Roughly one month ago, I set out on this open-ended, one-year journey. I began with a lot of concerns and fears about how I would manage this all on my own. My inner control mechanism was trying to picture how it would go, but most often came up with worst-case-scenario situations. Now, 4 weeks into this journey, it has become clear that my inner control mechanism generally cannot be trusted. So far, there has been no worst-case-scenario. Everything has gone very smoothly and often better than expected. Travelling on my own seems to be doable.

When I left te Netherlands, I also left behind my lover and partner of the last 5 years, Anne. It is difficult to express the importance that this one woman has had on my life (by which I do not mean to belittle any of my other former relationships). It was not easy to let go of her hand and step out into the unknown on my own. But, with her help and support, I have done so and it has turned out to be one of my best choices (if indeed we have any choices to make in life…).

In order to celebrate the success of my first 4 weeks on the road, Anne and I decided to meet up for a weekend in Ghent, Belgium. For her it was a 1.5 hour ride by car. For me a half-hour by motorcycle. The time spent together was special, almost magical. When you are physically removed from an intense relationship, are forced to relate from a distance, and then have the opportunity to once again meet, there is a renewed realization as to what you value in the other person. And in reality, since we are constantly changing with time, the person in front of you is truly a different person, so there is merit in the feeling of ‘falling in love all over again’. And so we did. Just for a weekend. And it was beautiful.

Adding to the beauty was the city of Ghent, Belgium and the most amazing weather we had during those days. Ghent is truly a site to see if you enjoy old buildings and history. I found it to be even more impressive than Amsterdam. Almost everywhere you looked, you saw magnificent old buildings. As we were staying just outside the city, we came into the city center by Tram. The public transport is well set up, but Ghent is also a joy to walk through. Being a student-city and a tourist destination, the streets are full of people on warm sunny days.

If you are going to be in Belgium, especially in the summer, a visit to Ghent should be on your to-do-list.