Zenuwen voor mijn reis

Zenuwen voor mijn reis

In februari 2013 stap ik in de vliegtuig voor een soloreis door Cuba van drie weken. Ik ben zenuwachtiger dan normaal. Sinds de fatale reis in 2010 met de Trans Siberië Expres (met de trein van Moskou naar Beijing) heb ik geen lange reizen meer gemaakt alleen.

De vlucht

Ik kijk een film en spreek wat met mijn buurvrouw in de vliegtuig. Ik word nog zenuwachtiger van het gesprek, want zij gaat in een resort blijven en durft niet alleen te reizen op Cuba. Juist wat ik ga doen! Vroeger had ik erook geen moeite mee, maar die ene reis die mis ging speelt nog door mijn hoofd. Ik slaap wat en denk ik heb alle guesthouses en bussen al gekocht dus route staat vast dus zo moeilijk kan het niet zijn.

Cuba

We landen midden in de nacht, mijn transfer naar Havana staat klaar. Na een ritje van een uur kom ik aan bij een super mooi hotel in een van de oude historische gebouw. Ik check in en maak me klaar om te gaan slapen. Ik verzet de tijd naar de lokale tijd en val in slaap.

Havana

De volgende dag ben ik vroeg wakker en ga uitgebreid ontbijten. Ik raak in gesprek met een Nederlands stel die net drie weken met de auto door Cuba heeft gereisd. Ik krijg nog wat tips en kijk op mijn klok. Het is tijd om mijn lokale agent te ontmoeten om mijn vouchers voor hotels en transfers te ontvangen.

Er gaat iets mis

Ik neem plaats beneden in de salon. Iets later komt een vrouw op me af, de agent. Ze zegt dat ik te laat ben. Ik heb bij het verzetten van de klok me vergist in de tijd en nu moet ze naar een andere afspraak eerst. Ojee er gaat al iets mis! Rustig adem in en uit!

Komt toch goed

Ik kan met haar mee naar de twee andere hotels waar ze heen moet en terwijl ze met hun spreekt kan ik de omgeving verkennen en na afloop zal ze me mijn vouchers geven en wat kleine dingen uitleggen. Prima deal, ik ga mee en verken een stuk van Havana waar ik waarschijnlijk anders niet zou zijn geweest.
Eind van de middag word ik met mijn vouchers en wat tips weer bij mijn hotel afgezet door de agent. De volgende dag verken ik Havana wat meer. En daarna gaat het avontuur pas echt beginnen, want dan ga ik met de bus door Cuba heen tot het andere eind van het eiland.

De rest van de reis

De transfers gaan goed en de guesthouses zijn gaaf en ik raak overal in gesprek met locals. Mijn vertrouwen groeit weer. Als de bus van Santiago naar Baracoa onderweg een klapband krijgt moeten we allemaal uitstappen. Ik raak in gesprek met 2 Italiaanse zussen die net aan hun reis zijn begonnen. Ik spreek met hen af om een cocktail te gaan drinken na het eten. Het worden 3 diners en een vriendschap met een van de zussen.

Cuba

Baracoa

We hebben niet alleen gesprekken over Cuba, maar ook over het leven. De revue passeert vooral dat we maar weinig vakantiedagen hebben om alles te zien wat we willen zien van de wereld. Dit is het plek dat voor mij en een van de zussen een verandering in gang zet, want aan het eind van 2013 hebben we beide ons baan opgezegd en zijn op reis gegaan. Zij haar baan als academicus aan de faculteit rechten en ik focus me meer op mijn bedrijf dat ik in 2012 had opgezet. We hebben samen een correspondentie blog voor 6 maanden, delen hiervan zijn nog te lezen op mijn website en haar website. Zij vanuit Zuid-Amerika en ik vanuit Oceanië. Dit alles wisten we toen nog niet in Baracoa bij de diners en cocktails.

Nieuw avontuur met vertrouwen

Terug in de vliegtuig kon ik tevreden terug kijken op een mooie reis. Mijn fatale reis in 2010 waar ik in Mongolië in een lokaal ziekenhuis belandde en psychose werd geconstateerd wekt geen angst meer op voor het reizen. Er is zelfs weer sprake van mijn reisverslaving die weer opsteekt. Op 18 november 2013 vertrok ik naar Australië als digitale nomade, nieuwe avonturen te gemoed.

Deze blog schreef ik voor de opdracht beschrijf een heftige of bijzondere moment in je reizen voor de Instagram cursus Reisverhalen schrijven. Het is een reeks van drie opdrachten. De 2 andere opdrachten kan je hier terug lezen: Opdracht 1 wie inspireren je met reisverhalen en opdracht 2 beschrijf je omgeving.

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About us

Apparently different but in many ways similar, that’s how we are.

Claudia

An Italian – Claudia, 38 years old, human rights lawyer.

Guiselaine

A Dutch – Guiselaine, 36 years old, data analyst

Who have met when away from home, during an adventurous and very eventful holiday in Cuba, and became instant friends and an inspiration to one another. Little by little, we got to know each other and we found that we have many things in common. We both are “social introverts,” being at the same time very sociable, outgoing and talkative, but needing alone time to recharge our batteries. We both crave to see the world outside our homes, and are at odds with the majority society requirements. And we both decided that it is time to live our dream rather than keep dreaming.

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How can one inspire others?

A Guest blog by Claudia Tavani

I guess the short answer to my question is “just being your cool self.” And that is how Guiselaine inspired me.

Guiselaine and I met on a bus from Santiago to Baracoa, in Cuba, on 8 February 2013, and have been friends since. Guiselaine was sitting at the bus station by herself, and by her look she could easily pass for a Latin American. We did not talk then. However, that was a crazy bus ride, very eventful, like almost any would be in Cuba I suppose, and it led to a great friendship. I remember I was snoozing quietly on that packed Viazul bus, sitting next to my sister, when I realised we hit something. I remember saying: “I really hope we did not hit a dog or a pig” – in Cuba it is a common custom to let dogs and pigs and chickens roam free. Well, the good news was we did not hit anything. As the bus stopped to check what had happened, we all had to get off the bus and soon discovered a tire had literally exploded. Luck had it that the tire exploded right there and not 20 km further, where La Farola – a curvy up and down hill 64 km road that is the only connection between Santiago and Baracoa – would start. As you can imagine, coming from Europe this was a rather interesting experience, so we took the chance to take pictures of the driver changing the tire, of the surroundings, and to have a quick chat with other passengers. That’s when we really acknowledged each other.

At the next pit-stop, we had a chance to exchange a few words. Guiselaine had such a reassuring smile and relaxed attitude that my sister and I instantly liked her. I guess that was the moment when we decided that we would hang out together in Baracoa – there wasn’t much questioning about it. We just said “let’s have drinks and eat together tonight” and it was fixed. A couple of hours later, we were having mojitos and shrimps in coconut sauce and exchanging our anedoctes about our experience in Cuba so far. That turned into 3 dinner dates – almost without questioning whether we’d hang out together.

While chatting, we all agreed we were greedy to see the world, and kept wondering how we could turn this into a long-term project that would allow us to travel full time and thus live our dream, rather than just enjoy a 3-weeks vacation each year.

Once back from Cuba, I realised I was itchy to travel more. Then Guiselaine told me that she would quit her job to start living her dream, and started gathering information on how to travel full time, on a low income, and make some cash on the way. All the while, knowing this was also my dream, she passed all the info to me. I guess to me, the hard part was how to convince myself (and then my family) that travelling is not an insane project, but a must-do. It was more a question of accepting that nomad side of me, and Guiselaine inspired me to just be who I am, disregarding what society expects from me, as long as I respect the law and others.

So, here I am: 3 weeks to go till my dream becomes true; lots of thoughts, a bit scared yet excited, sometimes worried but nevertheless convinced I have to do this. I will never stop thanking Guiselaine for helping that side of me come out, with her discrete manner and politeness. I know that along the way we will keep exchanging ideas and advice – well, I guess she is better at researching than I am, so I will rely on her a lot.

What did it take her to inspire me? Just… being who she is! My hope is that through all of our travelling we get to meet again one day, but surely we will never lose touch, as I will be following her adventures on her blog.

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