Updated: Jul 6, 2021
There are only two things I can't stand: people who are intolerant of other people's cultures, and the Dutch. Just kidding! I apologize for the cheesy Austin Powers references. I L-O-V-E the Netherlands, or Holland as some people like to call to the western section. I would venture to say that I like it more than home, based on one principle: transportation. Trains and bicycles are excellent here. Bike lanes are built in to the road infrastructure in every city, and the streets combining them. Trains are frequent, inexpensive, scenic, and easy. If Wilmington had these two transportation triumphs, then I would never leave.
I arrived yesterday after staging my escape from India. After the Battle of the Bureaucracy, as I like to call it, I finally left victorious. I received my legal documentation to leave the country of India. Relief is all I could feel when they finally stamped and handed me that paper. It meant that I wasn't going to have to "make a run for it." I was going to show up at the airport and hope that no one would even ask for the papers (which in the end, they didn't), but I was going to have a back up just in case. If you are unaware of what this means and need more clarification, or would like to see photos of what an awesome job I did, I'd be happy to share.
India is the only country that I am aware of that will KEEP YOU IN for filling out paper work wrong, late, or not at all. Most other countries KICK YOU OUT if you screw up. As with everything else I am experiencing there, its a bit backwards from what I'm used to.
I would move to Holland. Its on that list of places that I would live and be happy. There are hot air balloons, little cars, cows, bikes, sheep, wooden shoes, lots of green, and TONS of water canals. I don't speak very good Dutch, though. I'm learning a few key phrases for the next few days.
The paddling is going to be the paddle of a lifetime. It is definitely a destination paddle for me. Although I'm entered as "competition," I'm not really going to do much competing. Let's be serious. I paddled in the Utah race. Then, I didn't paddle for 19 days. I did 2 surf sessions, 1 lesson, and a 5ish mile river paddle. Now I haven't paddled for 10 days again. I have been walking a lot, going to the gym, and doing hot yoga. I'm really hoping that my body just falls back into paddling mode. Even then, this event is 220 km, 137 miles, for 5 days straight. I've never done that before, nor have I trained for an event of this capacity. Nevertheless, I am so excited. For me this is an excuse to get out on the water, because paddling in India is a nightmare to coordinate.
I suppose that in addition for this being an excuse to just get out and paddle somewhere
beautiful for a very long time, this is also an exercise in mental strength. It has not yet crossed my mind that I wouldn't be able to complete this task. That isn't even an option. Is it possible that I am not physically able, maybe, but I won't accept that mentally. Ergo, I will finish. What will be the challenge, I think, is how fast I can mentally push my body to finish.... Can you tell I'm just babbling on to convince myself that I can do this and that I'm not a nut for flying 4,257 miles to compete in something that I have no experience doing. Good, because that's what I'm babbling for.
This is going to be awesome, and beautiful. The weather has been gorgeous since I arrived, and the scenery is world-class. I can't wait.
And I'll have on my Nike panties... Just Do It.