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Things I've written about travel

Overheard in July

“Do you want this problem to get smaller or bigger?”

“I still love you, but I’ll be doing it from behind this line.”

“Blaue Augen sind besser als braune Augen” (“Blue eyes are better than brown eyes”, 10-year-old brown-eyed German boy to his blue-eyes brother at the Okura Hotel breakfast bar)

A believable truth

I never get much reading done unless I’m sleeping elsewhere. Most often, I associate sleeping elsewhere with having time off, and having time off means I’m away from a computer screen. This frees up time for reading.

Anja had booked a suite for my birthday at Okura, and six months after I turn 33, Covid measures are finally so mild that we actually get to do it. It’s on the sixteenth floor, overlooking the Amsterdam Centre and West Side. We eat like royalty, and fall asleep watching the sunset from our California King. I’m feeling like a million bucks.

Whenever we sleep elsewhere, I get overwhelmed with the endless possibilities of the things I can read. Usually, I manage to sneak five books into a suitcase, but for this weekend, I’ve limited myself to one: Mary Magdalene Revealed.

It’s a remarkable read, particularly given that the author Meggan Watterson got an MDiv and not an MFA in writing. Her words flow like a river, entirely sure of where she’s going. Every now and then, I’ll read a portion aloud to A, to share the joy of reading a theological work that is as inclusive and self-aware as it is unreserved and educational.

As I share snippets of insights, revelations in sweat lodges as well as things I never knew about the beauty of early Christianity, A asks me: “Don’t you find this book a bit… The Da Vinci Code-esque? I mean, all this talk of Mary Magdalene’s special relationship with Jesus, alternative plot lines… It’s like it’s all one big conspiracy theory, wouldn’t you say?”

A’s not the only woman who has made such remarks about this book. Isn’t it peculiar that feminists would rather deem femininity-inclusive gospels closer to possibly the worst book in the English language that has emerged in the past decade than to a perspective on Christ that could cure our heartaches?


“Slept a little, had a midnight snack, went in for a bathroom break. Slept some more. Basically the life of a four-year-old” she says, and she tells me about her flight to Stockholm. She has been sleeping poorly lately; I say “lately” but I only met her last month, so I don’t know what her sleep hygiene is, although she says “it has improved since I began falling asleep in your arms”. I imagine how she sleeps on the plane, entertaining the other passengers, cabin crew, and pilots with her stupefyingly loud snores.