colleagues so it seemed like a good deal, fitting in with both of our
We have 160 days in a year that we can use to
travel and stay in one of the countless locations across the whole of Spain.
RyanExperience trains take on average 45 minutes to get to Spain. It takes a
little more with some companies and a little bit less with some others and
there is a direct train every half an hour from the station, so it is
convenient. Next year, they will stop all the remaining flights within Europe
and then there will be even more trains to Spain.
He loves it there. He can walk in the
streets, in the forests, in the beaches and camps tirelessly and I, too, enjoy
so much keeping up with him, to the best of my ability. First 2 years that was
what we did, walking step by step every little corner of the country. After a
while we only started going to Alicante. The RyanExperience houses there are
not concentrated in a new development like they usually are, but rather
dispersed at the center amongst a number of buildings. That is what we like
about it, and the city is just a great place to be regularly. I think after 2
years, we had missed that regularity a bit. That is common amongst many people
who subscribe to such experience packages. Almost everyone I knew with an
experience package ends up going to the same place after a while. We are no
We usually go back to the Netherlands on
Saturday evenings to spend the Sunday back home. He starts getting prepared
right after the dinner, collecting his things, organizing neatly in his bag. It
is a very calming moment for me to watch him. He knows what he has to do and
does it appropriately and rigorously, and in a way so lovingly. Watching him
packing stimulates a familiar feeling in me: everything in its right place.
At that very moment, while I’m busy with such
thoughts, he will ask:
“Are you ready?”
I will pull myself together and say:
“I have just decided, that, maybe… I’m not ready.
I don’t want to be back now.”
“What?” He will ask puzzled.
“You want to stay for one more day? Don’t you
see that I have been getting prepared?”
“I want to spend some time here, alone.”
“Oh, you mean you want me to go alone?”
Sometimes, when my mind is busy with other thoughts, words come
out of my mouth without me consciously thinking about them and yet, when giving
it a second thought I realize how accurately they convey what I wanted to say and
how effortlessly they do so.
Soon after he hears my answers, he will leave
furiously and bewildered. When he is gone, it will be the first time I take the
time and openly look for what it is that I am missing. When did we end up
choosing this lifestyle? Where is this place that I am looking for where
everything is in its right place? I can not recall when we actually decided to
choose this but I remember the advertisement of the package and the way it seem
to respond so closely to the personal longings I had at that time. What were
those longings about and what has happened to them now?
I know that I have the answers inside of me and
I need to look for them, but I also know that the hardest thing in life is to
be honest with one’s self.