On traveling: three days in Amsterdam
Hope you’re all well and taking good care. I just got back from Amsterdam a couple hours ago and went straight to bed for a 3hr nap.. Had a long somewhat sleepless night — super rare — but it happens :) and wow, so much fun and such an incredible time over there. Some of you might have followed along in my IG stories here, that I was there for my very first time.
Initially I didn’t intend on going on any trips this year since the move from New York to Berlin was pretty expensive plus I am saving money for the big trip to Ethiopia ahead (January), but when one of my best friends Mekdes told me that her and her fiancé Joshua were coming to Amsterdam, it was a done deal. Exactly this was another reason why I decided to let go of the job and the life in New York, so that I can move freely again. Being born and raised in Germany didn’t mean that I have been to all these places, but from the age of 16, every cent saved went towards New York. I haven’t even been back to Vietnam in 11 years.. Another trip on my list as I am spending time back in school here in Berlin.
Amsterdam. My very first time and it was so so wonderful. Packed with so much love, and exploration. When I got off the plane and took the train to Wan’s house — Wan is also known as Mister BTG (bridge the gap) and I met him a couple years ago in New York, Boston AND Berlin, he was at all the major races and is one of the most passionate runners I know internationally — I found myself taking the time to explore the trains, metros and yeah, literally just observing people how to use the transportation system in the Netherlands. Like a child, full of wide eyes, I was giggling and so happy to get out of my comfort zone for a couple of days.
Wan took this picture of me when I arrived at his place:
I was positively surprised about the fact that everyone spoke such good English and that most of the things in town are in walking and biking distance. If you ever happen to be there, make sure to rent yourself a bike and literally bike everywhere! It’s such a nice way to explore the town you're in and you’re getting a different perspective from that as well.
On Thursday, Mekdes and me spent some time walking around town, checking out a few stores. Later that afternoon, Joshua held a talk at the annual Tony’s Chocolonely fair — a chocolate company from Amsterdam that works with farmers from Africa and produces Fairtrade products — about his upbringing in Ghana and New York, his creative path and how he has been changing the narrative with his photography. It was incredibly inspiring and I hope the video to it will come out soon so that I can share with you all!
On Friday, I started the day with a museum visit, then went on to have lunch together with Fanny — who was working with District Vision even before I was there, even before the sunglasses were launched — so it was really nice to spend time together. Afterwards, she took me, Mekdes and Joshua to a few more street wear stores to check out. Also, I got to connect with Anaisa from the Patta Running Team / Move Something Organization and it was so good meeting with a like-minded, warm and open woman on the sport we love.
In the evening, we spent time at the ByBorre sample sale which I knew about before, a friend mentioned it once, and I was super amazed by their craftsmanship and love for details. Also, that night, we had a private very late night tour of the clothing label Daily Paper through their flagship store. I was really inspired to hear their story, that three friends (from Morocco, Ghana and Somalia) started this brand with literally 5 tees. Listening to them, we realised that there are not as many street wear labels run and owned by people of color. Thus, I am intrigued and definitely want to support.
Here is a small list of the things I saw and went to:
Stedelijk Museum for modern art
Scandinavian Embassy for cinnamon rolls
Hearth for falafel waffles, salads and smoothies
Ace & Tate for prescription eyewear
Skins for beauty and perfume
Maha store for women’s fashion, street wear and sneakers
Bonne Suits inside Zeedijk 60 for cotton suits and uniforms
ByBorre for innovation in knitwear
Overall, I had such an amazing time there and loved traveling, exploring together with friends. Have been really missing this feeling and really fell in love with the city. Cannot wait to go back and spend some more meaningful time there and hope you get to travel as well.
Check out those places and support small local businesses, young (poc) entrepreneurs because it makes a huge impact!
It’s Monday now, so two days after I have started drafting this post here and I am still feeling super inspired and energised to continue on my journey and yeah, I want to continue to learn and ask questions and explore what’s possible in this one life we have. This three day trip really got me thinking and I am wondering what more could I do, start, make and create :)
Sending so much love and all the positive energy your way.
Stay up friends,