Reaching for the wrong people

Every now and then I have an epiphany. It usually happens when I talk to myself, thinking out loud. That’s when I seem to have the best ideas.

I’m currently in a situation where one of my friends has retreated. I’m not entirely sure why. We had a miscommunication. We were exchanging messages when I was feeling a little down. In fact, I was feeling lonely. That doesn’t happen to me very often. I can usually deal with it, but I didn’t deal with it very well when we talked.

And that meant that what I said, which could have been meant in jest, weirded her out. the problem is that she didn’t say anything. Instead, she simply didn’t answer at all. And of course, that weirded me out. I knew I could have handled that situation better, could have chosen my words better, but for her to simply not reply sucked.

Ultimately, after two days or so, I wrote her again to defuse the situation. That’s when she confessed two having been weirded out. I admitted that I have been in a weird mood which affected my responses to her, and I apologised. The problem here is that she again simply did not reply.

That did not just suck, it hurt.

It’s completely unnecessary. Instead of reaching out, talking to me, or asking what might be wrong, she retreated, and I don’t see why.

Usually, I would have followed up and sent her another message, just to explain myself a little more. I have composed that message, but I decided not to send it. Because I always do that. And in the past, it never served me well.

My impulse is to reach out. I have a problem with letting go. Especially when I like somebody. But I have been the one to reach out more often than not. At some point, I’m gonna have to leave her to it. If she wants to reach out, she knows where to find me. But I don’t expect her to. In fact, I expect that she will send me a random message at some point and pretend nothing ever happened.

When I deal with situations like that, I think out loud to myself, essentially conversing with the other person without them actually being there. I can only go with what I would say myself, not how they would respond, but it helps me sort through my thoughts.

And there it was, this epiphany, as I was thinking that I keep reaching for the wrong people. Not because there’s anything wrong with them, but because they don’t reach back. And what is the point of reaching for someone who doesn’t reach back? I’ve been doing that so much in my life and I was always the one ending up hurt in the end.

Mind you, I have people in my life who do reach back. They ask how I am, they want to know. They are my friends. And I’m blessed for every single one of them.

The question is why I keep reaching for those unavailable ones. One of my friends would probably say that this is one of my projects to figure out. Maybe it is a lesson in letting go, which will repeat over and over again until I finally learn. Because it is very clear that I haven’t yet.

In German, we have a saying that hope dies last. And I am one of those people who seem to operate on that premise. As I said previously, always giving somebody the benefit of the doubt even when they have shown themselves to be undeserving.

Ultimately, to find the ones who will stay, those who reach back, we have to go through a lot of people who simply don’t care enough.

Repeating patterns

If you ever ask yourself what’s wrong with you, the answer is probably ‘a lot’. Though that’s not necessarily the best way to look at it. We shouldn’t think in terms of something being ‘wrong’ with us. Of course, the feeling that something is just not ‘right’ tempts us to think of the opposite as ‘wrong’.

The truth is, we’re all complex and complicated. We’re all damaged in some way. And much of that damage has been done to us by our parents. Even if we had happy childhoods with loving parents, they inevitably screwed us up in a way we’re probably not even aware of.

I had a good childhood. I was free, had friends, could play outside without worrying about predators. I had all I needed. But I also had an often-absent father, who barely had a hand in raising us, and a relatively strict mother, who had an introverted child at her hands and didn’t know how to connect to me emotionally.

Don’t get me wrong, I always had a good relationship with my parents, and still do. I love them dearly and they love me without question.

But that doesn’t mean that I got everything I needed when I was a child. Especially emotionally.

This isn’t anybody’s fault. My parents had their own burdens to carry and are probably not even aware in which ways they’ve been damaged by their parents. Every generation damages the next one, usually without intent or without really knowing any better.

We now know better. We know that parents influence their children in a fundamental way as they grow up, especially in their early years. Our adult attachments patterns are a repetition of our attachment to our parents, the way they loved us and connected with us.

We may grow older, turn into adults, but the child in us never truly disappears. It would be a tragedy if we lost our inner children, the part of us that never truly grows up.

But sometimes it is just as much of a tragedy how this child influences our behaviours and needs as adults. How we keep repeating patterns that are not good for us because this child is still desperately trying to find something that may not be there.

It helps to recognise this. It helps to be aware that this is happening. We can’t blame our parents for raising us one way or another, unless they are narcissists or abusers (or both), they usually tried their best. And we can’t blame ourselves for turning out the way we did, for forming certain attachment styles and having unmet needs.

But where do we go from here? Especially since everybody else is just as screwed up as we are.

It’s a lot of work.

My past relationships and many of my friendships have taught me what I need and want. That’s a good thing, though sometimes I paid a pretty steep price for a lesson.

This work we must do, the growth we must undertake, it’s painful. It can be heart-breaking.

I know my patterns. I know my unfulfilled needs. I know what I look for in people and I know that I somehow always land on those who can’t give me what I need. I also know that I keep hoping to be wrong about someone. That we just don’t know each other well enough yet and that things may not be as they seem.

But that hope is unsustainable because when people show you who they are, you really should believe them.

When I’m at a low point, this is very hard to accept. I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I am usually the one who ends up being hurt in the end.

Walking away from your own patterns—breaking out—is difficult. We grasp onto straws, which will inevitably break. Our inner children are pretty stubborn, especially when they potentially discover a kindred spirit.

The thing is, you can hold onto people all you like, if they don’t hold onto you as well, letting go really is the only option.

That sucks. And it hurts. And it never gets any easier either.

But it does teach you that the people who do hold onto you as well are the right ones for you. And they are the ones who will help you break your patterns.

You will likely only have a few such people in your life, but they matter more than all the ones who keep letting you go.

Final Day of my Summer Getaway

Today was the last day of my getaway and I think I might have been okay if I had returned home today.

I didn’t ride very far at all. I visited the small town of Brunsbüttel, where the Nord-Ostsee-Kanal reaches the Elbe. Then I went to Friedrichskoog, to take another look at the North Sea, though I only really got to check out the Wadden Sea again. The tide was out and here it means it is very far out.

Indeed, people have been known to get stuck in the Wadden Sea after they’d gone too far out and didn’t manage to return before the tide returned. If that happens to you and you’re lucky, the coast guard will find you and bring you back. If you are unlucky, you can die out there.

I didn’t venture out into the Wadden Sea, mostly because it would have been inconvenient to pull up my biker pants and carry my boots along with my helmet and jacket as well. It also wouldn’t have been a lot of fun to trudge with so much stuff out there.

Still, the views were impressive, and the weather played along nicely today. Not much wind and intermittent sun and clouds.

I was only out for a few hours, however, and I’m ready to go home.

Of course, I could continue to travel forever, but work is calling me back and I must admit, so is my bed. I just don’t sleep the same when I’m travelling.

I enjoyed my getaway. I did a lot of riding, and the weather was good for the most part. I am likely going to have the opportunity to get away for weekend here or there during the next two months. But it does depend on the weather and my funds.

My bike is due for its yearly inspection next month as well, which will cost again.

Now the only question is, where to next?

Just a little roundtrip of 65km today.

Day 5 – Visiting the North Sea

I haven’t been in this part of Germany before – Nordfriesland. I decided to visit Husum, St. Peter-Ording and Büsum.

Out of the three, Husum is furthest north. I visited there first. The area of Nordfriesland stretches much further up north, mind you. Husum isn’t even halfway. But since I only wanted to go so far, I stuck with these three places.

Of course, arriving in Husum, it started raining almost immediately. It wasn’t as windy as it was the day before, which was a relief, but I didn’t relish the rain either. It was still better than being caught out on the road.

I used the time to wander around the town centre, got another Covid-19 test, and had more of a break than I would ordinarily have had. But by the time I left for my next destination, the weather had cleared up and there was no more rain for the remainder of the day.

View of the Wadden Sea

St. Peter-Ording is probably lovely when the weather is playing along. When it is grey, it’s not particularly spectacular. It is a popular holiday destination, however, which meant a lot of tourists were roaming around.

I don’t enjoy places that are overly touristy, which is why I only stayed for a snack before travelling on. Plus, the famous beach was so far out that I didn’t feel like undertaking the journey, especially since you also require a guest pass, which I didn’t have.

My next and final destination was Büsum, which is at the southern border of Nordfriesland. Riding there was pretty awesome. Some roads I took were ridiculously straight and flat as far as you could see. The roads went through many different fields, and I was mostly by myself, which is always the most enjoyable part.

The difference between the east and the west of Schleswig-Holstein is staggering. Towards the east, you’ll find lots of sloping hills, bendy roads and forests as well as fields. But in the west you only have fields, wind farms and everything is completely flat. It is surprising that roads bend at all here.

It’s difficult to say which one I prefer, as both hold a very different appeal. And I enjoy riding on this side just as much as I did on the other side.

In any case, I enjoyed my stay in Büsum, which is also quite touristy, but I’m glad I picked a hotel away from all those tourist places. I do wish the weather had been more pleasant as the views would have been quite magnificent.

The ride was nevertheless wonderful. It makes such a difference when it is not so windy.

I did about 190.5km

Day 4 – From Coast to Coast

This one was one of my more exhausting rides, even though I made only about 150km. When planning this trip, I had decided to book two hotels. One closer to the Baltic Sea and the other close to the North Sea. That’s the beauty of Schleswig-Holstein, where you can do both in a single day.

Yesterday, I checked out of the hotel in the east and drove over to the one in the west. Avoiding the highway, as usual, I took a route via Rendsburg, where I might even have stayed a little longer, but the weather was not inviting, and I just wanted to arrive at my new destination.

It was once again very windy. Dark clouds constantly threatened with rain, and it was so chilly that I needed to get a fleece jacket out and put it under my motorbike jacket to keep me a little warmer. It helped, but the ride was still unpleasant.

Which is a shame as the landscape was quite beautiful and the roads were great for the most part. Had the weather been more pleasant, I would have had an awesome ride.

To think that my initial plan was to go via Flensburg, which is much further up north and would have meant a ride at least twice the distance I actually did.

Quite inconceivable.

Thankfully, upon arrival, I was able to get my room right away, which meant I could relax for the rest of the day. It did clear up somewhat, but I wasn’t exactly disappointed not to get to ride any further.

That’s the thing about touring on a motorbike, you have to contend with the weather. Either you’re prepared and pack everything for every eventuality. Or you hope for the best and prepare to stay put if the best doesn’t come about.

Since I tend to pack light, I’m not packing for every conceivable scenario. If it were to rain, I would have to stop and seek shelter. But packing another layer of clothing to keep warm is less of an issue.

Today, it looks to be a bit of a mix again. It’s still relatively early and I plan on heading out soon. Since rain is expected tomorrow, I may only ride in the afternoon. We’ll see.

Here is yesterday’s trip:

Both hotels are about 20km from their respective coasts.

Day 3

Yesterday was my third day of my little summer getaway. I was out and about for a good seven hours, which is surprisingly tiring at the end of the day.

The weather was a little colder than the previous days and it wasn’t quite as sunny. I didn’t mind that at all as riding in the hot summer weather can be exhausting as well. But the wind was taking a toll on me and made touring difficult at times.

I first went to Kiel, taking the scenic route, which also meant going slow. And yes, this time I made sure to take more pictures along the road as well.

Kiel is pleasant enough, but I am glad I chose Hamburg when I did. Kiel feels a lot smaller, though it is lovely by the water side, and you don’t have to go far to get out of the city and to the sea. Or the beach.

From there I visited a local lighthouse, where I took a bit more of a break. I didn’t know where else I was headed, so I figured getting a pancake with fruit and a coffee wasn’t a bad idea. The break was also a good opportunity to figure out where else I wanted to go.

I ended up visiting another lighthouse further up the coast, which gave me a proper view of the Baltic Sea.

From there I went to Eckernförde, which is another small town right by the sea. It’s known for its beach as well as its harbour for private boats and yachts of all sizes. Everywhere along the waterside there were boats, which left me a little envious as I would love to have a boat as well. It was a great opportunity to go for a walk and simply enjoy the scenery, though it was also a bit crowded.

Turns out, they had some sort of Viking festival that weekend, which is a popular event every July.

Eventually I returned to Kiel. There was no other suitable route to take back to my hotel and since I also needed a quick Covid-19 test, I killed two birds with one stone. Three actually. I also got dinner in Kiel, which I took back to the hotel.

Overall, the ride yesterday was a bit of a mixed bag. The scenic parts along smaller roads were a lot of fun. Whenever I had to battle the wind, things were a lot less fun. But I also got to take the highway for a while, which was surprisingly fun again.

I usually don’t take highways as I find them rather boring. I don’t just want to get somewhere fast. I much prefer to take the leisurely approach. But that also means I don’t ride the bike at speed very often and sometimes that can be a lot of fun.

I also noticed just how fearless I was when riding at 100kph. I was completely calm.

When I first learned riding the motorbike two years ago, I was a nervous wreck just thinking of going 50kph in the city. Though it wasn’t so much the speed as it was the traffic that concerned me.

Nowadays I’m comfortable at any speed (as long as the wind isn’t buffeting me around), but it still tends to be the traffic that makes me a bit nervous.

On the highway I didn’t feel nervous at all, which was really quite amazing. I’m a very attentive and careful driver, mind you. So, 100kph is about as fast as I will go. My bike doesn’t have that much horsepower to go superfast anyway.

Anyway, this was my ride, there and back again:

159.3 km

Day 2

Off towards the Baltic Sea today. The weather was once again gorgeous. Not a cloud in the sky and 26°C. It was pretty windy, though, which meant I was buffeted around quite a bit.

Riding today was much better than yesterday. Perhaps because I was unencumbered. For the most part, I was incredibly focussed on the road, but I could also simply enjoy the ride, especially when there was little to no traffic.

The landscape was beautiful, not just by the sea but anywhere I was.

I made regular stops at the coast, sticking my feet in the water, walking along some dunes, escaping when it got too crowded, jumping back on the bike and plotting the route to the next destination.

I briefly visited Fehmarn, which was lovely.

I really should be stopping more frequently to take some pictures. Isn’t the point of going on a road trip to stop whenever you want to and enjoy the moment? I did plenty of that today, but never on the side of the road to simply take in the landscape.

Of course, I can’t just stop anywhere as there is other traffic to consider.

I do have a few more days ahead of me, so I’ll see about stopping more by the wayside.

I love the ride, though. It’s not just about visiting places, which I’ve done plenty today. It’s simply about riding the bike.

There is so much freedom in that.

I don’t ride much during a regular week. In the city, I prefer to cycle. I need the exercise and Hamburg traffic just sucks. So, I need to get out to properly ride the bike and who has time for that?

Hence my little summer getaway. Today’s roundtrip will likely be the only one of its kind. Tomorrow I will go to Kiel, whether I might go elsewhere I don’t know yet. Depends on the amount of sightseeing I am going to do.

Anyhow, below is the route I’ve driven today. I made 189.5km in total. That’s pretty decent.

Summer Getaway – Day 1

Last year I took a 5-day motorcycle trip to the river Rhine and back to Hamburg. I rode a little over 1,000km in total. I would have loved to go on a longer trip this year, but due to being on furlough for seven months, my income has taken somewhat of a hit, and I had little chance to put as much money aside as I would have needed to travel further than last year.

Since that part of the country is also suffering from deluge-like rainfall that has resulted in massive damage and many deaths, it would have been a bad time to travel that way anyway. Whilst I can’t do anything about the disaster currently happening there, I still feel oddly guilty that we have a beautiful summer here in the north of Germany.

It just doesn’t seem fair, but that’s global warming for you.

Be that as it may, I left Hamburg today, travelling north-east. I only drove about 90km, which is not a lot. But since it’s been a while, it was enough, and I must say my behind was getting rather uncomfortable by the time I arrived at my hotel. Of course, had I travelled further, I would have taken a break for at least an hour.

As it was, I am glad that I was able to enjoy the beautiful weather by the lake Dieksee, going on a walk, having some coffee with ice cream and whipped cream (we can be quite decadent with our desserts in Germany), and simply enjoying the peaceful lakeside atmosphere.

Riding the bike felt a little bit strange today as well. At times I felt as if I was zoning out a little, riding like an automaton. Then I focussed and concentrated once again on the ride, which was better, but I still didn’t quite feel it the way I usually do.

There was a point at which I enjoyed myself, but for the most part the trip was somewhat strenuous. Mind you, wearing a reasonably heavy backpack didn’t help. Ordinarily, I do have a bag I can fasten to my bike, but I still would have had to take a backpack as I had to take my laptop with me.

Instead, I opted for the backpack, which was okay for this relatively short trip. And I reasoned that I will be leaving it at the hotel for the next three days, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

There are saddle bags I want to get, which fit nicely with my bike. But I didn’t buy them yet because I felt the expense wasn’t warranted for the current trip. The backpack is uncomfortably heavy, but since I am not using it all the time, I can suffer it for the times that I do need to wear it.

Tomorrow, I plan to do a daytrip along the Baltic Sea coast. Though it doesn’t look as if there is really a coastal road in the direction I am first headed. I’ll plot a route in the morning and will post about the trip when I get back.

Today’s trip

Travelling in the time of a pandemic

Travelling during a global pandemic seems, at best, controversial. Some travels, mostly for business or family emergencies, are still necessary. Though even business travel can often be substituted by a video conference or some such.

Still, at no point during this pandemic was there no travelling whatsoever. Most people, I dare say, travelled only the bare minimum, visiting family for major holidays (even skipping birthdays) or such business travel that requires people to be somewhere.

Many long-term travellers were stuck at their last destination because flights were grounded internationally. Getting home was difficult, if not impossible.

Last summer, when the first wave was over, people went on holiday. It was different than how we’ve experienced it before because all travel destinations were also pandemic destinations, where certain rules applied.

But on holiday people tend to be a lot more careless and so, the second wave was mostly blamed on holiday makers returning home with a Covid-19 infection.

This year is meant to be different. The third wave has been broken in Europe and many other parts of the world, vaccinations are progressing at least in Western Europe and North America, and the spread of the Delta variant doesn’t seem to deter anyone from going on a holiday.

So, here we are, wondering whether to take a vacation, sit the summer out at home, or perhaps just holidaying in ones own country, taking the car or a train to a nearby destination instead of flying into a high-risk area.

The need for some diversion, to get out and see something else outside of one’s own four walls or hometown is understandable. But it is also a luxury problem to have. A huge number of people around the world don’t get to take a vacation, go on holiday or travel beyond the immediate vicinity of their villages, towns or cities.

I love travelling. It is a part of who I am. I’ve done two trips around the world and have done tons of travelling in between. I am privileged beyond compare in this regard.

And, yes, I’ve missed it terribly. Though I don’t travel all the time, I leave the country for various trips several times a year. Last year, I took a motorcycle trip to the middle of Germany, riding a total of 1,000 km in five days.

I even went on a one-week holiday to Crete with my brother, though I wasn’t entirely keen on flying and all that. Still, all went well.

This year, I have only been to Berlin to visit my parents on two occasions thus far. I am not likely to fly anywhere anytime soon, though I hope to visit friends in England at some point. But like many others in need of a getaway, I decided to take a little motorcycling trip again. This time going north. The south is drowning in a deluge right now.

I am staying fairly close to home, exploring just within a 200km radius. I’m by myself, keeping my distance as necessary and I’ve been vaccinated once already as well.

I don’t feel like throwing caution into the wind. I don’t feel like catching Covid-19 now or ever. I don’t feel like jumping on a plane to party at a beach somewhere.

And I do not understand how others do.

Already quite a few people returning from holiday are reportedly coming back with an infection. Is it worth it? You get two weeks away, have fun and relax, but upon your return you must quarantine, potentially be hospitalised, and perhaps even end up with long Covid. Not to mention the potential for infecting others.

I do believe it is possible to vacation or travel safely even during a pandemic. I’ve managed to do that last year, never taking unnecessary risks. This year I wouldn’t do it again. We’ve been through three waves already and I am not keen on a fourth.

At the very least, people should get their vaccinations before heading out into a high-risk area.

We all want to enjoy a life without a pandemic again, which includes travelling. But if we are not careful now, things are unlikely to get better soon.

Moving forward

I’ve not written for over three weeks now, which was not my intention at all. I’m back at work with my second job, which required a bit of an adjustment. Also, there’s still my freelance writing, which takes precedence as it is paid work.

I don’t feel good about neglecting my blog, however. Instead, I feel guilty about it. Which is not great. It tempts me to sit down and force myself to come up with something new, even though I lack the energy to do that.

Obviously, I have not written anything, forced or otherwise.

I have been thinking. About a million things. Travelling. Relationships. Friendships. Moving on and moving forward. Work. Writing. Work. Progress.

Whilst the pandemic is not over by any means, life is returning to normal. I worked my secondary job full-time in June. I visited my parents for my mom’s birthday. I’ve booked a little getaway for summer, which will mean a few days of taking my motorbike up north and touring around the area.

But a part of me has yet to catch up from spending seven months in lockdown. Priorities are shifting, the outside demand for my time is growing, I’m asked to plan further ahead than just a few days.

Lockdown was difficult. Lonely. I truly don’t need that much time to myself, and I am an introvert. I am ready to get back into things, to make plans, to travel, to pursue goals that have been on hold for too long.

Hence the thinking I’ve been doing for the last few weeks. I suppose, with the sudden shift of normalcy returning, I have been trying to synchronise my mental and emotional state with the outward aspects of my life. There was a lot of catching up to do, which is likely going to continue for some time to come.

But I am ready to get back into it with everything that I am.