Ponte Vecchio, Firenze (Italy) – September 2001. I sketched this 20 years ago (and decided to colour it 19 weeks ago).

Once upon a time on the bridge of Vecchio …

I took this Italy trip after the Dutch police called me that I needed to leave the country by early October or otherwise I’d be deported. The full story is complicated, but in summary: my plan to pursue a PhD fell apart due to errors caused by the university’s administration (on a departmental level) and made worse by the Dutch’s immigration.

While walking along this bridge, I told myself that I’d be back to Europe to get that PhD.

I didn’t tell anybody this story, not even my parents and my best friends. And then lived in nomad, quite literally, all over the globe within the next 1.5 years; financially supporting myself with various freelance projects and fellowships. I came back to the Netherlands to start my PhD in 2003 with scholarship and completed it in 2005.

Thanks to the administrative and immigration screw-ups, I had not-so-easy yet interesting, colourful, and rich 1.5 years of nomad living.