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How the idea started

Our journey started when my friend Zuzanna visited me after she'd returned from her exchange. We'd held a conversation and decided to start our journey. During our first trip to Vienna I wrote a small piece about how we'd gotten where we'd gotten, which you can read here on the right.

Looking back I think we were really on to something, even though it all felt a bit contrived at the time. What we had essentially created was an escape from what we'd become all too familiar with during covid. I'd moved into my own studio apartment around the winter 2021 and had grown rather depressed throughout the first couple of months. This depression slowly morphed into apathy, something that can be seen in this poem. When the measures lifted with the rise of omicron I ran into Zuzanna again. She'd explained to me that she'd already been traveling again and it at that point dawned upon me that we had no choice but to try and break as much as humanly possible with what had made so complacent in the past 2 years.

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The statue in front of which we had breakfast

Breakfast in Vienna
 

It wasn’t necessarily that we felt we’d done anything wrong in living the way we had, but something felt fresh about how we were now doing things. It is as if we’d found this extra pocket in our lungs which had suddenly filled with air, allowing us to run instead of walk. Had we achieved what we had set out to investigate? It was on a rather hazy evening that I’d found myself sitting on the old couch my grandpa had once built and later gifted me, a simple wooden construction consisting of interconnected poles and a leather pouch, dressed with large green pillows. A couch which had become infamous for its shoddy but frequent use as a sleeping spot for friends who had dazed themselves to an extent that the foresight of being served breakfast had become more appealing than that of finding their way home. Next to me sat my friend who had just returned from her half year detour to Finland, where she’d spent her time further investigating the field of neuroscience, hoping to find something that would aid her in pursuing her idea of inventing a new field of neurorehabilitation. It was here that she found out she was reborn. The next morning I got out of bed, feeling as if I’d woken up in a strange new city, perceiving the world around me with this almost daunting combination of excitement, fright and wonder.

The two weeks that followed had become a vehicle for what we would soon realise was a paradigm shift of Copernican proportions, what we had once considered to be our modus operandi had become a spectre, instead replacing itself with a sharp and clear vision.

 

Two weeks later we left, catching our first train at 6 in the morning. We’ve set out to push the boundaries of our daily living, attempting to incorporate daily wonder into our lives in a way that could only be linked to our youthful naïvité. Lectures fall on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we’re attempting to spend the rest traveling Europe by train. Every single week we’re trying to explore a theme, linked to it questions. It is bizarre how little space remains to think about these more ethereal things when continuously working within the framework of university.

 

The first weeks theme was urgency.

 

After having suffered through two years of covid and the subsequent online education that followed as a result of this, I have lost all the sense of urgency in my life. Urgency here as to be defined as the need to get out of bed. Measures enforced against covid had, for me, removed the joy of pregnant expectation, the need to do anything but these most basic elements of our life, eating, sleeping, university. Life had been reduced to a choir list with a vast blank landscape of nothingness in between.

At this point it might be good to express that this urgency could be interpreted in a very different way, one in which it was ever present. Urgency as the pressure to keep performing, because imminent doom awaits. The need to pass courses, keep up with all the material, the need to keep reading so I could come out of the pandemic a more intelligent being. These also represent a sort of urgency, one which is like an authoritative eye, making sure you stay in line. I have never been very good at responding to this second type of urgency, to my great frustration, which has led me to not performing terribly well within the academic climate. I’ve always balanced this second type of urgency with the first, but due to covid the first fell away and the second took over. It was after my conversation with Zuzanna that we'd come up with this idea, leading us to this attempt to disrupt our lives as much as possible.

 

In that sense, breakfast in Vienna represents what I’d sought after with this first type of Urgency. It was the morning after we’d arrived, having stayed at a complete strangers house, that we sat down in a little park somewhere in Vienna. A regular Friday morning, like I’ve spent a hundred in lockdown locked in some space in Tilburg. Except this time the morning held the promise of a future, of the unknown, of trite little vignettes. A day which could be spent in wonder, filled with people to speak to, little curiosities to observe, streets to be walked. A morning which held the promise of urgency.

 

I’ll write a little report around a theme for every small journey we’ll embark upon, this was urgency in Vienna, next time there will be physicality in Prague.

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