“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins
I wake up this morning anxious. It’s the moment of truth. Will I be able to get back into the United States? Hopefully I’ll make my flight. With all these anxieties in place, I decide to wake up at 9am to make my 12pm flight from Amsterdam to Newark, New Jersey.
I quickly pack up my bag as I’d rather be too early than rushing for time. I have a brief wave of sadness as this adventure will soon come to an end; however, I stop reminiscing about my trip as it’s not quite over yet! I say my goodbyes to Tim who is barely awake and head out into the streets. It looks like rain. Perfect.
I wander around the streets for awhile trying to get my barring. Amsterdam is confusing as it has a bunch of small streets that are not shown on the map I have. I finally decide to lose some man points and ask a local bar where the bus station tram 4 is. Little did I know, it was right across the street.
I catch the tram 4 bus to Station Rai in which I take the train to the airport. Upon arrival, I find I still have several hours left. I decide to grab some food for the long 16 trip back.
The smell of fresh baked chocolate pastries fills my nostrils and I’m drawn to the grocery store nearby. I found it strange that the Amsterdam airport is more like a huge shopping center in which it has groceries, clothing stores, electronics and so forth.
Since I don’t want to be late and miss my flight, I decide to go through security and end up getting the full body scan. It’s not as bad as you’d think; however, it’s a little strange standing there with your hands up in the air like you just don’t care.
Fast forwarding this story because it was mainly spent sleeping; however, I get on the airplanes just fine and spend it watching inflight movies/sleeping/eating. Boring stuff, I know. This brings me to my arrival in the United States.
I’m standing in the U.S. Customs line with my temporary passport and bag of dirty clothes when the guy in front of me gets pulled aside and is brought into a mysterious room. I get called up to the counter and show my documentation. Of course I get asked what happened, so I explain how all my stuff was stolen. The man behind the counter seemed sympathetic.
“Oh man that’s shitty,” he said.
Cool. Hopefully he’ll understand.
The man tells me to go follow this other guy (who at this point now has my passport in hand). Guess who else is following this guy? The other man that got pulled aside before me. Great. Looks like i’ll be seeing the ‘potential terrorist’ room of the airport.
I walk into a room that looks like decor was the last on the list of todos. The walls were barely painted, the tv was of the 1980’s era and everyone in the room looked extremely unhappy. I end up waiting watching the ancient television for a good 20 minutes and am finally called up to the desk.
“Did you lose your passport?” the man at the desk said.
“No. Stolen,” I replied.
“Ok, well this is your one pass. You’re going to need a new passport,” he said.
Well, no sh*t sherlock. I thank him for his time and he sends me on my way. Whew, I made the cut and I’ll be able to go home after this WILD adventure.
After traveling 9034 kilometers or 5614 miles or 4878 nautical miles, I get home safe and sound after about 16 hours of travel.
After all is said and done, I must say that this whole trip was certainly, a sticky situation (inside joke…video to come).