EXCLUSIVE! Star reporter Lois Lane sits down with the debased Evelien Delgouffe: “My book is good… to light my coffin”

Whatever happened to that talented girl that blew us all away in 2016 by traveling the world in search of that little thing called happiness. From Toronto to Tokio people could follow her every step on her widely acclaimed blog ‘Backpackersguidefortheblondeandtheclueless.com’ with weekly posts, updates and harvested wisdom. But after she moved to Berlin, things got quiet around Evelien Delgouffe. And now, my esteemed colleague seems to have completely disappeared from the radar.

Friday 25th of May, a true story written by Lois Lane.
Text by: Lois Lane
Written by: Lois Lane
In case you forgot who wrote this text: Lois Lane 

LOIS CLARK THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN

A tragic life story, is what people call it. Evelien’s lasts words on her blog date from November 2017 with that subversive, 5000 words too long read about Star Wars. Already then people whispered that Evelien was spiraling down to ‘coo coo ville’, potentially even leaning over to the dark side.

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One of her lasts pictures in Berlin. Clearly spiraling out of control.

Her peers in Asse, where she was born, haven’t heard from her. And also her parents have no clue where their daughter is. “That’s Evelien, she always disappears when she’s fed up with things.”

Does she still live in Berlin? Is she currently battling a heroin addiction? Did she suffer a small heart attack on her bike in Ibiza like that other promising Berlinoise Nico?

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After months of research I -Lois Lane- suddenly found a trace that had lead me from Asse (Belgium) to Gatineau (Canada) over Tooperang (Australia) and eventually Germany. Evelien is still alive. And yes, she is still living in Berlin. But it’s not where she was last seen. The upscale neighborhood where she first moved to has been replaced by one of the roughest neighborhoods in the city… Evelien Delgouffe currently lives in a crack house in Neukölln which she shares with a handful of trippy drag queens, one one-legged pirate, the songwriter of ’99 Luftballons’ and other creatures from the underground. And I don’t mean the Velvet Underground. There’s something rotten in Berlin and it’s much worse than the pop art bananas of Andy Warhol…

(FYI: I, Lois Lane, am still top banana) 

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On a Tuesday afternoon I meet Evelien in her humble abode. It took me a while to convince her to do this interview, but then she said she would do anything for a quick look at her Instagram account, since that was her favorite pastime before she hit rock bottom.

“I’ve lost 12 followers”, she grunts. “I thought I had become a legend by now… But I guess I am officially a hasbeen…”

Lois: “Could you tell us what has happened to you, Evelien?”

Evelien: “What difference does it make…”

Lois: “People want to know if you’re alright and if they can help.”

Evelien: “People huh? People can fuck right off. I’m done with people.”

She removes some pieces of cardboard from the floor to dig up a rusty tin box and opens it. As far as my knowledge goes, there seems to be something inside that looks like a crack pipe… Or possibly a shriveled baby carrot… She takes out a ready-rolled cigarette and a package of matches and places the cigarette in the left corner of her mouth. She grabs a piece of paper and lights it with a match. The paper bursts into flames, which she then uses to light her cigarette. After one second all that’s left of the piece of paper is chunks of dark grey ashes on the floor.

Later I, Lois Lane, would learn she used a page of her own book to light that cigarette.

Evelien: “I also re-use the pages sometimes to make LSD. Or whenever I’m out of toilet paper. Or when I want to cut (…)”

“You see that guy over there with the needle in his arm? That’s Yuri… He composed ’99 Luftballons’ in the late eighties on those little kids’ pianos. He was only 4 years old at that time.”

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“He thought it would become his golden ticket to showbusiness, but he never got any acclaim for it. He ended on the street. Broke and creatively sodomized. He can’t stand the song ever since and goes crazy every time he hears it.”

Lois: “Maybe we shouldn’t mention it too loud then…”

Evelien: “Don’t worry, he has ripped out his ear canal 20 years ago…”

Lois: (Gulp)

Evelien: “You’re wasting your time here Miss Lane. I’m sure there’s better stories to stick your perky nose into.”

Lois: “I am not the only one who wonders how a talented young woman like you has ended up in a crack house like this. You were a promising writer. Remember your birthday last year? You were so proud to have finished your very first book. Your debut as an author.”

Evelien: “My book… My book is good to light cigarettes… and one day my coffin.”

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Lois: “But why?” 

Evelien: “It’s not the city Lois, it’s life. Life swallows you up. You learn from your mistakes only to make them over and over again. I don’t have time to sit down with you and smell your expensive perfume. I was once like you. Always dressed to the nines, as if I came straight from the hairdresser every day. But I have quit that life a long time ago Lois. Never will I be remembered for my immaculate beauty. Forever will I be remembered for my failure and my rotting body and brain. Now get out of here and never come back.”

When I walked out of the room, Evelien called my name. I turned around and she said:

Evelien: “Lois, you have always been a better reporter than me. Please take my place. You have my blessing.”

And that’s the last I, and thus the rest of the world, heard of Evelien Delgouffe.

In case you forgot: My name is Lois Lane. The only real reporter out there. 

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Me: “That TRAMP!”

That Lois Lane is out to ruin me! Ever since I started out as a journalist in 2011 she has been trying to sabotage my career. First by sleeping with Superman and now by creating fake stories. This is nothing more than a disgusting smear campaign!

I call together a press conference!

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To my dear readers, followers, friends and family: I know I have been absent from this blog but that’s only because I have been very busy being REALLY REALLY HAPPY.

  • I am not living in a crack house with the author of ’99 Luftballons’,
  • I am not lighting cigarettes with pages of my book. (Although I did think about it once…),
  • I am still very much working as a freelance journalist/copywriter so if you want the best content, it is still ME you should contract and not that shade throwing palmtree of a Lois Lane. She’s just bitter because she got fired from ‘The Daily Planet’ after they found out she was earning money on the side as a stripper.

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This is why I declare ‘Backpackersguidefortheblondeandtheclueless’ officially as re-opened for business. I will not promise I will blog every week like I used to, but expect more frequent updates from my side with fresh memes, gifs, puns and adventures!

Auf wienerschnitzel boys and gurls!

Stay tuned for more jaw dropping, straw missing, air sipping content to come!

XO

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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.

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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!”

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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?

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

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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!

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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

*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

Mrs. Grinch

* It’s that time, Christmas time is here
Everybody knows there’s not a better time of year
Hear that sleigh, Santa’s on his way
Hip, Hip Hooray, for Christmas Vacation*

Writing Saturday morning December 24th, 2016.
I wake up in a children’s bed in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Celine had let me borrow her niece’s bed for my first Canadian night. I rub the dream crusts out of my eyes, scratch the poor ol’ gulliver and take a look outside the window.

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Behold a wonderful white deck of fresh snow. The white Christmas I was dreaming of.

Tonight’s my very first American Christmas and I feel super charged. Rumor has it we’re celebrating in Mono Mill, a town a little over an hour away. We’re expected at the Christmas dinner table of Stephanie’s (Celine’s sister) in-laws. And since the place is so far away we’re taking our sleeping gear with us to spend the night all together. And spend another Christmas day filled with food and candies the day after!

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(I love my candies)

So at about 4 pm, after spending the entire afternoon in our onesies watching ‘The Polar Express’ we start to get ready to take the drive up to the North Pole. Err, I mean Mono Mill.

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All aboard!

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Counting: Celine, Celine’s three sons, Celine’s husband, Celine’s dad, Celine’s sister, her husband, her two kids and Kevin, ahm, I mean me 🙂

Just before we got out of the house and into the car I had a chance to Skype my parents and wish my family back in Belgium a Merry Christmas. They were already rounding up their Christmas celebrations. Having dessert. Unwrapping presents. Topped with some annual good old drama.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family but every year for Christmas there’s always a little bit of tension going on. I guess that’s what happens when you have a bunch of different minds and characters crammed into one space together. I was looking forward to a drama-free Christmas and checked with Celine in advance if her family usually has a lot of dramas this time of year.

Celine: “No, we don’t. But this year is a little different since we’re invited over to spend Christmas with my sister’s in-laws. There will be some neighbors and other people I’ve never met before.”

Me: “I see…”

Either way, I was feeling pretty good about it. And I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that Canadian turkey! Gobble gobble!

Too bad it exploded the day before…

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Just kidding.

A firm hour and a pair of numb butt cheeks later, we arrive at Casa Christmas! The place is beautiful. And huge! We’re sleeping over with 15 people and there will be a total of 20 something people coming over to have dinner. Inside the house is decorated with wooden floors, a big American kitchen, christmas lights and a stunning tree. I feel at home right away! Especially since Leona and Carl, who were hosting, were such nice and welcoming people.

Leona and Carl: “Say, you’re not Chinese.”

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Me: “Ahm…no I’m not…”

Leona and Carl: “Well we thought you would have been since we heard Celine had met you in China. How funny we just assumed, right!”

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Me: “Hilarious :-)”

Carl: “So where are you from then?”

Me: “I live in Belgium.”

Carl: “Belgium hey? Well sit down I’ll get you some Canadian brew.”

Waw, what a lovely home. I was just about to print out some adoption papers to slip under these people’s noses later tonight when all of a sudden the door bell rings.

Leona: “Oh hi-de-ho neighbors come on in!”

It was a woman of around 60 with her two daughters and her husband coming through the front door. They looked like a lovely family. No drama hazard here!

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*Hip hip hooray for Christmas vacation*

I hopped over to go meet them and shake their hand when I suddenly came across a fifth person entering with the bunch.

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Grandmother Margaret.

Better known as ‘Marg’. A 5 foot 8 dame that has been walking this planet for 81 years straight. Unlike her daughter Debbie she doesn’t live next door but in an apartment in Toronto. She just tagged along for the occasion.

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Marg and her daughter Debbie checking out the hors d’oeuvres.

Her fingers were incredibly long and lean, I noticed, when she came over to shake everybody’s hand.

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When she arrived over to where I was seated -minding my own business, quietly enjoying my Canadian brew- she hunched over to me, sniffed up my perfume, looked me straight in the eye and asked:

“And who might you be dear?”

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Me: “Err, my name is Evelien. I’m Celine’s adopted Chinese daughter…*grin grin*”

Marg: “A smarty mouth hey?”

Me: “No, ma’am. I’m just visiting from Belgium. I come in peace.”

She didn’t bother to go into the conversation any deeper and continued her stroll around the house.

Marg: “Thank you for having me Leona, …

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Leona: “Oh no problem dear. What can I get you to drink?”

Marg: “You know my drink. Rye with ginger ale and water.”

Leona: “Coming right up!”

I was amazed by this woman. She was turning 82 next week but she was walking around the house as if she was the Queen B. She had this super intense aura over her and -by the looks of it- enjoyed male attention very much. Except for that of her son in law. You could tell she hated his guts. When he accidentally knocked over a cup of coffee, her eyes shot laser beams.

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Apparently he had always let her walk all over him and never managed to get rid of her bullying since. He was whipped.

Marg: “So have they got houses like this where you come from, Evelien?”

I was a little offended by her asking me a question like that. As if I came from some hillbilly country where we live in containers. But I guess she was just looking for a fresh and spineless fiddle to fiddle. I wouldn’t let her tickle my nerves that easy. She likes to provoke people and make them feel uncomfortable in her presence. I looked through her game straight away. Heck, I invented that game.

Me: “Yeah we have houses. We build houses like crazy.”

Marg: “So what brings you to Canada for Christmas, you don’t have a family?”

Me: “Well, I’m not an orphan. My family’s at home celebrating Christmas right now. It’s ok, they understand I have places to see, people to meet. We did our Christmas dinner a week earlier.”

Marg: “So you travel a lot hey?

Me: “Yes ma’am.”

Marg: “So what do you do? In life? What do you do?”

Me: “Well …. (I decided not to give her the long story about me taking a gap year and all. I just send her off with the short summary)”

Marg: “Oh you write for the paper? Do you have any kids? A man in your life? So you have nothing hey?”

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Marg sure was testing the waters there.

Me: “Nope, I’m a free bird”, I replied with a straight face.

Marg: “Hahaha, free bird hey? Good for you. I’m gonna go smoke a cigarette. Anyone who feels like joining me, I’ll be in the barn.”

I don’t know what it was that got me all worked up but I felt a tantrum coming up and I was aiming for the snack bowl.

I have nothing? That’s not true. I have a lot. It’s just not a house. Or a husband. A pension fund. A hospitalization insurance or a presently well defined job for that matter.

Next time when I meet people and they ask me what I do, imma be straight up and say:

“I’m a 28 year old kid in the middle of an existential crisis walking around with monopoly money bluffing her way through town hoping she will make it at the end of the ride. I’m freaking Peter Pan and all I want for Christmas is for Tinkerbell to light my path and to hang out with the Lost Boys.”

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Bangarang there’s room for at least one girl!

Marg: “So is this free life working for you?”

Me: “Sure…” (liar, liar pants on fire!!)

Marg: “Do you want a husband and kids?”

Me: “I don’t know… Maybe one day.” (stupid Grinch, give me my Christmas back!)

Marg: “How old are you if you don’t mind me asking?”

Me: “28” (Going on 92) 

Marg: “Oh, you’re a baby! The best is yet to come.”

Me: “Yeah right. Not to be rude or anything Mrs. Grinch -err- Margaret, but I feel the best has already been had. I’ve had the settled life, the career life, I was a question at the annual quiz of my birth town in 2015, … Honestly I feel I had all the cards dealt to me once and I royal flushed them all down the toilet. It’s all downhill from here.”

Celine: “Stop it! If you think that, then that’s what you’re gonna get!”

Marg: “Just ask yourself a basic question: what do you want?”

Me: “In life?”

Marg: “Yeah, in life, what else?”

Me: “… I don’t know. I don’t know what I want… Do I even have to have a destination in mind? If you live in the now isn’t that the worst thing you could do?”

Celine: “Well you have to let the universe know what you want in order to get it.”

Me:

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(Getting my chinese rude on)

“Is the universe really concerned about me getting what I want? Why would it give a rat’s ass? Do you really think the universe wants us to have a nice Christmas Eve together? Earn a lot of money? Build a lot of houses? Do you really think the universe cares?”

Marg: “Were you traumatized as a kid or something?”

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Me: “No, I just question my entire existence a lot. It doesn’t make sense to me why we’re here. It doesn’t make sense to me that we are born into this world that destroys oneself with war and terrorism, it doesn’t make sense to me that we are born into this system that expects us to clean up other people’s shit all day just so we can have a comfortable old age. It doesn’t.”

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Marg: “Your life is just beginning. Believe me. Take it from someone who has lived a long one: live in the now. Enjoy your life now. Before you know it you’ll be walking in the mall looking at your reflection in the mirror wondering who that old woman is. Life has its ups and downs. You will have bad breaks and disappointments, but don’t give up on life. Live it. There are wonderful things coming. Things you will want to work and live hard for. So live.”

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Bangarang! When did Mrs. Grinch turn into Wendy Darling?

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The Grinch was right. Or maybe it was the bottle of rye inside her blood that was right. I definitely want to live and work hard for the things I love. Traveling the world to discover all there is to know about life. Picking up stones and discovering what lies under them. Looking into mirrors and understanding everything there is to be seen in them. And one day I would love to love again. Deeply. Profoundly.

My wandering thoughts were interrupted with a deep grunt of discontent =>

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Marg: “Well it’s already past my bedtime. Son in law! Haul the truck we’re leaving.”

As she was waggling towards the cloakroom to get her coat, I ran in behind her.

Me: “Marg, wait!”

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“…Do you have like an email address or something?”

Marg: “Me…? What, you want to send me an email?”

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Me: “Well I would very much like for us to stay in touch. I didn’t think it straight from the beginning but… I think you kinda rock.”

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Marg: “Well *cough* I, ahm, I ….”

I think I had just made the Grinch blush.

… Before she turned into her old sassy self again.

Marg: “Well I can’t email on Tuesdays….

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… But I would love to stay in touch.”

She scribbled her email address on a napkin and handed it over to me with eyes as soft as velvet.

Marg: “You are a truly gorgeous girl and you will have your ball. Just never give up on that.”

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(Enter narrator’s voice:)

It was the night the Grinch stole Christmas.

And returned it the same day. 

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*Merry (belated) Christmas to every single one of you*

XO

Read all about me arriving in Toronto, visiting Niagara Falls and smoking the christmas tree next time on the blog. Gobble gobble!

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The self ridiculing act of nomad bashing

Hi all!

You: “Errr…?”

Me: “Ahm… what? Do I have something on my face?”

You: “Why do you start your blog entry with an hello? Usually you just talk away. About your life. Or god forbid… your sex life. Ugh.”

Me: Well today I would like to change things up. And maybe start a dialogue…”

I can’t help but feeling there is a little bit of underlying tension going on these days. Not between you and me, per se. But more frequently I discover some kind of mockery against nomads, backpackers and everybody who chooses the great outdoors to gain some personal perspective.

Since this blog is called ‘backpackersguide…blablabla’ I feel I need to take a stand and address the non captivated/exploited, happy-go-lucky elephant in the room. And try to analyze what’s going on.

There are two obvious camps here:

* People who are drawn by adventure, who temporarily run away from obligations to live in the here and now and diss on people who rot away in their comfort zones.

* People who steer away from adventure and diss on the people who recklessly throw away all securities and comfort zones in the idle hope they will find all life’s answers by swimming with sharks, taking a selfie on top of Machu Picchu or eating a fried scorpion at some random Chinese farmer’s market.

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(I plead guilty)

Well, let’s just settle this friendly battle here and now, why won’t we.

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Let’s draw a little background sketch. We (20-30 year olds) are the generation that’s been handed too many choices. Our parents were children of parents who had survived the war. They had a harsh upbringing. In a bid to turn things around they decided a different approach for their own offspring. The velvet glove. Let’s just be motivational towards our kids. Let them become whatever they want to become. Let’s bring them up with a sense of freedom. Some analysts would say this prevented some serious quakes on the puberty scale. Why would we start a riot if everything is allowed and negotiable? It didn’t eliminate it; it just postponed it. To a much more difficult timing later on.

Enter the quarter life crisis.

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I am…. (feel free to pick one for yourself)

a) who my parents made me to be (=realist, acceptance, no crisis here)
b) everything opposite my parents made me to be (=the rebel)
c) better than everyone (=the jerk)
d) a loser (=negative thinker)
e) Egon Ewin Kisch (=dead)

Of course the problem is not good or bad parenting. The initial problem is still the fact that there are too many choices. And the fact they eventually lead to choice stress. The way we react to that would enable some older generations to call us: spoiled narcissistic brats with no sense of reality.

But it’s just hard these days to really say:

Screenshot from I Want It That Way

We pick a road but from the minute the scenery doesn’t appeal to us any more, we bail and try another road. Because we can. Because we should. And because we want to. Or think we want to. Because -actually- we really don’t know. We just assume. Because -let’s face it- there’s too much choice.

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So what seems to be a choice a lot of youngsters take these days? Right, the high road.

Due to the pressure of (social) media (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, …) and the ad hoc commercial strategy of the travel industry using internet cookies and tailor made stalker advertisements to their power it looks like the only evident way to get rid of your stress is to step on a plane and travel to a galaxy far far away.  noseviaja

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Where else are you going to get the opportunity to do a shallow water scarf dance?

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Get the most out of your opposable thumbs?

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Or cosy up to a complete stranger?

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Woops, this one is not supposed to be in here

Of course not everyone dares to take the high road. Because they

  • are scared
  • financially in a pickle
  • scared
  • scared
  • scared

The list with reasons is endless.

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So some of them -in fact- rot away in their comfort zones. And forever regret not making exciting life choices. Walking around like little time bombs. Others find a way to get over/around it and end up appreciating what they got and eventually lose the need to jump from one continent to another.

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“I don’t need to go to Asia to solve my life problems, thank you”, someone slingshotted at me recently.

That’s fair. If you really mean it. That means you’re much more likely to solve your problems one on one. Or maybe don’t have any problems to begin with.
… For now. Let’s just see what midlife brings.

I can’t help but feeling when people say it like that, they take the diss out of people who do need it. It has become a phenomenon to ridicule the act of traveling the globe to get to know oneself. I call it nomad bashing. Backpacker bullying. Globetrotter battering. Wanderlust shaming.

Well, don’t blame us for having a sense of curiosity.

… Or for having better stories than you.

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In reality those people are just shifting the blame, changing the conversation, greatly hoping one day a scientist with a PhD will stand up and tell them:

‘You were right, you don’t have to travel to the other side of the world. It’s not going to help you. I have the proof!’

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So the bullies can go on and say: ‘Told you so’

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I don’t know

Our stories could be the closest you’ll get to a little adventure.

Too bad you don’t see it that way.

It must be hard living a life with bad eye sight, no cojones and a synthetic identity.

It might just be you are trying a little too hard to conform to a closed system, pushing a synthetic identity onto yourself which enables you to avoid looking if the chosen identity matches your own deeper wishes and competences. You choose to be unsupportive towards other ideas to protect yourself against potential doubt about the irreversible road you took.

So, who’s dealing with the real crisis here, Sherlock?

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Not to be worried though.

“A crisis is no such thing as an inevitable disaster, but must be seen as a necessary turning point, a critical time when the development in one way or another should continue and opportunities for growth, recovery and further differentiation will be mobilized.

An identity crisis, like any crisis, is an initially negative perception of emotional experience, but mostly an inevitable obstacle to achieve further development.

In that turbulent phase lies ample opportunity for growth.”
(Erik Erikson)

“Real winners are those who dare to lose everything” * 
(Evelien Delgouffe)

I hear the Maldives are on sale.

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Great travel agency by the way. It’s the one I used for my awesome adventure. If you want to I can tell you ALL about it some time.

XO

* (Not to be taken literally by heavy gamblers with debts the size of the Grand Canyon.)

… Although I do hear the Canyon looks great this time of year.

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Less hating. More hiking.

Safe travels!

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XO