Seeing Dutch tulips in bloom was on my bucket list - it was one of the few things I planned to do during a trip to Amsterdam. I'd read about Keukenhof, the famous garden / borderline amusement park for old people + flower enthusiasts - I figured I'd see them there.
And I did see them at Keukenhof - in very meticulously planted groupings. With tourists from all over the world. With grass. And Selfie Sticks. And Trees. And a cafeteria. (You can read about that here).
I hadn't planned to see tulip fields, though.
Nor did I plan to risk missing our flight home by walking ten minutes down the road from Keukenhof, just because I saw these fields in the distance.
And I definitely hadn't planned to charge a 1/4 mile into these fields and immediately lay down surrounded by millions of tulips.
But damn, am I glad I did!
You know those magic opportunities Life hands you every now and then? Usually they're accidental, maybe embarrassing, and always subtle - but if you're paying even a little attention, you seize it. You run into the tulips.
Before you're disappointed in my blatant disregard for nature and possibly private property, keep three things in mind:
1) I was excruciatingly careful not to crush, trample, or even bump these flowers - I laid down between their planted rows, which was exactly wide enough for my body, and
2) the rows were the second indication I was on private property - the first indication was the floppy strand of barbed wire I climbed under, which
3) is not something I advocate doing, but I was compelled...the Universe's opportunities, remember?!
If you can get past that I didn't ask permission to be there + believe that I was really, really careful not to touch or harm these flowers, then we can move on.
I couldn't believe how - s a t u r a t e d - the colors of these flowers were. Crimson, velvety crimson, red. Painfully bright yellow, like staring straight into the sun. Fuchsia pink that would make Barbie extremely jealous. Crisp, blaring, computer paper white. It hurt my eyes and made me happy.
I was also shocked that the soil wasn't like the soil I knew at home...it was more like...sand. Dove grey sand. Color me shocked again when I (like a crazy person) laid down on this sand, and felt how cold it was on my bare arms. Cold, even though it was a beautifully warm and sunny day in Holland.
Alright, I'll stop gushing. I'm gushing for a good reason though - because this experience was so much better than any photo could do justice. I was alive. I felt alive. I wasn't checking something off my bucket list, I was connected to something electric.
The point of a Bucket List isn't taking a photo that goes viral - it's to feel something so real and rare that you can't stop blabbing about it on your blog.
A blog pretending to be about travel, when it's really about remembering to be alive while you're alive.
Go see the Dutch tulips when they're in bloom - it only happens once a year, and you only live once.
Want details on Keukenhof, when the tulips are in bloom, and how to find them from Amsterdam? It's all here: (Where To Hang Out) Amsterdam: Keukenhof.