by Niall Doherty

1.

We’re standing around chatting under a tarp, alongside a truck that’s been around Africa, when Savannah’s voice asks if we’d like to hold the snake. Sure enough, when we turn, there she is wielding a copper-colored creature that must be five feet long. And the answer is yes.

2.

Keeping an eye on them across the bar. They’re probably exchanging numbers. I should have made it clear earlier that she’s here with me. Thinking of going over there now to make amends but she seems to be enjoying herself. I leave town in three days so no right to be possessive. She’ll come home with me tonight; whatever happens after I’m gone is none of my business.

3.

You learn something new in each relationship. What have I learned in this one? Perhaps the biggest thing is that I was always holding back before. But with this girl I’m more myself than ever. I’ve said things in past relationships that drew head shakes and eye rolls, but those same things crack her up or turn her on. Two peas.

4.

Sun going down, walking hand in hand around my neck of the hood – bridges, kisses, glows from windows – saying goodbye. I’ll be leaving this town and this girl tomorrow. I’ve left towns and girls before, but this feels different. Less goodbye, more see you later.

5.

We’ve spent the last four nights together, making the most of the time we have left. Deadlines’ll do that. Now she’s at the station seeing me off, like a sweetheart. On the bus and talking on the phone through the glass, like two people in love. I don’t know, maybe we are. But is that enough?

Hanging with the legendary Tom McCann in Berlin.

Hanging with the legendary Tom McCann in Berlin.

6.

Wandering around Berlin today, looking at bland buildings, trying to figure out the metro and a sim card and where to buy groceries and all that tedious stuff… I’m well aware that leaving Amsterdam may have been a bad move. I’m also well aware that it may have been a great move. You make choices, and then you make the most of them.

7.

One of the best things I do for productivity: stay away from email/Facebook/text until the evening. That’s how I got 50+ lessons for 3M1K written in January, and that’s how I stayed focused and got lots of important shit today. So why don’t I use this blackout strategy more often? Because important work is scary and difficult. Checking email/Facebook/text is easy and familiar.

8.

I’m at a dimly-lit cafe with mismatched furniture, drinking tea with an Australian dude I first and last met in Colombia two years back. I thought he already knew my biggest secret, but he doesn’t, so I tell the story. It was formative, that experience. For a very long time it felt like a curse. Now I’m grateful to have gone through it all.

9.

It’s warm and after midnight and I’m walking towards Hackescher Markt with my jacket in one hand and a double-chocolate donut in the other. She’s in my ears from 400 miles away, asking if I miss her. And I say not yet, because that’s the truth; it’s only been four days. We don’t talk for very long after that.

10.

After a year in Amsterdam I had lots of demands on my time and energy. Once you get to know people in a particular place, it’s hard to make time for them all, tough to say no to frequent requests to hang or help out. These first few days in Berlin seem very free by comparison. Another reason why I’ve been getting a shit-ton of work done.

Lunch in Berlin.

Lunch in Berlin.

11.

Hanging with a legend of a lady in Neukölln. This is the third country we’ve met in. She’s been here for two years now, showing me around. Easily one of my favorite things about this town so far is the abundance of good, cheap restaurants. You can get a solid, healthy meal in a thousand different eateries for €5 or less.

12.

Writing this from the common area in my shared Airbnb. There’s an Israeli programmer working across the table from me and two Russians cooking up a storm in the kitchen. In an hour or so I’m heading out to meet an Australian friend. We’re going to grab Turkish food and then throw a frisbee in the park. Starting to feel like a real-deal digital nomad again.

13.

Got invited to an informal digital nomad meetup this eve. Fascinating hearing the different ways money gets made. One guy sells niche tees by the truckload. Another builds software for a company that finds rightful heirs to unclaimed fortunes. The more you hear these stories, the more you realize how much opportunity is floating around out there.

14.

We haven’t been in touch much this week. I definitely broke something with those words on Saturday. Called her today while walking home through the park, an uphill conversation. She’s wary of me now. I was careful not to make any promises, but only in words. It’s the unspoken that’s been broken.

15.

I’ve been learning a bit of German, spending a half hour doing flashcards and duolingo in the mornings. But the hardest thing with a foreign language is forcing yourself to speak it, not getting flustered and retreating to English or silence. Got some practice in at the little lunch place down the street today, ordering mostly in German. Sehr gut ja.

Morning workout in Park am Gleisdreieck.

Morning workout in Park am Gleisdreieck.

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

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