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12 January 2050

Den Bosch,
The Netherlands.







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 place…

“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 schedules.




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 exception.

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?”

“Yes.”

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.





Roos van der Bie

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