California: a perfect ending

For a long time, I’d been looking forward to the last part of my trip: California! Here I was going to visit another Twelve Tribes community, and a few friends from the Shelter, the hostel in Amsterdam where I worked last year. On the 3rd of March I got on the plane in San Jose, Costa Rica, to Houston, Texas, for a long day of travel. Though I had to undergo an thorough luggage check (I guess young solo travelers are always suspicious..), it was nice to be back in the USA.

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After another flight to Los Angeles, a bus ride to Union Station, a train ride to Oceanside and then a car ride, it was about 1 am when I arrived on the Morning Star Ranch. This is a farm run by the Twelve Tribes in Southern California. It’s located in a beautiful valley and consists mostly of a grapefruit- and a avocado orchard, and a big vegetable garden. Just like in Argentina and Brazil, here I witnessed people radically following Jesus Christ, sharing everything and being committed to each other. And yet it was new, being in another country with a different culture.
One of the cool things about the Twelve Tribes is that everyone is welcome to stop by and stay as long as you like, under the condition that you take part in the community life. Besides me there were a few other guests that I got along well with; it was nice to be able to share my thoughts with other ‘outsiders’.
Like my other visits to these communities, it was a wonderful and interesting time, and especially this time I found a lot of satisfaction in this simple way of life: just working on the land (like picking avocados, planting lettuce, harvesting broccoli…) and being in community with other believers. I didn’t feel much desire for doing other things (like getting online), and didn’t think much about home. That’d definitely been different at times throughout my trip!

the Morning Star Ranch, a Twelve Tribes community IMG_0306.JPG

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Twelve Tribes doing one of their Israeli dances

Sunday afternoon: time for playing games

After a few days in the community I went back to Los Angeles to visit some ‘Shelter friends’. The moment I was reunited with the three of them is probably one of the best memories of my whole trip. When you’ve lived and worked together with people for a few months, you become like family, and being with them was like living together in Amsterdam again. On the other hand it was bizarre to be back into the ‘normal’ world: Western culture with its consumerism, and the contrast between the rich and the poor in Los Angeles. At the same time it was encouraging to see how my friends and their families are making a difference in this society, by sincerely trying to live out their faith, not only through words, but through actions as well. I stayed at one of my friends’ house, with his Korean family, who took me in as a member of their family. The hospitality I’ve experienced during this trip is just overwhelming.

hmm, what shall I put in this huge shopping cart..

..some chips then? ..or veggies?

little Shelter reunion in LA!

cooking Dutch food for Korean friends

I spent most of my time here just hanging out and making some trips to places like the beach (one day I made a bike trip along Huntington Beach, sweet!), Hollywood, some churches, San Diego, and then a road trip to San Francisco, including a camping adventure in Henry W. Coe State Wilderness. It was terribly cold and wet, which made it the best and worst camping trip of my life (look for the video between the pictures below).

Roadtrip to San Francisco and camping

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views along Highway 1 don't worry, they're just sleeping.. lazy elephant seals

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Jack Kerouac related bridge.. or maybe not

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the infamous sea lions at Pier 39 in San Francisco

IMG_0536.jpg that's about as good as it got

we finally got it! in front of the Golden Gate too. (really, it's there)

view over San Francisco

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IMG_0589.jpg and it tastes gooood

this man saved our day with a stove, a rainproof tarp and coffee in the morning

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one last look at Henry W. Coe State Wilderness

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Trips in and around Los Angeles

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I'm Dutch!

guess the album cover

so you wanna be a superstar..

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IMG_0355.JPG I can take this sushi!

San Diego

view over the ocean from Point Loma

San Diego

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downtown San Diego

view on downtown San Diego

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last night in California, with Shelter people!

I couldn’t have imagined a better ending of my 6 month journey! Saying goodbye to my friends in California was almost like leaving the Shelter again, though fortunately not quite as bad.

On the way to Los Angeles International Airport, at 6 in the morning, we got a Jamba juice (couldn’t miss out on that, according to my friend) and then I took off on a plane to Panama City, where I would spend the last day of my trip. I’d booked a fancy hotel close to the airport, figuring I could splurge for one night, and I sure was happy I didn’t have to go all the way into the city center again (remembering my first time in Panama City in January). I just took it easy and relaxed, and being in this area, with a fancy mall right next door, it actually felt, more or less, like I was still in the US!

splurging on the last night of my trip, in Panama City

The next day I jumped on a KLM plane, which was a little bit like coming home already. I got a ‘Volkskrant’ on the plane and I could talk Dutch to the personnel!
What a joy it was to enter the arrivals hall of Schiphol Airport on Thursday morning, March 22, and see my parents and sister again, and see the sun shining over the Dutch landscape. Finally I was home.

this baby is going to take me home!

Family! Schiphol! Netherlands!

coming home (this was my, very fitting, birth announcement card)

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4 Responses to “California: a perfect ending”

  1. phil Says:

    dude you forgot to put that you bought new shoes. and your hotel room looks super fancy man

    bashirshah Reply:

    great trip and photography specially pictures style in air .keep it up

  2. Hans Deventer Says:

    And for those who wonder what the last picture is about: it’s a photo of the card Hannie and I sent out when Edwin was born. I guess we subconciously knew he would become a traveller 🙂
    Hannie printed it and put it on the front door the day we picked him up from the airport.

  3. Anja Gielen Says:

    So nice to read about the last part of your trip and to see how you were welcomed home 🙂
    I guess you’ll need some time to adjust to the ‘normal’ life here. Hope you’ll find a place to work and to live which is just perfect for you!
    Anja

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