March 2, 2021

Unbeatable Freedom

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Hi! My name is Angela. I’m a 23 year old college graduate who just got back from Europe after backpacking for 5 months on my own.

THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE!!! Unbeatable freedom.

At first I was a little hesitant about going alone, but I took a chance and found it to be the most rewarding experience of my life. It has changed me a way that I never thought possible. It opened up my eyes to a lot of new things in life.

It’s amazing how much we can learn from other cultures. I encourage everyone that hears my travel experience to go.

I visited 14 countries and there is a story behind all of them.

But here is one of my favorites. I want to share it with you:

It was about the beginning of October last year when I was traveling from Brussels to Amsterdam. Everyone had warned me about the crazy things that happen in Amsterdam. I really wanted to be there and get my own opinion rather than taken others. Well, this is funny!!! I had separated from a pack of travelers that I met in Paris and decided to venture out to Amsterdam on my own.

I got there and at first sight I fell in love with the city. I got to the hostel, dropped of my pack and said: What the hell!! Lets grab the bull by the horns and lets check out the FAMOUS COFFEE SHOPS in Amsterdam. Is all true!!! Pot is legal there. There’s about 200 coffee shops throughout the city. The guy at the reception in the hostel pointed me to nearest one. I walked in there by myself not really knowing what to expect. Well… the unexpected occurred!

I walk in with a newspaper in my hand to play it cool. I said, it’s a coffee shop if I’m alone I can always read the paper. Right?

Anyway, I ordered a cappuccino and a joint. Got a table and started reading, and enjoying what I had just bought. About 20 minutes later. A Dutch guy walks in to the coffee shop and orders the same thing. A cappuccino and a joint. OK!!! He grabbed the table right across from me. He lights up his smoke and begins to make eye contact with me.

Finally he spoke, the Dutch guy said: Are you American??? I said: Yeah, how do you know. He says: Because you are reading the USA Today. Ohh… Ok!!! We started a conversation and became friends in no time.

I wanted to know about my new Dutch friend and asked him WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING???

As this man is taking a smoke of Amsterdam’s famous weed, he says, “I’M A POLICE OFFICER!!!!”

WHAT???? I thought I was going to collapse. I said I don’t believe you, and he pulled out his Badge. Sure enough he works as a police officer in Amsterdam’s airport.

My next question…. You are a cop and you are over here smoking weed?? He said, It is not a fabricated drug and toxic for humans, the Dutch government is smart enough to recognize it and is legal and taxed like anything else. It’s no big deal, it’s just like drinking a glass of wine. Right at that moment I started loving the Dutch mentality. People that are free spirited and open minded. Way ahead of our self…. Yet, we call America the land of the free.

This cop, turned out to be one of my best buddies on the trip. He told me the next two days were his days off and he could show me around if I wanted to. How could I refuse???

The next morning he showed up at the hostel ready to head out and give me a fantastic tour of the beautiful city.

Then I realized, I was falling in love with Amsterdam. I kept repeating how much I liked the city. I saw some of the most beautiful parks in Amsterdam, the canals are gorgeous, The locals go everywhere on a bike and the place just has this homey feeling that no one can explain.

I want to move there. Anyway… As you can tell I love the city.

I will never forget my Dutch Cop friend, I believe he was an angel that I met in Amsterdam.

-By Angela Olmos

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