Oud Scheveningen | Bark Europa

Scheveningen is a beautiful old port town with unobstructed views of the North Sea. It reminds me of any other sea town you might find in New England. There is a relaxing feeling here. The homes are compact but look comfortable and offer welcoming gestures such as a bench next to their front doors or a seating table that is within inches from the brick-lined streets.

The restaurants are fish markets that have tables. Their entrances share the road with all of the delivery trucks, transporting the goods/fresh fish to their next destination. I ordered Herring on Toast last night from a local market. This meal served whole and raw, as the fish was most likely earlier in the day. It is a traditional food in The Netherlands, and while it might seem odd to visitors, it is delicious and tastes as fresh as it looks. Eating something as pure as raw herring without any seasoning was quite enjoyable. I found out later that this is a common offering and has been a traditional meal for over 600 years. 

After dinner, I saw the Bark Europa pulling into the harbor.  The masts, taller than most of the surrounding buildings make the ship's presence magnificent. 

You can compare watching the ship pass all of the modern boats to watching George Washington heading to Fraunces Tavern in 2018. As he walks past the financial professionals dressed in their fashionable clothes, all of the people stop to stare and wonder where someone clothed from 200 plus years ago is going.  

Everyone around the port stops in their tracks and takes out their phone to photograph the boat. They stop going about their day to watch an old way of the world. It's truly a majestic view. I get closer to the ship trying to study all of the intricacies, and it is overwhelming. 

I'm looking forward to calling the Europa home soon. 

Conversation

Conversing with someone you are meeting for the first time is selfless if you choose to engage in conversation truly.

Conversation happens when individuals decide to engage the person they are speaking with in hopes of understanding them fully. 

If you are self-initiating the discussion of your own experiences for a long period, then you are speaking to someone who is listening politely, or they are asking you engaging questions so that they might understand you and assist in your ability to converse. This is an enjoyable feeling when someone gives you the ability to share your own experiences and asks questions that help you find out more about yourself. 

Here is a quick example. 

You meet someone who recently spent a week at a monastery meditating or trying to find some significant meaning. Instead of asking them "How was it" or immediately say "I could never do that," ask a specific question that signals to them that you are listening and you want to understand their experience. Try saying "What color best represents the monastery?" or "What did breakfast smell like?". These are the type of approaches that can make a 15-30 minute conversation with a stranger memorable vs. any other small talk interaction. 

The people I've been fortunate to meet have so much to share, and for me, it's the reward in hearing about their experiences that make engaging them a natural mindset vs. looking for a chance to talk about what I'm doing. The odds of having meaningful connections are usually in ones favor when meeting people traveling/living in culturally rich cities because chances are their curiosity to travel or live where they are, can generate many life experiences that are just waiting to be tapped into. 

If you're lucky enough to meet someone that has the same mindset, then you'll have the same experience you provided. This is the difference between building a friendship and loving a person compared to just knowing someone. 

Great conversation is to listen carefully and engage purposefully. 

On Change

I believe the chance to travel without the security of a job is one of the great privileges one can have. There are plenty of resources out there that can teach you how to save and budget for the proper amount of financial support one might need. This post is not about how, but rather why I'm choosing to leave my home and all the safeties a job can offer for a chance to learn something different. 

The world is changing faster than we can comprehend and while our daily tools or luxuries might seem required to function, they are are all still very new to the world.

For example, the first GPS satellite was released in 1978 making the technology only 40 years old. Before GPS, the world faced disasters at sea due to the challenge of determining the longitude of a ship's position. This problem dates back to Eratosthenes, a Greek scholar who was the first recorded person to invent Geography and propose the idea of having a grid system to navigate the world in/around 255 BC. 

The world reached a breaking point in 1714 with there being too many deaths at sea. The Longitude Act was created by an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom in July of 1714. Parliament was asking the world to come together and solve for Longitude for a financial reward and to benefit humanity. 

John Harrison then invented a marine chronometer, which simply put, is a compact watch that can keep time accurately at sea.

The theory was if you know what time it is in Greenwich, no matter where you are in the world, you can then calculate your Longitude. Now you know why Greenwich Mean Time is used so frequently as reference points with the world keeping time and navigation. 

As Wikipedia puts it: 
"Time equals longitude. Since the Earth rotates at a steady rate of 360° per day, or 15° per hour (in mean solar time), there is a direct relationship between time and longitude. If the navigator knew the time at a fixed reference point when some event occurred at the ship's location, the difference between the reference time and the apparent local time would give the ship's position relative to the fixed location. Finding apparent local time is relatively easy. The problem, ultimately, was how to determine the time at a distant reference point while on a ship." 

John Harrison dedicated his life to solving this problem and received partial recognition by Parliment throughout his contributions and when he was 80 years old in 1773 earned as much credit as he could for solving Longitude at sea. No one was ever awarded full credit for solving the problem. 

It took the world close to 2,000 years to get to the point where navigation is a thoughtless task that is handled by mobile devices connected to computers/satellites. I find this accomplishment genuinely incredible and remind myself every time I use Google Maps how far the world has developed itself. 

Part of the reason I'm choosing to leave my job/home is for a chance to become connected to this history. By learning how to navigate through a sextant/marine chronometer when crossing the Atlantic or becoming more intuned with the weather patterns while living in Patagonia, Argentina. All of these skills I believe allow one to hopefully become more observant to the world and understand all it has to offer without the reliance on modern technology. 

I'm driven by gaining this understanding.  Hopefully, when I'm older one day and reading of the brave navigators to round Cape Horn or venture towards California, I will have felt what they did just for a moment in my time. To become connected to the long history of the world in my short experiences.