Amsterdam — May 2012
If there has been one constant in my life, it’s that I’m always on the go, on the move — always looking for something new to see and take in. As rollerbladers, this is our “Ingredient X.” It’s the special connection that links us all in some vast network that transcends simple skate parks, street spots and blade sessions: Friends all over the world.
As a writer, this it what one might call “active participation.” Or, willingly taking in all of the chaos that life spits out. In order to do so, similarly in order to blade, you have to look outside your suburban bubble. You have to shed any sense of some small-town syndrome and get out and see the world. And we do that, even in our small towns. We find new ways to enjoy the pavement and we see a drainage ditch or an abandoned hotel pool in a completely different light than the meth addict sleeping in the deep end or the real estate development firm looking to condemn the whole damn place to some shopping-plaza hell.
But it’s more than just blading, it’s about experience and perception. It’s about seeing what you can before it’s gone. It’s about taking chances, saying “yes,” or “why not” more often and, like anything, it’s about making connections. It’s about hearing a word spoken in a different language, seeing the sky from somewhere else than your own backyard, and realizing that memories are more important than a balanced checking account — because surely these lifestyles cannot coincide.
And that’s alright. If bladers know one thing, it’s living life and doing all of this and not seeing a dime for any of it. Well, it’s not that bad, but we certainly know how to take it all in on a budget. This particular trip began with the dire need to decompress after graduating college, a bad case of writer’s block and a late night phone call from an old friend.
But others involve blading contests in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Detroit, and Jacksonville. For some: Morocco, Eindhoven, Paris, Bercy, Dallas, Seattle. You get the point.
*Photos taken from Ben’s Hipstagram