Amazingly ryan and I woke up this morning without a single distraction throughout the night. Not one car had driven by or one person had walked through our level on the parking garage to set off the lights. It was around 6:30 so we wanted to get a move on before our luck changed and we got caught in our little nook. I wanted to spend some time near the river before getting coffee so I left ryan to start the day.
Ghent was even more beautiful in the morning, while blue skies with streaks of pink and orange brought in hopeful energy on the day. There was chill in the air, but it felt alive and exciting. Ryan and I spent a good while in Ghent drinking coffee and walking through the streets again until we decided to take the tram back out of the city and begin our way to The Netherlands.
Within five minutes we had our first ride of the day taking us all the way to the outskirts of Antwerp where we needed to hitch again towards Eindhoven. Our ride to Antwerp was incredible. A young guy who was working for a wine company was driving us and asked if we wanted to try some of his beer that he and a friend had been brewing. An obvious yes so we made a quick stop in Antwerp where he ran into his home to grab us a drink before dropping us off at the highway. He walked out with two huge bottles of beer and sent us on our way.
In just another few hitches we were in the Netherlands and still waiting to hear back from some people on couch surfing we had requested to stay with to figure out our next direction after Eindhoven. We bought the upgraded version of couch surfing now that we are in countries we really don’t have a lot of communication skills in and want to have a little more comfort going into potentially stressful situations. We got dropped off at a McDonalds and found out that we had been given a home in Zwolle about 30 kilometers north of where we had originally thought to go today. So we got our things together in the sanctuary of the Golden Arches and kept on going.
The Netherlands seem to be a bit harder to hitch through, but thankfully we were able to get a few short hitches bringing us to the highway that led straight to Zwolle, but we still had a long way to go. Everyone who gave us a ride today was incredible. One woman drove out of her way to drop us at gas station off the highway where we could find a safe place to hitch rather than the sketchy on ramps we have been used to. Another guy drove us 20 minutes past his exit to do the same thing and held an incredible space for deep conversation on becoming the most true versions of ourselves and how to continue walking that path of clarity and awareness. His advice was to take ayahuasca in the end, which sounded like an incredible experience for him, but honestly terrifies me a bit with some stories of I’ve heard of how this can go wrong or distract you from what you should be focusing on in your journey. However, it was an amazing conversation and incredibly insightful for me.
We ended up getting stranded for an hour at a gas station off the highway, but amazingly were picked up by the sweetest man alive who was going all the way to Zwolle. He even dropped us off at the front door of our hosts home. We said our goodbyes and many thanks before knocking on he door and being welcomed into a home with a bed for the first time in many days now.
We didn’t feel tired from the long day yet and went on a tour of the town with our host and his boyfriend. They gave us an incredible tour of the town and showed us the highlights that Zwolle prides itself on before we headed back home to drink the beers we were given earlier in the day. We sat for a while watching videos of our host’s travels and showering before we felt the exhaustion of the day and decided to head to our bed.
Today was the longest day we have travelled and amazingly are ending sleeping in a warm bed with clean butts. I still have a bit of an issue with my breathing and a small cough that is lingering, but I definitely feel better than I did yesterday. My mind feels clear and our journey seems to be finding a rhythm as we head further and further east. Tomorrow we are shooting to be in Hamburg, Germany, but again are traveling under the direction of the wind and will go where we are led.