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.

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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!

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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

My ride. My fight. My life

In my last blog post I dropped the bomb on you by coming out of the closet with my resignation.

(Flashback)

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I’ve been getting some mixed reactions on that decision, but that’s okay. I still stand behind my choice. I haven’t been happier really. I have found the perfect balance between Work, Well-being and Writing. Something a lot of my colleagues are struggling with nowadays. I recognize that struggle and am happy I found my own way of balancing it out rationally.

Because, let’s be honest, I’m not going to make a decision like that and not have some kind of plan or idea of what’s next.

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But first things first.

At the end of 2016 I came up with a little challenge for myself.

I just got back from months of traveling and I wanted to sink my teeth in a new adventure. With the money I saved up from working at the bar I bought my first ever race bike and I decided to participate in amateur road races.

I have been hanging around in cycling environments since 2014. And riding a bike myself, has always triggered me since then.

With the help of Golazo, Energy lab and all the good advice I could collect from friend-cyclists, cycling journos and family members I kicked off.

Once I started training I realized there would be a long way ahead for me to actually participate in amateur competitions.

So I decided to participate in bigger road races first. Since they’re more focused on the experience and endurance. And less on rankings.

My training started in November, a little later than planned since I was still struggling with moving out of my apartment and stabilizing here in Antwerp after being on the road for so long.

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My first indoor mileage.

Then in December, I got the chance to go to Canada for three weeks and my schedule got postponed again.

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Neglecting my diet.

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Smoking the Christmas tree…

I was back in the saddle by January 10th. Combining trainings with working at the car show in Brussels for 10 days straight. It was a grueling attack on my limbs,

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but I had to get started since I was supposed to ride a big cycling event and I had less than 3 months to get ready.

There were times I panicked. Hyperventilated. There were times I lost faith. But at least three times a week, I was on my bike. Before shifts I rode 1 – 2 hours. And on Sundays I did long runs from 3 – 5 hours.

The big problem was, since I had never rode a racing bike before, I was scared to go outside in winter. I was scared to fall and get injured. So most of the time I was training indoors. On rollers…

Even though you build up a decent condition and muscle strength, it doesn’t help you to get balance and core stability on the road.

I knew I had to go outside asap. But I was fucking terrified of my clip-less pedals.

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I use a three-bolt clip-in system aka “the deathheads”.

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These things could proper kill you.

Apparently everyone is a little scared of them at first. It involves a little bit of a learning curve.

Of course I realized that a little too late….

Without testing them thoroughly, I immediately went for a first ride on a sunny afternoon.

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Clipped-in selfie taking. This is living on the edge!

I was riding for about 20 minutes when I had to make a stop at a busy crossroad. With the traffic lights being on red, I had made an excellent stop. I had put my left foot down, with my right foot still clipped in. As I was standing there for five minutes, waiting to lift off again, I realized there would be no way of crossing this busy road without pressing the pedestrian button. This button, however, was on the other side of the pillar. So I slowly maneuvered my way to it. While I was doing this, I started to lose my balance, tried to counter this by using my right foot, forgetting I was still clipped in and BAM!

There I was horizontally at the side of the road with my bike still attached to my feet while cars were racing by. I got back up and got away with some light bruising. I figured it was best to have that inevitable fall out of the way in order to improve myself on the road.

I continued my ride and didn’t fall after.

I figured I was ready for the next step.

I still regret the day I thought this….

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So blonde & clueless…

Next Sunday, I called up my parents to go explore some bits of the road race I was about to attend in a couple of weeks. I hand picked out some of the heaviest climbs. Since I figured I had to know them in order to ride them. We went to the ‘Muur’ or ‘Wall’ of Geraardsbergen. A steep street paved with cobblestones, climbed every year by cyclists during the Tour of Flanders.

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The Muur is about 1K long. I started off great. I was cycling up and up and up. With every turn the road got steeper and steeper. At one point it felt as if all the power was flowing out of my legs. And they just turned into stone. I panicked, because I realized I was stuck to my bike and getting out of clip-less pedals on a steep climb would be total suicide. At least for a beginner like me.

I got out with one shoe but my weight fell on the other side, wanting to find support on my right foot but that one was still clipped in.

I smacked onto the cobbles like a bag of Belgian potatoes. The horizontal cyclist, I am.

I got back up again and fell over again! Getting back in the saddle on a steep climb with clip-less pedals is total suicide number 2. At least for a beginner like me…

I was starting to think this training ride was a bad idea.

A+ for guts. D- for cleverness.

But I didn’t come here to just quit. So I rode back. To the bottom of the Wall. And tried again. On my way down I fell again. Trust me, falling over and over again really weighs on your mental state of being. I was feeling pissed off and I was starting to feel really scared and insecure of my riding skills. Also: I was trashing my bike like crazy. My steering wheel was already crooked.

As I tried again I climbed and climbed and climbed and at the point where I fell over before, I anticipated and tried to get out of my pedals faster. I figured that would be a good exercise. But same thing happened. The fall was even more spectacular this time. I didn’t even feel like getting back on my bike again. I was so displeased, I walked my way down on my stupid clown shoes and called it a day.

My parents were there waiting for me and were worried about me participating after what they had just witnessed. Since this day was a measure for nothing, we figured we might get something out of it while enjoying some traditional ‘mattentaarten‘.

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A sweet pastry, made with matten paste or cheese curd. Something Geraardsbergen is very famous for. Something that could compensate this total waste of energy.

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The disappointment is real.

On my way back home I felt like shit.

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What was I thinking? You can’t tame a mustang just like that.

Did Jake just randomly jump on his Ikran and fly away? Don’t think so.

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I have to make the bond (starting 00:30sec) if I want to live and tell my grandkids.

First I need to gain confidence on my bike, being outdoors. Only then I can try on the climbs clipped-in. Starting with the little hills. Then the big monuments.

I need to fucking learn how to walk before I can run.

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Then it dawned on me. One year ago I was riding bikes in Australia and China. On the left side of the road with kangaroos crossing, through busy Chinese streets with no traffic rules whatsoever. Was I scared then? No way. Why? Because I was wearing sneakers.

If this is the only thing weighing me down for this challenge, then why should I risk hurting myself, my bike or other people participating? If I’m not confident on my bike, because of those clip-ins then this race would be total mayhem for me and everyone involved. I couldn’t take that chance. I much rather have my full confidence and lose all the pulling advantage clip-less pedals offer. My strength is in my legs and mind anyway.

After feeling bad for a day or two, I regained confidence. I had no other choice. I had decided to ride an other road race the week before my big challenge. I figured it would be a good final rehearsal. The ride would be 90 K. But the furthest milage outside (the hundreds and hundreds of kilometers on my rollers not included) was 25 K!

So the day before the race I went to Linkeroever to warm up.

And did a 50 K ride in a little over 2 hours.

Turned out it was a good preparation because the next day I managed to complete the 90 K in Gent-Wevelgem. The final 40 K I had to face tough wind which really pulled down my average speed. But another participant warned me in advance and advised me to spread my strength.

Type Gerrit from Bavikhove .

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“Make sure to save your strength. The final 40 K there’s heavy wind.”

Roger that! My team mates from Cyclokorsakov were already putting the muscle in the mustard from minute one. But after 17 minutes I detached from my group and rode solo for the rest of the race. Also facing the wind solo. My neck and shoulders were cramping up so bad from battling Mother Nature. The final 10 K were killing me. I was hoping to find a fat arse to tug myself behind. But Gerrit was nowhere to be seen.

One minute out of wind can make a world of difference for your recovery.

That and many other things I learned from that first official ride.

  • Don’t grab your drinking bottle during descents, for example.
  • Nor on cobble stones.
  • Also don’t bite your tongue on cobbles or you’ll bite it right off.
  • Always warn if there’s a car coming. And make flight attendant gestures with your hands to make other points across.
  • Make sure you drink enough to avoid muscle cramps. I made sure I had a sip every 15 minutes. I had one water bottle with me and one bottle filled with some hydrate mix to provide me with the necessary salts and minerals during my workout.

At provision there’s also a chance to refill your water bottle. And at Gent-Wevelgem there were big tanks with green stuff to keep you energized too. It looked as if the Ghostbusters had put Slimer in different containers. It smelled like the eighties too.

After 4 hours and 30 minutes in the saddle I reached the finish and it felt as if the weight of the world fell of my shoulders. I was extremely pleased with my result and felt ready for my big challenge the week after.

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I knew I would have to dose my efforts in the week to come, though. Especially since I had to work and stand on my legs all day.

On Wednesday I went for a nice and easy 30 K ride.

And on Friday I did a quick recovery ride of only 45 minutes.

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On my rollers. For old time’s sake…

I was almost ready for my big adventure. Almost. I just needed to loosen up the muscles and fill my energy tank with some healthy greens.

Luckily there was a fresh juice shop right at the end of the street where the massage place is.

=> Antwerp Thai Massage, Museumstraat 8, 2000 Antwerp
=> Fruxino, Museumstraat 1, 2000 Antwerp 

I had one more day at the bar …

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And then it was off to bed! I had set my alarm clock at 5 am. I wanted to be at the start at 7 and it is advisory to eat at least 2 hours before commencing a training or a race. 5 minutes before the start I like to eat an energy bar to keep me energized until the first provision. Usually two hours in.

I had 1 cup of coffee an two shots of espresso to give me that extra energy boost. The good thing about coffee is that it makes you hyper. The bad thing is that it makes you have to pee faster. And with bib shorts, that’s not an easy thing to do. For evident reasons…

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APRIL 1st, D DAY 

I felt like a clueless soldier rowing a boat to Normandy, signing up for a suicide job.

Due to some delay on the way, some administration and a pee break at the start, I left at 8 instead of 7am. It was raining, a little bit cold, and the sky was 50 shades of grey.

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The first 30 K were psychological warfare. My goal was still a long way ahead of me and I wasn’t feeling confident I would make it. I wasn’t impressed with my legs, I was losing precious time on the climbs and the cobbles, and I realized I would be in the saddle for at least 6-8 hours. I was trying to pep talk myself into it but I missed the clue on why I was doing this.

#clueless.

At 30 K we had our first provision and there I made the click.

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At provision you can find all kinds of food displayed for you. It’s easy to overindulge. I am still experiencing which foods benefit me and which don’t, but I find gingerbread to be easy digestible and quite enjoyable too. So at the first provision I had a slice of gingerbread and a cereal bar and a sip of orange energy drink.

At 77 K we had another provision right before the Koppenberg. There, I figured I would be in need of plenty of fast sugars so I ate a slice of gingerbread, a sugar waffle and a slice of banana. I also stretched for 2 minutes since I was experiencing some mild strain in my lower back.

The sugar sure did it’s job (not on the Koppenberg, since there were too many people and everybody had to walk up) but in my fifth hour I conquered 3 climbs in a row. I was impressed. It felt as if I had pressed a hidden power button.

During my final provision at 100 K I had a light meal consisting of 1 banana and 1 orange.

I was carrying a Powerbar which would come in handy in my final hour.

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I can’t stress the importance to stay hydrated enough. You lose a lot of water during an intense workout and your muscles need this to recover. I tried to drink a sip of water with some added minerals each 15-20 minutes. As a result I stayed surprisingly fresh. Even after six hours I still wasn’t tired of riding.

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Especially since I saw some riders at the side of the road bending over, rubbing their legs, pointing at their bikes, being too stiff to pick them up. I also saw a lot of riders being carried away by ambulances with broken bones. Also on the climbs riders fell over due to their clip-less pedals.

I knew the 141 K was in reach. The finish line was pulling me in like a lasso. The last 10 K, right after the impossible Paterberg, I was racing to the finish line at 30 K/hour. I felt so energized, I just had to give my all and ride myself empty until the very end.

I was living in my head the entire time. I was seeing flashbacks of my life. Of this past year. How, EXACTLY one year ago, I was riding a bike in Beijing.

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And how, today, I was riding my own race bike during Flanders’ most beautiful road race. Over paved cobble stones where Gilbert, Van Avermaet, Boonen and Sagan would suffer (and even fall) the next day.

I was amazed about how my life keeps taking unexpected, but exciting turns. And how much it energizes me.

I couldn’t be happier with where I am today.

From the chain smoking journo I used to be. To the independent world explorer I became. And the Sporty Spice I am now. What a rollercoaster ride it has been.

And it felt great I was doing all this on my NIKES.

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These sneakers have led me over mountain tops in Australia, through rough roads in Tasmania and through intense Kung Fu training in China. The CHI is in these shoes. And that April 1st, the CHI was with me. Shifu Gao, my Kung Fu friends (Celine, Audrey and many more), Tasmanian Cannibal Helmut, Sammy and all my other Tooperang farm friends, Goedele and Nairn, my gorgeous girl Steph … all of them were there to encourage me and push me over that finish line.

I was pleased with the symbolism. It made the circle complete. It almost brought me to tears.

All because of a pair of iconic sneakers.

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First never follows. I like doing things my way. Make my own rules. Blonde/Clueless-style. I’m stubborn like cobbles.

Mac Miller

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I know there’s a lot of undiscovered potential inside of me. Inside all of us.

And I am going to explore this to the (Air) max.

On and off the bike. Who knows what other things I am capable of. It feels rewarding to discover myself in new ways. And I couldn’t be more proud of where I am today.

Once I reached the finish I was so pleased with my rodeo, I just wanted to fall into my parents’ arms and hug them. Too bad they were nowhere to be seen. I found them 45 minutes later napping in the car 5 K from the finish… emoji

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They made it up to me by taking me out for dinner immediately. I needed to refuel and it’s best to do this somewhere between 1 and 120 minutes after your workout.

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Taking this to bed.

The next day I enjoyed washing my bike and watching the Tour of Flanders for pros.

I was happy to see Gilbert win. And to have Greg as his runner-up. I also think Niki is kinda cool too. I love to hear him talk.

The Tour of Flanders had a fairy tale ending in many ways.

I’m going to enjoy the moment for the days to come, and keep on training and riding. Next goal is to get better, faster and stronger on the bike.

Time to master that clip-less pedal learning curve. Helmets and seatbelts on everybody.

Can I clip it?

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Yes I can!

Peace out

XO

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Frankenfiction

I have been away for a while. According to the reports it has been two weeks since I posted something on this blog. And for that I am sorry.

But my absence has got nothing to do with a lack of inspiration, motivation or enthusiasm. It is much bigger than that.

The truth is…. I was held captive. In a different era.

***

It all started when I had my doctor’s appointment with my parodontologist Victor Frankenstein that faithful morning.

Dr. Frankenstein: “Evelien Delgouffe? Am I pronouncing it right?”

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Me: “Absolutely, doc!”

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Dr. Frankenstein: “Come on in. Why don’t you take of your clothes, ahm, coat and install yourself on that big chair there.”

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I hung up my coat and lied down feeling somewhat excited and nervous at the same time. Even more, because I didn’t really know what the surgery was for. Together with my dentist they had decided to remove a piece of my lip connecting my gums. It was of most importance, they said. So I underwent.

Dr. Frankenstein: “Now open wide.”

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“Ahm…Your mouth, miss Delgouffe”

Me: “Oh, right, I’m sorry, I have a gynecologist appointment later on. I guess I’m a little nervous.”

Dr. Frankenstein: “There’s nothing to be nervous about, love. The only thing that will hurt a little is the narcotics. After you’ll be in ultimate bliss.”

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He took a big syringe with a huge needle of his utensils tray. As he brought the syringe closer to my face, the needle went straight into my gums. One time. Two times. Three times. By the fourth time my entire chin was as numb as a rock. His assistant Dr. Jekyll was holding my lip down so Dr. Frankenstein could perform the surgery. I felt a little drowsy and I didn’t want to see two pairs of hands fiddling different objects in my mouth so I decided to close my eyes for a bit. Find a happy place.

***

All of a sudden it was as if I got flushed down a vortex of some sort. Like a washing machine. Or perhaps even, a toilet. When I flushed through the strange type of birth canal all the way to the other side, I found myself in a water basin in some kind of weird work shed.

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As I regained my hearing I heard horses passing by. And carriages. Gentleman talking in low voices. Females laughing in a girly high pitch.

What is this place? Where am I? And why am I naked?!

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The last thing I could remember was Dr. Frankenstein pricking that big needle in my gums. But here, the doctor was nowhere to be seen.

Me: “Dr. Frankenstein? Hello?? Anybody??”

In the nook of the roof I saw a little window. I climbed up the webby wood work to gaze through it and find a point of recognition. Maybe the MAS. Or the Schelde.

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I saw people in historic garments in the streets. Women in long skirts and coats with curly hair. Men wearing high hats and leather shoes. I saw little boys selling newspapers for a penny. Smoke coming from the gutters.

Me: “I woke up in a basin in the 19th century??”

Dr. Frankenstein was so friendly to leave an appropriate gown for me on the chair next to the basin. Or maybe it was Dr. Jekyll. He had a little gay vibe going on there.

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I hopped into the clothes and found a way out of that shed in order to find a way back to civilization!

I was racing through the streets. I was making myself stand out instead of blend in but I was kind of in a hurry to go back. I only paid the parking meter for 1 hour and 15 minutes and I didn’t want to be fined AGAIN.

While I was rushing I accidentally bumped into a young man.

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Young man: “Careful there miss. Why is a beautiful woman like you in such a rush?”

Me: “I need to find my car.”

Young man: “Haha, I like a woman with wit. And a sense for emancipation.”

He reached out his hand and introduced himself.

“My name is Dorian Gray. And who might you be?”

Me: “Errr… Frankenstein. Lily Frankenstein.”

That’s what the sow-in label in my dress said.

He turned my hand to his face and kissed it.

Dorian: “Nice to meet you miss Frankenstein. Lily. Will you walk with me? To your car? (wink wink)”

Me: “Well…Mister Gray…. “

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Dorian: “I got a better idea. Let me invite you to dinner. At my place.”

Me: “Dinner?…Well a girl’s got to eat!”

At the end of the street we entered a beautiful piece of property with a magnificent inner court garden.

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The mansion was nothing I had ever seen. With big chandeliers on the ceiling and countless paintings on the walls.

Episode 106

Classical music was screeching from the gramophone.

Dorian: “Can I have this dance?”

I was overwhelmed by the need for passion of this young man. Who, to me, was still a complete stranger.

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Me: “Err… Don’t get me wrong Dorian but you look a little young for me.”

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Dorian: “Well, yes I am. I am immortal, you see. I am forever young.”

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Me: “Ok Dorian, I had a rough day. I woke up in a basin in the 19th century. With no clothes and no memory. I will probably have a fuckload of fines on my car’s windshield. And I still need to pay for my dental bill at checkout.”

I tilted my skirt up and made my way to the front door.

Dorian: “Wait, don’t leave yet. I want you to meet some of my old friends.”

Me: “Old? Like my type of old?”

Dorian: “Old acquaintances rather. I invited them over for dinner. To catch up on old times. Will you stay?”

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His begging bedroom eyes were strangely convincing when all of a sudden the door bell rang.

Dorian: “Ah, the first guest has arrived. Miss Frankenstein, may I introduce you to my good friend….

Mister Dracula.”

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Dorian: “Mister Dracula, I would like you to meet Lily Frankenstein.”

Dracula: “Enchanté. De-Lily-cious.”

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“And thank you for having me for dinner, Dorian. I haven’t had a bite in a while.”

Me: “Yeah I know what you mean. I’m supposed to be on this cycling diet but it’s hard as hell. It’s much easier to stay off the bottle.”

Dracula: “Off the bottle? So if I would bite you, there would be no alcohol in your blood?”

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Me: “Cero coma cero, cero, cero, cero my friend… And I had a vegan burger yesterday so you’re probably not interested in this broccoli bun.”

Dracula: “Grose.”

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DING DOOOOIINGG

Dorian: “Woops, there is our next guest.”

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Me: “Ok with one girl and two guys already present, the next one should either be a housewife or a queer guy according to the rules of reality tv. Or maybe both.”

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A surprising presence entered the ball room and filled the void with what could only be described a James Bond-ly charm. His aura was so bright and strong I felt a minor tremor in my belly.

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“Hello”, the dark handsome man spoke to me. He reached out to kiss my hand and spoke more. “And who might you be?”

Me: “Lily Frankenstein…I guess.”

Handsome man: “Your eyes are like two full moons in a pitch dark night.”

Dracula: “Yeah, even werewolves would cry for this tasteless piece of meat”

Me: “Oh bite me, Dracula.”

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Handsome man: “Haha, she’s got attitude. I like that.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”

Handsome man: “It’s Fyodor. Fyodor Dostoyevsky.”

Me: “Nice to meet you Frodo.”

Episode 104

Dostoyevksy: “It’s Fyo…”

Dorian: “Shall we sit?”

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Fyodor was so kind to take my chair back and help me sit down. He installed himself at my side and continued to pick my brain form there.

We only had commenced our conversation or there were already a bunch of servants eager to fill up our glasses.

Me: “Oh, not for me I’m on a strict alcohol ban.”

Dostoyevsky: “Really? What’s your trauma?”

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Me: “Oh it’s silly, really. I’m participating in a big cycling event in a couple of weeks and I’m staying off the bottle. But I could go for a coke zero if you have one cold.”

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Dorian: “Miss Frankenstein seems to be coming from a different planet. Earlier she was looking for her car. She feared the parking rangers would fine her.”

All together: “Hahahaha. The parking rangers. You are an extraterrestrial miss Frankenstein.”

Dracula: “With no seasoning whatsoever.”

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Dostoyevsky:We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken. You are an enigma miss Frankenstein. A puzzling and inexplicable occurrence.”

Me: “And you are a fine poet mister Dostoyevsky.”

Dostoyevsky: “How did you guess? I write about psychos, sadists, downtrodden persons, drunks and murderers. I see desperate and hopeless people everywhere. My literary hunt is to passionately find a way out for these lost causes. I am a chronicler of the soul. “

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Me: “I too am a chronicler of the soul, sir! A troubadour of the world. I keep all my stories on my blog. A compendium of thoughts.”

Dostoyevsky: “I’ll drink to that, miss Frankenstein.”

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“So where can I read this compendium of yours? You got a manuscript with you?”

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Me: “Heck no Frodo. I’m not even wearing underwear right now. You can find everything on the internet.  Wait, you got Whatsapp? I’ll text it to you that’s probably easier.”

Dostoyevsky: “Your vocabulary is quite advanced. The internet? Whatsapp?”

Me: “Oh right. Silly me! Those are inventions of the 20th – 21st century. Let’s just say I am continuously editing my life story in a global network connecting millions of computers that will be possible to read in a couple of hundred years. It’s a story about finding a way in life based on 100% hope and 0% prejudice. Staying true to yourself and your beliefs. Even if the world thinks you’re just being blonde and clueless.”

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Dostoyevsky: “Blonde and Clueless? It is not the brains that matter most, but that which guides them — the character, the heart, generous qualities, progressive ideas.”

Me: “You got that right. But it’s a bumpy road to follow, I can tell you that.”

Dostoyevsky: “Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.”

Me: “That’s what I say! I often have the feeling I am the only one asking questions. The only one who has the courage to dig deeper. To decipher the inner clockwork. To find some hidden design. People just say I’m full of illusions. That I’m a lost cause, hopelessly going the wrong way.”

Dostoyevsky: “To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s. Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid…”

“Plus: Right or wrong, it’s very pleasant to break something from time to time, isn’t it miss Frankenstein?”

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Me: “Damn right, Mister D! I hope you don’t mind me saying this but I think you could be the ‘Backpackersguidefortheblondeandtheclueless’ avant la lettre! My counterpart in this century! I will try to print out some of my excerpts and bring it to you next week when I have my second appointment with my doctor to remove my threads.”

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As I pronounced the words ‘threads’ I felt someone pulling me away from the scene. Like someone was sticking a needle into me and pulling a thread through it. And again. And again. And again. Removing me from this place entirely.

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As I floated away, looking down on the scenery from a bird’s perspective…

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I felt like I was looking at the decor of the parlor game I had when I was a child: 1313 Dead End Drive.

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A place of Crime and Punishment.

At that moment, while floating somewhere between the 19th and 21st century with the narcotics running out, I felt it.

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Enlightenment.

A feeling that something was coming.

A change.

A positive one. For as far as I sensed it.

Either professional or romantic. I don’t know yet. But something is about to put my life in a completely different galaxy soon.

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In a distance I heard my friend Dostoyevsky telepathically dispensing his final life advice to me. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi connecting to Luke Skywalker.

“Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn’t calculate his happiness. Calculate your happiness, miss Frankenstein. Even if you cannot see the sun. Know that it exists. To know that the sun is there – that is living.”

Me: “10-4 Fyodor!”

I’m ready to jump to hyperspace.

Back home. Back to the present.

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Me: “I am one with the force, the force is with me. I am one with the force, the force is with me. I am one with the force, the force is ….”

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Dr. Frankenstein: “Welcome back miss Delgouffe. Seems like you had a wonderful journey.”

Me: “I have a feeling it is only the beginning, doctor.”

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***

To be continued.

Source fan fiction: Penny Dreadful season 1,2,3; Dostoyevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’, ‘Notes from Underground’, ‘White Nights’, ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ ; ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Rogue One’. 

Korsakov

picture-2016-09-07-om-11-36-12Korsakoff’s syndrome , also known as Korsakoff’s disease, is a persistent memory disorder which is primarily caused by vitamin B1 deficiency, usually due to too little varied food by chronic alcohol abuse . It is characterized by disorientation, especially in time , disorders, in particular short-term memory and confabulation.

In layman’s terms: The severe memory loss you develop when overindulging on alcohol.

The time has come you guys. Ever since I came back from my travels I’ve been going home every night smelling of stale beer and sweat. Dazed and confused.

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Tired. Falling asleep on my couch watching Comedy Central. Or worse: Spike TV.

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I’ve hit rock bottom alright.

I spend most of my days in the bar.

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You: “Gee Evvy how did it come this far? I never considered you to be an alcoholic.”

Me: “Me? Oh I don’t drink. I just stick to water, coffee, ginger juice and brownies. Plain brownies. Not the ones Martha Stewart baked in prison.”

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You: “But I don’t get it, then why do you say you go home smelling of beer? All dazed and confused?”

Me: “Because I work in a bar dummy. You’re currently looking at the new barmaid of Korsakov. The coolest -and most ‘colorful’- bar in town. It attracts some interesting specimens I can tell you that. And ‘men’ in general.”

Owner: “Gee, ever since I hired you the café is filled with guys. It’s like they’ve never seen a female bartender before.”

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First barmaid in history. All rights reserved.

It’s like that time when Buffy left Sunnydale to live in that shitty apartment, making ends meet by working as a waitress and changing her name into Anne!

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“I have to write this down”

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(Guys acting like they’ve never seen a female bar tender before)

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Ooh, that’s a strong look. Maybe I should try it out today.

Relax. It’s all temporary. And it’s all for a good cause.

You: “Oh you’re donating your earnings to charity?”

Me: “Err, no. I’m saving up for a new challenge.”

You: “A boob job???”

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Me: “No perv, my tits are fine. I did the pencil test…”saggy-boobs

Although it is a great idea for my tip jar…

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No, I’m very comfortable in my skin and feel very blessed to be walking around in this goddess body Mother Nature bestowed on me. And it’s nice to see I am still very much in control of my mind and bodily functions.

…Which is more than I can say for some of the customers.

Weird dude: “Hey Anne could you pour me another Duvel. It’s only my sixth one today.”

Me: “My name is Evelien.”

“And its only 11.30 am…”

Weird dude: “Well I’ve been awake for almost six hours. I went to bed at 4.30 and got up at 6. It’s okay I usually drink 18 Duvels a day.”

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Weird dude: “So you’re still in school?”

Me: “Err; no.”

Weird dude: “Then why do you work here? “

Me: “Because I want to.”

Weird dude: “Waw, you’re weird.”

I just got called weird by the weirdest guy on this planet :

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Weird dude: “What’s your name again?”

Me: (…)

Korsakoff’s syndrome. Told ya.

You: “Well the weird guy does have a point there, Ev. Why do you work there? You got excellent qualifications, you graduated with distinction, your IQ is above average, one year ago you were the perfect ivory to will.i.am’s ebony…

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…Not to be rude or anything but you can do way better than this.”

Me: “Look, don’t feel bad for me guys, I choose to work here. It keeps me grounded. It pays the bills and it gives me time to gain some perspective, look at things from a different point of view, put my priorities in order and think of all the things I want to achieve before I’m 30 and after. I’m coming up for air. And it’s actually working out really well for me.

I’ve been feeling super energized. For the first time in a long time I feel like I can finally breathe again. I’m not on my case anymore. I’m working, making money, contributing to society. And I’ve actually been creating a lot of cool stuff.

You: “So tell us about that new challenge you’re saving up for?”

Me: “Well it’s still a secret but I can say it’s a physical challenge. But my body is far from fit yet.”

You: “You finally realized you belong in the porn industry?”

Me: “Yuk no! Why has this always have to be about S-E-X??”

You: “Slaying vampires?”

Me: “I wish! Been wanting to do that since I was 10.”

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You: “Oh I know! You’re going back to China?”

Me: “Unfortunately no, even though I dream about my Shifu commanding me to do Russian push ups every night…<3”

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The first ever original pic of my Shifu on the blog. His Chi is mostly in his hair.

He would so much enjoy using that staff to punish drunken customers. Not that I dislike alcohol or people how drink or anything.

I do -very rarely- enjoy a shot of tequila after a hard shift. With a side of …. UH OH

LEMON!

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But I do steer away from the alcohol demon as much as I can. I’ve seen what it does to people. And it’s not pretty.

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And of course Beyoncé is so drunk in love she can’t even spell right.

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Or remember she took a shit in the kitchen.

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What I’ve realized over my short career of bartending, is that there’s always a reason to drink. Some drink to celebrate. Some drink to make something happen. Others -and they’re quite the majority unfortunately- drink to forget.

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 To forget their dad abandoned them when they were a kid. To forget their girlfriend left them for some other dude. To forget they have financial trouble. A dead end job. To forget the prison they’re living in.

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And who can blame them? It is tempting to lighten the burden with bourbon.

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But reality is: life has got us all by the throat. Everybody is looking for their cup of happiness. But maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to find if we wouldn’t raise the bar on ourselves that much.

It’s like in ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’. We go looking for the perfect cup. With emeralds and gold, …. the whole shebang. But it’s the simplest cup which carries the purest happiness.

My glass is filled to the rim these days. With my own (non alcoholic) brew. Now, it’s only a first draft so things can still curdle, but I discovered the perfect way to perfect acceptance and happiness is to sometimes just stand still. Nakedly exposed, for everyone to take a good look at you. And you allowing them. Without fear of failure.

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I’ve realized: If you want to succeed in life, you shouldn’t be afraid to fail.

Not being scared to occasionally fall on your face is the way to put life check mate.

Life is a game of chess, I’ve said it before. And I will say it again.

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There’s nothing wrong with standing still or even taking a few steps back if it helps you to jump further in the long run.

For now, I decided for myself: I don’t have to be achieving 24/7.

I choose to underachieve.

And it feels great. Incredibly liberating even! It definitely beats trying to be someone you’re not or desperately achieving someone else’s crazy high standards and feeling miserable over it.

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Hi, I’m a temporary voluntary underachiever.

Nobody is perfect and still we demand ourselves to be a perfect 10 every day. In order to be acknowledged. By ourselves. And by our surroundings. To be something other than just a brick in the wall. A plant. Or maybe a pretty flower.

Well in order to become that. To rise above your feeding ground. You have to let the seed grow. And all that requires is three basic ingredients. Air. Patience. And water*.

*Nope, sorry, no alcohol.

And for what it’s worth. This is a quote I found on the toilet wall in the bar:

“If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, then it never was.”

If this doesn’t sober you up for the better, I don’t know what will.

Cheers!

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XO

KABLEWY! Blonde/Clueless has it’s own business cards! What do you think guys? Isn’t this kick you in the nuts damn right fantastic?!

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🙂

My encounter with cave man

Before I embark on my big adventure I’d like to take a second to look back on 2015. A year where I took a leap of faith (literally by diving 27,5 meters vertically down a slide at speeds up to 60 miles per hour at Dubai’s most legendary water park) and my life took some unexpected but very exciting turns. 2015 was a year of metamorphosis. I turned blonde. What a shocker. I got transformed into a fairy at Tomorrowland, became a survival chick in Slovenia, got in touch with my inner gay icon in Ibiza and continued channeling my inner geek at comic cons. It was the year where I became the person I will enjoy to be the rest of my life. However, I doubt I will stay a blonde.

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Change was in the air that 31st January of 2014. Me and my best friend Cedric kick started the New Year on a beach in Dubai. He lived there at that time and since I didn’t see him that often and I had just come out of a break up, Dubai seemed the best place to start the new year fresh. Little did I know he was going to be the most important person to me that year. A few days later he moved to Antwerp after he got an impromptu job offer. We were like Bonnie & Clyde and embarked on one hell of a ride. We partied all over the world and infiltrated the underground gay scene. Yes, I stood amongst quite a lot of bare chests in 2015. Especially by the end of the year when I went to Thailand to cover my final story: 48 hours on the set of Temptation Island. In Belgian news stands soon!

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But my most remarkable and inspiring encounter was with a cave man in Mokri Potok, Slovenia. Where I was sent to meet up with Angelo, a guy who traded his everyday life to live and survive in the Slovenian bush with his dog Lana and other forest creatures. Even though I only stayed with him for a week, I got infected by his freedom, his way of thinking, openly and without prejudice. Without fear. Having faith in what will happen. Or not happen.

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A few weeks before my departure to Oz I met up with him in Belgium. He had just gotten some fresh ink at the local tattoo parlor and was preparing himself to survive in more extreme environments. While we were enjoying our drinks in a densely populated bar in the city, we were both in the woods. He with his heart. Me with my thoughts. At that time I was fretting over my future, stuffing my face with comforting carbs and basically freaking out over what I was going to do with my life. I just knew something had to happen. The further away from home, the better.

“What did you want to become when you were a kid?”, Angelo asked.
Me: “Ahm… an R&B singer?”
Angelo looked at me while raising his left eye brow. You should know Angelo is a wild man. He has a full, pitch dark beard, his wild manes he keeps up in a messy man bun and he carries an interesting cologne of wet dog and camp fire.
Angelo: “Okay…Try to visualize what your dreams were when you were younger, when every possibility laid before you and every door was an open one.”

Me: “I wanted to see the world… And have long hair.”
Angelo: “Voila! There you have it, this is why you’re restless.”
Me: “Because I don’t have long hair?”
Angelo: “Because you feel you’ve been neglecting some of your childhood dreams. Then what are you waiting for? For love to come knock on your door and take away all your dreams? For you to hatch out a few kids and end up divorced five years later? The doctor to tell you you have cancer? For you to become an old lady with a stick and huge glasses?”
Me: “Hey, don’t mock my glasses!”
Angelo: “I’m just saying you don’t have anything keeping you here. Except for excuses.”
Me: “But where do I start? I don’t even have enough money to travel to far away countries. I don’t even own a backpack. (on the edge of hysterical) I have never opened a travel guide in my life!”
Angelo: “Then write your own. When you visited me in Slovenia I noticed you were not there completely. Physically yes, but your head was somewhere else. It was only when I read your story in the newspaper I understood your head was processing every little detail and my mind was blown. You can write, kid. Use that talent. You have a voice that people want to hear.”

I shook my head. Why would anyone want to read what I have to say? Me? A clueless girl from Belgium.
Me: “There are so many people who write travel stories, great travel stories, I can never transcend that…”
Angelo: “Well you just said you don’t read them so you will be unique in whatever you do. Stop looking at the problems and try looking at the possibilities. Right now you’re at the foot of the mountain and it looks like the Kilimanjaro to you. It’s only when you’re at the top of that mountain, you will see that it’s just a little hill.” Angelo would make a convincing graphic novel charachter. “Think about all the amazing encounters you will experience, the lessons you will learn, the skills you will acquire. You will see, when you want something really bad you will become a magnet. You will start to attract things where you’ve been dreaming about for a very long time.”

Then and there I knew Angelo was right. Then and there I knew it was time to take matters into my own hands. One week later I booked my trip. One month later I’m typing this while I’m sitting in seat 43K, going 559 miles per hour with a bit of turbulence. I guess this is what my life will be like the following months. Fast, occasionally rocky. But hopefully with a smooth landing.

XO

(Find the PDF’s on my encounter with cave man in the menu. Sorry it’s in Dutch.)