Where the streets have no name


I have moved around quite a lot when I was young. And also when I wasn't quite as young anymore. And at the moment, moving around has become something like sleeping, eating and brushing my teeth. It has become daily routine to me. It is in fact, what I do.

I've never been good at routines. The key element of my new found routine however, is of course change. And it is exactly the lack of that element, that makes most routines such a bore. I tend to avoid them. Not that I don't sleep or never brush my teeth - the one a physical necessity and the other a form of common courtesy not lightly to be ignored - but if I can avoid them, I do.

It's not that I can't stay in one place. I've lived a considerable part of my life in Leiden. And although never longer than five years in the same house, that city has become a constant that I've come to appreciate highly. Like a favorite sweater or pair of shoes, a hometown can fit you like no other. But I know it is there waiting for me and it doesn't wear off like clothing does. "Sometimes you want to go/where everybody knows you're name". But right now is not that time. This journey is far too agreeable to stop now.

A name can have all kinds of feelings and memory's attached to them. The addresses of the places I've lived areconnected with a range of emotions and story's and a whole bunch of people that play their part in them.  I've lived on the Jaspershof, the Waalbandijk, the Eikakkerhoeven, the Lingerzijde, the Oude Singel, the Boerhaavelaan, the Albert Cuyp, and the Repelaerstraat, and that is not the end of the list. Other people who lived there have their own idiosyncratic history's attached to those names, and for the rest of the world they are no more than a sign on a house on the corner of the street, if they happened to have passed them and glanced at them at all.

In certain regions in France the roads have a number and the houses a name. Those where the houses are so far apart that designating them with a street name and a number is useless, because the roads meander in all directions and you have forgotten the number of the last house you passed long before you reach the next one (are we moving up, or down the street?). The road signs have romantic names like La Prunière, Le Souillon, La Butte de Moulina, La Petite Rablette, or Champs Breton. Now who wouldn't want to live in a house with a name like that? All those private emotions and history's attached to a house with its own private name!

I am two days walking from Spain right now and my route will solely depend on the people that agree to host me. There are a few people that have already invited me, but a lot of spaces in between that have yet to be filled in. A few people, and for now, an unknown road to get from the one to the other. Tomorrow I will move on, where the streets have no name.

Wijnand Boon