A Book of Dreams, and a Lifetime of Dreaming Them

I think I’m gonna start making a little dream book. You know, a little note book with all sorts of ideas of things I want to do at some point in my life. Ugh I know, sounds awfully girly and cliché, it seems like the fast track to a “my-10-year-plan-scrapbook”. But it won’t be. It’ll just be a way to feel a bit less restless.

For all you fellow used-to-be-travellers, I’m sure you know what I mean. You don’t particularly feel stuck, but you just feel stuck right now. Like, you know you still have tons of time to do a lot of the stuff you dream about, but you wonder when and you have basically no patience. So, if I start writing down all my genius ideas and insane plans, maybe my wanderlustfilled mind will chill out a bit. And I can browse through my little book realising I really don’t have it that bad.

I used to do a similar thing when I was a bit younger. I don’t know where the book is right now, I probably threw it out in one of the many moves, but I remember it had things like “swim with dolphins” (check) and “get a tattoo” (check) and I should really be more proud of the things I’ve done rather than panic about all the things I haven’t done yet, like learn how to dive or take drawing classes so I can draw my travels. Seriously, I’m only 25.

The boyfriend has moved over to Belgium exactly one year ago today, and this morning I was thinking about how far we’ve come. Most of the time I wonder about how far I still want to go, but my oh my we’ve done so much already! Exactly one year ago, we packed up as much of his stuff as we could take on the plane with us, and started moving in to our apartment. One year later, our apartment feels so homely! Last addition: we bought an awesome big new couch. Seriously, how much more settled can you get?! We’ve moved away from what we need to get by to what we want just because, and it’s a wonderful life. In the mean time, my job is progressing nicely I think, and the boyfriend found an amazing job as well, with fun colleagues who trust him and his skills, and a lot of possibilities for the future. Tonight, we’re meeting up with friends in town for some live music on the market squares, as happens in summer in Leuven. I can imagine none of this sounds very exciting, but to us it really is. I really think we can be proud of what we’ve accomplished. And what we’ve accomplished is… happiness.

So now, rather than ruining that happiness with my crazy ideas and restlessness, I’ll keep good track of all my dreams and make sure they come true. And I’ll be okay with that not happening today, or even tomorrow, or even in the next years.

Bring it on dreams, we’ll have a good run together.

Happy Home Holidays

So I belong to one of those lucky people who get to work from home. Even better, I’m not quite sure if I’m even expected to work! My campus closes for a month over summer (and also two weeks over Christmas and one week over Easter), but that doesn’t mean I automatically have a month off.  Just like any other Belgian, I have about 20 days to take off whenever it pleases me.

Now, any other PhD student will happily tell you that taking a month off isn’t the best idea. You don’t ever really want to take a clean break, as you don’t want the ideas you’ve worked so hard on to swim away as you jump in the sea from some Italian cliff, or to whizz past you as you cycle through the Black Forest in Germany, or to simply fall asleep and get left behind when you’re chilling out in some park after lunch. So no, I do not have a month of holidays. But I have to say, life has been treating me well.

Obviously I don’t work my 9 to 5, or even 10 to 4 really. I get up, go to the gym or have a glorious sunny morning run, do stuff around the house or garden, and then I get to work. Under the parasol in our little garden, because yes, it is summmeerrrrrr! And as I sit here working, once in a while, my mind drifts off. Like: I’ll go make some ice cream. Or: oh man there’s a cricket! You know what I mean right, the cicadas that make that holiday sound you just cannot escape when you go south? We don’t really get them here as much, but instant holiday feeling! I located them to the tiny bush of grass by the edge of the garden I’ve been meaning to get rid off. None of that now though, instead I might just see if it grows bigger and attracts more vacation-bugs. Because I might be home and I might be sort of working, but life is not bad at all, and I don’t mind doing this for the rest of summer at all. Who says you need to go on holiday to get the holiday feeling?!

So to summarise: here’s my recipe for a holiday at home:

  • 1 or 2 crickets
  • A parasol
  • Little ice popsicle holders (just mix some yoghurt with that fruit you were gonna throw out because it’s not that fresh anymore but really still quite tasty and stick it in the freezer)
  • A load of sunscreen

Happy holidays!

The Rush of the Adventure, The Adventure of Rush

What I miss most about traveling and adventuring can easily be described in one word: RUSH!

The rush of excitement you get when your plane touches down in a new place and you can’t wait to analyse how this place is different from whatever else you’ve seen. Which is generally quite hard because often, airports are just airports, but you always manage to find something. The red dust of South-Africa, the palm trees of Marseille, the heat of Australia.

The rush of pride when you walk around a city that used to be new to you, but after only a few days you walk around knowing where you’re going and at the same time still being super comfortable looking like a tourist. That feeling that you’re special because your tourist-self made the city your own.

The rush of surprise that you get when you see something you totally didn’t expect. That is why I generally try not to do too much research before I go anywhere. Usually I only find out about the history of a place and the main sights when I’m midway my stay, so I can be surprised to the fullest. Like the Mediterranean-like beaches in the west of Ireland. Or the coastline that doesn’t look like a line at all because of all the little tree-filled islands in Helsinki. Or the utter feeling of remoteness in the English Lake District tackling the hills around Ullswater before the start of the tourist season.

The rush of amazement… That our world is really that beautiful and special and you get to experience just another fraction of that amazing diversity. Amazement that somehow, that tiny corner of our world releases these feelings in you that you can’t even describe. You can’t pinpoint them, because your mind is racing and utterly content at the same time, and all you see breath live at that particular moment is …

RUSH

 

Cure against boredom: Blog!

‘sssssup everyone! Today, I am bored. So today, I will blog.

Quick update: I am now on summerschool. That means: I’m away from home at an abroad university to take postgraduate classes for about one week, learn tons and work on my research. It’s been super interesting so far, but oddly, now that I finally get to adventure again, I can’t really remember how to!

So, I used to do a lot of things on my own. You know, travel on your own and just go do stuff because if you have to wait until you find people to do it with, it’ll probably just not happen. And I’m actually quite happy doing stuff on my own. Sometimes it annoys me to have people around. Like before, I just wanted an easy lunch. None of the polite conversations with people you don’t really know of what would you like to eat and do you know where we could go and then try to keep a conversation going while stuffing your face politely with food. I gladly had lunch on my own 🙂

But now it’s evening and I don’t really feel like studying and I’m like super duper bored. Too lazy to go for a run, so that’s out. Don’t really know anyone to hang out with. Don’t really fancy getting to know someone and having that same conversation for the millionth time: Where are you from, what do you do,… I’m also not really in town so I can’t really just go for a wander… So I blog!

Just for fun, here’s five stories of what I’ve been upto, in random order of what jumps into my mind.

  1. We went to the zoo! Had some of the boyfriend’s friends over from England, and wanted to spoil them with fun Belgian trips. Best zoo around: Pairi Daiza. We played with the monkeys and the lemurs, the boyfriend stroked a giraf, we watched someone ride an elephant, and we watched a ginormous white tiger struggle with the concept of glass as it was trying to eat the little toddlers behind it. My oh my entertaining to say the least! I’ve been to the zoo twice now, and I’d say space wise it’s not that big, but I still haven’t seen even half of it because there’s simply so much going on!
  2. I’ve also been watching some fun vloggers on Youtube. The boyfriend started vlogging as well, and I’d love to show you his video, buuuuut for some odd reason I also sorta want to keep my blog anonymous so can’t really do that. But it’s really cool though, he’s got this new camera and he’s getting really good at all the fancy stuff. I really like seeing what stuff he comes up with and it always makes me laugh. He also introduced me to these super famous vloggers that do some really cool stuff. There is of course Youtube hit Casey Neistat, who can be super fun to watch because so much fun stuff goes on in his life! He’s a moviemaker / businessman / I’mnotreallysureexactly living in New York and he really has some good things going for him! His videos can be super inspiring. But I also really like his mate Shonduras, who leads a bit more of a normal life (or at least that’s the part we get to see in the vlogs) with a lovely family and especially a lot of family fun. Always cheers me right up 🙂 They’re just so upbeat!
  3. We bought a new sofa! Well, actually, we bought it a while ago but it finally arrived. We got it in a spur of the moment so we were super happy to see how perfectly it fitted into our living room. It’s super comfy and super big and it makes the room look a lot lighter than our previous couch.
  4. I replanted the garden. The weather has been a disaster and nothing was growing so I decided to start over. So far, the neighbour cat (who we call Anne-Marie, for future reference) has only destroyed the baby leek plants. Fingers crossed for the horseradishes and spinach!
  5. I completely missed father’s day this year. My dad was abroad for father’s day so I couldn’t really do anything with him, and now we still haven’t celebrated him being the bestest dad! So this weekend he requested a brunch forest picnic. And so it shall be done.

I hope you are all having a nice summer with fun stories to tell. What’s your favourite summer story so far?