A letter to myself: “Where is home?” (recap 2017)
The letter to myself that now isn’t the letter to myself anymore, because also you’re reading it. But what should I call it instead?
From the Dachstein mountains, Austria
Subject: Where is home?
Waddup future Renzo,
It is 2pm, 31st of December 2017 and I’m reflecting on a year that I can hardly capture in words. I haven’t written you in a while and have no idea where you are, nor how you are. I’ll start with an update about 2017.
I’m not sure how to summarise this year. It’s been a rollercoaster that took me up to high heights, water splashing drops, really funny photos of the ride shared with a lot of friends, some lows, different views, speeds and a lot of (mostly good) emotions I hadn’t experienced before stepping into this exciting ride. It was a ride that twisted, squeezed and reshaped parts of me that, as soon as it stopped, made me drop my jaw, look behind and think “what the fuck just happened?”. It was pretty fun, and wild, ay!
2 days before 2017 started I flew to Australia, by myself. Into Melbourne. I didn’t spend much time in the big city as I was running low on my funds. So, I started working on a banana farm up north in the country. I’d rather be fucked by a banana then working at a banana farm again. And if you read the blog, you’d know that I left after 1 week. It was a great choice
Rabinder came with me, back to Melbourne. I didn’t know that such a friendship would arise after buying a Penny board together with the remaining bucks. Followed by my first apartment in a trendy city I’ll always love. I started working in a café and my knowledge about coffee went from 0 to 100. The people here, talking about my colleagues, were unreal and made my time super enjoyable. I woke up every day feeling excited about going to work. No matter how weird it may sound but, I’ve felt so complete, happy and satisfied these months. The people, my work, the weather, the ocean, the suburb St Kilda, everything craved a little mark inside of my heart. I also started skating and had a lot of fun in the park and the street. The skydive was along the Great Ocean Road and the surf there was great. About 10 of my weekends were spent there, in the back of a car or a tent in the forest or next to the beach. It’s an amazing place! I wrote Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road a love letter and travelled on.
I left Melbourne 5 months later but not without driving a car off the road in the Grampians followed by high fines, shared with brother Rabinder. After this I more than was ready to leave Straya. Catcha, mate!
I arrived in Sri Lanka in June. I hired Thor (our beautiful and loyal tuk tuk) with Bo and we drove in a straight 12 hours haul to the east coast of the island. Damn! It was a drive like no other, but absolutely stunning and fun. 10 days with Bo and Thor, amazing adventures, laughter and great chats. Seriously, dude, you should have been there with us…
Bo flew back to Holland and I got fined by driving on the highway with Thor. I guess they didn’t appreciate Thor as much. as we did. I sang the highway Patrol a song and they let me go.
Then, at home in Holland, things fell apart while I was still in Sri Lanka and that was a challenging time. I have felt lost, cried, and asked myself what I’m doing here. I turned off my phone and disconnected for 10 days. I met an amazing Chilean girl and travelled with her for 10 days. She’d made me so happy and we had so much fun. It was really easy and relaxed to travel together. We surfed, explored, laughed a lot, climbed waterfalls, slept in hammocks and did heaps of crazy and weird stuff.
After 10 days it was time to let people know that I was still alive. I turned on my phone and connected to airport Wi-Fi. I wanted to immediately turn it off. Actually, I’m now thinking that I should do that more often next year. Note to self: (in A letter that’s already to myself..): “Great thinking!” Anyway, I flew to the Maldives and OMG. It is true! Uninhibited islands, white sand and turquoise water. I informed myself about scuba diving and kind of impulsively started the PADI advance course. I saw my first school of 40 dolphins, swam with sharks, colourful fish and amazing coral. I met two Dutch girls and we had some mellow nights and a great final dive there together.
After the Maldives I had a really, really intense trip. 5 ferries, 2 flights, 1 bus, 2 taxis and a lot of walking all in 48 hours. I arrived on one of the small Gili islands in Indonesia and I surprised Larissa (my sister) and her friends. It was so worth the long trip. The next days were just great and kinda needed for both. We partied hard, then did yoga to balance some of that out (haha), explored Lombok on a scooter and got so lost, jumped into the ocean at night after a couple bevies straight into a bed of sea urchins (which was great) and heaps more of the good stuff. Oh, before I forget… I had the best dive of my life here. My buddy changed plan, disappeared I couldn’t find him, nearly got out of breath in a strong current and had to cancel the dive. Fucking stoked..
2 days later I had an amazing time in the hospital of Lombok. I got so much medicine that I couldn’t even remember calling Bo. Of course, I had no clue what they gave me. Though, 2 days after I climbed the 2nd biggest volcano of Indonesia. I nearly died. But I was happy with my choices. I made great Spanish amigos here and pushed myself hard to see some stunning scenery. I was proud and satisfied! Done that, and also made Rabinder proud.
I was ready, really excited about going back to Australia at this point. I flew into Perth and felt like I came back to my home country. I had a great laugh with the immigration (which on its own is pretty rare). Ryan took care of me in Perth. We had 5 days and spent those days really well. Ryan dropped me off at the airport and I headed back to Melbourne. And yes, Now I felt home!
I came home (in Melbourne) and the bright smiles on my friends’ makes me miss them now. But I guess those moments make us realise how important our friends are. How boring would life be without them? At work I poured a ton of coffees, but mostly drank alcohol and got in tears of laughter. It was an unforgettable good home coming month. I packed my bags again, caught a bus and headed north.
I arrived in Byron Bay. What to say? People walking bare foot, every car carries a surfboard on its roof, the ocean filled with humpback whales and dolphins that delivers waves all around the bay, surrounded by mountains, companied with white, squeaky sand and the best alternative music scene in the world on every corned of the street. Hard not to fall in love. I started making coffees again in a café in town and spend 3 months surrounded by amazing people. There’s a family that I’ve crossed paths with 100 times in past lives and I met them again in these months. And someone with the same name as you (and me) made the colours in my life as bright as the sun. Anyway, the whales have a beautiful voice, sleeping at the beach isn’t as uncomfortable, skydiving with a lot of wind could kill you, organic wines are good for a night out, nose piercings hurt your nose, illuminated plankton gets you excited (just as the company) and surfing makes you laugh.
I left again. Should I say that I left home? OK, I left my new home again. But how I left, that’s what matters. A Land Cruiser with 3 beautiful souls inside. A car was filled with good vibes and loads of love. We drove down to Melbourne with the memory of a beautiful road trip. Meanwhile in Melbourne, I felt like I had spend enough time in this city and booked a flight to New Zealand with a piece of Italy (Denise). We relocated a car from the South Island to the North Island. This road trip was hilarious enough add 10 extra years to my life and muesli flying out of Denise’s nose. New Zealand is so, so sexy!
I came back to Byron Bay. It was flight number 28 (PS not proud of this) since I left and it was the first time that someone picked me up – family. And it was a far better feeling than I’ve expressed. It was only for 5 days. But 5 amazing days in the context of friends, sunshine, laughter, amazing surf, nature, psychedelic thoughts and hours overloaded with love.
I made a 2-day stop in Singapore. This was 2 days of living in between 2 worlds. Literally: to break down the long-haul flight. But, also figuratively: I was very excited about my return to where I’m form, but sad about leaving a place I felt so at home. Then I came home and… I’ve experienced coming home, but not feeling like I did. I’ve felt so excited and keen to come back, but it felt like all that excitement turned against me as soon as I was back. I needed some extra time that I didn’t have.
I unpacked my bags. Then I immediately packed again and went to Denmark the day after. I came back after the weekend and unpacked my bags. I packed bags again and left 1 day later to head to Austria. Now, I’m here in Austria to work for a winter season. I finally arrived in Austria after 10 hours driving. Now it was just 4 walls and a monkey brain. The fight had begun. Until a few days later when I had time to strap on my snowboard and let the fresh air in. I started seeing the beauty of the mountains, the white world and the new. I changed my surfboard for a snowboard, the summer for the winter, the ocean for the mountains and I realised that it could have been worse. It was actually far from bad. I picked up a guitar, started eating green things and got my body moving. It’s good here and I’m happy, ish.
Oh, now my ideas. Somewhere in the beginning of this year I considered starting a travel blog, but I found out it wasn’t for me (note: the word ‘back’):
My last trip wasn’t the most (read: the least) logical route. I drove to Denmark, from there I flew with Pablo from Miami, to Mexico City, Cancún, back to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Los Angeles, Cuba, and back in Los Angeles we did a road trip from Las Vegas, to Grand Canyon, back to Los Angeles, to San Francisco. Then we flew to Hawai’i to islands Kauai and Oahu. Now, I said “Adios, te amo wey!” to Pablo. I took flight to Melbourne, Australia by myself, to Cairns and back to Melbourne. From here I flew again 4 months later: to Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Indonesia and back to Australia. I flew from Perth back to Melbourne and then I drove to Sydney and Byron Bay. 3 months later I drove down back to Melbourne again, flew to New Zealand, back to Byron Bay, to Singapore, London and then dad picked me up with an amazing look on his face. Time to go to the Netherlands.
The going back thing is about 50% of the whole trip. So no travel tip shit blog for me, and you. I’m just posting stories and silly letters every once in a while. But as long as I enjoy it, it’s fine. I’ll probably keep travelling for a few years and then, maybe, put one of the 200 ideas that I have into action. Who knows.
Well, you might know now. So, how are you? Maybe you want to write me back about your last years. This is gonna be an interesting mail traffic.
The most important lesson for me, and you, is that freedom and acceptance are some keys happiness. Like a turtle. I came to realise while doing a free dive course that a turtle always has its home on his back, how cool it that? He’s set wherever he is. Oh, and small steps are okay! Don’t push yourself so hard.
I hope that you’re taking care of yourself as much as I’m doing now whenever you receive and read this letter. I also hope that you smile often, laugh a lot, spend time with your friends and most importantly that you and the people you care about are healthy.
Cheers, with ‘joie de vivre’, yourself.