Flashback: Library Visits in Bergen op Zoom

Whilst living in the Netherlands working as an Au Pair, I spent a lot of time at the library. I would spend hours reading books and sitting in the aisles basking in the smell of knowledge. Used books have a very particular aroma.

It was during this time of my life that my passion for F. Scott Fitzgerald really solidified. I had read some of his works in high school and enjoyed them enough but returning to his works as an adult really opened my eyes. In the last weeks of my stay, I stumbled across The Love of The Last Tycoon and was flabbergasted.

Since returning stateside I have searched every bookstore I find for this book. Nobody carries it. “We can order it for you though.” Call me old fashioned, but I wanted to pick it up with my own two hands and consciously remember buying this book – not have it arrive in the mail.

Since 2011 I have been determined that when I was good and ready to read Fitzgerald’s final book it would appear in my life. Yesterday was that day. I decided to go mosey about after getting my car washed and stumbled into Mojo Books & Records.

The smell of used books knocked my socks off as I opened the door. To the right was a café serving locally roasted coffee and organic teas. Off to my left and beyond ahead was a maze of shelves filled with an eclectic collection of books in all genres.

As I always do, I started in the classics and went hunting for F. It was mostly copies of The Great Gatsby and some chunky compilation books. I was feeling defeated and just about to give up when I noticed a book hidden between two Gatsby novels. I couldn’t read it in the darkness of the shelf but when I pulled it out my heart stopped.

Fitzgerald was at the end of his life when he wrote The Love of The Last Tycoon. He originally named it STAHR / A Romance but he wanted it to sound like a movie title to disguise the true content of the book. He had thought of changing the name weeks before his death in 1940; according to Sheilah Graham, whom sent his work in progress to his editor.

Fitzgerald’s last months, who knows how long, was spent thinking and working on this story of the last frontier – the film industry. How wonderful to be able to combine two of my greatest passions – film and good writing.

Fitzgerald has always been high on my list of inspiring men. It was nice to see that someone of that caliber saw that twinkle the film industry holds. There is so much possibility, and so much deceit. Nothing is as it seems. But we have come a long way since the days he speaks of here. With Independent Film on the rise and cameras so affordable, everybody thinks they are a Spielberg.

From Holland to Florida, three years later but I found my book and it was as glorious as I imagined. I’m sure I’ll be finished with it before I know it. I also bought a book on three African empires called A Glorious Age In Africa and one of those chunky Fitzgerald compilations.

By the time I ever settle down anywhere I will have a room stacked with books for my children to expand their minds. Also on my radar – Graduate school in South Africa? Further my education in a few years and be on the ground floor to help sustain a continent. But more to come on that as my research furthers. For now still working towards Twenty Four Weeks, Twenty Countries, Three Continents. Attached are some pictures from a visit to the library with the children and a dear friend.

xxx Sam

Notice the view of the Library Behind

Notice the view of the Library Behind

Reading to Zena

Reading to Zena

Owen

Owen

Lexa

Lexa

Annelies & Lexa

Annelies & Lexa

Owen

I really enjoyed the floors of the library, you couldn’t help but feel creative!

Reading to the munchkins was my favorite.

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Introductions Are Necessary!

Hello!

 If you have stumbled here perhaps you have had the good sense to start at the beginning of the journey. I bid you good morrow and good luck on your travels through my adventures.

First a little bit about me: I am a twenty-four year old woman with a passion for exploring, writing, and images both still and moving. As an adolescent I spent my time writing, climbing trees, performing in plays, and playing on the beach. While I attended a magnet program in my high school years for theater, I also pursued a position on the school’s Lacrosse team and a longstanding job at the local movie theater where I fell in love with the moving image and photography.

When first looking at colleges I thought I would be a psych major. I toured a few Florida schools, looking at their programs and still exploring their more artsy sides. When straying off from a guided tour at the University of Tampa, my mother and I stumbled into a tall man wearing a pair of combat boots, a trench coat and a fedora smoking a cigarette. He quickly introduced himself as Tom Garrett and began hypnotizing us with stories about the Film & Media Arts program and how you took classes in filming narratives and even documentaries and experimental film – not that I knew what that was at the ripe age of seventeen. He even mentioned an acquaintance he has in Cannes and how he takes a group of students over to do internships every year.

I remember the most amazing feeling sweeping over me. I knew that I must learn everything I could from this man. He had found a way to do what he loved, travel, and touch the lives of others. One could say he inspired my future in a way he may have never known. Eventually Professor Tom Garrett became my advisor and taught me many things about life, professionalism, and the film industry as well.To this day I treasure the time I was able to spend at the University of Tampa.

I have been abroad twice at this point in my life and visited France, Italy, Belgium, and Great Britain. I spent three months living in Bergen Op Zoom, Netherlands where I was employed as an Au Pair to a lovely family and learned how easily I could live abroad and love every second of it. These experiences have shaped me into the person I am today and I am beyond determined to take many more trips in the future and eventually visit every country in the world.

This blog will take you along on my adventures – past, present, and future – as well as through the planning process of what it takes to be a travel writer and live on the road which has always been a dream of mine.

Dreams are meant to come true, if you see it and you want it bad enough you can make anything happen. Now if you are still with me, perhaps a little about you? I would love if my readers would share a bit about themselves and travels that they have done or wish to do.

xxx Sam