by Niall Doherty

1.

A year since I arrived in Amsterdam. Things haven’t worked out how I envisioned – haven’t reached my financial goals and I’ll be leaving soon – but I can’t be mad. It’s been a good year. Lived in a nice apartment in my favorite city, befriended some great people, and spent most of my days exactly how I wanted.

2.

At a lively little tapas place, sitting outside under a heater with some drizzle on my cheek. Probably ordered too much food. She hasn’t eaten much. But we’re getting along well, flowing easy between the playful banter and serious chat. I haven’t tried to kiss her yet, but I will. Doesn’t much matter how she responds, but how I respond to her response.

3.

Nearing midnight as I cycle home, around the back of Central and up through Nieuwmarkt. I see tough guys in short sleeves and busty chicks in high heels. There’s the smell of marijuana and the glow of neon lights. Ray Charles is in my ears singing an old sweet song, and it somehow fits perfectly, floating on through like a dream on wheels.

4.

On a quiet bridge in Amsterdam, coming up on two in the morning. I’m stepping along the railing, showing off. She wants to try, so I take her hands and help her balance, hoping to fuck she doesn’t slip. That would really ruin the evening. But she does fine, and soon we’re back on firm footing. And though I’ve asked a dozen times already, I’m going to ask again.

5.

Leaving Amsterdam one month from today, that old familiar sense of urgency upon me. People to meet, things to do, experiences to have. I might have missed that feeling. You get a little complacent staying put in one place all the time, figuring you’ll do this or that eventually, there’s always more time. Until there isn’t.

Accidental color coordination with the legendary Jessica Lipowski

Accidental color coordination with the legendary Jessica Lipowski

6.

Okay so all that rushing around at the weekend caught up with me today. Sluggish at the laptop, took two naps and fell off the 24-hour fast wagon. Ah well. No point beating myself up about it. Last month was great business-wise, and this month is off to a solid start. I deserve a break, a reward for all the hard work.

7.

Email from a 3M1K member asking for a refund, says he can’t devote the time to it right now. Fair enough. A half hour later I’m having tea with a guy who joined the course a few months back. He was barely making any money online at the start of the year. Now he tells me that he cleared €2k last month with his writing biz. Fair enough.

8.

The dating scene has been a lot more fun of late. And I wonder how much of that is due to me leaving town soon. Now I have a deadline, an excuse not to get too deep. Does that let me off the hook, have me taking more chances? I’m-leaving-town is an easier goodbye than I-just-don’t-want-to-see-you-anymore. Boundary issues surfacing again.

9.

Got out this morning and shot some b-roll. I’d like to do more of that, step up my YouTube game. I don’t want to get all fancy and have a million cuts in there, but it’s nice to show more of my surroundings, provide some context for my talking head. The main thing holding me back is the time it takes to edit it all.

10.

The thing about working for yourself is that you can be more flexible, but you need to be more disciplined. Well, generally speaking. Occasionally I let myself have a day like today, where I slept in until all hours – late one last night wink wink – and then caught up on work in the evening. No boss to call, no explaining to do. Good times.

NOLA sunset

NOLA sunset

11.

Evening meetup, a few dozen of us at this bar. The hottest girl here arrived on my arm, and we’ll leave together later. I can relax and chat with the guys and not worry about chasing tail. Still that gnawing though, that grass-is-greener syndrome. I don’t think it ever goes away, doubt I’ll ever be 100% satisfied. But I know it doesn’t have to control me.

12.

Collapsed on a couch in a scented apartment off Wibautstraat, all warm and sluggish, feeling like a koala looks. I can see the silhouette of a fern through the curtain. There’s a glass etched with blue butterflies sitting on the coffee table. A fat pigeon cooing on the balcony. Sounds of someone beautiful cooking breakfast for a lucky man.

13.

I have this friend on Facebook. He might be you, reading this now. He posts lots of well-meaning things, and then gets into debates in the comments. Respectful debates, except nobody debating is trying to understand where the other side is coming from. Everyone is too concerned with being understood, with being right. And nobody changes their mind.

14.

Flying is a pain in the ass. They herd you through security like cattle and there’s barely any leg room and they make you take your shoes off because of one nutjob fifteen years ago. But flying is also amazing. Today I had breakfast in Amsterdam and dinner in New Orleans, crossing 5,000 miles of sky in between. No matter how you slice it, that’s fucking magic.

15.

Sitting sipping a cold coffee, waiting out a rainstorm, thinking it’s a shame more people don’t chase their dreams, that most don’t even try. I’m at a bicycle-centric cafe in the CBD, a beautiful space. My friend Wes opened this place a few weeks back, a passion project, a dream come true. He worked hard, accepted the sacrifices, made it happen.

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

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