Like many young people, I graduated from college with no clue of what to do next. Sure, I had a degree, but what did that really mean anyway? I still had a craving to head off on my own and see the world. I wanted to explore and put the books away for a while. I came up with the best plan ever: I would move to Amsterdam and live on a house boat with an artist friend I had met during a semester of study there.
My parents were not too thrilled with the idea, but I think they also knew that I couldn't do much else with my degree in Creative Writing. So they eventually let me buy a ticket to Amsterdam and head off to live on a house boat with someone they had never met. Looking back on it, it feels a bit crazy and really surprising that they let me go. I guess they must have realized my need for adventure and even perhaps the good that would come from a year of living on a house boat.
I absolutely loved each day I spent on the house boat with Ana, my Dutch artist friend. We would sleep in till whenever we felt like it and then come onto the deck of our house boat to drink coffee and make small talk about the people passing by on the riverwalk or about the things we cared about most in life. We spent endless hours coming up with our philsophies about life and love and everything in between. Being the writer that I was, I was determined to record the year on the house boat in four spiral bound journals I had crammed into my suitcase upon living my home.
I spent my afternoons wandering the streets of Amsterdam and stopping for a coffee or a snack every so often. I would sit down and just watch people sometimes and try to write brilliant poetry about their clothes or their hairstyles or their secrets. The only brilliant writing that came out of my year on the house boat was my journals. I have kept those journals close these past thirty years and I have slowly begun to share them with my children as they become adults and seek to conquer the mysteries of the world in their own ways.
I wouldn't trade my year with Ana on the house boat if it meant my life. I loved that year. I learned more about myself, more about the world, and I decided that writing really was the thing I loved most. My parents were happy that I found myself that year and that I moved a little closer to home to continue schooling.