I arrived in the Netherlands on Wednesday morning to continue the travel portion of the research for my New Silk Road book. I showed up on King’s day — a holiday where everybody floods out into the streets wearing orange wigs and hats and parties. I will have a post and video up about this soon.
I was able to meet with the Clingendael Institute a couple of days ago, then yesterday with a professor who assembled the largest collection of Chinese Communist propaganda posters in the world, then the highly regarded architect Zef Hemel (his brother Mark designed the Canton Tower), and today I traveled down to Rotterdam to meet with a university professor who is also an economic advisor to Rotterdam Port. All have been fascinating.
However, I’ve been absolutely busy — I suppose that’s the way to put it. I kind of enjoy being busy to point that I always have a tick over too much to do at all times. This keeps me running, pushing content when I would otherwise be doing something slightly more unproductive, like sleeping. But when deadlines are pushed simply because there is not enough space in the day, I start to realize that I’ve pushed the boundaries of “too much.”
I still haven’t grown out of my vagabond mentality. I can’t turn down an op to generate funds; I can’t say no to an interesting project. I don’t say, “Sorry, I can’t take this $65 per hour job because I have too many other ones I’m running at the moment.” I say, “yes,” on faith that I will be able to pull it off somehow. Somehow, I know I will do it, and the more difficult it is the more fulfilling it feels. I like this. It keeps me active and, pragmatically speaking, it gives me the funds to keep moving forward.
I need more than a vagabond’s fare these days.
This time I made a one week miscalculation in planning and left to start a bout of research travels before clearing out some demanding projects. I thought I timed it all right, but the lure of a $420 round tripper between Boston and Amsterdam had me pinching it a little at the end. This proved to be a week’s pinch, rather than the day or two I estimated.
So for a week, the travel, the meetings, the articles, and a big editing project all overlapped on top of each other. So the start of my first foray into the Netherlands has felt like an endurance event — running between interviews and then running back to my hotel to sit in front of the laptop until late into the night.
But I almost have the roadway cleared.
I have one more big article to finish tomorrow then I believe I will be able to return to a more comfortable level of busy.