For the past four and a half months, I have been living on the island of Texel where my daily life evolved around skydiving and flying. About 99% of my time was spent at either three places: the dropzone (Paracentrum Texel), our house in Oosterend (shared with 14 other trainees) and De Kievit (where we got our daily meals). I left the island only four times: the first time to go to the indoor skydive centre in Utrecht, the second time to go to the Flanders Boogie (Europe’s biggest skydive party) in Belgium, the third time to go to a dropzone in Norway and the last time was in my final week when I had to sort out administrative things and see a few good friends before leaving. I didn’t think I could stay in the Netherlands much longer as my wanderlust was yearning. But for some reason, Texel made me totally happy with living in a tiny bubble.
For a few months, checking the news was not the first thing I did in the morning. After waking up to the sound of a turbine engine starting up (my custom alarm), I checked weather reports and forecasts. Most days, I was working and I did not always jump. But on days off, I got to make up for it as much as was possible. During my time on Texel, it was reconfirmed that I love flying even more than skydiving. Sometimes, I chose not to jump, but to stay in the plane in descent. I did not only enjoy it loads, I also learned a little more each time. Altogether, I have learned more than I thought I would, which I only realised when talking to friends who had no idea what I was talking about. I spent more time than ever in planes (even overnight!) and at the airport, and I have met more awesome people than a misanthropic human could imagine.
Leaving Texel and the Netherlands made me feel melancholic about it all ending. Back in 2015, after having returned to the Netherlands for a year and a half, I was ready to leave again. In 2016, I decided to give it one more year and depart in June 2017. And, as it happens with plans, they changed. I could not imagine I would be staying longer and I could not imagine it would be on Texel. But it happened. It wasn’t logical and I turned down a $75k assignment for it, but I knew I had to go for this opportunity. In hindsight, I can only look back with smiles and beautiful new memories. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!
Now it is finally time for Namibia. I arrived yesterday and I woke up to the sound of rain(?!) on my tent and thunder. Luckily, storms pass quickly.
Hopefully, I’ll be making more jumps over here, overlooking the desert and ocean. I’ll be travelling onwards in a few weeks, overland and passing by Zanzibar. In December, I’ll be at Skydive Diani in Kenya, just in time for the boogie.
I have said I will return to Texel next summer, but not without having obtained my private pilot license first.
And as it goes with plans, they can always change again. But always for the better…