After my fall from grace at the European Championships the last thing I wanted to think about was sailing. The weather in Denmark matched my mood and it did’t stop raining for two days straight. I drove away from my bungalow without any plans and no one to tell me where to go. I was cut free and drifting. Eventually I found myself staying in a fancy B&B in the Dutch countryside, about an hours drive from Amsterdam. I spent my time playing the tourist and explored a city I had flown through dozens of times but never actually explored. Having a bike of my own to ride on made the experience all the better although my carbon racing machine stood out in the sea of basket clad bicycle goers. After my sojourn in Holland I made the short drive up to Medemblik to begin the final leg of my journey.
For my second year running I had been hired to coach the 4.7 youth team but with a radically different team this time around. I only had two athletes that were the same as 2014 so I had to hit the ground running to make up lost time with the sailors and get to know everyone as quickly as possible. The team bonded really well and I’m sure everyone made lasting friendships over the two weeks we were together. The weather was mostly kind to us even if the wind was fickle. On the final night of the event I went to diner with all the parents of the sailors and we had a great time swapping stories about the event and how well it went. Everyone was heading home the next day and I must admit I felt jealous of those who could hop on a plane and leave immediately without any attachments to Europe. Things are not so simple for me with a van and the responsibilities it comes with. The final days of a trip this long can really drag. In all I’ve been overseas for 157 days and 191 days away from Western Australia. Time stands still…
Journeys like this are always full of surprises, even when they’re nearly over. On my way back to Hanover, just three minutes away from Karl’s house I get pulled over by the police. They’ve noticed my trailer isn’t registered in Germany and have a hard time trying to figure out what to do about it. Eventually I get a 10 Euro spot fine but I’m left with a feeling that this could have gone much worse. Then I get the worst piece of news for the entire trip. My van isn’t going to pass the pits and the expenses to repair it are too great. It’s time I say good bye to the green machine. After three years of faithful service and 14 different countries explored I have to part ways with the old girl.
Sad that the van is gone but also liberated from its responsibility I catch the train to Amsterdam and finally make it to Perth for the first time in seven months. After two I’m on another plane to my final destination, my home town of Esperance, and the first time I’ve been here since Christmas. It’s great to come home and feel like I can finally relax. I sleep deeply every night. This reminds me of a passage I read in a book on my travels that resonated with me and I feel this is the right time to share it.
“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it”