Just like getting back on a bike after a time away, visiting Amsterdam again after 20 years (or perhaps it is 30, how time flies!) is a feeling that comes back to you. At first, you are a bit wobbly and unsure how to navigate this unique, dynamic city. But then, in no time at all, you’re off and pedalling again, winding down the mysterious streets in search of a new adventure. It’s like no time has passed at all.
I jumped at the opportunity to tag along to Amsterdam in August, joining my daughter and her five friends. Amsterdam has long held fond memories for me, so I couldn’t resist gate crashing the trip, an opportunity to relive and create new memories with my daughter. All of her friends were first-timers to Europe, and it was such a joy to experience the trip through their eyes, rediscovering those long-ago wonders.
Decades ago, it was my first European city (outside of London), too. When I was 22, I visited with my best friend, on a short sojourn from daily London life. After some further planning (or perhaps not enough), I returned in the near future with my two sisters. It was a stop on our Kombi van tour of Europe (you can read more about that in my book, Embark), setting up camp on the banks of a canal and staying for a bit too long. Returning with my daughter, now a young
adult herself, to hang out was a treat I couldn’t miss.
However, work never stops. I’m in full swing creative mode for Spring/Summer 2023, finding the perfect balance by being stationed in India. As I’ve increasingly done business in India and set up a base there, I am asked about the motivations behind my choice. Mostly, Mumbai makes for the perfect midway point, an excellent gateway between Europe and Australia. This way, I can
make the most of it, working and playing hard. With Europe on my doorstep, a short hop up from Mumbai (where I’m setting up a small apartment and creative hub), I can easily experience the best of both worlds - European summer, Indian winter, and Australia in between.
It helps that I can work from anywhere, my current location enriching the experience. This includes the TV shopping channel shows. No matter where I am or the time, I can tune in to greet customers and bring a glimpse of my surroundings. These shows were for the launch of the spring collection, playing a little game called “Where’s Emma?” Viewers had to ring in with
their guesses as I gave away clues, offering a lot of fun that lasted the hour slot.
The European lifestyle is a constant source of inspiration, from the way of life, to the streams of bikes heading to the local grocery shop, to the value placed on taking time out of the day to enjoy a coffee or drink with friends at a local cafe. Taking the time to appreciate the moment is something I easily slip into, and love to observe. Life is slower, with simple pleasures valued - family, friends, fun.
Watching local women and men ride bikes around the streets and canals of Amsterdam in bright colours and sandals, with a unique enjoyment for life is a delight to observe. Our travelling team spent the days getting lost over numerous canals, riding bikes outside of the city, and sometimes just relaxing in the park talking. I have been really enjoying listening to how 21 year olds are embracing the choices they have in front of them, grabbing life as it is in the present and making the most of it.
Amsterdam was about playing tourist, reliving part of my youth, and feeling free while enjoying the European way of life. Unleashed for the first time in a long time, away from rushing between suppliers and manufacturers, Amsterdam was the perfect destination for a summer holiday.
I hope you’re travelling well. I’m feeling inspired for 2023, and can’t wait to share it with you.