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6 months in, a new Cole

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

Wow, it's amazing what you can accomplish when you put your mind to something. Focus on what you want and it's pretty remarkable what transpires.

It's not the first time I've had this kind of focus and dedication in my life, but it's the first time it's been focused on me, and my wants and desires.

Walking, I'll add aimlessly, around the streets of Amsterdam on the one night stay post the 19-night Celebrity Apex cruise, it sort of hit me. "It" being solo travel, and it is absolutely amazing.

How did the introspect come to be:

See a street or alley you wanna check out. Nobody to consult, nobody to question, nobody to justify your thoughts or action to. You just walk and do.

Want a latte. There are plenty of Cafes scattered. A quick pop in and tap of a card and away you go.

Need a bite. You eat when you want, where you want.

Want to sleep in. Sleep.

There's now a sense of freedom that was previously lost in the sadness. Don't get me wrong, the sadness wasn't even there 5% of the time, but it was there and popped up occasionally. Unconscious at best, in the forefront at worst, and having that lingering weighed on me more than I ever knew. It's only retrospectively noticeably different, and I am ok with that!

Navigating myself on public transportation from Rotterdam to my hotel in Amsterdam was a new adventure. Walk from the cruise ship to metro station in Rotterdam, 2 suitcases and camera gear in tow, 2 short stops to Rotterdam Central, buying the correct Eurostar ticket from a kiosk that thankfully translates into English, then looking at the electronic schedule and picking the correct platform, all simple but new and nerve wracking. Would I end up in Paris or Amsterdam as I hoped.

But it worked, and newly confident after successfully navigating too can do it.

Now back in Amsterdam, my 1 night redo/finish of the trip, I found myself wanting to go and see Rembrandt's house again. Just being outside of it gave me inspiration. Then off to wander past Anne Franks House again. But most importantly, to see the Homomonument.

In my private walking tour of Amsterdam, guide arranged by the Waldorf Astoria, Hellen casually mentioned the Homomonument as we quickly turned the corner. She told me that "gays" had to wear a pink triangle on their outer clothing, like the Gold Star the Jews wore to identify themselves to the Nazis. Jutting out into Keizersgracht canal, large pink granite slabs were placed in a triangle shape in 1987 to commemorate not only "the victims of World War II, but all homosexual men and women who have been persecuted and murdered. The monument also honours those who have fought for the freedom and human rights of LGBTQ members."

It was a necessary stop on my Amsterdam "redo".

Getting back to solo travel takeaways, Europe was the first trip lacking any sad tears. A milestone and moment that could go without sharing, but pretty monumental for myself.

Speaking of tips, if you haven't been to Europe lately, cash is almost completely obsolete. Stores, restaurants, cabs...almost everywhere ban cash payments. They view it as a theft/robbery prevention and proudly display Cash NOT accepted signs. Bring your cards. Actually bring several of them. If you were cardless in Europe, you would be hurting to survive.

Which brings me to my next travel tip takeaway. Separate out your cards. Don't keep them all with you. Leave one in the hotel safe. Or when moving from one location to another, use different pockets or compartments, so if you get pick pocketed they don't get everything.

Travel tip # 3, bring some pain medicine in your purse/backpack. After going thru kidney stone hell on Monday, less than 48 hours after stepping off a 10+ hour flight, I couldn't image that happening when stuck in the confines of an airplane. Be prepared. Thankfully I was back in the US, but my backpack is going to be packed differently for Africa.

And lastly, if visiting Amsterdam and wanting an excellent, totally customizable tour (walking or bike), call Hellen. She was superb!

Hellen König

National Guide e3

Tour Manager

Dutch - German - English

Vondelkerkstraat 8

1054 kz Amsterdam

+31 648522672

Tonight, it's Taylor Swift in Denver. Fearless Cole. Spinning around the world, solo and FEARLESS.


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That's so great Cole!!! Keep thinking about yourself first!!! Enjoy yourself !!!

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about me:

Hey!  I am Cole from Grand Junction, Colorado. In 2023 I stepped on all seven continents, in a single calendar year, solo!

The year continues to shape my life and my lust for travel.

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