I went to Europe Summer 2017. I didn't have anything planned further than visiting my dear friend Lacey, in Amsterdam. I'd see what happens from there. I stayed in Europe for about 3 months. I saw old friends and made new ones. These are some of the photos of that time.
I bought a cheap ticket to Amsterdam so I had a 7 hour layover in Oslo. I wasn't thinking I'd leave the airport but when I boarded my flight in New York, I recognized the passenger sitting next to me. We had met a bar back in April. He had a 7 hour layover too, so when we got to Oslo, we left the airport and went and drank and walked around. It was a beautiful day.
I felt I could go to Europe because Lacey lives in Amsterdam. I knew she would take good care of me. When I arrived, she took me to a bicycle shop and suggested I get a bike. I hadn't ridden one that much since my accident. I got one, and rode it everywhere, everyday, without a helmet (not even the babies wear helmets in that city). It was very healing for me. I even got into a few wrecks with other bicyclists. We were fine. I turned 23 a few days into the trip. Lacey was in between jobs so we enjoyed long leisure days, biking around, cheese and drinking wine, sitting in parks and laughing, staying up till dawn, more wine. Waking up each morning in Lacey's sweet room with the fresh scent of Lilacs from the bouquets she bought.
One day in the park I met Pablo, he is from Argentina and came to Amsterdam to finish his novel that is set there. I had all the time in the world so Pablo and I walked around, he told me about his experience as a method actor, a serious car accident he was in once, and how he made a ukulele album (on spotify) with them songs he wrote about his favorite cities in Europe.
Abel is a dutch writer I met the evening of my birthday. Pictured (below) in this conservatory he took me to one day. A dragonfly landed on his knee while we kissed in the afternoon sun.
Alexandra is from Seattle and moved to Amsterdam to study. We never hung out in Seattle but we got to know each other while I was in town. There's something very comforting about someone who knows where you're from.
Chasing the summer
With Lacey's guidance, I went to visit my friend Elise in Lisbon, soak up the warm weather in the south. Elise moved there a few months before and was a phase of exploration when I got there which synced up perfectly with my headspace. Lisbon is so fun. Elise and I shared a bed the whole time I was there. What a special thing to wake up next to a good friend every morning.
Elise lived with Debora. In the morning I would wake up and sit in a sun filled kitchen and drink espresso and talk about everything with her. She took me out to Cascais beach, about a 30 train ride from the city. It was me first time swimming in the Atlantic Ocean on that side of the world.
I took a bus from Lisbon at 11pm and 7 hours later I woke up in Madrid. My friend, Diego who I met at sxsw invited me to stay with him. He lived right by the royal palace. He took me around to all these places he'd been since he was a child. It was a rich experience.
I saw this beautiful girl dancing one night, and the next day she was out at the same party I was so I went up to her, Rebecca. She was so nice and said we could hang out in Paris if I was ever there.
Deva is one of the sweetest creatures. She's from the Canary islands. We went out for dinner on my last night and she guided me to the bus station when I left and invited me back to Madrid anytime
she comes back later in the story
The night before I left New York I met Sally. She was in town dropping her daughter off at Columbia University. I told her I was going to Europe the following day. She asked me if I was planning to check out London, and she said "well I now have my daughter's room vacant and you can stay there." I was deeply touched by the offer and little did I know how much love Sally would end up teaching and giving me.
I started my trip off to London with a 24 hour bus ride from Madrid. The bus was completely full. We would stop every 6 or 7 hours to get a coffee and use the bathroom. At nearly the end of the trip we took the tunnel to go under the channel (pictured below). I got out of the bus in the tunnel and walked around. It was such a weird sensation to be on a bus that long. A few days later I got tonsillitis, and Sally took me to the accident & emergency where they gave me antibiotics.
I didn't really have any friends my age in London at the time. I met Adric (pictured) and we explored together, went to museums and markets. I met Bookie (pictured) at a meeting for the Bur-rough of brixton I took photos at. She is my age and friendly and she took me out to this bar that has life jazz on Thursdays. Patrick (pictured) is a cheese monger. My friend in New York connected us. He and his friends throw this party in a pool hall in Peckham Rye they invited me to and we danced.
My friend Jerry (pictured) who I met in Lisbon, had me take photos of his design team. We started the photos in London and the team was scattered in different places, so I would go to them...
I took the Eurostar rail from London to Paris. My friend in Lisbon, Debora, had set me up with her good friend and filmmaker Frédéric (pictured). She thought we'd get along and I could stay with him. He wrote me that he'd be away most of the week but he'd leave his keys with a neighbor for me. He lived in Belleville in the same apartment for 30 years. It was a beautiful place and I feel so luck I got to stay there. I met up with my friend, Rebecca whom I'd met in Madrid. We laughed and talked. Frédéric invited his 2 daughters over for dinner one night so we could all meet each other. He cooked a delicious meal and I felt so warm to be invited to his home with his family.
I flew from Paris to Germany (no more buses for me). My friend from Sorrelle moved there from Los Angeles about a year before. My dear and old friend from Seattle, Moana lives there and I stayed with her. It was sweet to have so many familiar faces so close. My friend, Ben Golfarb was in town as well, so we went out for a drink.
I went back to Amsterdam for a few days in October. It was cool because so much feels like it changed. I stayed at Alexandra's house (pictured) where her wonderful roommate Julia put little vases of flowers around everywhere. It was a bit colder, but so wonderful to see Lacey and other friends again. <3
I got to go back to Lisbon for a few days too. I squeezed beautiful sunsets and Elises million-dollar smile in while I was there.
Noaki (pictured), my friend and roommate is a photographer. My last evening there, I was out on our porch looking at the beautiful pink clouds and taking photos of the sky. After a short time I heard something and I looked to my left and Noaki was in his room taking photos of the same thing. Both of us totally unwarare the other was there.
I went back to Madrid. I had a flight out to Tokyo from there so I knew this was it. My last place in Europe. Deva invited me to stay with her and it was magical. The photos of the sky I took from her bedroom or balcony. There were endless parades on her street while I was there. It was emotional knowing I was leaving this paradise of 3 months to go onto more unknown in Japan. I knew I would return someday but I didn't know when.