Our weeks in the woods

Days turn into weeks and we are still in the same spot. In the armpit of our home country – of all places – we broke the record for sticking around. A unique experience in our nine month journey so far. On our travels we would usually stay somewhere for one or two nights, five tops. Time was on our side all along and only now – ironically – we are able to find rest and peace for days in a row in one place. What also helps, people don’t seem to be bothered by our long term stay and we haven’t been send away… yet.

Not being allowed to move around anymore is the biggest shift in our lives at the moment. Living in a van provides a massive amount of freedom, but right now our radius – and thus our freedom – is very limited. From the moment we drove into these woods two weeks ago, we had to surrender to the circumstances and let go of this freedom and all of our plans and dreams that go with that.

We wake up by the sound of birds, walk the dog, pick flowers to bring ‘home’ and watch the forest getting greener by the minute. When we go into the woods, we sing songs or do a little dance together. We make up countless nicknames for the dog and laugh at our own silly jokes. Although we sometimes feel like we are slowly turning mad, we try to enjoy this weird time capsule and make the best of it.

“Society, you’re a crazy breed
I hope you’re not lonely without me
Society, crazy indeed
I hope you’re not lonely without me”

Into the Wild

And here I was already worrying during our travels if I would ever fit into our ‘normal’ rat-race-society again. All of a sudden that society no longer exists. And I am not so sure whether things will go back to ‘normal’ any time soon. But for now, being back in The Netherlands, not having to make choices and the absence of a better alternative, helps us to relax.

In a strange way our life on the road has been a good preparation for these times in isolation. For months we didn’t engage in social events, didn’t go shopping or went out for a meal or drinks. We are used to enjoy the simple and – mostly – free things in life, like walks in nature, preparing a good meal, reading a book or just taking a rest. We experienced though – like a lot of people do now – that it doesn’t always come easy. It’s not that simple to just let go of your routine and relax. Especially in these worrisome times.

On one of my early morning walks I met a 86-year-old woman who temporarily lives alone in her holiday home in the area. She told me she was having a difficult time. “This is worse than the war”, she said. The old lady was 6 years old when the Second World War broke out and back then she was still able to go to school, go to church and visit her grandparents. “The only thing we can do now, is stay away from each other. This is so unreal.”

It is unreal. It is weird, worrisome an awkward. We can’t be with the people we need right now and we can’t be there for others who might need us at this moment. We have to sit and wait. Take it day by day. As long as we don’t think too much ahead, we’re doing pretty good. What our future will look like, is still one big question mark. But it was like that from the moment we left our jobs and house behind anyway. I guess, the only difference now, is that we have returned to a different world. We have to adjust to that and we are not the only ones.

“That’s life, that’s what all the people say
You’re riding high in April
Shot down in May
But I know I’m gonna change that tune
When I’m back on top, back on top in June”

Frank Sinatra