They say travel broadens the mind. Immersing yourself in different cultures, experiencing new things and sampling local cuisine will open your eyes to a new way of thinking, at least that’s the theory.
A few weeks ago Mrs J and I went across to Amsterdam for a long weekend. Now I know straight away just hearing the word Amsterdam conjures up images of the Red Light District, stag parties and cannabis, but Amsterdam is also full of fascinating history and culture. It is one of the most diverse cities in Europe if not the world, full of vibrant modern life right next door to history which played a major part on the world stage in trade and culture.
The hotel we stayed in – “INK” was previously home to a Dutch Newspaper, they have played on this theme throughout the hotel with phrases like “where stories are yet to be written” on the stationary and artwork in the rooms. If you are looking for a central, funky place to stay, I can highly recommend it.
The whole city seems to “Think Different”, but not in the way Apple claims, they genuinely do things differently. It seems like when the Dutch find an issue they just get on with it and fix the problem. They have demonstrated this time and time again, they take control of their culture, their history and their community and make things better for the future.
Whether it be the environment, social issues, drugs or the sex trade, Amsterdam always seems to make the bolder, harder choices.
The amazing thing when you look around is that it works. Amsterdam is thriving and it sends an inspiring message to the rest of the world.
If I haven’t any talent for writing books or newspaper articles, well, then I can always write for myself… When I write, I can shake off all my cares. – Anne Frank
This is the fourth time I have visited Amsterdam, and the second time I have been round the Anne Frank house. It really is quite an amazing place, it’s impossible to understand what those people went through and extraordinary that a young girl wrote such eloquent words which still to this day speak so truly about the one thing we know the least about… people.
I think I understand why Anne wrote what she did, perhaps it was the only way she could make sense of what was happening around her or maybe this was the only way she could cope with reality, and feel like she had some control over her life.
Plenty of people come away from Amsterdam with their minds altered in one way or another. It’s a city that challenges your ideas and perceptions. I took away a strong sense that I needed to take control of my life and stop just going through the motions. Modern society is relentless, we are constantly connected to the global community, there is no down-time any more. You see people on holiday, on the beach, checking their phones for Facebook or work emails. I had become caught up in the fast flowing torrent that is our lives, dominated by work.
Write Your Own Story
It can be all too easy to be pushed down the wrong path in life. Just like following someone
else’s footsteps on in the sand, you leave behind no impression of who you are.
Which is why I have decided to stand up and take control of my life. I have decided to write my own story, not follow someone else’s.
You too can write your own story.