2 full days to get back home after I woke up. If things were going like yesterday, I should be able to make it. I met a nice person in Antwerp on my way starting the camino and we kept in touch during my trip. We already loosely agreed that I was going to stay at her place on the way back but since everything was up in the air, it was kind of hard to coordinate stuff.
Just as Im fixing up my camino shell that came off, I put my hitchhiking sign saying Le Pays-Bas (in red/white/blue letters) on the ground. I wasnt paying attention until I heard this friendly voice behind me ask if I needed a ride. He spoke Dutch to me as well and he said he was Belgian on his way back from Spain and that he was going to Brussels. He also had 2 dogs with him but he kept those in the back of his car since they were the uncontrollable, too-big-to-be-having-to-cause-shit-while-driving-kind of dog.
We talked and things went splendidly. I read somewhere on the Hitchwiki that as a hitchhiker, the only thing that you can give back to someone is a good conversation, looks like calling 0.5% of Dutch society in my profession for the last 7 years DOES come in handy.
He was carrying building materials in a trailer in the back of his car so we slogged on through France at a good 70-80 km per hour. Took a couple of stops to freshen the dogs and ourselves up and we had some great conversations about life in general. Did you know Belgium actually killed and punished Dutch speaking people in the past just for speaking Dutch? At least thats what he told me and no I did not fact check this at all since it doesnt seem far fetched. Give me 10 days, an army and I Willem put a stop to that..
The whole trip took us about 9 hours but we finally reached Brussels at around 2100h. I had already texted my friend from Antwerp and she offered to pick me up from Brussels and then we could sleep at her place. We arrived and I tried to show her some of my photos from the trip and I actually fell asleep while still trying to swipe through the pictures, you gotta love the commitment there.
Thank God she was the easy going type and didnt take offense to it. I slept like a baby on the ground next to her bed, pious lil’ bitch that I am.
The next day we woke up and she had work in the hospital, we agreed to drink some coffee before that. I was looking at Blablacars, a once great application that lets you hitchhike for a small fee. This is good because you dont feel so guilty, you take away the uncertainty (and a little bit of the retrospective fun) and you arrive somewhere in a certain place for sure. I also found that the people were very nice usually that offered up their car and had interesting backstories.
I found a ride going to Emmen, which was about half an hour / 45 minutes from my grandmothers and that would actually mean that I arrived there on her birthday! When the whole family would have already gathered. The road was fine, nothing too exciting happened, got a recipe to make my own pesto and as far as Blablacars go, it was a standard one. I already texted my uncle and he agreed to come pick me up in the evening from Emmen. Great timing, great everything. My uncle and me had a nice reunion and we talked a bit about my journey and life. My plan was to live with my grandmother for a while and to not only acclimatize myself back to society but also getting to know her better and keeping her company. The endgoal of my return home was also to try to loosen myself out of society in the hopes of being on the road fulltime. The way I was doing it now was just quite impractical and I needed a way to sustain myself all the while getting rid of some of the things that I had. They only weighed me down in the end..
We arrived at my grandmother’s and as soon as I entered the door she came in with her walking rack, I embraced her and she had a good hard long look at me and said;
You are not Jordy, you have changed, where is my old Jordy? :’ (
(Insert violin outtro music)
She was right..
Dont worry grandma..