by Niall Doherty


I love New Orleans, but having lived in Amsterdam for the past year, I can’t help but compare the two towns, and NOLA doesn’t come out of that match-up looking good. The public transport sucks, lots of people living on the streets, obesity is rampant, and it’s hard to forget that any passing fool might be packing heat.


But you know what, fuck all that. No place is perfect. Hanging with old friends today, seeing these two about to be married, I’m reminded of what makes this city special. I feel a warmth and a welcome here like few other places. Me and this town, we broke up six years ago, knowing it could never work long-term, but we’re still very much in love.


Today I rode a streetcar, a fire truck, and a riverboat. Now it’s after midnight in the French Quarter. Silly me left my money and keys in the bridal suite, and the only way to retrieve them is to be the worst cock block of all-time. So I’ve got no money and no place to stay. Exciting times. Let’s see what happens…


Rolling down St. Charles one more time, past grand porches and sculpted gardens, beneath the limbs of old oaks and alongside joggers on the tracks. I see no trouble and I feel no pain. This evening I’ll be in the company of good people, eat my own body weight in jambalaya, and witness LeBron James do the impossible.


Long layover at Newark so I jump online for a bit to clear my inbox and catch up on some client work. A couple hours later I’m all caught up and have earned in excess of $100 from clients in Ireland and NZ. I knock back a couple of sleeping pills and head to the gate to claim a seat in the sky.

Wedding celebration in New Orleans.

Wedding celebration in New Orleans.


I’m wearing boxer briefs, a sailor hat, and fluffy puppy slippers while doing a ridiculous dance around the bedroom, Rod Stewart blasting. She thinks this is hilarious. I did miss her while I was out of town. We were texting regularly and sending pics back and forth. Together now, but only two more weeks until I leave town again, this time for good.


Recently, when I announced my plan to leave Amsterdam, someone commented that I’m unlikely to find a life partner if I keep moving around so much. That may be true, but who said I’m trying to find a life partner? I’d like to eventually, but I’m in no rush. Getting coupled up isn’t my priority right now. If anything, I’m trying to avoid it.


Pulling the trigger on the new business setup. After much research, I’ve decided to register in Wyoming of all places. No corporate tax as a one-person LLC, I can set it up remotely, and I won’t have to worry about VAT. The bank account is a little tricky but methinks I can swing it. Hoping to have it all sorted next week.


Eleven cards laid out, and apparently they say I’m worried about money, I’m too work focused, possess a scarcity mindset, and I don’t believe in love or marriage. Before we began she told me to have a question in mind. Now she asks what it is and I tell her: “Is this complete bullshit?” I was leaning towards yes before. Nothing’s changed.


We’re not boyfriend/girlfriend yet – and we won’t ever be since I’m leaving town soon – but we’ve reached that phase where it would feel disrespectful to go out and hook up with someone else. So I’m at this illegal bonfire without her, and there are opportunities about, but none I’m going to pursue. I’ll try to be a good wingman instead.

Sneaky bonfire somewhere near Amsterdam.

Sneaky bonfire somewhere near Amsterdam.


Hitting the road again, nine days from now, but my backpacking days are over. Unlike my younger self, I’d rather not be limited to two pairs of shoes and a single jacket. So I bought a suitcase and did a practice pack this afternoon. Most of my stuff fits in there, but I’ll have to leave a few things behind. Like my blender. Sad face.


A message in my inbox this morning, waiting to make me smile: “I barely know you; however, I want you to know you motivate people like me to be more proactive at taking that initial step to get out of that comfort zone. And sometimes that is all we need to begin a new adventure. Life is too short.”


Down at Waterlooplein flea market, trying to offload some clothes I can’t take with me next week. I do the rounds asking each vendor if they buy second-hand, but no takers. I was hoping to get a few bob for a couple of sweaters and a coat I barely wore. In the end I settle for a guy willing to accept donations.


One sure-fire way to lose my respect: lie repeatedly. A roommate once asked me to lie to his girlfriend so she wouldn’t find out he was cheating. Shitty on multiple levels. We’ve remained friends, but I’ll never trust him. Not fully. If someone’s willing to lie repeatedly to the person closest to them, it’s hard to believe anything they say.


Early morning, didn’t get much rest. “I can leave if you want me to, so you can sleep.” I say nothing, get up and go to the bathroom. I sit there for a minute or two, thinking. Then I go back to bed and say yeah, you should go now. She says a single word, gathers her things and lets herself out. And I lay there for a while, unable to sleep.

Night falls on the Amstel.

Night falls on the Amstel.

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

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