BLONDE & B R O K E in Berlin: how to tackle food cost?

How to survive on a budget in one of the coolest cities on the planet? 

Find out in the following bit!

So as you know I am now free living and freelancing in Berlin. I am not near the point where I make shit loads of money YET (especially if you have read what happened to me in the previous post) so that’s why I have to tackle my money business in a clever way.

(…) Me going to Ibiza for 4 days probably wasn’t the cleverest of ideas but I considered it more to be an investment since I had the time of my life with people I love and care for. Bonus points for mental health yo! 

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The traveling threesome ❤

But this cannot mean I can go on a Spree. No matter how close I live to this river (…)

The truth is: Good things in life don’t come for free so I have to really think about what I spend and if that correlates with what I get out of it.

For instance: I could stop eating. That way I don’t have to spend money.

True. But there is no point in not taking care of my body as I don’t want to get sick as I don’t want to spend money on doctors and medical bills. Hm, do I even have insurance, I wonder?

So I have made some calculations and I have estimated myself a 15 euro allowance per day to spend on ‘surviving’ (rent not included). With this I can anticipate in basic needs. Food and beverages come first. That should be more than enough right?

Rrrright… But when I need toiletries, laundry soap or tickets for public transportation this also has to come from the same allowance which means I have to do some creative shifting here and there.

Especially in case I would want to buy shoes or clothes. LUCKILY I stopped buying that shit ages ago! I don’t feel like spending money (considering the previous mentioned correlation theory) on things I don’t really need. I’m usually ahead of fashion any ways (:-p) so I much rather put my money where my mouth is.

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Okay, so how to tackle food cost in Berlin? Actually it’s pretty darn easy…

  • EXPLORE DISCOUNT PARADISE
    Germany is ‘Die Heimat’ of Lidl and Aldi. So if you want to hit the jackpot involving discount shopping: you’re in the right place. Next to those you also have Penny, Netto, Kaiser’s and Kaufland. I suggest you visit them all and see where you can nibble some extra cents of certain products. Believe you me, it’s the ‘LIDL’ things that count!
  • RECYCLE YOUR BOTTLES 
    This one is a little trick to actually earn money. When you buy plastic bottles in the shop you can collect them in a machine and get 0,25 euro back per bottle. Glass bottles are worth 0,08 euro a pop. So be wise and recycle yo! It’s good for the environment and for your wallet. But for the sake of ‘Nächstenliebe‘: when you find empty  bottles or cans in the street or in the metro, leave them for the homeless so they can have a little pocket money too.
    bottles
  • MAKE FRIENDS WHO INVITE YOU FOR DINNER
    It’s always advised to make friends. Especially when they have a kitchen and a big fridge. Dinner parties are pleasant, cozy and budget friendly.

    moss

    You can bring a cheap bottle of wine if you feel like returning a favor. These days even a nice bottle of biological Italian wine from the BIOMARKT costs only 2,90 euros.
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    It’s even nicer when you cook together with a bunch of people! This way you can have a gorgeous round of cooking and split the costs all together.

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    Cooking with honey, I mean, Hany

    Big meals are much cheaper than cooking for 1. Life for a single gal not only comes with a price, it’s also pricey!

  • GO TO THE MARKET
    huling
    Why would you want to pay 3 euros for 1 avocado when you can pay 3 euros for a bunch of avocados? Der Genter Wochenmarkt (U-bahn Leopoldplatz) is an insider tip for your fruit and veggie fix. It has been a well kept secret for over 80 years now. Be prepared for some old fashioned market trader shouting as well as a big crowd of customers. You can find everything here from a new zipper to a vitamin boost. You can have a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice for 1 euro. Only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

 

 

 

  • FAST 
    Coming back to the ‘not eating part’ here. Actually that’s not a bad idea at all. I have done some research on the matter and there is compelling evidence that skipping one meal a day actually improves physical and mental health. There is a whole nutritional war going on right now aiming to bring down the breakfast lobby. It’s all just a bunch of marketing from Captain Oats and Tony The Tiger. I feel most energetic and productive in the morning when my body solely runs on black coffee. I have a whole storage cabinet of fat cells for my body to tap into, so I’m sure I won’t starve from skipping one meal a day.
  • DOWNLOAD ‘TOO-GOOD-TO-GO’ unnamed
    This is absa-fucking-lutely brilliant. It’s an app – you can download it in the German iTunes Store for free – where restaurants offer leftovers at a ridiculously low price. It’s a great way to cut down food cost as well as food waste and to be more sustainable in regards to the planet. Basically this app is doing everyone involved a HUGE favor.
  • EAT OUT
    This may sound a little contradictory but in most cases going out for dinner can be cheaper than buying ingredients and cooking a meal for 1. Compared to Antwerp, Berlin is much cheaper to eat out. You can easily find a big healthy meal between 4 to 7 euros. And there are so many healthy choices including a lot of vegan options. Vegan cuisine is big in Berlin. I get my vegan fix at VEGO in LychenerstraBe (Prenzlauer Berg). In this neighborhood there is a wide array of restaurants -especially Asian- who offer alternative vegan or vegetarian dishes. For vegan cocktails you must go to ‘Chaostheorie’ in SchliemannstraBe and on the corner with LettestraBe you have to swing by ‘Wohnzimmerbar’ for the vegan soup of the day or a nice soy latte. Creative, cute and cozy! My favorite work spot to date! Speaking of dates….

    (Left: vegan burgers at VEGO; Right: cozy outings at Wohnzimmerbar)

  • GO ON A DATE !
    If chivalry isn’t dead, you will be golden with this one. Meet a guy for drinks, have a nice talk and maybe go for a little bite to eat, charm him with your magical charming wand and before you know it he picks up the tab and you don’t have to spend one nickel. It happened to me twice already, and I wasn’t even doing it on purpose. Every time I went out, the guy picked up the tab. It was twice at Kreuzburger though… which usually doesn’t cost more than 5 or 6 euros. Tofu burgers cost a little bit more than meat ones :-p
  • LAST BUT NOT LEAST: ALWAYS KEEP EYES AND EARS OPEN
    A good insider tip might just be one station away…bestplace-berlin-amen-01

If you stick to these basic ‘budget hacks’ you will hardly burn through your daily allowance. When this is the case I like to treat myself to a yummy coffee somewhere… Preferably with a little side order of brain food.

There is always money for a little comic relief. 
“Swallow me whole”, that’s exactly what that vegan bowl at ‘the Commonground’ said to me later that night! 

If you want to check all of this out for yourself: there is currently an amazing offer to come to Berlin practically for FREE!

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3 days in a 4 star hotel including breakfast (that damn breakfast lobby) for only €49,50! @vakantiepiraten.nl

Come and live FREE with ME next to the SPREE!

It is such a GREAT city!! ❤ ❤ ❤

XO

The S C A M

(***Attention: this could be my blondest and defo most clueless post to date.)

So these last few months I have been cooking up a plan. Like I always do.

Several weeks ago I had put up a message on Facebook stating I was looking for a fever cabin to pursue a new adventure.

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The main goal of it all was to move out of Antwerp, take my job with me, and live somewhere I could write and live at the same time. It could be Belgium, but then I started considering the bigger picture.

There were a few things that worked in my advantage:

  • My roommate gave up the lease of his apartment and went to live with his lover which meant I had to move out anyway
  • The roaming costs abroad suddenly got cancelled which means you can make phone calls to and from Europe without a financial hangover. (Well… it depends how much of course)
  • I started up my own business which basically means I can take my writing all over the world…

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The borders had been lifted and I suddenly remembered me being in Canada talking to my good friend Audrey. We had just celebrated Christmas and the New Year was a couple of days shy. I told her I wanted to live in Berlin for a couple of months.

You: “Berlin? Why Berlin?”

Me: “Dunno. Just to be there and have a change of scenery…”

You: “Why not Barcelona or Bali…or…Barcelona?”

Me: “Because I’m a non conformist, an anti establishment hippie who needs distraction and action PREFERABLY from like-minded people and ESPECIALLY from men with neck and nuckle tattoos.”

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Yes…Help me.

So: After Canada I went back to Antwerp from where I pursued a career as an independent writer and I started making serious plans to set up base in Berlin.

I went for a short visit in June.

You probably remember the TRAVELING THREESOME POSTS from Berlin, don’t cha?

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So much fun ❤

And in July I took the BIG STEP and started looking for a room to move into.

You: “WoW it’s like you moved there in a blink of an eye!”

Me: “Not so fast…”

The universe decided to test me. BIG TIME.

Reality Check

I came in contact with someone who was subletting a room in Berlin.

ursula

We sent e-mails back and forth and I decided the time was right. I took the room, payed a deposit

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but ended up… ROYAL F U C K E D.

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The room turned out to be a scam.

It didn’t exist. Merely in my imagination and in the perfectly portrayed fairytale the so-called owner painted for me.

I lost a lot of money.

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You:  “How much?????”

Enough to pay for this giant Darth Vader head which costs…. Well if you can read the 4 digit number on the price tag you surely don’t have to visit an eye doctor …

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You:

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It was a setback. A massive one.

I couldn’t believe that ME, the so-called investigative journalist, could fall for a scam like that?

How blonde and clueless could one be??

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You: “So how did you found out it was a scam, Evvy?”

The name with which she…or he… operated is in fact an existing name and it belongs to a girl. A girl who got scammed whilst looking for a room in Munich. She had given her passport information and that’s when her identity was abused to scam other people. Including me.

Now, if you see me somewhere on the internet subletting rooms in Barcelona, Delhi or New York don’t pay me any deposit and report me to you nearest police station. Thank you.

I went through a terrible low after the scam. I lost so much money. Money I worked hard for as a fresh starter-upper. Money I won’t ever see again.

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After a few weeks time, my bank confirmed me that the account where I sent the money to was emptied and closed down. The lead had turn cold. The police couldn’t do anything either. They had to drop the case.

case closed

I was reconsidering my entire plan. But I wanted to go to Berlin so darn bad… It had been my New Year’s resolution. And I needed to find a new place to live anyway. Either in Belgium or somewhere else.

I decided to give it one more go. I wouldn’t let my dream be crushed by one bad person.

I decided to put up a message on a housing website stating I got scammed and I was wanting to give things a second chance.

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I got quite some response to my -let’s be honest: very sad- message. People were sending me photos of their refrigerator. Telling me I was welcome to stay for dinner. Also a lot of Indian guys responded to me, telling me they would be happy to comfort me *wink wink*.

But then I got a private message from a lady. A single mother of two. Who would start looking for a new room mate in a couple of weeks but decided to let me know I would be slightly in the advantage of becoming her new roomie.

Every cloud has a silver lining. That’s fo sho. And regarding that scammer: I sincerely hope KARMA is a ball busting bitch!

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama

The plan was still on. And I prepared for my big evacuation.

I made things official in the bar. They knew my final bar tending days were coming and I slowly but surely started planning and moving my stuff out of the apartment.

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= > SHIPPING OUT

My last weeks in Antwerp were my best. I shared a goodbye beer with my favorite customer, went to the Pride with my two favorite men, went for a bike ride with dad and had a vegan pizza with mom!

 

 

I had a great time saying goodbye to my friends but I needed to move on. I had decided. So I persisted.

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I am now happy to tell you I am currently living in a wonderful very much existing room in the center of Berlin.

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My lovely street in P Berg! ❤

I am meeting lots of new people, discovering new places and things every day. And I am doing a lot of writing here.

For those of you who are in need of some juicy copywriting and/or storytelling or who want to help me earn my money back, I am open for business and happy to be of service right here in my Berlin office! CONSIDER THIS AS A GOOD CAUSE HELPING THE POOR! => www.eveliendelgouffe.com !

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One of my many writing spots ❤

Thank you for reading and stay tuned!

flowersforlioba

XO

 

G-spot

(***Caution: just like the main image of this posts suggests, this read isn’t too elaborate in words nor content.)

So you might remember a little …

You: “Ahm Evvy, don’t we get an hello first?”

Me: “Err.. yeah… sure…. (…)”

Me: “Hello everybody!”

hello

You: “Hi Evelien!”

troy-mcclure

Me: “You might remember me from blog entries such as ‘Should the world turn Vegan: Yay or Nay?’, ‘Bitch don’t kill my vibe’ and ‘G I R L B O S S‘.

Well today, I’m going to elaborate on that last one in line since I am officially …

A Girl-BOSS!

That’s right I have found my G-spot.

That blog entry (click to read) was a wake up call and forced me to look at my inevitable future entrepreneurship. But I was completely clueless. How to deal with entrepreneurship anyway?

growingup

So I decided to take advice from the most notorious entrepreneur and current Pimp King of the United States:

donaldtrump

Mr. Donald TRUMP errybody!

hermione sarcasm

What did this goof.. -err ‘good’- man teach us about lady business?

That’s right: grab ‘m by the … <fill in the blank>… BINGO!

So that’s what I did. I grabbed my lady balls and sucked them up (…) I went in and applied for a full time independency. From employers, men, this WORLD!

I am an Independent Woman part 1.

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Well, I need to pay a significant amount of taxes and social contributions in order to maintain that freedom (…)

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As from now I will be offering my writing skills to the world and its wide web.

You can cont(r)act me for all kind of writings as well as editing, storytelling, translations, advertising, articles, travel stories, columns, ghost writing, crossword puzzles … In Dutch AND in English!

Basically everything that requires the use of letters and words to bring YOUR message across.

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This new life will enable me to expand my horizons and embrace my freedom whilst writing, traveling and kicking ass. The only things I need are a laptop, an internet connection, my two brain halves and an equal amount of hands. I can basically do this from all over the world.

THAT IS WHY:

I have currently set up office in BERLIN, GERMANY, where I will be available 24/7 !

THAT’S LONGER HOURS THAN YOUR FAVORITE SPÄTI ! (which means night shop in German)

I think I always knew this would be the next step for me. A year ago I sent my future self a letter from China with a clear message:

As if I was my own Doc, sending my own Marty McFly a letter from the past!

backtofut

So are you in desperate need of words? Then don’t be afraid to drop me a line through any of the following platforms:

www.facebook.com/blondeclueless

www.facebook.com/evelien.delgouffe

www.instagram.com/eveliendelgouffe

evelien.delgouffe@hotmail.com 

www.linkedin.com/in/eveliendelgouffe

OR MY BRAND NEW WEBSITE:

www.eveliendelgouffe.com !

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Let’s connect and find each other’s G-spots!

donaldtrump

***

=> NEXT time on the blog: I will tell you about HOW I ended up in Berlin and which OBSTACLES I had to overcome to get here. It’s gonna be W I L D!

XO

Epidemic state of mind (should the world go Vegan?)

(***This post could contain traces of dairy, meat, fish, eggs, fish eggs, saturated fatty acids, other animal products and schizophrenia merely for illustrative reasons.)

You guys, I’m in a bit of a lacto-fermentated pickle here. Recently I saw a documentary on Netflix called ‘WHAT THE HEALTH’. 

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This film examines the link between diet and disease, and the billions of dollars at stake in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and food industries.

I was triggered by the title. For a word smith like me, it’s quite an arousing play of words. Also the fact Joaquin Phoenix is the executive producer definitely doubled the arousal.

Turned out it was the most disgusting horror movie I had ever seen in my life. I was abhorred by the testimonials and the investigations and it absolutely pushed me to consider to drastically change my eating habits.

Oh my cream-cheese-bacon-and-egg-bagel: Has the moment arrived? Is Evelien Delgouffe about to go Vegan?

hercules

Vegalien! Vegalien! Vegalien!

Not so fast. I’m not too keen on the idea yet. I have my nutrition traditions, my ways, I don’t like drastic changes. I love barbecues. I love food. I love cold cuts and I love cheese. Oh my god, do I love cheese!

emmastone

I’m a dairy fairy. But the more I think about it, the less I can support my own lifestyle any more. We are in a epidemic state of decay caused by corrupted parties who benefit from our illnesses and belly fat.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the animals too, and this could also be a valid reason to stop eating animal based products.

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When I look up videos of factory farms and stuff, I feel disgusted but an hour later I could already be enjoying a nice carpaccio with some pesto and sun dried tomatoes.

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(This GIF is hilarious)

Because that’s what we are good at: turning a blind eye to things we don’t want to know about in the first place.

I was particularly good at it BUT NOW! The time has probably come to make a change.

I refuse to slowly kill myself from the inside.

Because reality of the documentary is: if we continue eating dead animals, saturated fats, and dairy… We will slowly infest ourselves with cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, …

inflammation

All of this has left me CRAZY CONFUSED about what to do and whom to trust. My brain is seesawing. One half wants to agree with the documentary and protest against pharmaceutical companies, meat and dairy industries, even hospitals and so-called health organizations.

But the other half just wants to stay calm and find some kind of in-between and possibly even a silver lining.

I think it’s time for a debate.

Blonde brain half? Clueless brain half? The floor is yours!

Vegetarians

#BLONDE: “If everyday foods are so bad for us, then why-hy isn’t the government warning us?”

#CLUELESS: “They are. But not really. Because they benefit form food industries and their effect on our health care system. That’s how they get their funds. If we all would be plant eating super humans the hospitals would be empty, nobody would need health insurance, doctors would be unemployed, the pharmaceutical business would go belly-up, … These are multi million businesses at stake here. Funds the government needs. To make it even more absurd: while it’s proven that deep fried foods cause cancer and diabetes, companies such as KFC actually sponsor Diabetic and Cancer organizations. It’s good for their image, it’s cost deductible and the organizations are happy with the donations… My thought? WITHOUT CARCINOGENS IN OUR FOODS THERE WOULDN’T BE SO MANY CANCER OR DIABETES TO CURE IN THE FIRST PLACE!

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(Side note: At one point in the documentary it struck me how government Associations even put recipes with carcinogenic ingredients online. And how a company -in it’s worldwide bid to battle breast cancer actually encourages to buy a ‘pink ribbon yoghurt’ even though yoghurt (dairy) has been proven to augment the risk of breast cancer.)

#BLONDE: “Why doesn’t anyone do anything about it?” 

#CLUELESS: “There are plenty of whistleblowers and vegan/alternative lifestyle ambassadors but we are a herd. We look at the herd, we follow the herd. We even EAT the herd!”

#BLONDE: “Lots of other people eat processed meats, and they look alright don’t they? Could it be the documentary is merely vegan propaganda brought by vegans who are extremely biased?”

#CLUELESS: “First part of the question: Well yes, I’ve never seen on anyone’s face that his or her arteries are clogged or that his or her heart is skipping a beat or that his or her liver is working over hours to get all the toxins out. It doesn’t show. But that doesn’t mean the threat and the effects aren’t there.”

(Funny fact: It’s kinda ironic but usually vegans are the ones who don’t look too healthy at first glance. I just made a joke about vegans last week. Them being moody, underfed, unenergized people with no joy in life. Pfff, I just say the darnest things…)

To answer your second question: “Vegan ambassadors and doctors do take the lead in this documentary. So yes, they could have done a lot of ‘cherry picking’ to make their point across.”

#BLONDE: “If you do everything with measure, you’ll end up good”

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#CLUELESS: “Is this actually proven though?”

#BLONDE: “My grandmother turned 97 and she was thriving. I could settle for that. I don’t necessarily want to become 120 anyway.”

#CLUELESS: “Well our grannie was probably a lucky girl. But don’t forget, you pass on your bad habits after you die and your kids pass it on to their kids. And also: pull your head out of your ass and stop thinking about yourself for a second. It is not only your health, it is an ethical battle we are fighting here and a plea to save the environment.”

#BLONDE: “We are meat eaters, we need our protein”

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#CLUELESS: “We are plant eaters. We have the teeth to prove it. The only reason animals give us protein is because they get it from their plant based diets. We just take in their recycled protein. By the way: elephants, rinos and silverbacks are some of the strongest animals alive and what do they eat? Right, greens!”

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#BLONDE: “At least milk gives us strong bones”

#CLUELESS: “HORSE – SHIT!

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dairy sponsor

The only reason a cow produces milk is to feed her babies. Don’t step into that marketing talk or I’ll punch you in the ovary.

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#MODERATOR: “Order! Order!”

#BLONDE: “The pharmaceutical industry can’t be all that bad. If they were, they wouldn’t be developing cures on a daily basis. Not as long as there are Nobel Prizes to win.”

#CLUELESS: “ABSAFUCKING DINOSAUR DUNG! Medication is just an easy way out. Take this pill for this knee, this pill for stress, that pill for arthritis, … It is NOT MAKING YOU ANY HEALTHIER.

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The only thing it does is keeps us addicted so we will use more and be more dependent of the pharmaceutical businesses. Holistic and alternative medicine exist for a reason and have proven to be quite effective too.”

#MODERATOR: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury it is time we reach a VERDICT”.

Thanks for the debate ladies. Since both parties have their valid points, I guess we can conclude by calling off a state of GENERAL CAUTION.

  1. People should be cautious and aware not every institution necessarily has the best interest in you staying healthy. We have to be critical at all times and take responsibility for our own actions. There’s no one you can sew when you get cancer. The end responsibility lies with you. Don’t be too naive. And sad to say but: trust no one!

    This goes for the Vegan hype as well. Maybe in a couple of years there will be more results on vegan and plant based diets and there’s a chance the results could be less ‘amazing’ than expected.

  2. There are probably a lot of manufacturers who want to benefit from this trend and offer you food that -though it’s vegan- contain other bad ingredients such as coconut oil or palm oil.

    Read the ingredient list carefully if you don’t want to be cheated on and stick to the products you know are good. Making sure you take in plenty of Omega 3’s and B12’s already makes a difference! If you don’t have enough B12 you will get depressed.

  3. Also watch out for restaurants serving you vegan food while it clearly isn’t.

GENERAL CONCLUSION 

  • It is probably right to say a drastic change in diet could be too much too soon. It’s not about choosing the healthiest option. It’s about choosing the less bad one. As for me: I will try easing into the vegan life, drastically cutting down my dairy consume and slowly but surely banning meat and poultry out of my life. Nuts, flax seeds, buckweed, fruits and veggies, be good to me!
  • Becoming Vegan is not just about food. It’s about cosmetics, household products, beverages, clothes, … All these things could contain animal based ingredients or could have been tested on animals. If you jump onto the vegan wagon, you have turn your entire life around.
  • If you accidentally burn your vegan sausages you will still get cancer.
  • If you stress too much about your health, you will still suffer a heart attack
  • Stay cautious and critical. In the years to come we will probably discover how much deaths The Coca-Cola Company has on it’s conscience and maybe we will be surprised to hear other reports. For instance: maybe flying in airplanes gives you cancer too. I already know for sure the food will (just joking). And maybe that aerosol hairspray you’re using to fixate your hair is making you sick too. What about your synthetic clothes and bed sheets?

Honestly, I think it’s just the tip of the iceberg lettuce, really.

We just have to find a way to still enjoy life without all the bad stuff pulling us down too much.

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Remember what I said about those vitamin B12’s.

And for those who need it, here’s the number for the suicide hot line:

555 – DON’T DO IT !

XO

 

*BERLIN HIGHLIGHTS* part 3 : Mauerpark and Bearpit Karaoke

Previous posts I told you I would share with you the THREE highlights of my recent THREE day THREESOME trip to Berlin.

The traveling threesome being:

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(From L-R: my roommate @cedriclav, his boyfriend @michaelvdp80 and me @eveliendelgouffe)

Third and final highlight: Mauerpark! 

#genau!

So to wrap it up: after our night out in Berghain (2nd Berlin highlight) I went to a spinning class @ BECYCLE 4 hours later (1st Berlin highlight) and we had a big frühstück in Commonground. After that we went for a stroll along the Kastanienallee and found our way to : MAUERPARK

Actually meaning ‘wall park’, Mauerpark used to be the place where the Berlin Wall separated the neighborhoods Wedding (West Berlin) and Prenzlauer Berg (East Berlin) during the Cold War. Now, and especially on Sundays, this is the favorite recreational hangout for locals, tourists, basketball players, gypsies, wanderers AND TRAVELING THREESOMES… to enjoy the flea market, numerous food stands and barbecues and overall good vibes.

It was a particularly hot and sunny day and a lot of people were having a good time in the park. It was like the Glastonbury festival but without the commercial branding and mud and with much more hippies and gypsies floating around. Love and peace yo!

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I experienced a genuine Woodstock vibe, (…) or how I picture it must have looked like.

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People were smiling, dancing, eating, drinking, … and SINGING.

On strategic points singer-songwriters had put down their guitar case, wired up a microphone and started to connect to people through their very own bedroom-made music. Some had a lot of onlookers and fans straight away. Others had to put in a little extra effort… I particularly liked this girl who was mixing ‘Cater to U’ from Destiny’s Child into some crazy alternative dance tune. Her name is FriDa MallOo. Check out her soundcloud here.

But the musical highlight of our THREESOME SUNDAY STROLL was undoubtedly the BEARPIT KARAOKE.

We arrived at the park at around 3pm when we saw a flock of people installing themselves at the stone amphitheatre. We figured there would be some theater thing or a hocus pocus show for kids so we didn’t really give it much attention at first but after half an hour it was pretty clear more people were checking it out and there was a very enthusiastic crowd.

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One guy holding a mic was cheering them up. We found out his name is Joe Hatchiban, a guy from Dublin. Back in 2009 he and some friends hit upon the idea of cycling around the city with his new cargo bike, equipped with a speaker, laptop and microphone, trying to film people doing karaoke.  (=> Why does every genius idea involve a bicycle? 🙂 )

He and his portable, battery-powered boxes have been helping people to unleash their deepest feelings ever since.

Visitors from all over the globe can seize their 3 minutes of fame and take part in this afternoon’s installment of a Berlin phenomenon.

Without fear of being laughed at or harshly criticized. Bearpit singers nearly always get huge rounds of supportive applause, especially when they’re good, but also if they simply come across as nice people.

For the past 18 years millions of visitors and locals have been flocking to the open-air karaoke sessions on Sunday afternoons in the Mauerpark, which stretches along part of the former death strip between East and West Berlin.

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Here I am facing a 800 m strip of the Berlin Wall still standing in the park today as a monument, and a popular place for graffiti artists to paint and display their work.

We watched the show for hours and hours. There was such a good vibe and people were so supportive for one another, it was beyond anything I had ever experienced. It was a glimpse of a perfect world. With no rejection, superiority or judgement. This was a sweet sweet lovin sensation. A mexican papi letting his true emotions out with ‘Purple Rain’, some chick from Kansas belting out ‘Rolling in the Deep’ by Adele, a girl in a wheelchair performing ‘Numb’ by Linkin Park. It was just so nice to see all this people connecting and supporting each other. Goosebumps and watery eyes guaranteed with the 1500 onlookers. Including us.

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Crying away behind our sunglasses.

So much history took place on this stretch of land. So much separation, discrimination, hate and repression. Death too. It was good to see Berlin is building bridges instead of walls.

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Or walls of togetherness in this case.

It was a perfect ending to a perfect THREE DAY THREESOME TRIP. I couldn’t have wished for a better way for this trip to come about. I had my cycling fun, I had my breakfast fun, I danced in my bra in the most infamous club in the world and I enjoyed a world of fun at the park on Sunday.

I’m hooked!

Ich bin ein BerLIENer!

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Thanks for reading and supporting the ❤ here @ Backpackersguidefortheblondeandtheclueless.com

And especially for you, let’s give it up for yourself for a round of BEARPIT KARAOKE with an appropriate feel good song! :

TAKE IT AWAY GIRLS AND BOYS!

XO

 

*BERLIN HIGHLIGHTS* part 2: most exclusive nightclub

(***Caution: this post contains HUGE spoiler alerts. Do not continue if you want to discover Berlin’s most notorious nightclub for yourself)

Just like with the previous post I will share with you the THREE highlights of my THREE day THREESOME trip to Berlin!

The traveling threesome being:

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(From L-R: my roommate @cedriclav, his boyfriend @michaelvdp80 and me @eveliendelgouffe)

Second highlight: BERGHAIN

You may have heard about this club before. Being around for 20 years it has gained worldwide acclaim. Especially after being honored top club in the world in 2009 by DJ Mag.

However, in the early years the club was far from a mainstream hangout. It attracted a typically eccentric Berlin crowd. Diehard techno fans, leather fetishists, transexuals, young professionals, … With music, sex and drugs being the key elements connecting them.

20 years later, with the rise of techno music worldwide and the low-fare tourism, the club is hotter than ever.

The craze has everything to do with the exclusive status of the club which has made it into an attraction almost. Standing in line at Berghain is considered to be a religious experience. Many people try to get in. Few succeed. On Twitter, fora, YouTube and blogs people are summing up tips and tricks in order to enlarge your chances to get in. You can even simulate queuing online. With a virtual queue and virtual bouncers and everything! It is craay-zaay. => https://berghaintrainer.com/

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Of course I was triggered by Berlin’s most notorious and exclusive nightclub, and I wanted to see if I could find a way to get in and check it out for myself.

Not merely for the sake of getting in. I genuinely wanted to be part of the experience.

At first I was pretty confident. But a couple of hours before taking the taxi to Am Wriezener Bahnhof I wasn’t so sure. Chances were likely we would get refused. Just like 70% of those who try. And all depends on how you look and carry yourself.

Berghain (which takes its name from the adjacent neighborhoods of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain) is not your average nightclub. If you show up all glitzed and glammed up, you’ll probably not get accepted. This is not a place to show off your money nor your good looks. If you want to do that you’re better off in Saint-Tropez or Milano. The dress code at the door is: low key and as neutral as possible. Preferably black and no visible brand names. Once you’re inside you can change clothes, take off your shirt or just wear a thong.

Rumor has it Britney Spears was once refused at the door. It is more likely you see a bunch of people fucking at the bar than you’ll ever see a celebrity walking around there. Heck, according to some stories there was a time people even brought in frozen shit in a Tupperware container in order to use it as a dildo.

(…)

I wore a basic, see through turtle neck, no heels and my crucifix purse I love to death but everyone around me seems to hate. I didn’t put in too much thought. I don’t feel like conforming too much. After all I am a unique human being with a unique identity and fashion. I just dressed like me and hoped for the best.

When we arrived with the taxi at around 12.30 am we saw a huge line of people waiting to get in.

Like good sheep we added ourselves all the way at the end of the line and started queuing. Occasionally we saw people returning with disappointment written all over their faces. They hadn’t made the cut. They were refused by Berlin. *Auwch*

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The suspense rose and in front of us people were starting to get nervous. Trying to act as discrete as possible but the sweat on their foreheads and the fear in their eyes said otherwise.

In front of us a big group of youngsters decided to split up in order to enlarge their chances. This is also one of the tips you’ll find online. Big groups decrease your chances of getting in. Guys being accompanied by a girl is always a good thing but a girl is better off with the company of one or two guys rather than standing in line alone => Although the club is mixed, it supports a very big gay scene. Two girls are also good. As long as they don’t giggle and chuckle and act all selfie crazy. It is best not to wield your phone around too much or you will come off as an attention seeker. The biggest strength of this club is its mythical character. Apart from the building’s facade and an empty interior, you will hardly find pictures online of people partying. It’s all about the personal experience. And it should remain that way too.

The queue got shorter and shorter and more and more people were getting refused. After all it was a Saturday, the night mostly tourists (guilty!) come out to play. The locals usually stay away until Sunday afternoon. And that makes it harder for people to get in. The door men aren’t too keen on foreign languages.

While everyone around us was suddenly quiet as mice, patiently waiting to face the club’s notorious bouncers, we were still talking and occasionally laughing. Not too loud, but we were still in Berlin to have a good time. Not to act all depressed. Some people were looking at us as if they didn’t wanted to be associated with us. But they were the biggest pretenders, really. I could see it from their brand new Doc Martens to their Forever 21 punk accessories. The two girls who were standing 3 meters in front of us were just acting normal too, and they got in without a problem. The two girls standing right in front of us acting all cool and tough, got refused. And then it was our turn.

I heard it was best not to look the door men in the eye.

After all: would you want to make eye contact with the terrifying gatekeeper (and photographer) Sven Marquardt?

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But I figured the best way to get accepted was to subtly show your self confidence and just be your open minded self.

I looked at the door men with a kind of mischievous grin on my face while they were checking us out.

“Wie viele?”, asked Sven the Terrifying.

If you don’t get a ‘no’ straight away. They will ask you with how many people you are. If you don’t understand that question, you’ll still get refused.

“Drei”, we answered.

Suddenly the bouncers made way as a sign we could get in. As we were walking through the infamous door, acting like nothing HUGE had just happened, it seemed like we were stepping through a portal to another world. The excitement was buzzing through our bodies, still containing the euphoria. After we got our bags checked, paid our 16 euros entrance fee and got our precious stamp, we could let all our enthusiasm out. We were in the safe zone, after all. Ready for an UNFORGETTABLE PARTY!

As we climbed the stairs into the noisy darkness I could feel so much raw energy. And smell it too. Mostly a combination of sweat, weed and urine.

The place is enormous. And incredibly Feng Shui. Apparently they eliminated any dead ends, even in the bathrooms, so people can cruise each other without running into a wall. (Berliners => not to keen on walls these days)

The main Berghain dance floor, which focuses on hardcore techno, has heigh ceilings supported by massive concrete pillars. Originally constructed in 1953 as part of East Germany’s postwar reconstruction process, most of the building has retained its original industrial architecture. It is so large and maze-like, you can discover new stairways and rooms even after spending hours and hours.

Generally there are three levels where you can get your freak on. The Panorama Bar is the upstairs dance floor, which focuses on groovier, more melodic house music rather than the main floor’s severe industrial beats. On the building’s ground floor you can find Lab.Oratory, Berlin most extreme sex club which was closed unfortunately when we got there. Things can get very raunchy there. Reportedly not for the faint hearted.

Explanation for the extreme nature of the Berlin club scene lies greatly in the city’s history. Before the unification the city was poor and isolated. Half of Berlin was walled in. The militant character expressed itself in a very aggressive form of techno. Becoming the soundtrack of illegal hedonistic parties in abandoned factories and warehouses and later in the established nightclubs. Reportedly, in the past two decades, the city’s tradition of sexual permissiveness, lax drug policing and left-wing, anarchist politics blended together to create the most sexually adventurous, unconventional party scene in Europe. At the time there was a high unemployment and since people had no reason to wake up early on Monday, they held marathon-length party sessions as a fuck-off to the rigid capitalist version of time.

Everywhere we looked we saw shirtless men and women, some people wearing latex and bondage clothing, some wearing neutral gear not giving away any experimental preference. But mostly everywhere we could see feet marching and fists pumping in the air.

First we went to check out the Panorama bar. The more ‘straight’ part of the building. You can dance to the luscious beats or just hang out by the bar. You can even stay there till morning and have breakfast. If you have enough MDMA you can even stay there for 72 hours and have multiple breakfasts! The crowd keeps raving here from Friday night until Monday morning.

Good thing there aren’t any mirrors, so you don’t have to care about how you look. That’s something to worry about when you get back into the cab to civilization.

You probably won’t leave with a financial hangover either. Prices inside the club are extremely democratic and you can fill up your water bottle in the toilet as many times as you want.

Once on the inside, things started to make a lot more sense to me. Suddenly I understood why these bouncers had to be so picky. Not only to preserve the legacy and protect the longevity of this club. The exclusive character also creates an incredible feeling of togetherness for the lucky few who do make it inside. As if we are all part of something different, taking in the experience much deeper somehow. But also: just letting everyone be.

There is an overall vibe of extreme acceptance. You can choose to be naked, dance with chains around your torso, have sex in the toilet or just lie there asking every passer-by to pee on you. Everything’s allowed, nothing’s a must. You can also choose to keep your clothes on and have a quiet cappuccino by the bar.

If you choose to let your true self out and for instance experiment with your sexuality, you won’t have to fear ending up online. All the camera lenses on the phones are being covered by a sticker. Inside the club supervisors are constantly walking around to check if nobody is secretly filming or taking pictures.

As for me, I didn’t engage in orgies nor did I experiment with drugs or frozen shit dildos for that matter. But I did express myself according to my own standards. And I was very happy they made cappuccinos just the way I do: a little rough around the edges.

Overall I am very happy to have been to Berghain, thank you Berlin and Lord of the Night Sven Marquardt for approving us, but I hope they find a way to control the mass tourism. I feel bad for all the locals who lose their territory and express ground to low-fare tourism. Even though I have put it on this blog as one of the highlights, this doesn’t mean I’m encouraging people to go there. I encourage them to think it through. If you go to Berghain make sure you go for the right reasons. If you want to go there to get crazy ass drunk, tear down the place, harass people, laugh with them, judge them or take pictures for your Instagram feed then don’t go at all.

Stay tuned for the next and final highlight : the Bearpit Karaoke @ Mauerpark! 

 

*BERLIN HIGHLIGHTS* part 1 : BECYCLE + best breakfast bars

The next THREE posts I will share with you the THREE highlights of my recent THREE day THREESOME trip to Berlin.

The traveling threesome being:

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(L->R: my roommate @cedriclav, his boyfriend @michaelvdp80 and me @eveliendelgouffe)

First highlight: BECYCLE and Berlin breakfasts

Being a cycling enthusiast I was a little concerned about spending a weekend away from my bike. Usually I go riding every Sunday and I was worried my three day holiday would be a setback in my training schedule.

As we arrived in the middle of the night on Friday May 19th, we already did some research on the plane about where to have breakfast on our first morning. In the recent issue of Monocle we read about this place called ‘MyGoodnessBerlin‘.

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IMG_2607A nutritious and healthy cafe where they serve alternative style breakfasts made from organic whole foods. They serve super natural smoothies, banana breads, muscle protein oat bowls, … To eat in or take with you to work! None of us three is actually a vegan but we do love to try out new stuff and preferably when it matches our fitness regime. And it’s quite refreshing to discover the existence of for instance a turmeric or beetroot latte. Or vegan Snickers balls!

The cafe is located in BECYCLE, a new fitness boutique studio, focusing on high intensity spinning workouts. The holy Mecca for cycling lovers.

Overall Berlin is a very bicycle friendly city. Everywhere you see people riding their bikes. And the roads are much more adapted to cyclists than here in Belgium. I kinda loathe the aggressive and dangerous behavior towards cyclists here.

Anyway, they have premium facilities and no contracts. Basically you can turn up, subscribe for a cycling class and for less than 25 euros you get to use GIRO cycling shoes, a big custom made bottle you can fill up with chilled water, a towel, a locker and a futuristic turbo bike for a 60 minute suffer fest in a room with the best Berlin beats (go to their SoundCloud here) 1 instructor and about 15 other sweaty cycling enthusiasts. The idea is simple: you just have to execute everything the instructor tells you no matter how much it hurts or how fast it goes. The experience is unforgettable. And very rewarding afterwards. You feel happy and energized throughout the rest of the day and you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging on a big breakfast after.

I went to check out BECYCLE Sunday morning at 10.30 am after only 4 hours of sleep. I was out discovering Berlin’s nightlife until the early hours. (More about this in the next highlight!) But after my workout I felt FIT & FRESH.

Since we already checked out the breakfast here the day before, we went to check out another place to refuel: ‘Commonground‘.

Run by the guys from breakfast and coffee hotspot ‘Silo Coffee’, ‘Commonground’ is a place which strongly focuses on quality and where the chef, bartender or barista truly believes in the product they are making and serving. Being attached to the Circus Hotel, this place is located in a majestic building, with amazing inner court. You can have breakfast until 4pm. And, fun fact: In weekends and on Friday evenings ‘Commonground’ has a strict ‘no laptop’ policy. They kindly ask you to find another area to complete any work that you may need to do during weekends. Isn’t that great???

And again: the prices were sooooo cheap. We had breakfast with three people for less than 65 euros. Drinks included. And tap water is free of charge. In Belgium you could easily spend up to 80 euros or more for what we ordered.

1 x Berry Brioche French Toast : 8,20 euros
3 x Sourdough Toast with Avocado mash and Poached Eggs : 12 euros (x3)
1 x Home Made Granola with Chia Seed Pudding : 5,50 euros
2 x Latte : 3 euros (x2)
2 x Home Made Iced Tea : 4,5 (x2)

There are countless of eateries, bars, cafes, … in Berlin. This is just a tip of the ‘eisberg’! When you are in Mitte, Berlin and you don’t know where to find food or coffee. Just go to Rosenthaler StraBe and Kastanienallee and surrounding streets and you won’t get hungry ever again!

Points where Berlin beats Belgium’s ass: 

  • Much healthier food, accessible for anybody (vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, lactose free, …)
  • So cheap to eat out! And soooo good! 9,8 euros for an exquisite roasted lamb leg in rosemary and garlic butter?! This is gourmet HEAVEN!
  • Much more bicycle friendly. Seriously Belgium, being a cyclist country, what’s up with that???? (This one really upsets me)
  • So much more healthy focused lifestyle with sports and nutritious foods.

STAY TUNED FOR NEXT HIGHLIGHT : The most exclusive nightclub in Berlin! 

XO

G I R L B O S S

(*** Caution: this read contains a shit load of swear words and was established after sitting behind a computer for 18 hours straight ***)

Last time I was at the dentist, I had an epiphany and a strange dream encounter with Dorian Gray, Fjodor Dostojevski and… some other dude I can’t remember. If you ALSO don’t remember, you should definitely read this first before we continue.

XXX

Last week I was back in the horizontal chair of torture. This time I didn’t have to undergo surgery. I just went in to check if there were any cavities that needed to be filled. Now, I have a lot of voids in my life that need filling, but I’m pretty sure I don’t have cavities. I go on yearly check-ups, like, every year (…). I’ve been getting the green light time after time and multiple ‘congratulations’ on my oral hygiene. I’m sure this is just a waste of time.

Dentist: “Hello there Evelien. Been on any adventures lately?”

Me: “No I’m keeping it on the low down these days doc. Ya know, saving some dough. Keepin it real ya know what I’m sayin’?” $

(I don’t actually talk gangsta to my dentist. I don’t know how it came out this wrong)

Dentist: “Let’s have a look, shall we?”

As I laid down and the bright light hit my eyes and partially blinded me, I opened wide.

I felt some scratching, some polishing and then… the most disturbing sound of all… :

A ‘hum’.

Followed by:

Dentist: “This is a little disturbing.”

Me: “wjhgjkzrh?”

Of course I couldn’t ask ‘What is?’ with this guy’s fingers still in my mouth.

Dentist: “There are four fillings that need to be re-done. But the main problem is this crack in your molar. If this turns out to be a coronal fracture, we will need to call up the lab and place a dental crown. The bad news is this doesn’t get refunded by the state. The worst news is that it will cost approximately 700 euros. Or more.”

Me: “Fuck me in the dick!”

Dentist: “Errm, not that it’s my area of expertise but I’m pretty sure that’s anatomically impossible.”

Me: “Why does shit like this always happen to me at the worst possible time?”

Phone rings.

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Dentist: “Ahm…It’s for you”

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Me: “Whodis?” $

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Voice : “Maybe now this is a good time to establish your future.”

Me: “Whut?”

Voice: “This is your wake up call.”

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Voice: “This where the road stops. It’s time you make a choice.”

 

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Me: “No more candy for me Morpheus. Can’t you see I’m in a dentist chair here? I’m already picking my teeth about how I’m gonna pay for all this. Haven’t you heard this gig is probably going to cost me hundreds of euros?”

Me (seemingly swearing out of nowhere): “Fo fuck’s sake!”

Morpheus: “Seriously. Hasn’t Kung Fu School taught you anything? Are you still doing your Qi Gong every day? You need to focus, woman. And choose a life.”

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Me: “Ha! That’s a different movie.”

Morpheus: “This is YOUR movie. I can use whatever quote that pops into your mind.”

Me: “In that case I don’t have to follow the script. I choose the white rabbit.”

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“Ooh, can I name it Jefferson Airplane?”

Morpheus: “Have you been getting my messages?”

Me: “You mean this confetti card?”

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Morpheus: “No you annoying c… . THIS message.”

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Me: “Oh that virus infested thing? I erased that fucker beyond thunderdome.”

Morpheus: “God damn, woman. I have been sending you valuable messages in order to start your own business.”

Me: “My own business? I don’t even own a home, how can I own my own freaking business?”

Morpheus: “You don’t need a home. All you need is an url for your webiste. And a decent internet connection. Decipher the code. Then you will unlock your future.”

Me: “But I don’t know jack about binary codes.”

Morpheus: “Follow me.”

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Me: “Err….Where are we?”

Morpheus: “San Francisco. You’re on the set of a TV show.”

Me looking in the rear-view mirror: “Whoa, who’s the hottie?”

Morpheus: “That’s Britt Robertson. You have morphed into her character Sophia. She will help you start your business.”

Me: “But business in what? I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do?!”

Morpheus:

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*Morpheus out*

Motherf*cker. Now I’m stuck in this hot body somewhere in San Francisco (…) with a killer waist line (…) an apartment of my own (…) and an online business that will turn into gold over the next seasons? Damn! I’M NEVER MOVING OUT OF THE MATRIX AGAIN!

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Me: “Okay let’s find out what this chick is up to.”

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Me: “Wait a hot minute….She sells vintage clothes over the internet….By the name NastyGal? I’ve purchased here! This is the beginning of an empire!”

But why am I here to witness this? I don’t even want to sell clothes online. If anything I would open my own coffee bar, but that shit market is saturated.”

I need to call Morpheus. He needs to bring me back to my life.

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“Come on motherf*cker pick up.”

 

Me leaving a message on his voicemail:

“Yo Morpheus, this has been a lot of fun but I need to get back to my dentist chair en pay my bill. Could you call me back please? ASAP?!”

I’m screwed! Now I’m stuck in this character, needing to continue the narrative and I don’t know what the fuck I have to do. How did she turn NastyGal into a successful company? I should show more interest in these kind of things!

So now I am not only figuring out my own mess. Now I need to figure out this chick’s life too.

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“Isn’t there like a script or something lying around here?!”

(Knock knock)

Oh great, another character intervenes. The plot thickens! Fuck it, I’m not answering the door.

(Knock knock knock)

Oh for fuck’s sake.

(Aggressively opens door) : “WHAT?!”

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“Ehm, hi Sophia…. I wondered if you wanted to share some ice cream….”

Me: “Errr, …, no, no sorry I can’t. I have a dentist appointment….err, later tonight…”

Hot guy: “A dentist appointment? With the Chinese dude downstairs?”

Me: “No… with err… doctor Morpheus… Yeah, he’s supposed to be the best in town.”

Hot guy: “That’s funny. Aren’t you walking around with a hernia sticking out of your lower abdomen because you don’t have health insurance.”

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Me: “Errrr, (this girl doesn’t have health insurance? At least I have that going for me back home!) That’s correct! But he’s a friend of my dad’s so he’s offering it for free…. It’s probably just a waste of spit anyway. My check ups are always A-OK.”

Hot guy: “Ok I will be around if you change your mind.”

Me: “Alrightie bye-bye now.”

Damn! Was this guy a hot piece of ass! I wonder if he’s my boyfriend? Should I have kissed him? No time for romantics. I need to escape this bubble right now before I get knee-deep.

8 hours later:

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Me: “FUCK! This is what 9 months of no sex does with a person. One hot guy shows up and I cave like pudding. Sorry I need to scram and find a way out of this gorgeous body.”

Hot guy: “Ahm, …”

Morpheus: “Hello you have reached Morpheus’ voicemail. For entering the Matrix dial 1. For escaping the Matrix *tuuuuuuuuuut*”

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I guess there’s only one thing I can do.

Suck it up…

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And check in for some retail therapy.

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After all, it seemed like the most plausible thing my character would do.

Shop manager: “Excuse me miss, you were here yesterday and forgot to pay for your sunglasses.”

Me: “What?! Are you accusing me of shoplifting?”

Shop manager: “That’s right.”

Me: “Look pal, I didn’t steal anything alright? I only just entered this body 12 hours ago. If it’s any consolation, my character is about to start an online business that will go global and make a lot of money. Once I receive my first pay check, I will pay for the so-called stolen sunglasses. I just need to get out of this Matrix and get back home so I can continue my life and Sophia can do the same.”

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“I need to get out of here.”

If Morpheus won’t help me, I will break this Matrix open myself!

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“Get out of the way! I got cappuccinos to serve and columns to write!”

15 minutes later:

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45 minutes later:

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Me: “And that’s how I ended up with my car on your curb.”

Old lady: “Damn girl, you’ve been on quite some adventure. Sounds to me your life isn’t all that bad back home. You got that column working for you. Even though it sounds like a bunch of whining about not finding a suitable mate.”

Me: “Hey!

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Old lady: “Seems you’re crying over spilt milk. Just like your car, your life is waiting for you to kick start the engine. If I were you, I would find a way to make a living out of independent writing. And maybe even try the YouTuber thing. You never know where it takes you.”

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Me: “It all seems such a fuck load of work. I don’t know if I can do this all by myself. I have been refusing to start freelancing. I’m scared to take the jump and pay most of my income to taxes and shit. What if I work my ass off and not even make a decent living?”

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Me: “What in the ass, lady?!”

Old lady: “First of all: you swear too much. And second of all: you think too much. Either you take the risk. Or stay stranded forever.”

Me: “I’m afraid I will be stranded here forever.”

(phone rings)

Me: “OH MY GOD IT’S MORPHEUS. I GOTTA TAKE THIS.”

Me: “Yes….Yes….Golden Gate Bridge? Got it! But there’s one thing I got to do. Give me 35 minutes.”

30 minutes later:

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Me: “It was really nice meeting you. Sophia is a lucky girl but I have five minutes to get to the Golden Gate Bridge and out of this Matrix. Take care!”

Hot guy: “Ahm, …”

4,5 minutes later:

I’M HEEEEEEEERE! 

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Morpheus: “Take a seat…”

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Morpheus: “… And put your stolen sunglasses on.”

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Dentist: “And we’re all done! Good news: the coronal fracture doesn’t go completely through. I inserted a serum that will hold everything together. Best news: it’s completely free. Congratulations you just saved yourself 700 euros.”

Me: “That’s exactly the amount I need to pay for my first quarter of independence!”

Dentist: “Ahm what?”

Me: “Morpheus was right! I’ve been shown the door. Now I just gotta walk through it.”

Bitches -err- World, here I come!

XO

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(This post was powered by ‘The Matrix’, ‘Trainspotting’, Netflix TV show ‘Girlboss’, black coffee and fried rice with chicken. Oh, and some tic tacs.)

 

B*tch don’t kill my vibe

I’m a sinner who’s probably gonna sin again. 

Lord forgive me. The things I don’t understand. 

Sometimes I need to be alone. 

B*tch don’t kill my vibe. B*tch don’t kill my vibe. 

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Last time we spoke, I told you how I decided to quit my job as a newspaper journalist. Some of you were slightly panicking after this read. Asking me about my next projects and stuff. Of course I couldn’t really answer this question.

I was restricted.

I couldn’t tell a soul, and things were still very much pending. It was a horrifying wait. But now I’m so very extremely relieved to announce I’m currently the proud contributor of my very own column in the newspaper.

I feel like Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City!

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(Minus the smoking and the Big (shoe) obsession)

Actually I’m definitely more of a Rachel kind of gal.

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My first column got published Wednesday 26th of April.

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The basic concept is that me -a millennial- is corresponding with a baby boomer.

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This baby boomer (her name is Frieda Joris and she’s a very respected former journalist) actually used to be a colleague of mine while I was still working full time at the newspaper. During the five years I walked around the office, we hardly exchanged a word. We were too caught up in our own thing. Researching, making phone calls, discussing with the editor-in-chief, writing, erasing, writing again, … There was no time for chit chat.

By the end of 2016 we both closed the door. She, because she had to. After a successful career of 45 years Frieda had to retire. And, after a promising career of -poor old me- only 5 years I took a sabbatical, to eventually cut the umbilical cord one year later.

We never really realized how intertwining our roads were and would become. Until we started getting in touch once the rush and the stress of the deadline slowly but surely crept out of our lives. Ironically we discovered we had much more in common than we could ever imagine. That’s how the idea grew to have a millennial and a baby boomer discuss life as they know it now.

Still a little uncomfortable in their new skins. Trying to give direction. Find balance. Keep busy. Stay productive. All while maintaining a good sense of humor. Self-mockery is rule n°1 for basic survival mkay?

And this, lovely people, is what we bring to you every Wednesday from now on in ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’. Only the biggest and best read newspaper in the small country of Belgium.

A couple of days ago our second column was released.

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Again, Frieda is the first to address me. (Don’t worry, next week it’s my turn). Telling me a story about how her first love suddenly showed up on her door step a gazillion years after they first met and fell in love. Of course my answer is slightly passive-aggressive. I would give my left arm (it’s ok, I’m a rightie) to have similar plot twists occur in my life. I wonder if you could hire a director to integrate more romance into your every day life.

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Me: “Ok guys listen up, we need dim lights, a Channing Tatum lookalike, some decent catering and cowbell. Definitely more cowbell.”

Me: “First assistant what do you think?”

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Fo Sho.

Ok romance-wise I’m not living the fairy tale. But damn this column is making up for it. It is the one thing I dreamed about ever since I started discovering my writing skills. That and writing a book. But who reads books nowadays anyway??

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I feel super blessed I got the chance to explore this new way of communicating and reaching out to hopefully as many people as possible. I feel this column comes at the best moment in my life. Even though I have been wanting it for a long time, I wasn’t ready before. I didn’t really have a story to tell. And I was too insecure to speak my mind.

Now it feels super organic to talk about my every day thoughts, my occasional struggles, how small and meaningless they may be on a global scale.

Everybody struggles. Everybody hurts. Everybody loves. And everybody celebrates. It’s this constant up and down that keeps us on our toes. That keeps us alive. And that connects us. If only we would drop the act and be more open about our REAL emotions I guess a lot of people could benefit from it.

This is why I’m closing the gap. One millimeter at a time. Closing the gap between ‘showing the world how we want to be seen’ and ‘showing who we truly are’. There are too many digital platforms where we boast our personality and every day personal life into something it is mostly not. Trying to pretend everything is peachy 24/7.

 

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I’m not suggesting you should share every bad hair day, physical ache or act of domestic violence on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. (In this last case you should defo go to the police) But I see a lot of people stressing over their lives because they believe other people have their shit together all the time.

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No Dave, I meant your other quote

↓↓

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Therefor, every Wednesday, I will tell you how I don’t have my shit together all the time. About how I desperately miss some romantic dedication in my life. How I wonder what I’m supposed to do until my retirement. How I ask myself why people enslave themselves, often working a job they genuinely hate, just so they could spend a comfortable old age. Knowing, when you reach that age, you don’t have the same energy to enjoy life like you did when you were young.

Balance is key. And I’m looking for that key in order to open the door to my personal happiness. I’m sure it won’t fit your door. No one’s alike. And thank God we aren’t.

I am thankful for backpackersguidefortheblondeandtheclueless to come about one year ago. It really helped me to find my voice. Thanks to you readers I discovered this type of authentic storytelling brings an added value to everyone who needs it. It helps us to accept that we are all struggling. And it’s our DAMN good right!

Tell me what you don’t like about yourself. And let’s fix it together.

Keep it real, peeps.

XO

Man it feels good to blog again.

Making headlines

You guys! Something wonderful has happened! Something that will change the future of Backpackersguidefortheblondeandtheclueless forever. Your favorite blog is breaking borders, is conquering ground, is changing the rules, is mixing guacamole with syrup, is …

You: “Yeah, yeah we get it. Something big has happened. Spill the beans already.”

Me: “You are not going to believe this: The one and only DAILY PLANET has reached out to me to do an interview on me and the blog!”

→ Millions of readers getting to know BGftBC? – Hell yeah!

→ Getting interviewed by Clark Kent?? – Fuck yeah!

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I didn’t hesitate one billionth of a second when they asked me!

… Unfortunately Kent couldn’t do the interview… The article is part of The Daily Planet’s Fashion Issue so I got to sit down with Lois Lane instead.

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We had a little chat and a photo shoot at Korsakov. I’m super happy with the result. Although I would have liked some more pictures to make the article breathe, … And some creative questioning wouldn’t have hurt, but that Lois Lane is a tough cookie to negotiate with. Anyway. Here’s the result, hope you like it!

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You: “Hum. Exoticism?”

Me: “Shut up and continue reading.”

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You: “Aww Evvy, aren’t you the sweetest Cheerleader Goth.”

Me:  annoyedemoji

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** The End **

Me: “So… What do you think??”

You: “Honestly?”

Me: “Yes.”

You: “I think you should go back to interviewing people other than yourself. Now THAT would be a great look for you!”

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To be continued.