As I go through my travels, I’m constantly leaving activities in my wake which I didn’t get a chance to do. After all, that’s the Law of the Traveler. Amsterdam was no different, but the activity I didn’t do was by choice.
For four days, I stayed at a friend’s house 45 minutes north of Amsterdam, catching up on my blog, cooking and playing Catan. But I did make it down to Amsterdam for a day to take the walking tour and explore the city.
It’s quite appropriate that I get to know the Netherlands, since it’s the heritage of half my family. On my mom’s side, my grandfather was born in The Hague and my grandmother was born in Rotterdam…I think. Either way, I’m half dutch, so it goes to reckon I should know about my background.
Amsterdam is certainly one of those world-class cities which takes being unique to epic proportions. The name itself means Amstel Dam, referring to the original dam built on the Amstel river. Why a dam? If you didn’t know, Amsterdam has an average height of -2 meters. As in, it’s nearly 7 feet below sea level! A series of locks and levies surrounding the city keep it protected, but it wasn’t always so, and the city definitely has a history of flooding.
Now it’s the Venice of the North with all it’s canals. Over 100 km of them in total! In fact, many of the houses in the Netherlands are accessible by some form of a waterway. The house stayed at is no exception.
But what was it that I didn’t do?
Whenever Amsterdam is brought up, there is one question that is always asked. “Are you going to, or did you, try weed?”
The truth is I’ve never done a drug or smoked in my life. I don’t drink to excess, and I even avoid prescription drugs like the plague. I’m definitely willing to experience new things and am constantly looking for new adventures. But I do draw the line. That line is drugs. Oh, and self-mutilation.
I find it interesting how many people challenge my decision. “Marijuana isn’t harmful.” “How do you know you don’t like or want it if you’ve never tried it?” “Just one time.”
That’s not the point. Well, not entirely. Those who know me know that I’m quite cheerful. If I need a boost or a “high,” I go see some fantastic scene in nature, read a book or go for a delicious meal. I just don’t get my fix from drugs. I’m not against others who take drugs, and many of my strong friends take them. But at the same time, I don’t encourage their use, and many more of my friends also have never had a drug in their life.
That’s not to say I never run into a scenario where at least a medical drug might be helpful. Recently I’ve had some body troubles, and actually managed to sprain both my ankles falling down stairs! I still had to catch my train, but I almost broke down at the station, and I’m sure at least a pain killer might have helped. However, pain can be tolerated, bodies heal, and live moves on.
By my drug-using friends, I’m often asked how I can enjoy life without being high. I believe that we cause our own emotions, and just don’t need the artificial emotions created by a drug.
So yes, I didn’t try weed when I went to Amsterdam. Nor will I ever. It’s just not my cup of tea. Pun intended.
What about you? Do you take drugs when you travel? Or when you don’t travel? Are you looking forward to getting a joint when you go to Amsterdam, or did you try one there already? And just out of curiosity, do you take drugs, but wish you didn’t or think there’s an alternative way to get rid of depression or discomfort in your life? Feel free to answer these questions in the comments below. Or if I’ve completely upset you with my entirely divergent lifestyle and you never want to read my posts again, feel free to comment on that too.
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