Saturday, September 30, 2023

The Journey to Amsterdam

Yesterday I jumped on a couple planes that took me across the world and became a resident of the Netherlands. The journey here was an adventure in itself. 

When I found out I was moving to Amsterdam my friend Kim offered me one of her buddy passes with Delta. One-way flights were around $1,700 so I was grateful. Flying standby means you find the flight with the most open seats and take a chance one will be available after everyone has boarded. 

Our original plan was for me to fly out Friday from SJC > MSP > AMS. But after talking to Kim on Wednesday evening there weren't many seats available on those routes and she asked if I could leave on Thursday around 1pm through SJC. I thought "Why not?" 

At 8am, while I was in meetings, Kim messaged me that the best flight options were to leave from SFO at noon. It takes an hour to get to SFO. It felt impossible to finish up what I needed to do for work, get myself to SFO, and get on a 12:05 flight. I finished up my meeting, saw it was 9am, and told Kim "Let's do it!" I called for a Lyft, finished packing my bags, and was on the curb in ten minutes. My stress level was 42 on a scale of 1-10. I am not a “fly by the seat of your pants” person when it comes to arriving at the airport. I like to be there three hours early, grab a drink at the lounge, and be at the gate well before I need to. 

My driver was Andre' from Ecuador. Andre' and I spent the entire hour sharing our life stories. I was so grateful for the diversion from worrying if I would make the flight and he had killer skills at navigating an accident on our way to SFO so I didn't lose my shit. We hugged upon my departure I was so grateful for the conversation (and he was a smokin' hot Latino). 

I never check a bag. Never. Today I had two bags to check (45.5 lbs & 41.5 lbs to be exact). It was the first time I had ever rented a cart at an airport. Everything I own is in those four bags. Crazy. 

I was told I needed to check in one hour before the flight and I made it by three minutes. No stress, right? I made my way to TSA and realized I didn't get pre-check. I have not gone ‘with the commoners’ in years. The TSA guy was yelling instructions and I could not understand him. I was asking the guy in front of me what he was saying and he said “I don’t know. I think they change the rules every day just to fuck with us". We were instant friends. 

I arrived at the gate 30 minutes before the fight was departing, which is not my norm. It was 8 minutes later I was assigned a seat. In Comfort+! Woohoo. 

It was an uneventful flight. I got myself an eSIM for when I landed in Amsterdam, grabbed an extra night in my hostel as I was arriving early, and updated my work email notifications that I was moving across the world and would be slow to respond the next couple of days. Ya, I'm not taking time off for this move because why not add a bit more crazy to the fun? 

When I landed in Detroit I called Henry. Kim reassured me my chances of getting on the final flight to AMS were looking good. My stress level went to an 8 out of 10. But it wasn't until I was seated on that flight that I thought, "Holy shit, I am moving to Amsterdam!" 

During the flight I made the decision to take the following day off so I worked all night preparing my colleagues for the day. It was a super productive flight and my adrenaline was sky high. I landed in AMS after a great flight and was SO happy to see my IKEA duffel bags survived. I would 100% recommend them. I will fold them up and use for my next move. 

I grabbed an Uber and made my way to the hostel where I will stay three nights until I get the keys to my flat. After checking in I showered and as soon as my head hit the pillow I was asleep. It felt good to sleep for a couple hours. I am staying in the neighborhood where my apartment is located. I found an uber-cute cafe and grabbed some dinner. On my way, I walked through Oosterpark. It was surreal to think this was my new home.

Overall, it was a wonderful 24 hour journey. Although my stress level was off the charts in the morning I am so glad I went with my gut and so grateful for not only Kim's Delta Buddy Pass but her support along the way. I fucking live in Amsterdam!



  1. Thank you, Mary. It will be an adventure, no doubt.

  2. I felt my stress levels going up just reading this! Glad it all worked out, whew! - Steve, your travel buddy

  3. I feel weird but I found your blog because I was looking at wool& clothes to take TO THE NETHERLANDS! Hahaha. We’re building a boat in Rotterdam! Good luck to you Amsterdam is awesome!!! 😜

    1. Hello, Jeanne. Great to see your comment. It is so weird how my worlds 'come together'. Your adventure sounds so exciting, building a boat in Rotterdam! I would love to connect if you are interested (; 1 612 381 7908). A Rotterdam visit is on my list and visiting someone building a boat is just, cool.