Kiri and


Currywurst with a side of pondering

May 14th, 2014 (by Steve)

I like to try to live a purposeful life. Now this shouldn’t be mixed up with the concept of a porpoise-full life; that would be way wetter and more complicated. I don’t think I’m alone in this; for centuries people have been trying to fathom the meaning of life. It’s no wonder that throughout this travelling then, I’m pondering on the purpose of it all. In the first loop, it was possible to see the fruits of our travels as we helped out at different projects and put our skills to good use, but the purpose seems to be a little more subtle in this loop.

We’ve now crossed from the Netherlands into Germany where it has rained incessantly. It might be that it’s trying to be welcoming and remind us of the UK, but we don’t really feel like we need to be reminded too much. Aside from being mesmerised by a bread-slicing machine in Lidl (the best thing since… ummm… well… maybe it is just the original best thing!), we’ve mainly been sitting inside Bertha, sheltering from the rain. Due to the wonders of Sikaflex (which we picked up more of in a camping shop), the rain has remained outside. Get in! Or not.

In the midst of the rain, we had a lovely interlude from our sheltering in Bertha; we met up with Judith in Osnabrück; a girl that Kiri was on community with at Lee Abbey (Judith that is; Osnabrück is a city). After having a cup of coffee and a biscuit inside Bertha with her on Friday, she showed us round the city before we chilled at her flat, catching up with her. We then ventured out again into the city (in the rain) where it was the start of Mai Woche (or “May Week” to you and we… you and us…? Hmmm, not sure of that one). Basically, despite the rain, the Germans were having a bit of a knees-up in the town, with live music, street bars and good food. One of our shelters from the rain happened to be a bratwurst marquee, where we were treated (by Judith) to currywurst and chips. Sehr tasty!


Back in Bertha, the rain continued, providing us with a lot of time to read, ponder and have meta-conversations that end up confusing both of us. What do I mean by meta-conversation? Well, I guess a conversation that soon starts to be about itself; a self-examining conversation… a recursive conversation. You start having a conversation about one thing, then it turns into talking about the conversation itself, then talking about how we’re talking about the conversation, down to many layers. A bit like Inception, but even more complicated.

It’s a strange situation to be in; most of the time in “real life” (yes, I know that what we’re doing is real life, but it’s not exactly normal!) you start to have a deep conversation or a deep pondering, then you’re dragged away by the reality… you’ve got to get back to work, there’s someone at the door, the washing needs to be hung up… you get the picture. It’s not like that for us at the moment though. It feels a bit like we’re living in a temporary, privileged bubble where we have time. We have time to wrestle with challenging bits in the bible. We have time to grapple with aspects of our personalities that may be sub-optimal. We have time to examine the intricacies of our marriage; working out how to strengthen the bits that are weak and at the same time marvelling at the bits that just work, even though they may make no logical sense. I guess you could say we’re growing.

So in one respect, the purpose of this trip can be seen in this growth, but despite my Lenten endeavours to focus on fruitfulness, I still like to see tangible outcomes. All of this talking without any action points hurts my head. Abstract is good for a short while, but I like concrete implementations (an analogy for the techies maybe?). We have no concrete plan as we float around Europe… aside from returning to the UK before we run out of teabags (very complicated maths has been used to calculate when this may be). Can you be purposeful without a plan? I’m learning (slowly and reluctantly) that maybe you can.

What is the meaning of this trip? What is the meaning of life? I don’t know, but I do know that taking time to grapple with these questions (and other, deeper questions) is strangely rewarding. The more pertinent question though is whether we’ll be able to build time into our post-trip lives to continue the wrestling. Especially when kids (or porpoises?) might start arriving on the scene at some point after our return to the UK. But that’s something to think about at some other time.

All posts about Germany

Homeward bound

Barefoot in the Black Forest

Ups and downs in Bavaria

Melting in Munich

Fußball und Achterbahnen

Just another brick in the wall

Speeding in the sunshine

Little people in Hamburg

Currywurst with a side of pondering

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