Last Saturday was my birthday. I turned 28 and I find it hard to believe. I’m no longer in the younger part of my twenties. I don’t mind getting older, but it does feel weird. It doesn’t feel like I’m 28 at all. But I am. This 28th year of my life is going to be the most awesome year so far. I have nothing planned, but I’m absolutely positive it will be spectacular.
Last week was quiet on the blog. We moved house, sort of. We’re staying with friends until we can move in to our new house in the beginning of December. Sometimes I wonder how we do it. We’ve been living like gypsies the last couple of years. Three years ago we started saving to fund our travels. We moved house 5 times in 1,5 years, each time to a cheaper house. Then we left to travel the world for a year. We never stayed anywhere longer than a month, most of the time only staying for a week. When we got back to Europe, we lived with a great family in Vienna for a week and a half, before moving in with Nick’s dad back in Holland. And now we’re sleeping on two mattresses on an attic without a door or shower. I would lie if I said it’s easy. But I also would be lying if I said I hated it. Maybe because I know it’s not forever.
Back to my birthday: Nick made me a pretty bad ass cake and gave me this book I’ve been eyeing for months. I picked out a recipe and got baking today. It’s not my birthday anymore but it’s not like you need a birthday to eat cake.
For all the Dutch people reading this: you can try this cake today at the awesome Meneer Paprika in Haarlem (where we also work!). Their new website will be online soon, made by us. We’ll share it with you once it’s ready.
Orange and Polenta cake
adapted from Home Made
for the cake
juice of 1 lemon
100 grams of polenta
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar
100 grams of almonds, finely chopped
250 grams of light caster sugar
for the garnish
100 ml of apricot marmalade
The baking of the cake
Pre heat your oven to 180°C.
Put two of the oranges in a pan with enough water and boil them for an hour. When they’re done let them cool completely.
Get out your food processor and put the two oranges in whole. Add the lemon juice and pulverize. Stir in the polenta, baking powder and vanilla sugar by hand. When it’s mixed, add in the almonds as well.
Get another bowl and whisk the eggs with the sugar until you have a white foam. This takes a while so I suggest you don’t do this manual. Make sure the bowl is fat-free before you start.
Gently mix the polenta mixture with the airy egg foam and pour it into 26 cm cake pan.
Bake the cake for 35 minutes. Let it cool for 5 minutes, put it on a cooling rack, and let it cool completely.
Now start with the oranges for the topping.
Cut off the top and bottom of the orange, making sure you cut off the white part. Now you can cut off the sides from top to bottom easily. Slice the oranges into neat slices.
Cover the cake with the slices overlapping. Heat the jam in a small pan on medium heat and when it’s warm gently smear it over the oranges. Put the cake in the fridge for a couple of hours before eating.
My little maniac, running around on the beach and eating seaweed
I love signs like this
Yes, there is a giant papa smurf in the background
Our friends came over for a weekend of fun
We’ve been doing a lot of hiking in between work lately. We’re enjoying the amazing nature of the Frisian island of Texel until we move back to the city in a few weeks. We visited the beach, the dunes and the forest this past week, and the calm this island radiates works wonders for our creativity. Texel has a unique ecosystem in the Slufter, a dune valley where sea water comes in on the tides. All kinds of rare plants grow here, including statice and glasswort. If you visit in the right season, you can pick it and eat it right away, or use at home in a salad. Make sure not to stray too far, or you’ll disturb some nesting birds, and get yourself a fine to boot.
We’ve been super productive lately, and one of the reasons for it are these moments of blissful recharge. Also, we just got Basecamp, and it’s awesome. If you do any project-based work we can highly recommended it! (not sponsored by Basecamp, just really loving it).
Have a great weekend, take a walk, eat some plants and enjoy.
Lunch at our friends house. She has the best kitchen ever
Last night I woke up in the middle of the night with a sore throat. I don’t know what it is about waking up in the middle of the night but somehow everything seems so much worse.
In just a few minutes I convinced myself this was the worst I had ever felt. I started thinking about what could be wrong with me, because these pains could not possibly be just flu. I have had the flu and this was so much worse than the flu. After some Googling I was pretty sure this was a belated Malaria attack that would for sure be the end of me. Needless to say, I did not sleep well after that.
‘Yes I think I might have Malaria and I need you to tell me if I’m right’. On the phone with the doctor my craziness started sinking in a little, but I went through with it anyway. Because what if it IS malaria? I could be slowly dying and I wouldn’t even know. Turns out, it’s just a mild case of the common flu.
One of the reasons I worried so much: we never took any anti-malaria pills while we were traveling and we did visit some high risk areas. I also got a million mosquito bites. So there, I’m not completely crazy for thinking I have malaria. I’m just a little prone to overreaction every once in a while.
So here’s to crazy midnight thoughts and the flu! I hope you all don’t catch the flu the coming fall season!
Collected thoughts about how much travel has changed me. I hope it makes a coherent story.
Fragments of our old life in Amsterdam were flashing by as we sat in a tram, on our way to a late breakfast with a friend. Raindrops on the window, slowly spiraling down. How much have we changed? How different are we compared to 5 years ago? With Amsterdam floating by, I realized just how much this past year has shaped me. People told me our trip would be life changing beforehand. But I have to see and feel to believe. And I believe.
In the tram I made a list to describe how I was feeling at the moment. Growing up. Changed perspective. Mature. Confident. Open minded. Loving. Caring. Compassionate. Open armed. Free. Understanding.
On the road we talked a lot about how this trip might affect the rest of our lives. We talked a lot. But we never ever thought it would be like this. I was surprised when I realized just how much I have changed, we have changed, us has changed. You see, I believe people can change. If you want to, you can. But it’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to be pretty. But you can. And you’ll be proud of yourself.
I let go of almost all of my fears.
I have learned to go with the flow, roll with the punches. I have learned to let go. I feel confident. I have found my limits, broken through them and imposed new limits on myself only to shatter them as well. I have learned to love, with all my heart. I learned to smile. Smile as wide as I can. Smile because I’m alive. Smile.
Do things that make you happy. You only live once (yes, I went there). Cliché’s are often true. You will never get today back. Today is your day to shine. And so is tomorrow. Learning to embrace this is the most valuable thing you will ever learn. If you live each day exactly the way you want to, you will be grateful to yourself when all is done and said.
Embrace what you have, but learn to let go. Your body is your own. Treat it well, it needs love to be at its best. Learn to let go of all the clutter in your life. Learn to let go of resentment, regret and hate.
When you’re traveling, the traveling itself becomes everyday life. I didn’t walk around exclaiming ‘oh my god, I’m traveling the world, it’s so awesome’ all the time. It’s just how it was. When it’s your everyday life, it loses most of its ‘oh my god’- factor. Now I’ve had some time to process it all. Looking out of the tram window it finally hit me: ‘Oh my god, we’ve traveled the world for a year and it was awesome’.
There’s this restaurant. When I lived in Amsterdam, I passed by every day and I never understood its name. Somehow I always thought it was a made up word. We passed by it again in the tram and for the first time I understood its name. It was ‘hello’ in Thai. Simple things like this make me want to travel more. I want to learn more of the world around me, I want to learn about the simple things and the deep insights. About myself and about the world. I want to experience. I want to eat sushi in Japan, speak Spanish (and eat tortillas) in Mexico, climb mountains in Nepal and swim with whales. I did find out I really need a place to feel at home, a place where I have some roots and where I can hide when the world overwhelms me. A place that is mine and ours.
I believe that everything that happens, just happens. There is no regret, just lessons.
It’s not just travel that changes you, it’s everything. You’re always changing.
Please share your thoughts, I would love to know what you think!
This picture is exactly how much I show of myself here. I’m behind the camera. I show a little bit, but not much. For months this blog has been a lot about our trips and not much about us. Or me. Nick gave up blogging months ago. Some of you also pointed out a complete lack of pictures of me. It’s a photographer’s curse. Always behind the camera, never in front. I’m working on that. (Honey, I know you read this. Take more pictures of me).
I’m learning how to be more open. It’s something that started while we were traveling and I think it’s one of the best things I have ever done. Opening up gives a lot of freedom. The freedom to be yourself, to share and to care. It is time to get personal!
Here is to me being more open: 10 things you should really know about me. In random order:
I believe everybody can do anything. If you really want something, you can do it. You can achieve great things. Just make an effort, go for it. Try something new. Try something you hate. Don’t get stuck in everyday life, feeling like things are out of your reach. Nothing is impossible.
My favorite food is pretty much anything as long as it is prepared with a lot of love. I don’t like store-bought treats, but I love home-baked things more than anything.
I grew up in a tiny house in a medium-sized city in Holland. My room was just big enough to fit a bed and a little cupboard. Somehow I managed to spend my entire teenage years in that bedroom without going crazy, with friends and everything.
Ever since I got a tattoo of an owl on my arm, people have been buying me owl things. I was never into owls, but I have quite the collection now. Please don’t buy me owl stuff.
When I first met Nick, I knew. I knew I would fall in love and I knew it was going to last. I didn’t want to fall in love, but I couldn’t resist it. Now, after almost 6 years, I still thinks he is the greatest man who has ever lived.
I always dreamed of being a rock star. But I never learned to play an instrument or how to sing. I did take singing lessons…once. For our 3rd anniversary I recorded a song for Nick. I didn’t give up on my dreams, my dreams changed, grew. Now I dream of being a really awesome designer and photographer and living on the beach.
Okay, this is not about me, but I was so fascinated when I found out, it’s worth sharing. Nick was born only 500 m from the sea. Last week we biked by the house he was born in and when I was looking around I suddenly realized how close to sea the house is. I don’t think there are a lot of people who can say they’ve been born this close to the sea (except for his brother and sister).
I believe you should try something before you can say you don’t like it. In this spirit I have worked at a garden center, I have cleaned elderly person’s homes, I washed dishes, I worked as a hairdresser, I studied fashion, small business & retail management and art, I lived in several different cities and I traveled the world. I also try to eat something I claim to dislike every week. I guess you can say I like to challenge myself. ‘Oh so I don’t like cauliflower. We’ll see about that’.
I drink about 5 to 10 cups of tea every day. It’s mostly herbal tea. My favorite at the moment is something Nick made me the other day. A mixture of fresh lemongrass, lime, mint and ginger.
When I was 15 I dyed my hair for the first time. Black. For the last 10 years (holy shit, I’m getting old) I’ve bleached my hair. On our trip I didn’t dye it at all, turns out my natural hair color is kind of awesome and I now have a really nice looking dip dye. I also have some grey hairs. I’m only 27 for God’s sake. I”m not sure if I will dye it again.
If you want to know more about me, like my shoe size (39 or US8.5) , my zodiac sign (Scorpio), my dog’s name or breed (Zena, a mut), my favorite breakfast cereal (home-made muesli) or anything else. Send me a message, find me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or leave a comment below.
Now, tell me. What is something I should really know about you?