I was born in England, but the Netherlands is the only place that ever really felt like home. Yesterday I left the house I’d been living in for nearly two years, made my way to the airport at Brussels and then flew to Portugal. I’m travelling again.
While I was living in the Netherlands, I continued writing and registered my business with the KvK (Dutch version of the Chamber of Commerce). I needed a name for my business so I chose to call it Words to Web because putting words on the web is exactly what I do. I also severed any tax ties my business had with the UK and began paying Dutch Taxes. Then I registered with an employment agency and found regular work in a warehouse where I made lots of new friends. I was still earning an income from writing and had another income as well. I had more money coming in than I have ever had at any other point in my life and I was very happy. Bloody tired a lot of the time, but happy.
So what changed?
I couldn’t find suitable accommodation.
I don’t normally live in rented houses or apartments, I usually just rent a room and I had a nice room in a house owned by a very pleasant Dutch couple. They helped me a lot with my Dutch and gave pointers on Dutch culture and interesting places and sights to see. The thing is, when I first moved in, the house was up for sale and I knew my stay with them would have to end at some point. When I came back from my trip to Seville a couple of months ago they told me they’d finally found a buyer. I had plenty of warning and they even tried to help me find alternative accommodation, as did many of my friends at the warehouse because they didn’t want to see me go, but I was unable to find a suitable alternative.
One of the best sites for finding rooms to rent in the Netherlands is called Kamer Net and new rooms are added every day. The problem is, most of the rooms available are for students. If you are not a student, the people offering the room don’t want to know. That goes for estate agents too. Despite the slim pickings available, I found a few rooms I liked, but sometimes it turned out the people who had them wanted to rent to students and had forgotten to make this clear in the advertisement. Some people just didn’t bother to reply and those who did said the room was gone, even though it was still active on the Kamer Net website.
I decided I needed to look further afield and anticipated having to travel further to work. So I bought a scooter and a friend who’d been searching for a room for me gave me details of a room available in the town of Oss. The cost was €400 per month. That was all-in. However, the room stunk of tobacco smoke and the wallpaper had been turned yellow by the smoke of a former tenant. This was also an empty room. There was not a bed, a desk, or a chair. The room I was presently living in had everything I needed and I was only paying €260 per month. I could afford to pay more, but there was no way I was going to pay €400 for a room like that and then buy furniture to fill it. I am a minimalist. I got rid of my own house and everything I own to make my life simpler. Buying furniture would be a step backward and I’d already made one of those by buying the scooter.
Sometimes in life, you’ve just got to go with the flow and let the universe guide you to the places you’re meant to be, so I took the difficulty with finding a room to be an indication that the Universe was telling me it was time to move on—again. I love to travel anyway. To cut a long story short, I told the personnel manager at the warehouse I would be leaving, let the employment agency know as well, sold my scooter to a friend and arranged a room here in Portugal. I’m in the North of the country at the moment and will be here for a month. After that, I will move South and plan to go to Ukraine later in the year. I miss the Netherlands. I also miss my friends, but I’m used to moving from place to place and it’s exciting to be on the move again. The world is a big place. There’s a lot to see and do. I will return to the Netherlands in the future because my heart tells me it’s home, but I think I’ll have a lot of adventures before I do.