RECHARGING THE BATTERY: HIGH VOLTAGE – Wouter (NETHERLANDS)
These past few months have been very exciting. From starting my second year of university to taking up the role of European Policy Facilitator for the Smart State challenges of the pan-European political party Volt to being elected Vice-President of ISA, the time I spend sleeping has steadily decreased.
However, as with any person who gives their all, the battery drains over time. Being engaged in a variety of projects and organizations, I often get asked how I manage to cope with the time investments and the stress that comes with it. And to be honest, from time to time, I find myself wondering the same. Ultimately, it comes down to the conviction that I am doing what I love – facilitating the writing of policies, revamping organizational structures, attending a lecture from time to time.. The things I do and the projects I participate in all boil down to the same core proponent: they are fully in line with what I stand for, allowing me to go the extra mile.
A great materialization of hard labor coming to fruition is the Amsterdam Declaration; a programme laying out Volt’s priorities which I had the pleasure of working on together with my fellow Volters. To formalize this document and kick off the EP election campaign, I undertook a journey to Amsterdam, where we held our General Assembly. 500 people from all EU Member States attended, and I even had the honor of coming on stage and presenting part of Volt’s proposed European strategy.
Tourist in my own country? When business meets pleasure, a small exhibition of my adventures at the Volt GA.
With exhaustion reaching peak levels, and my battery nearing depletion, it was high time for a well-deserved break. To this end, I went on what was supposed to be a stress-free holiday to the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. Little did I know that booking the trip was the easy part…Getting there was a different story altogether. I learned a valuable lesson on this vacation: ALWAYS BRING YOUR NATIONAL ID CARD! As Edinburgh lies outside of the Schengen area, I was unable to travel with my Estonian ID card. Of course, I did not find out about this until I was already at the airport, had passed both customs and security, and presented my boarding pass at the departure gate. So here I stood, close to the end of a long Friday evening, with my companions (including my lovely girlfriend) having already passed through the gate, and with no means of getting on the flight, I had been longing to board for so long. Awkward…
Fortunately, another flight to Edinburgh was set to depart the following morning at 6 AM, but to get on this flight, I first had to travel back to Tartu to get my national ID card. In the end, this meant that I would be too late to get a night bus back to Tallinn, so my girlfriend’s dad picked me up in Tartu and brought me back to the airport. In desperate need for some rest, I had hoped to get a few hours of sleep in the air. Alas, lucky as I was, I had the privilege of being seated in front of a crying baby. So much for a stress-free holiday…
In the end, the holiday was absolutely fantastic, and I’ve made some great memories. Lessons were learned, adventures were pursued, and my battery had been recharged. Now it’s time to set my sights on the next exciting projects, and start on my end-of-the-semester deadlines while I’m at it!
Some photos of my trip to Edinburgh. All but two of these photos were taken by my lovely girlfriend, who demanded that I credit her for the photos