by Niall Doherty

1.

It’s been a long day. And beautiful. I awoke to a full moon and a quiet house in Ireland, and now, 24 hours later, I’m in Amsterdam, falling asleep to the flicker of candlelight and the sound of rain on the rooftop. Through every interaction today, I’ve felt this city opening its arms to welcome me, saying yeah, this is where you should be, come on in and stay a while.

2.

I wash the dishes before I go. Only fair, since she did the cooking, and I like to imagine how she’ll smile and think of me when she gets home. That done, I let myself out and wander east through the bicycled streets, across bridges and along canals, catching a few familiar sights and letting the fond memories linger. Maybe the rain will come again, but I don’t care.

3.

I knew that guy was lying to me. He maintained strong eye contact, and his story sounded reasonable, but I just knew. He stole that bike, and then he tried to sell it to me. I knew that, and I still bought it. And I have all kinds of justifications for buying it — if I didn’t someone else would have, etc. — but if I’m honest, I wish I’d had the presence of mind to just walk away.

4.

She wouldn’t give me a discount on the rent, but the important thing is I asked. I tried. It’s never the failure that gets you. It’s the not trying, the giving in to resistance. You’ve got to battle that shit anew every day, because it keeps resurfacing. So anyway, I paid the asking price and moved in today. I now live in Amsterdam. Indefinitely.

5.

How she looked this morning by the window, all aglow with the early sunshine and something else there too, something inexplicable. That was a moment that will last me forever, memory unforgettable. And I wish I could be satisfied with more of that, more of her, and nothing more. I wish that was all I wanted, but I don’t think it is.

Arriving in Amsterdam

Arriving in Amsterdam

6.

Amsterdam has a character all its own, a city chock full of uniqueness. Little independent cafes and second-hand furniture stores and quirky bicycles and miniature buildings made big. Every second view is a postcard, every second girl distinctly beautiful, every second dude your best friend in another life. I’m grateful to be here, every second.

7.

FB message: “Soooo I have a friend going to Amsterdam sometime this month and she is looking for people to hang out with. She’s super hot and really an all-around kind and fun girl. She is traveling with another female friend of hers and probably wants to have fun and get into some trouble. Want me to put you in touch?” Call me crazy, but I said no thanks.

8.

Today was a day I’d been looking forward to for months. I got a ton done without feeling rushed. This, my friends, is the luxury of routine. A week deep in Mokum and I’ve got a good one going. I read for more than an hour today, got a decent workout in, meditated, took a nap, spent solid time on personal projects, and put in four hours of client work.

9.

I have a sanctuary now, a place to retreat and recuperate, light some incense and listen to Nina Simone while cooking up a good meal. They say extroverts feel energized from being around people, while introverts feel drained. If that’s true, I definitely lean towards the latter, and so these quiet evenings alone in my apartment are something akin to bliss.

10.

I’ve been working on a product to sell via the blog for several months now. It will be a bundle of guides about how to live a travel lifestyle and work online. I was aiming for a June 30th launch but a marketing-savvy friend took a look at my launch plan today and highlighted plenty of room for improvement. So pushing the date back to July 14th. Lots to do before then.

Sarphatipark (aka my gym in Amsterdam)

Sarphatipark (aka my gym in Amsterdam)

11.

Sarphatipark before seven, sun just starting to sneak through the trees. I see the same family of ducks there at the pond every morning, two big and five little, glimpsed bright green wings on the wind yesterday, wonder if I’ll see them again today. I settle into a stretch routine on the grass, alongside words of strangers telling me what they want to do before they die.

12.

I’ve never paid for sex and I’ve never smoked weed (yet), but I like that those things are decriminalized here. The way I see it, drugs and prostitution happen in every city in the world, but mostly underground and down dark alleys where bad shit is more likely to happen. The Dutch seem to have a more mature approach to vice.

13.

Breathing in the memories of Leidseplein, watching characters come and go, trying to notice things nobody’s noticed before. I’ve been waiting fifteen minutes. Chances are this girl won’t show. And I’m okay with that. There’s no feeling of disappointment, no feeling of worthlessness, just acceptance of what is. I’ll go home, watch a movie, and call it a perfect day.

14.

Basketball. Still love it. Catching up on NBA clips on YouTube is a daily delight, makes me feel like a kid again. And I still love to play. Found a good scrimmage this afternoon in Oostpoort and went for ninety minutes full-court. I’m more aware out there than I used to be, can see gaps and cutters a younger me would have missed. Must try make this a weekly thing.

15.

I’ve noticed myself getting tight when I’m deep in a work session, shoulders tense, teeth sometimes clenched. Probably not good to sit for hours like that at a time. So today I set an app on my phone to buzz every five minutes as a reminder to breathe and release. Hopefully that will train me into a more relaxed posture while cranking away at the laptop.

Street performers in front of the famous I Amsterdam sign.

Street performers in front of the famous I Amsterdam sign.

In the comments below, let me know which of the above Momentos is your favorite. Which can you relate to?

« Previous Momentos | Comments