She’s a M A N I A C

There are days I devour Netflix shows like an all you can eat continental breakfast. I indulge, overeat and get bulimic. When this happens, weird neurochemical processes take over my membrane and suddenly my non-fictional life sets itself in the middle of my new favorite fictional universe. When those two worlds intertwine in some heavy love making, this is what comes out…

A monstrously exciting read. 

“After ‘Penny Dreadful’ and ‘Girlboss’, Evelien Delgouffe turns ‘Maniac’ for her long awaited new fan fiction blog post” (Daily Planet) 

There was a time I posted a new blog post every week. Back then I was globetrotting. Running after adventure like a dog chasing its own tail. And guess what? Wherever I went, there was my tail! In Australia, in China, even in Japan. Of course I had exciting things to tell each week. Heck, I had exciting things to tell every day, every hour, every minute! But since life is back to the status quo, not a lot of exciting things happen to report about.

I go to the supermarket, I sit at home and write and with the money I make from writing I go to the supermarket again. It’s the circle of life.

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Even though I’ve changed the decor of my life to a new city, I still roam the streets like a moody teenager looking for a pattern. The pattern around which my life, and all life around that, is knitted.

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There was a time I believed in the pattern and I saw the pattern everywhere. I even wrote a book about the pattern. The book has been lying in eyesight for almost a year now. On the corner of my desk. Collecting dust and cereal crumbs.

The book I wrote was filled with hidden walls, double meanings, easter eggs and was a perfect blueprint of the labyrint in my mind which researchers like to refer to as ‘Mindlantis’, the final frontier.

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But lately, I don’t see the patterns anymore.

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You: “Are you depressed Evvy?”

Me: “Isn’t that just the default setting of human beings?”

You: “Err….”

“But why did you actually never publish your book?”

Me: “Because I sent it to 5 people and 1 of those 5 people thought it was shit so from then on I thought it was shit too.”
“Anyway, I am too embarrassed to send it to publishers. That book is all me. I couldn’t bear people to criticize it.”

You: “Ahm, aren’t you a critic in real life yourself?”

Me: “Who are you the ethical department??”

You: “No actually I’m down the hall with the unethical department.”

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You: “We have been watching you for a while miss Delgouffe.”

Me: “Yikes, and who the fudge are you mister Side Parting?”

You: “My name is Doctor Mantleray and I want to eat (…) errmm, study your brain.”

Me: “Oh yeah? And what’s in it for me?”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “Cutting-edge treatment of you neurological hypertheroidial amoebical mambo jambo… hysteria.”

“My colleagues from the unethical department look forward to meet you.”

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Me: “Unless there is some world class editor/ renowned publisher working in your little unethical club, I’m afraid I’m not interested.”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “What a coincidence. There is! His name is Owen and he will be happy to help you publish your book.”

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Me: “Errr, well…thank you, but never mind. I don’t think this version of my book is the definite one anyway… I should probably think about an alternative ending. As a matter of fact I should go do that right now.”

You as Dr. Mantleray : “If you work with us, our computer will do the writing for you. We will hook you up to our neuro-network and your book will be printed directly from your brain. Owen here, will just run the final checks on points and commas.”

Me: “Ok then mister Mantis…”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Mantleray”

Me: “Whatever. Allow me to rephrase my initial question: What’s in it for you?”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Once you begin to appreciate the structure of the mind, there’s no reason anything about us can’t be changed. Pain can be destroyed. The mind can be solved….”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “… And you will earn 50.000 euro”.

(15 minutes later)

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “Ow-keey-oki miss Delgouffe, we will now hot wire you to our neuro-network for a little test run. We will ask your subconsciousness a few basic questions. Consider it a warm up, before we proceed to subduct your future bestseller from your brain.”

“And a 5, 6, 7, 8!”

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Me: “Where the funk am I?”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “Your subconsciousness chose to wake up in Japan. You were here on the 16th of May, 2016. The real you has just witnessed a minor earthquake. Remember? You even put a message on Facebook after it happened.”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “The earthquake was actually not coming from Miyazaki, like news media reported that day, but was caused by a small bug in our computer system when we hooked ‘the future you’ up to our neuro-network. It happens all the time.”

Me: “That’s ahm… swell… doctor, but why am I here?”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Don’t ask me, ask your subconsciousness. Is this place also mentioned in your book?”

Me: “Yeah…”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Well there you have it! Now don’t be scared. Throughout this interview your subconsciousness may switch through different locations from your past. And potentially your future.”

Me: “My future???”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “Yes, as a matter of fact this is you in 6 years from now. Look! You’re a doting mother, covered in rainbows.”

Me: “No no no, take me back! Please take me back!”

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Me: “Where the fudge am I now?”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Err… it seems like your mind is a little disoriented. It mixed your time in Australia with your fascination for cosplay and fantasy, miss Delgouffe. Maybe it’s better we take this conversation to our pre-formatted offices. I will get the floppy disk and program us right in.”

“There you go. Better ain’t it?”

Me: “Peachy…”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “Now let’s get to the core of this mission, miss Delgouffe. First question: are you allergic to any kind of nuts, seaweeds or possibly gluten intolerant? Our chef needs to know, since you will probably stay in our facilities for more than 48 hours.”

Me: “No.”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “Ace! You’re now officially screened and ready to print your bestseller, miss Delgouffe. We will bring you into contact with editor Owen and you can discuss the next steps together while Gertie, our computer, prints out the full story for you and the rest of the world to read!”

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Me: “Owen, where are we?”

Owen: “We’re in an elevator.”

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Me: “Owen, I cannot be in an elevator. Elevators scare the living shit out of me. I have experienced severe trauma in an elevator!”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “What’s happening in there? Why are the radars turning like crazy?!”

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Owen: “Oh boy! You didn’t mention that fear in the intake conversation?”

Me: “They asked me about my fucking gluten intolerancies not about my Michael Myers vs. Laurie Strode relationship to elevators. Now get me the fuck out of here!”

You as Dr. Mantleray: “God Gertie, we’re losing her. Another prodigy’s about to go catatonic.”

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Owen: “Better?”

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Me: “Yes, thank you.”

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Me: “Hey I used to live on this corner! This was one of the first rooms I lived in when I moved to Berlin!”

Owen: “I know. This is 1 year ago today. Do you remember? You took this picture of yourself in your flat.”

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Me: “Yes I remember! I was writing… on my book.”

Owen: “I know.”

Me: “Wait a minute. Am I currently in there? Holy moly! Am I stalking myself??”

Owen: “Yes. What we need to find out miss Delgouffe is the simple neuro-dynamics of why you gave up on your book. Why did you throw something away you worked on for months? Why did it end up on a corner of your desk collecting dust and cereal crumbs?”

Me: “Jeez Owen… I don’t know. Maybe I’m afraid it’s not good enough. Not entertaining enough… After all I stick to true events. I didn’t even bother to use a lot of fantasy… It was just an immediate excerpt of my life. Past and present. And all the irony and double meanings I pretended to see along the way.”

Owen: “Pretended to see? What if what you saw was really there…?”

(In the meantime in the unethical department) 

You as Dr. Mantleray: “We have to stop the trial Azumi. I have to pull the plug!”

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Dr. Azumi Fujita of the unethical department: “No! If you do that you’ll risk she ends up in a vegetative state!”

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(In the meantime in neuro-land)

Me: “Nonsense Owen. I fooled myself. I’m a fool. And maybe that stupid book should just stay in the past.”

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Owen: “At this point in time, when you were here writing in your flat. You also wrote a text message to a handsome looking guy you matched on Tinder. He answered you back and you met each other for the first time on Friday the 13th of October… In the real world, you are a few days shy of celebrating your first anniversary together… That same evening in this flat you listened to Lady Gaga because you had a sudden melancholy to her widely unacclaimed album ‘Artpop’. Today a movie with Lady Gaga enters cinemas and guess what… It’s a love story and she’s probably gonna win an Oscar for it. These are not random facts. I’m sure the Evelien from one year ago, who is now sitting in this flat, would have recognized this pattern.”

Dr. Azumi Fajita of the unethical department: “Dr. Mantleray we are gaining back her cooperation. The numbers are… growing impressively. Owen is actually getting to her.”

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You as Dr. Mantleray: “Of course. I knew we were not going to risk another McMurphy…”

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Me: “So the pattern really is the pattern, huh?”

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Owen: “Yes. And therefor I have to ask you one thing…”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Owen: “You can’t finish your book if you’re running away from your demons. It’s time for the Confrontation stage of this trial. You need to confront your biggest trauma in order to finish your book and unravel your pattern. You will have to take us to that deciding moment in your life. The moment that changed your life forever, the moment that also hurt you the deepest.”

Me: “Ahm Owen? Why did you change into a purple looking Yoda?”

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Owen: “Maybe because your subconsciousness feels more at ease talking to a stuffed animal. Ha! Check mate!”

Owen: “So to come back to my question…”

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“Are you willing to travel back to the most painful moment in your life and dissolve the pattern?”

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Me: “I’m ready for my therapy doctor.”

You as Dr. Mantleray:

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“And Owen’s not a doctor.”

Dr. Azumi Fujita of the unethical department: “Just leave them, James.”

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Me: “Brace yourself Owen.”

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Me: “For this emotional torture ride will take you to belly tingling highs…

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…and sickening lows.”

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XO

Congratulations! You made it all the way through! Thank you for reading and just for the record: I’m not depressed. This is merely a piece of fan fiction to show my deep appreciation for this great Netflix show. Check out my previous fan fiction posts on ‘Penny Dreadful’ and ‘Girlboss’ if you wanna discover more!

A Big Blönde & Clueless Blessed Berlin Birthday Bash Baby! And something with a Book …

Yesterday was my BIRTHDAY Blonde & Clueless’ers!

I had a great time waking up early, bumping my toe against the chair, stumbling over the wire of my hair straightener almost landing my face against the door.  #Blöd&Clueless

You: “So Evvy, did you get a lot of prezzies?”

Me: “Ahm no, we’re not in Bavaria…”

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You: “I mean presents…”

Nope.

But that’s not what birthdays are about once you turn 29. It’s about enjoying the company of your loved ones, friends, having a little wine, …

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What rhymes with 29? A big ass glass o’ wine! 

But I am very excited about one present I got.

And it happens to be the present I gave to myself…

Yesterday morning I went to the print shop around the corner to print….

MY VERY OWN BOOK!

That’s right. I have written a book. My debut as an author. And probably the only one I will write since it’s my poor little life story until now.

Well partly…

Well 90%…

Or at least 40%.

I should reconsider my PR before I make this official. Some parts are rather… shocking.

Anyway back to my memoires. Knowing me a little you probably assume it’s chick lit right? NOPE! No ‘Sex And The City’ or ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’. I wish I had the brain to write such bestsellers. I would be filthy rich.

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My story turned out a little bit more complex and therefor I will never earn big ass $$$$

“No no no, positive thoughts Evvy!” What you reflect to the mirrors of the Universe, you will get back tenfold!

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So I am happy to tell you it’s THE BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN! Move over J.K. Rowling. I’m taking over your throne with a BANG!

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You: “So Evvy, what’s it about exact-ly?”

Well, it’s a feminist manifesto, disguised as a tragic love story.
(Oh right that reminds me: #metoo )

It’s a ball of wisdom disguised as a naïve narrative. 

It’s a BESTSELLER disguised as a BOOK! 

Ok, that last thing was maybe a little exaggerated. But I am pretty sure I have written the new Bible. This is some Ultra New Testament shit fo sho.

You: “Has it got anything to do with the blog?”

OMG yes! How did you know? I am so proud of you You-San! I taught you well. Yes, that is exactly right. The story I have told on this blog, referring to the Australia-China-Japan-France-Canada-Berlin bit, is basically the chronology. So it is very much about traveling for wisdom and a lot of references to spiritual and paragnostic pickings, the Universe, religion, philosophy, etc. But it is also a touching love story of which you don’t know the depths because I never mentioned that on the blog. Truth revealed: The blog isn’t even half the story.

Anyway, I think it’s super cool, I am very happy with it unregarded of what will happen to it now. My options being:

  • publishing it
  • handing it out for free
  • burning it
  • passing it on to my (grand)kids… Or cats
  • keeping it under my mattress…
  • … more suggestions welcome!

I want to thank my awesome friends and roommates here in Berlin for speeding up the process. My main goal to come to Berlin was to write this book. I needed to remove myself from my comfort zone and close myself off somewhere else. As in a creative bubble or fever cabin to sweat this story out. I gave myself until the end of the year to write it but I started 18th of August and finished 18th of October. Right in time for my birthday.

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My new room worked it’s magic on me. Ever since I left Prenzlauer Berg and moved to Wedding the writing process shifted into a higher gear. I want to thank Amos for letting me stay in his room and leaving his creative AMOSPHERE! Also for wishing me good luck on the writing while he was away. By the way, check out his record label Index:records he’s a real mean music maestro.

And of course my in house roomie Addison who will become world’s most famous music producer one day. You can check out his COSMIC COMPOSITIONS on Facebook, Instagram, the whole shebang. And give the pages a like when you’re there alright? Very creative house here!

I am sad I will be leaving this place tomorrow but luckily I already have a new room to move to and thus the story continues!

Well the story of my life, that is. The book is already printed and I don’t want to make any more adjustments 🙂

So for  now I say good bye. Until next time. Let me know if you would like to read my book. Any suggestions on what I should do with it next are very welcome.

By the way spanks a lot for the mad birthday wishes y’all! ❤ 

Tschüssie! 

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XO

 

The cycling of life

Writing January 2015. My editor gives me the look. The look he gives everyone who comes up with a lousy idea in a bid to try something new, edgy and different for the paper.

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Editor: “Look Evelien, I admire your… ahm… creativity? But we’re not gonna turn you into a cross cyclist. Why the heck did you came up with that idea anyway?”

Me being deadly serious over here: “Because I want to challenge myself, write about every detail and make people think, push them to step out of their comfort zones. In which ever way they want to.”

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Editor: “(shakes his head with a big male chauvinist grin on his face) Let’s not, okay?”

“Now, let’s ‘cycle’ (ha-ha)

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back to the daily reality guys. There’s been a murder 40K away from here. The wife apparently stabbed her husband with a pair of scissors and then tried to commit suicide but failed. She is now in the hospital where … ” His voice blurred into the background where it eventually muted. I was in my head. My silent bubble. My turmoil.

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Dreamer.

My choice for becoming a cross cyclist came forward out of frustrated ambitions, melancholy and heartache.

I wanted to rise above myself. Reinvent myself. Be proud of something I achieved.

I felt so damn ordinary.

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Stuck in a daily routine. One where no one seemed to allow me to break free.

Not on my terms at least…

I was a woman shouting in the desert.

The idea was so pure and simple. And many times commercialized throughout my childhood years. I’m a kid from the MTV generation. And all I wanted was to be Made.

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But nobody seemed to listen.

I gave in. I decided it maybe wasn’t the time or place to become something else. That maybe they were right, and I should just go back to being normal. “Being normal is already crazy enough.”

… They should just execute people who dare to say that out loud.

A couple of months later I crashed. Hard.

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I had become so restless, I just couldn’t walk away from it any more. It was the big elephant in the room. Stampeding. I was looking for so much more. But I didn’t know what exactly. Or where to begin at all. I was scared as fuck.

It’s like jumping into the deep blue without knowing you can swim. Or end up piranha bait.

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Worst.Movie.Ever.

So -as you loyal readers of the blog already know- I quit my job and bought a ticket out of here. The furthest place I could imagine. Australia. And see from there.

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<Seeing from there>

People blamed me I was running away from things. As if it was a bad thing.

But there are two ways to look at the picture here. What does an athlete do? Does he run away from the start? Or does he run towards the finish line?

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“Touché”

In my head, yes, I was running away from something.

To run towards something else.

That made sense to me. And that’s all that mattered. No matter how tired I got of explaining myself to family, friends and coworkers.

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On my travels I adapted a minimal lifestyle. I shared a shed with deadly spiders, slept in the passenger’s seat of a car, drove around the Sunshine Coast in a Mini Moke, kept the social encounters to a bare minimum, threw away clothes, insecurities and comfort zones. I let go. Trusted.

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I read somewhere that people who trust things to faith are happier.

I ended up in China in a Kung Fu school to gain more self confidence and defensibility. Better reflexes too. I reached Japan and realized I was out of money. I worked with what I had. And the universe helped me out with the rest. My long travels brought me back to cycling this summer. I was back in the circus where I got hooked on adventure and fell in love with bicycles two years ago while I was working as a one-time Tour de France reporter. The cycle of life…

And the idea grew back on me.

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TDF 2016

I want to ride my bicycle.

And participate in amateur road races.

Starting now my life will be concentrated to two wheels. Almost two years too late. But better late than never.

The greatest ticket to freedom, excitement, endurance, self knowledge, and the occasional fall on the face.

A metaphor for life.

“You make every tomorrow faster by acting today. So even if you aren’t at the same level as everyone else, there’s only one way to get there and it’s by staying optimistic and giving it a go.”
(Ella Cycling Tips)

Let’s not kiss the asphalt on the first date. Nor the hood of a car. Or the side mirror of a big truck.

Note to self:

Stay real.

Stay alive.

Stay on your bike.

XO

BIG SALE / 

COMFORT ZONES

They’re all out of fashion guys. I’ve stepped out of mine. People are stepping out of theirs. (Have you checked out srprs.me? It is the best invention ever!!! Well… Since the wheel, obviously. People are purchasing holidays without knowing where they’re going. I think I will treat myself to a surprise trip for my birthday this month!)

Why do we build up comfort zones? Materialistic ones and psychological ones?

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Just think about all the junk you could get rid of. And how much you could actually gain from it.

Namasté all the way!

XO

You: Ahm Evyy?… Aren’t you forgetting something?

Me: Ehh…What?

You: Weren’t you supposed to tell us all about your new boyfriend you referred to on Facebook?

Me: … I just told you all about him.

You: (…) Is … Is your bike your new bf…?

Me: … Mmyes.

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To be continued.

Aftermath

And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so? 

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And what did you want? 

To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth. 

(Raymond Carver, Late Fragment)

***

Okay guys, we all know what time it is. It’s closing time. My trip is coming to an end. This is the final blog post. Grab your last drink, sit back and relax and try to laugh every now and then. Just… for old time’s sake.

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(This was your cue to laugh)

So you must be really curious about how Japan is treating me.

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Good! Because the first days were a blast. I survived an earthquake (previous post) and slept in boxes (capsule hostels). I went to Harajuku, explored Asakusa, stood on the famous Shibuya crossing, went to a Robot show, ….

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Life was great! Until one night I was standing in front of a supermarket ATM and couldn’t withdraw cash. It had seemed I had only 6 euros left in my account.

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What in the ass?! How did this happen?? Is my wallet leaking? Did I access some dodgy wifi and got phished? I’ve been leaving my credit card details like bread crumbs, somebody must have framed me!

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You: “Relax Roger Rabbit, you probably just spent it all. I’ve seen your Instagram account, you flew from Shanghai to Hong Kong and from Hong Kong to Tokyo in less than two weeks.”

Me: “Mmmyes… I did the (after) math. And you’re right. I did spent more money than I thought I did. Even though I didn’t splurge (I stayed at cheap hostels and survived on two meals a day) I still spent a lot of money on stupid things. Like transportation, an occasional movie ticket and the extra charge that was taken from me every time I retrieved cash from an ATM.”

Fuck my life. I am in Japan, had all these wild plans of going to Osaka to visit Universal Studios and going to Kyoto to see the bamboo forest, visit hot springs and dress up like a geisha,and all I wanna do now is go home this instant!

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(Relax, it’s a snapchat filter)

Without money I don’t feel like being here any longer. I’ve had it. I want my old life back! And I want my salary back!

How in the shit biscuit am I going to survive the next 15 days with only 156 euros? (150 in my wallet and 6 in my account)

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I had three choices: 

A: Take the credit card out and let the future take care of it;

B: Prostitution;

C: Lock myself up in a hostel, survive on cucumbers and bananas.
(Subconsciously I pick phallus food… what is wrong with me?)

You: “You not getting an orgasm. That’s what’s wrong with you. Just have sex already and get it over with. It will help you to think more straight. I choose option B.”

Me: “No! Perv. That would be option Z. I checked what’s out there. And it’s an ugly Tinder-truth!”

I pick C.

‘C’ for ‘Cause it’s the reasonable thing to do’.

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I’d rather not have debts when I return to Belgium, thank you.

You: “But maybe you’re in Japan only once, don’t you have an emergency fund or something?”

Me: “My answer stands. I’m keeping my foot down.”

Walking in line, conforming to rules, being well mannered, well behaved and humble. That’s what the Japanese people have thought me and that’s what I will do. Obey my wallet. Bare the consequences of my own actions.

You: “Woah Evvy, are Japanese people really such party poopers?”

Well from 9am to 5pm they are. Standing in line for the metro dressed in their perfectly ironed suit and tie, picking the recommended lunch, staying on the safe side of life, bowing all day and licking their boss’s ass. After that they hit the pubs, karaoke bars or video game centers and get completely loud and wasted. The smell on the subway alone will get you drunk. I’ve seen salary men sweating out their hangover at 7 am under a bridge. That’s why every convenient store sells clean shirts, underwear, socks and toiletries. It’s part of the culture. At one point they just go : “I’m done bowing for you. Suck my d*** , I’m getting drunk.” The morning after they put on a clean shirt and humble life starts all over again. Ohayooo, Sumimaseeeen, Domo arigatou gozaimasuuuu, …

My friend Cedric was here to witness my little ATM meltdown and was not very pleased. He had just spent 19 hours on a plane to see me for the first time in 5 months and here I was feeling depressed and not wanting to leave the room because of not having money. That night, he put me to bed hoping everything would be better in the morning

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… and I am very grateful he put a roof over my head the entire time he was here. In return I went to get him fresh bakery treats every morning and tried to pay for his food as much as possible. I also put up with his snoring without complaining tooooo much. But still I could never compensate the Cinderella hotel he payed for while he was here. Domo arigatou gozaimasuuuu *bow bow bow*.

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When he left I had 9 more days to survive off my budget. Back to cucumbers and bananas. When all of a sudden I ran into a former teacher of mine. Apparently she had moved with her family to Tokyo last year. She invited me to come stay with her in order to keep my budget down. This is only the second time she saved my life. First was 9 years ago when she helped me get a copywriting internship at TBWA, one of the best advertising agencies in the world. I always knew I wanted to write but she gave me the opportunity to really explore that talent. Without that experience I wouldn’t have had the confidence to pursue a professional career as a writer. I wouldn’t have landed a job at the biggest newspaper in Belgium, I wouldn’t have gotten a burnout at 26, I wouldn’t have started traveling. Without her ‘Backpackers Guide for the Blonde and the Clueless’ WOULDN’T EVEN EXIST! We should all bow for this lady right now.

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I gladly accepted her invitation and moved in with her on Friday. Five days before returning to Belgium. She lives 40 minutes outside Tokyo city center in Setagaya. A new -and rather upscale- neighborhood.

Her son let me sleep in his room. And I was free to scavenge the kitchen cupboards as much as I want. I landed my own little piece of heaven.

As soon as I moved in I started thinking: maybe I should try to make one more trip happen. One last unforgettable night. To have closure. A last resort. I put all my money together and started doing some brain breaking mathematics. I already knew Osaka and/or Kyoto were out of the question. But soon I discovered there might be enough there to allow me a trip to the Japanese seaside! It would be great if I could see the beach before I leave. I exchanged the euros and dollars I still had in my pocket. Also the 50 euro emergency note I got from Mattias and Maja the day before I left Belgium. “To pay for a nice accommodation when you need it.” Clairvoyant friends, I have.

I started looking into it and bumped on an article in a Japanese magazine about this wonderful beach in Izu. It is a little further than the touristy beaches around Tokyo but worth the ride. It would take me about 3 hours to get there by train and about the same amount of transfers.

I immediately booked myself a ryokan just a hop-skip from the beach where I would enjoy looking out at the white sand, waves and surfers from a Japanese-style room with tatami mats and futon beds. On Sunday I waved my ‘foster family’ goodbye and took off with a little backpack carrying only my toothbrush, a pair of fresh underpants, my bikini and my laptop. It felt like the first day of school. Although I’ve been on more exciting trips these last months, this one actually gave me butterflies in my stomach. Since I had given up on the outlook of leaving Tokyo, but somehow making one last trip happen. I was over the moon. Especially since the weather gods had granted me 29 degrees and a full day of sun.

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on my way from Yokohama station

The entire way there I sat in my seat with a smile on my face. I saw the landscape changing stop after stop. More green, more trees, look there! It’s the ocean!

When I finally arrived in Izukya-Shimoda station I was only one bus ride away from my destination. Of course the bus driver accidentally dropped me off 1 K too far. But if it wasn’t for that I would have never discovered ‘On the Beach’. A cute little beach/surf bar with the most amazing BBQ lunch meals. The presentation is a modern take on the traditional Japanese ‘bento’ lunch box. For only 700 Y (5 euros) that was damn good lunch!

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Apparently Izu is a surfer’s paradise and there were a lot of wave seekers out there that day. The sides of the road were bedazzled with little surf shops selling cute clothes, bikinis and accessories. I felt like I was back in Oz. It felt like the perfect place to end my trip.

When I arrived at the hotel, I entered a room with an amazing beach side view, with a kimono hanging in the closet to dress me up for dinner. I also discovered there were hot springs available. For free! I think it’s amazing how things have a way of eventually falling into place. Even though I didn’t get to go to Osaka and Kyoto, I still got a chance to do everything my heart desired. Sleeping in a traditional ryokan, on a tatami mat, bathing in a hot spring, dressing up like a geisha, …

The puzzle fitted perfectly. The only thing missing was the Universal Studios. But -somehow- I did manage to make up for that the day after. When I decided to make a brief stop in Yokohama before returning to Setagaya and went on an unexpected roller coaster ride by the harbor. The perfect way to end this roller coaster of a journey.

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At one point the ride just disappears under ground!

It wasn’t the Harry Potter ride, but I screamed and giggled like a little girl.

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Post roller coaster selfie. It was WILD!

While I was taking in the sea view at Tatadohama beach I started doing some ‘after math’ again.

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Calculating not losses, but profits this time. Asking myself: “What have I gained from this trip?”

  1. I defo became wiser

My roots literally pushed the blondness away. I definitely have become less clueless. But -no worries- I am still naive enough to live this life through dangerously pink glasses.

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2. This trip made me realize: I am one lucky San of a bitch

I have amazing friends and family. The best parents in the world. They stood by me this entire time. Letting me go, giving me freedom. Trusting. There were times I didn’t reach out to them for weeks. And still they didn’t complain. That meant a lot.

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I have the best colleagues and bosses in the world. They supported my decision. Respected it. And even published some bits of my adventure.

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3. I frigging love myself 

I didn’t encounter the love of my life. But then again, that wasn’t really the goal of my trip. It didn’t happen because I didn’t open up to the opportunity. I was too busy spending time with myself. Catching up on lost times. However, I had some uplifting moments. I will never forget Steph and our little tryste at Port D. I will never forget Kunyu mountains and my little romance with a fellow Kung Fu student. Even the innocent little night swim at Noosa beach with my first ever Tinder date will be something I will gladly look back at in 20 years from now. Although I do regret not having tasted the butcher’s fine meats… Ah well. Maybe he needs a little more ripening anyway. After all, he’s only 24. And I’m not Madonna… Or am I?

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4. I’ve met some pretty amazing people

In the category non sexual encounters I gladly remember Helmut. The Tasmanian Devil. How he tried to brush me off but ended up regretting not having me around longer. Goedele, who took me into her home and shared a quite turbulent first week with me back in Adelaide. I loved my farm family and Pierre who took me on an unforgettable roadtrip to Melbourne as a true gentleman. I remember Maryam. A strong woman who taught me the simple truth that ‘different people have different ideas’, to never lose my self esteem, and to not be afraid of using a little herbs in the kitchen. There’s no such thing as overseasoning. My lovely motel managers back in Marcoola, who hooked me up with the most fun car ever with which I embarked on the most fantastic roadtrip ever. James at the Floriana in Cairns. Who taught me Fawlty towers really does exist. My shifu in China. The man I felt a deeply (however platonic) love and respect for. My roomie Celine, my sister from another mister, who I will visit very very soon. My teamie Audrey and all the other amazing people I met in the school. Rebekka, Linus, Sterling, Obim, Bo, Marvin, Daniel, Lore, Lucy, Himmat, Luke, … too many to sum up!

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5. There is nothing I cannot do. Well, sort of

I learned to take care of myself. To be independent and to believe in my capabilities. I learned to drive on the left, to get from A to B in foreign countries using foreign currency and foreign language. I learned Kung Fu. Or at least the basics of it. I learned I have a strong will and a strong body to match and I am capable of doing russian push ups if I really put my mind to it. I learned my body is the most powerful instrument I will ever own. And therefor I learned to treat it that way =>

6. I quit smoking

My last cigarette I put out in Ashbourne (what’s in a name) Australia over 4 months ago. I haven’t had a setback once. I don’t understand how I could ever be addicted to it.

7. I learned to trust

I’ve learned no matter what happens, things happen for a reason and things have a way of turning out well in the end. Never a failure always a lesson. Never an ending without a new beginning.

This is why this maybe isn’t the final blog post after all. Time will tell.

But for now:

Lientje Out.

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Domo arigato for your support these past months.

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Daisuki! ❤

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And thank you snapchat for turning me into a real (and rather scary) geisha after all. Free of charge!

XO