Ik heb net een post per ongeluk verwijderd die ik spontaan had geschreven en ik kan hem niet meer terug krijgen. Grappig, het ging over ‘zijn’ en er was geen drive om een post te moeten schrijven. Het was dus ook geen ramp dat die ineens weg was. Hoe kun je nu kwijt raken wat je toch niet kun vasthouden?
Terwijl ik op de trein wacht, staar ik voor me uit. Mijn hoofd is leeg. Ik voel alleen. Ik heb geen gedachten. Ik herken dit van de momenten dat ik helemaal tot rust ben gekomen en alleen nog de essentiële dingen overblijven. Ik hoef niets meer, ook al heb ik nog drie uur te gaan. Ik heb niets meer te bewijzen, niets te roepen en hoef geen mening te hebben. Ik voel het leven, zonder er een oordeel over te hebben. Het leven dat bestaat uit pijn en blijdschap. De illusie dat het leven maakbaar is, staat even heel ver van me af. Ik kan het leven niet maken. Ik kan voor het leven kiezen.
Het raakte me om te zien dat ik die momenten mee mag maken waarin ik niets meer te bewijzen heb. Waar het volledig stil is in me en niets hoeft. Er hoeft niets gezegd te worden, maar toch zijn er woorden. Woorden die herinneren aan de simpele Waarheid. Dit is wie ik ben. Zulke momenten voelen als thuis komen. Leuk thema voor een reisblog.
Vaak zit ik vol gedachten en ben ik me er nauwelijks bewust van. De laatste tijd word ik vaker herinnerd om te beseffen wie ik ben. Of wat ik ben: een expressie van het Leven dat zich wil uiten door een beperkt kanaal. Als ik mezelf niet herinner, of laat herinneren aan het simpel thuis zijn bij mezelf, ren ik rond, gedreven door allerlei onbewuste patronen. Net zoals de meeste mensen om mij heen.
Maar ik heb de laatste jaren regelmatig gezien dat er momenten zijn dat alles wat belangrijk lijkt even weg valt. En dan blijft er nog maar één ding over. Dat ben ik. In de puurste vorm. Zonder bewijsdrang. Zonder behoeftes. Dankbaarheid blijft over. Het moment is genoeg.
“Oh, moet ik er dan niet over schrijven?” Haha. Het leven is zoveel simpeler als je bent als een kind, zonder allerlei redeneringen en andere meer of minder subtiele manieren van manipulatie. Ik moet glimlachen. Ik hoef mezelf niet voor de gek te houden. Het mag wel natuurlijk.
In de vorige post, die ik per ongeluk verwijderde, schreef ik iets over het Leven dat zich door mij heen wil uiten. Ik heb dat leven gewantrouwd, want wat als het verkeerde bedoelingen zou hebben? Dan zou ik toch te kijk staan. Haha.
Of wat als er ineens boosheid op komt, of frustratie? Dan zou ik zeker te kijk staan. Op momenten dat ik voel dat ik gedragen wordt door het Leven, vraag ik mij dat niet af. Dan ben ik gewoon. Dan kan ik gevoelens van frustratie gemakkelijk overzien. Het mag er dan helemaal zijn.
Misschien ben ik bang om mezelf te verliezen in emotie. Maar wie verliest wie? Of wie verliest wat? Wat is het eigenlijk dat door deze ogen kijkt? Ben ik niet meer (of juist minder) dan alleen mijn ideeën over mijzelf? Als die ideeën voor een moment wegvallen, is wat er overblijft zo intiem en zo vertrouwd. Dan BEN ik gewoon.
Ik zie even het hoofd van een neefje voor me, de zoon van mijn broer. Ik heb hem al een lange tijd niet gezien, maar ik weet hoe hij volledig in iets kan opgaan en in het moment kan zijn. Er komt even een emotie langs en mijn lichaam ontspant. Wees als een kind.
The desire to be honest is tricky. I fell for it. Two months ago, I had an amazing conversation with my friend Josytha. She asked me some questions that invited me to be honest about myself. I loved the freedom that came as a result so much, that I wanted to be more honest with myself.
Today, I had another conversation with Josytha and basically the same thing happened. This time, I had to admit that I could not even keep the promise of being honest.
Yes, if I am truly honest, I have to admit that I am not always honest to myself.
That is honesty on a different level. It is much easier to create the mission of being honest and doing my best. Not really. I had easily failed that mission. And now I had to admit that.
The quest to be honest created a mission.
I felt that I would be successful if I would complete that mission. I was not aware that I was judging myself for not being completely honest all of the time. I made the desire to be truly honest into a vision again, that I should not be dishonest and made a trap for myself.
It was such a relief to be okay with the fact that I had not always been honest. It helped me to be more honest with myself, actually.
I am learning to live in this paradox of life.
Paradox is actually where I experience life the most. Only when I let go of the idea that life has to look this way or that way, I can accept everything that comes my way. And when I accept it, I can make much better decisions about what I really want.
Our conversation today ended with me cracking up. I saw again how serious I take myself and how little actually matters. We humans are running away from what we do not want and pursuing that which we think will make us happy. I laughed for minutes seeing how silly all (our ideas about) our accomplishments are in the bigger picture.
This post does not even approach what I truly want to say, but that is okay. It is not text that will convey the true message anyway. I hope that my life will. That is what I want to pursue anyway. But not really.
In August 2015 I started traveling around the world after having worked for seven years for Stenden University in the Netherlands. I had traveled quite a lot before that job and did not think I would travel extensively, again.
In May, the virus hit after learning about an interesting group of friends around a young spiritual teacher named Bentinho Massaro situated in Boulder, Colorado. My curiosity had been piqued and my first plan was to go there for three months and come back to my job.
In the meantime, I found out that Hawaii hosted people with interesting lifestyles – besides gorgeous nature – and thus Hawaii became a nice stop in between the US and New Zealand, a country that I wanted to visit for a longer time. The idea of going back to my old job seemed less attractive as I did not know what would happen on my journey and how much I would change. I decided to quit my job. All of this happened in such a short time, that it rather surprised me – and many people around me.
The idea of going back to my old job seemed less attractive.
When I arrived in Boulder, I quickly became part of the group of people I wanted to be around. One thing lead to another and I made my first video with Dave Solazzo, who received my request with enthusiasm. I met interesting people that raised my curiosity and conversations with some of them made me want to make videos. Even though I had sold my camera before I started traveling, it came back on my path.
Interviewing people gave me an opportunity not only to develop myself, but also to connect with beautiful people and to give them something of value. I found out that my three core values were met in a way that I could enjoy effortlessly. People helped me to get the gear that I needed to keep doing this on the remainder of my journeys.
I found out that my three core values were met in a way that I could enjoy effortlessly.
Everything came together. Some years ago, I had made some videos with a colleague and friend, Maik. We started a movement we called ‘Momens’ – referring to moments and ‘mooi mens’ which means ‘beautiful person’ in Dutch – where we wanted to find the deeper layer of people’s story. Sometimes we would capture that in one minute videos. Maik was a master getting to the heart of people and taught me how to dig for and recognize an authentic story.
Now, the story continues. Some of those stories can be found on this website.
I am here because I want to. And I want to because it is relevant. I want to experience it. I am in this time, this earth, this experience because it is relevant.
In another timeline, a parallel version of reality, I could be still depressed. Or I could be completely healed, rich and successful. But right now, I am experiencing this life. I am having this experience. And that is why it is relevant. Because I am experiencing it.
Right now, I am experiencing this life.
Of all the experiences I could have, I have this one. This one experience.
Every wished to explore the world? Or have another adventure you’ve been dreaming about? I did not regret my decision to make a trip around the world and start all over again. Stepping into the unknown felt scary, but oh, I LOVED THE FEELING TO BE ON THE MOVE AGAIN.
I remember several occasions feeling stuck because I’d become happy with my comfort zone. “I need to get moving again.” Packing my bags and taking a bus or standing on the road with my thumb up. The anticipation of unknown adventures felt so good.
The anticipation of unknown adventures felt so good.
I came across a very inspiring video by Tim Ferriss about the book Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. He talks about how two monks would promise each other to travel. Because of their vows, they would say, “We will go in winter.” And in winter they would say, “We will go in summer.”
I’d rather not promise anyone when I will go.
I’d rather dream knowing that someday I will go.
Or I will just buy a ticket.
It’s like friends saying, “We need to hook up soon,” with the intention to see each other, but it never happens. I’d rather say, “Fare well. I might see you again someday.” I’d rather keep it completely open, or make an appointment right away.
I’d rather dream knowing that someday I will go.
Why is that? Could it really be because adventure starts only now? Making vague promises is using the future to find reasons NOT to go. Every time I listen to my reasoning, I will not go. I won’t do something I love. Strangely though, when I did not promise myself anything, my dreams would magically appear and I would step in.
Don’t use the future as an excuse not to do what you love. Dream now. Choose now. Because everything only starts now.
“Ik word zo fanatiek als ik een spel speel met mijn familie. Ik baal als ik aan het verliezen ben en dat vind ik weer vervelend.” Dat zei een vriendin jaren geleden tegen mij. Ik had wel eens met hen meegespeeld. Niet om te winnen en toch won ik soms. Mijn doel was om erbij te zijn en te genieten van het bij mijn vrienden zijn.
“Ik baal als ik aan het verliezen ben en dat vind ik weer vervelend.”
Ik stelde haar een vraag in de trant van: “Waarom wil ze zo graag winnen? Wil je winnen of verliezen serieus nemen of kun je dat ook als een spel zien? Kun je genieten van het verliezen, omdat dat ook een waardevolle ervaring is? Sommige van jouw familieleden kunnen niet genieten van die ervaring, maar jij kunt het, want je ziet dat iets dat zij nog niet zien. Als zij verliezen, balen ze dat verloren hebben, maar jij baalt dat je baalt als je verliest. Voor jou is relatie, met jezelf en met anderen, belangrijker dan je waarde halen uit winnen.”
Spelregels voor genieten
Grappig hoe wij waarde halen uit ons succes en we ons niet goed voelen als we ‘falen’. Op het moment dat je de serieuze spelregels van het spel ‘succes vs. falen’ loslaat, kom je in een ander spel terecht, waar het gaat om genieten. Waar geen verliezers zijn en ook geen winnaars, want als iedereen geniet, is iedereen een ‘winnaar’. Het idee dat je iets bent als je van een ander wint, is ook een interessant idee, maar op een gegeven moment verliest dat idee haar aantrekkingskracht, als je gaat zien dat je geluk niet langer afhankelijk is van de omstandigheden, van winnen of verliezen.
Winnen en verliezen of relatie?
Het ‘winnen vs. verliezen’ spel werkt heel subtiel tussen mensen. Ik begon te zien, dat elke keer als ik mij niet goed voelde door wat iemand zei, ik die persoon zag als een winnaar en mijzelf als verliezer. Ik trok me terug, of ging er tegen in. Elke keer als ik iemand oordeelde, zag ik mijzelf als winnaar en de ander als verliezer en was ik niet langer in relatie met mijzelf en met anderen. Het leven bracht mij in de situatie waar ik het spel kon ervaren van beide kanten: winnen EN verliezen, totdat ik weer koos voor relatie.
Het is zo heerlijk om niet meer te hoeven winnen.
Het is zo heerlijk om niet meer te hoeven winnen. Of te verliezen. Om los van wat anderen doen of zeggen, oké te zijn met de omstandigheden — die ik zelf creëer — en met wie ik ben.
Through the stories of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, there are the recurring themes of good and bad, death and life. Underlying all of those, there is the theme of true courage. Gandalf offers both Bilbo and Frodo wisdom and they hear what he says, because they act on it. You can see this in the following video.
It happens exactly as Gandalf had foreseen. Frodo can’t destroy the ring, because its power has overtaken him, but Gollum, whose life was spared by both Bilbo and Frodo, destroys the ring because of his greed.
Frodo learns about true courage
Frodo shows that he has learned from Gandalf. At the end of the story in the book – this is not in the movie – Frodo offers Saruman a chance to change his ways, which he refuses. Saruman then stabs Frodo but fails to kill him. Again, Frodo offers Saruman mercy. In the end, Saruman is killed by his servant Wormtongue, who is slain by the other hobbits before Frodo can stop this.
I love how mercy is the evidence of true courage in the stories of Tolkien.
I love how mercy is the evidence of true courage in the stories of Tolkien. The stories do not polarize between good and evil like most movies. Both Galadriel, Gandalf and Frodo are vulnerable to the effects of the raw power of the ring. Despite all the hardship Frodo went through, or maybe because of it, he chooses mercy over revenge. The result is, that evil destroys itself. A beautiful story of true courage.
I started blogging about my journey, but after a while, I wasn’t motivated any longer. I started enjoying taking video selfies, though, when I was totally relaxed and enjoying the scenery. One day, I found a piano in a church and had fun improvising. The idea started to put some images and music together. Over the course of a few months, I added more pieces of video to the music and the result is a 13 minute video.
I cherish this video because the music and the images bring me right back into the feelings of those moments. I love to listen and watch it over and over again. I feel it gives a good impression of my trip. The cool thing about music and video is that those media are capable to transfer emotion better than written text. That has been the most important lesson of exploring working with video. I am excited to explore more of what this media can communicate.
I got into a few adventures because of minimal travel planning. It put me on the spot and I had to be creative and take some risks. During my trip, I wanted to visit certain people and places, but only a few while in all those seven months. Together with the dates of the flights, these ‘milestones’ provided the basic structure of my journey.
The essence of travel planning
When you plan, you create structure. Everyone prefers a different amount of structure in their life and while they are traveling. For me, too much structure takes the fun out of traveling. I’ve met people that had planned every day of their journey. They felt they had a limited amount of time and wanted to see many things, and that is exactly when planning would start to work against me.
For me, seeing all the touristy places is not where the fun is. I don’t want my own plans to rule my life. You would think that travel planning takes the stress out of traveling and a little bit of planning does. When you buy a bus or a van, then you know at least where you are going to sleep. However, some people added tension to their journey by planning. Several travelers admitted that it was tiring to be in a different place each night.
The cause of stress
I found out that stress is not caused by my circumstances. Yes, I could get a little stressed when I did not have a place to sleep or when the money ran out, but truly, the cause of the stress was my negative definition about the situation. I could just as much see it as an opportunity for miraculous events and a reason for true creative thinking! And when I did that, the anxiety turned into excitement. And the less predictable my journey would be, the more excited it would turn out to be and the more miraculous things would show up and work out.
For sure, I have a certain limit of uncertainty that I can handle. That was one of the reasons I relied heavily on my mobile internet connection in every country. At times, this would create stress because I would be focused on Google Maps too much – which bus stop to get out – but when I recognized that, I chose to trust more.
I can recommend anyone to experiment with dropping some securities to create some adventure. The easiest way to do that, is to plan only one tourist destination a day and one city for a few days. I would stay in a place as long as I felt like it, or when I had the sense of where I wanted to go next.
When things don’t go according to plan
On the last day In New Zealand, things went a bit different than planned. Hm, maybe I had clung to my expectations a little too much! I had to find myself again when some old feelings of disappointment came up. Transport did not work out, getting money for the bus was hard, I spilled coffee over my clothes, it was hot and humid and my heavy bags were, well, heavy.
Later that day, I was able to laugh at it, though. This is one of the nice thing about travel planning, when things don’t go according to the plan. Then will find out whether you truly can be flexible! So, it was a great opportunity to discover more about myself and that I could chose how I wanted to react to the situation.
I did not write any post after having been on the road for a few weeks. The novelty of the experiences wore off and my adventures started to feel ‘normal’. I guess, that is when you stop writing, when you don’t feel you have any novelty to share. Yet, my trip has been amazing the last few weeks.
From last-minute beds opening up in hostels, to meeting locals and staying with them, from connecting with the right people at the right time to doing a fun job at a horse farm, and getting a ride to the airport, all through New Zealand, it has all worked out miraculously. If you want tot read about it, I can send it to you in a private message or an e-mail.
I will explore traveling, being a tourist, planning or not planning in another post because there is much more to say about it. It comes back to an older theme: being a tourist or a traveler? A wrote about it in Dutch when I went to Budapest for a weekend, some years ago. I feel, I want to write about it again.
I have a feeling of relief and happiness after realizing that life will only go forward. I sit outside of Starbucks on Maui, Hawaii, drinking a free birthday coffee. Tomorrow, this body will have been on this planet for 37 years. A good moment to look back and be thankful.
Time looks relevant. Where I was born, it is 12 hours later and my birthday has already begun. So, how can time be different? Isn’t time the same for everyone? It is just our relative position to the sun that makes our experience of time different but we all experience the moment as NOW.
For a moment, I don’t need anything. If I can be happy in THIS circumstance and in this body the way it is NOW, then I can always be happy, and happier still because I feel it will only get better. That is an amazing and humbling feeling which brings relief. There was a time in my life that I felt totally stuck and even though that was around twenty years ago, I only have found great keys to freedom just recently.
I only have found great keys to freedom just recently.
My first great turnaround to happiness was eleven years ago. Before, my relative position to the sun felt quite like night time. Not that I was never happy, but after I got an invitation to say ‘yes’ to life and to God, I experienced a profound cracking of dawn. The day after that decision, I woke up and realized I was happy to exist, something I had never realized before. There have been several defining moments after that, such as meeting some great friends in the north of the Netherlands, who have shown me what it means to live from the heart, for which I am very grateful.
I woke up and realized I was happy to exist, something I had never realized before.
“You are doing some business, huh?” A guys that walks by comments when he sees me typing on my iPad. He asks me what business it is and I answer that it is personal. Personal business of major impact, haha.
I feel grateful for all of the years that I have been alive, even for the time before these awakening moments. Everything looks perfect from where I stand now, as all experiences have contributed to who I experience myself to be, now. I am grateful for the family that I grew up in, for the parents that I got – and to me it feels, even chose myself – for the darkness and for being stuck, because I start realizing that I am so much more than these.
Embracing the difficulties
The physical journey that I started in August has brought me in many places, to many challenges but also to beautiful people and great growth. I see now that if I am not able to enjoy that process, I will never be happy, because growth will never stop. I think this article is an ode to life, to God, to love. Even to hardships and to challenges because they seem to vanish quickly when I honor them.
If I am not able to enjoy that process, I will never be happy.
I feel more ready than ever to embrace whatever presents itself in me, as I see it is my own expectation being reflected back at me. The latest freedom I gained was from seeing subtle beliefs and opinions that limited me. Someone who’s been very helpful in ‘taking the cork out of the bottle’ is a young guy, Bentinho Massaro, who is actually from the Netherlands and started to seek his own freedom from the age of sixteen.
The main reason I wanted to travel again, was to meet him and his friends. He has learned to overcome many limitations and is inspiring his friends to do the same. One of his friends has been a great inspiration to me personally and I will release a short video interview with him soon. It feels good to share my enjoyment with others. More and more I see that we are all in this together, regardless of any race, background or religion.
There is great freedom to be found.
There is great freedom to be found. Today, I reflect on 37 years of successful living. Today, I celebrate life in all its flavors. I know I can receive all that comes with open arms. The bottle of the ripened wine of hardships has acquired great maturity and smells great. Some despise it and refuse to drink, although others choose to thoroughly enjoy it. Let he who is ready, drink. And let those who can’t stand such metaphors, freely vomit.
The first video I made on my trip around the world was with Dave. We had a conversation with some new friends about marketing and I said that I wanted to see marketing consist of real and authentic stories, for example, with Dave. He was all into it. A few days later we shot the video on his veranda with the available tools we had: Dave’s camera and his computer.
I said that I wanted to see marketing consist of real and authentic stories.
I had met Dave just a week earlier. Sitting in a hot tub I asked people which movie character they wanted to be. Dave came by and told me he liked Maximus, the main character of the gladiator. A role that would fit him well. He also associated with the main characters of hero movies, such as portrayed in the Marvel series. I told Dave I saw him as more balanced, as those characters often show a need to prove themselves.
Little did I know that that small chat would develop into an interview one week later. I asked Dave all kinds of questions about his journey in life. At one point I noticed that something shifted because I started to feel emotions. I knew that this was the part that I would use to make a video. Not many minutes later, the camera gave notice of a full memory card, just seconds after Dave’s last statement that can also be seen in the video.
Dave told me that he enjoyed having the space to tell his story because normally he is the one asking his clients questions. He wanted to interview me as well, just because it is such a great opportunity to get to know someone better, so who knows, when a video with me will appear.
I just had an amazing conversation with Stephanie. I connected with her on my first day in Boulder and she offered me a place to sleep for the first night. She’s an amazing woman who coaches executives and I asked her if she could help me answering some questions. She was delighted to.
It is so nice to talk to someone else about the things I am exploring. I quit my job a month ago and I feel I am not going back to a similar job and that makes me want to explore what I want to do instead. This trip has been amazing so far and I feel I am discovering about what I really want to do. Today, Stephanie helped me with that by asking some questions.
I am dropped off at OZO coffeeshop at Pearl street and look at the menu to find something that feels good. I go for a Bhakti Chai with almond milk and less sweetener. Who, that is spicy! It has quite some ginger in it. We really are in granola city! The guy that gave me a ride in Kansas heard that I was heading for Boulder and he called them the granola people: people that are conscious of what they eat and their health. I think that would make all my friends granola people, too!
“What I love about Boulder, is that everyone is conscious, even the hair dresser,” a young woman that I met yesterday, said. She moved out to Boulder and confirms that it is a great place. Riding through it on the bus, I love the feel of the city. The buildings are mostly two stories high which makes it very accessible. And you can see the mountains, because Boulder is right at the foot of the Rockies.