I woke up on a different planet. It was a long ride that took us here, in an large, yellow iron worm flying with 80 km/h trough my familiar planet. Now I found myself in a bed and even before I opened my eyes I could hear the blue line roaring away. Fully dressed for the expedition and zipping on white cups full of black liquid, we were talking about what would be the best way to begin our journey. My friend Renee and me where in high spirits even though it was still dark outside. Next to this, it seemed the weather on this planet was wet. A constant drizzle of cold rain came out of the dark clouds. While it was time to go, the darkness faded away.
Renee has an addiction for maps. Maps of our world, maps of seas or maps of other stars. She has a skill to perfectly read every map that comes to her hands and I was happy to bring her along this expedition. Her green backpack carried the food for these days, whereas mine was filled with the canvas that we would call home for the coming time. Another iron worm was waiting for us that morning, taking us to the place where the blue line would collide with another lines on our maps. That would be our starting point. From there on we would walk upstream until we would find the source of this roaring blue line.
Our journey took us towards the east of this foreign place, where 90 kilometers further would be our destination. Although we had maps, and Renee had an eye for them, we had no clue what to expect 90 kilometers further. We had four days to figure this out, talk, dream or fantasize about it. The first steps where on a type of hard soil next to the roaring water. The blue line was wild, it probably had something to do with the all that cold rain that came from the air the last couple of days. We carried on over the hard soil for a few kilometers.
We noticed other creatures where living here too. Their houses where close to the hard soil, and sometimes a creature would pass us by in an iron box with four wheels. They went fast, maybe towards the same destination as we would, but our journey took more time. We saw everything the environment threw at us; big and beautiful trees, flying creatures in the air or tiny yellow flowers in green grass. We followed the white line that accompanied the hard soil and when it became dark we finally got away from the creatures with their loud iron boxes. With our bottles filled with water we searched for the perfect place for our camp for the night. It seemed a slanting slope had to do for the night.
The sound of roaring water awoke us in the morning. Our friend directly presented himself by letting us know he was still wild and roaring. We had no other choice then to follow him. We kept walking trough forests and over muddy paths till our shoes where wet and soaked. The rain had stopped but the sky still looked like a grey woolen blanket laying over this world. After walking trough forests, jumping over small rivers and trying to avoid mud puddles we decided it was time for a warming tea. After asking water from a creature who lived in a brick house next to this big forest, we got more information about the area. Rejuvenated by the hot drink we made our way, again over hard soil.
Not too much later we saw a tribe feasting on food next to the road. While we walked past, one of them invited us to join their feast. Gladly we walked up, had conversations while they shared their food with us. They where not locals, but travelers like us, in a different way. While we walked and followed the river, they drove in iron boxes, researching great battles that have been fought in this area. They were warriors from a different place, a tribe of men gaining knowledge from history. With a filled stomach we continued our walk on the hard soil.
Soon we found ourselves in the forest again. Now the soil became softer and softer, and more muddy until we hardly couldn’t walk in it anymore… The tiny trails where swallowed up by the ferocious river. Till our ankles we walked trough the swamp; we decided this was not the way to go. We had just two whole days left to get to the source, and we knew it would just take a couple of hours when the sun would be setting and darkness would close in. We made our way back trough the swamp, and quickly found ourselves in the forrest again. Walking uphill constantly, but never losing the wild river from our ears or eyes. The map reading skills of Renee led us trough a small settlement where we refreshed our water supplies and with the setting sun we found a beautiful place for our tent.
The tent nights where fresh and cosy. We always followed the same ritual without even thinking about it. When the tent would be up, we laid down our heads and closed our eyes to rethink the journey of the day, relax and almost fall asleep. In our sleeping bags we felt warm and comfortabel, and after 30 minutes of drowning in thoughts or listening to the unknown sounds around us we started our simple dinner; baked salami pieces with onion and carrot, topped with loads of couscous. The hot food made us smile night after night, feeling the warmth of the dinner going trough our bodies. All warm and cozy we read, wrote, listened to music or just closed our eyes and listened to our surrounding. Just before we would fall asleep we would share a big piece of salami, the proteins would give us slow energy and keep us warm during the night.
The cold nights would let us crave for hot, black or green liquid in the morning. With a red blush on our cheeks from the fresh air and hot liquid we would start the day with cold hands from folding up our canvas house. The third morning we did this while the sun came up, because we had kilometers to make, trough this strange and foreign world. A thick mist was floating trough the forrest, making this world even more mysterious. Walking trough this mist, we realized there were more settlements coming, and with this maybe an encounter with creatures living in that area. We saw beautiful houses with tiny rivers floating in front of it, but no creatures. Just before we wanted to go back into the forrest, we heard a roaring sound coming from this forrest. A creature in one of these rolling iron boxes came up to us. He spoke a language we wouldn’t understand, and even though he seemed to know, he kept trying to communicate with us. His face was wrinkled and rough, all his clothes where green and his hands looked worked up. Eventually we understood him. This was his territory, we were not allowed whereas this was his time for gathering food with weapons. We decided we didn’t want to anger his tribe, so we followed a different trail trough the safety of small settlements.
Because of the straight ways in the settlements we made our way fast. We had to choose between speeding up or enjoying our surroundings. We chose the latter, but in a fast pace. Naturally we got lost. An old inhabitant of a small forest settlement helped us find our way again. He was old, but even showed us that he was able to dance all night long with the women of his planet. We offered him some of our sweets for showing us his dance, but he declined. Maybe that’s why was still so vital at his age.
The sun went down and trough the darkness we made our way over big roads where now and then the big iron boxes would pass by at an enormous speed. I felt unsafe. With lights on our heads and backpacks we would try to mimic the iron boxes so we would not crash. It was also harder to find a good place for our tent, but a piece of dark forrest would facilitate our means.
Cold wind was blowing, and our canvas house was not strong enough to keep the cold wind out. With my clothes around the sides inside the tent, I was able to keep the wind out. When we woke up in the morning we realized the weather turned on us again. It was drizzling like on the first day and I had made a very stupid mistake the night before. My clothes protected us from the wind, but now they where all wet and extremely cold… When I put them on, the only thing to do was to walk faster, keeping my body warm. Rain poured down on us the whole morning, and to keep our spirits up we sat down every hour to eat a small piece of candy. These moments gave us energy to defy the weather, the cold and the pain in our feet.
But then we saw a sign. A sign telling us we got closer and closer to our main goal. We also saw it on the roaring blue line we followed from day one. It was not roaring and wild anymore. It became more gentle, more calm. After a stop where also Renee drank black liquid (she made it light brown and sweetened it with other substances) we got on our way with an energy boost. Trough beautiful forests, but on hard roads. We could enjoy the nature around us and make speed.
Although we got closer at a fast pace, we noticed the sun going down fast too. It was a beautiful sight; a orange blanket over green meadows, accompanied with a purple sky above. In the darkness we knew we got closer and closer, and finally we found the place we were looking for on the map. It seemed there was a house next to it, and the spot we thought was the source of the river was in the backyard of this house. Carefully we walked towards the house, and fortunate the lights of the house were off. With a little caution we approached the house, but the swamps around the structure made it almost impossible to get to the place we pinpointed on our maps. We decided it was better to go there in the morning, with a new sun, giving us light to see the source of the river.
The next day we saw the river was longer then we expected; our journey was not over yet! Walking into the next small settlement we found a sign of our blue friend. This was the place. This was the time and place we were looking for since the beginning of the week.
We came onto this planet to experience the nature, feel the fresh air and see how we would cope with the unexpected situations that come across journeys like this. Candy, salami and our longing for a tiny adventure got us trough it. We were smelly, dirty and had a red blush on our cheeks. We got used to the cold, fresh air and a simple way of living, even if it was just for four days.
Now it was time to return to our own world, but not before we got into one of these iron boxes we encountered so many of. In this world there was a way to do this: put your hand out and thumb up. An iron box will stop. There might be old ladies in it, or young men, but eventually you will get back to your own world. In our own world life quickly gets back to normal, but our memories of the expedition in the other world will stay and not fade away.
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