25 Best Moments of 2015
25 Best Moments of 2015
The past year has been another wild ride. Lots of new adventures, friends and family, travels, challenges and love. All that I love the most! To honor and express my gratitude for the year 2015 I made an overview of my twenty-five best moments and experiences. No secrets here, I wrote it all down. And twenty-five because that’s my age now we welcome the new year. It took me a while to put all of them onto paper, but I’m glad that I did. Without further ado: Enjoy!
25. World Exhibition
What once was the Great Exhibition back in 1851 in London and in the year of 1889 gave us the Eifel Tower in Paris was The Expo 2015 in Milan, visited by 22.2 million people this year. Visitors from all over the world to see 145 countries representing the theme ‘Feeding the Planet, energy for life’. All pavilions offered inspiration for a healthier world and/or sold their national delicacies for us to taste. The Tree of Life gave us a magical light show and together with Diana I danced until my feet hurt at the ‘I sLOVEvia’ dance floor (which was supposed to be a secluded party).
24. Barehand dining in the Dark (Ages)
Dining in the dark as well for dining in the dark ages were both food experiences to remember.
The dining in the dark was done at C-taste in Amsterdam. A restaurant that gives you the experience of loosing your sight. Not only do you dine in complete darkness, you are also served a surprise menu by blind waiters which adds beautifully to the whole concept. The experience was so overwhelming for me that at some point I sat there with tears rolling down my face for no one to see. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t see my hand or anything else. I didn’t just cry for not having my sight, I guess it was the complete experience that fell over me and touched something deeper inside of me. The surprise menu was a perfect challenge for Mark and me to test our food knowledge. We connected deeper with our other senses to taste, feel and smell our dishes while we indulged, into what we couldn’t see, with our hands since using cutlery felt a bit pointless and difficult to use here. We discussed about the food we believed we ate and were proud to hear upon leaving that everything we listed was 100% correct, apart from a couple small ingredients we overlooked.
On Valentine’s day 2015 my knight in shining armor surprised me with a time travel back to the Dark Ages. We ended up in an old tavern hidden in the heart of Delft. Surrounded by candles, maids and a bard who entertained us with his humorous love songs while we sipped from our pitcher filled with warm mead and indulged ourselves with bare hands into the delicacies served on wooden plates and bowls. The complete setting was perfect and for many moments, especially near the end of the second pitcher, I truly believed to be living in the medieval times. I didn’t want to leave the place at all and we ended up leaving until we really weren’t allowed to stay anymore, but not before I got a serenade from my valentine and a rose which had to be thrown up to the balcony where I stood three times before I caught it.
23. Walking Dead
Yes, turning into a Zombie was honestly on my bucket-list. As my friends turned undead many times whenever I was on the road I kept on missing out on these deadly events. Luckily enough I made it just in time for halloween this year and rocked my first zombie appearance with MMMC on the Zombie Walk in Rotterdam. Scaring a bunch of Korean Sailors and the epic reactions of innocent girls fueled my evil energy and made this night one to remember.
22. Shibari: Ancient Japanese Art of knotting
In 2012 I had my first encounter with Shibari. At that time it didn’t really held my attention and soon after it was forgotten. Late 2013 on a second encounter a little seed was planted and in the months that followed I started to read and discover more about this ancient Japanese art. Suddenly friends started to open up and shared how they already surrendered themselves to the ropes. I learned to know different sides of people I thought I knew and it was beautiful. With the art of knotting which is now also related to BDSM I didn’t just learn about ropes. I learned about mutual trust and respect in relationships. About caring for each other on a deeper level and taking responsibilities. It was a whole new world for me to dive into and as always, I was curious. I shared my curiosity with friends and Mark for who this was also a new field to discover. As a surprise and in acceptance of my interest he signed us up for a Shibari Workshop in Utrecht where we were able to experience the small tip of the iceberg of the ancient Japanese Art of rope bondage.
21. Room Service
When I say room service I’m not talking about a pizza. Mark and I ordered some serious room service in Hotel Thon, Brussels. As I never ordered room service before I had no idea what to expect and I clearly underestimated not just the volume of the dish, but also the quality. It was one of the few meals that actually left us in silence. Not to mention the dessert, a chocolate mouse, which was so ridiculously delicious that it made us cry.
20. Gala Nocturna
After being inspired many times by beautiful designers such as Fairytas, Creature of Habit and Firefly Path, I was bound to go to the World-famous dark romantic costume ball. I wanted to experience it from upfront instead of drooling over photos on the internet. Upon seeing that the theme was ‘The Swan Princess’ I was determined to join the ball this year. As a child I was already struck by the enchanting Odette and the tragedy that evolved around her. For one night I magically turned into a Swan Princess myself and went to the gala together with my prince. Rocking our own design of a Bohemian White Swan with mirror wings.
19. Men of Steel Run
That kind of challenge where you crawl through mud and cold baths, make your way over military obstacles and run through the sand next to the wild and cold waters of the sea. I had to do it. Thumbs up for my partner in crime Danique who overcame her fear of heights and jumped down three containers with me and let’s not forget Mark who is now officially the best supporter ever! He provided us the whole run with dates and hot ginger tea to fuel our bodies all the while taking pictures of us and running along most parts. Danique and I crossed the finish line hand in hand before gulping down a well deserved beer. Challenge Completed!
It has been an enormous struggle to get my website as it is today. Years went by where I depended on others to help me create something to share my work online. With time I finally learned my way around WordPress and HTML so I can independently maintain my website. I couldn’t have done it without the help of friends like Ben and Martha who helped me create a steady basis for me to play on (and occasionally still do). Today I can finally look at my website with pride for it has at last become an online extension for me on which I hope to inspire others by example with regular blogs and more. It’s alive and will continue to grow and evolve from now on!
17. Modeling in Japan
As I have been modeling in Japan in 2014 too this isn’t exactly a new experience. However I feel it’s definitely worth mentioning for this year I feel I have been acknowledged as the model I am. Photographers from last year being eager to work with me again for big projects and working on exciting other concepts with new ones. With gratitude I receive the kind words from the photographers as well as the MUA’s and designers, in the messages send to me after the shoots. It’s a vibrant journey and positive development I’m grateful to be part of.
16. Lost in the Souks
I have been dreaming of going to the souks in Marrakech. Getting lost between the heaps of spices, cups of Berber teas, magical lamps and flying carpets. The place is very much alive and vibrant it’s energy almost overwhelming. The traditional hammams where an older Moroccan woman gives your body a rough scrub EVERYWHERE from head to toe contrasting with the luxurious spa’s where they give you a so called, but not so traditional, hammam. The city holds more cats then people and bargaining is seen as a part of the culture to gain respect. The local people welcomed me with open arms and were always eager to share their thoughts and beliefs on faith and love with me for which I am deeply grateful.
15. Christmas in TOKYO
Back in 2008 I lived in Japan for a year and re-visited for six weeks in 2014. Even so, I had never been in Tokyo. Seeing I‘m not the big city kind of girl I wasn’t necessarily excited for Tokyo itself, but I was curious. I wanted to know and to see for myself what this famous and crazy city is like in real life with all the high expectations based on the image of Tokyo we get from movies. Something I was honestly excited about and which also held a place on my bucket-list was sleeping in a Capsule Hotel. Did you know that there are also double capsules for two people to sleep in?! Even more unexpected was that the capsule experience was actually extremely comfortable. Mark and I even got matching pajamas to sleep in!
I did my very best to keep my expectations of Tokyo neutral and I know that if I hadn’t done so I would probably have been a bit disappointed as Tokyo doesn’t really feel like Japan for me. I guess that’s what happens to big international cities. My highlights in Tokyo were the huge Gundam and it’s epic light show at night in Odaiba, the capsule hotel as mentioned before, a small authentic ramen shop in Shinjuku and an even older tiny restaurant were the owners welcomed us into their small kitchen. Walking the stairs to the Agata Shrine, a fancy dinner with my friend Motsu in the heart of Tokyo, Shibuya’s famous crossing and not to forget Pablo’s Cheese tart which made our twice celebrated Christmas Eve a blast.
14. The Wisdom of the Five Elements
My first encounter with the Chinese philosophy of the five elements was back in 2013 during my temple stay in the Philippines. Miss Junko, one of our teachers at the Humanistic Academy of Life and Arts, taught us about the element cycle, their yin and yang values and how that implies on our food. The Chinese Medicine approach to health is one that caught my attention from the beginning. After my teachings in the temples I stumbled on the elements again during a Feng Shui workshop with Diana from Barada. Not long after the workshop I found myself in her classes learning how to cook according to the five elements, what impact the elements have on our emotional and physical body and how they can better our lives when in balance. I am now a five element food coach and continue to learn about this ancient wisdom and lifestyle.
13. FLY Music Video
It was in November 2014 that I recorded the Main Theme song for the Asia Cross Country Rally ‘FLY’ in the Studio in Osaka, Japan. Short after the final recordings FLY made it’s appearance on the Japanese Radio and was even on air in the Netherlands in the beginning of 2015. The project started spontaneous and went of on a high pace. It only felt natural for me take everything to the next step and create a music video. A big project and something I had never done before which I would now be directing from scratch.
As soon as the idea formed in my head I started to put together a team of talented and motivated people. From videographer to make up artist, designers and dancers. If I was really going to do this, I would go all the way.
With all the ups and downs and learning by error we finally had a dedicated team to work on the FLY Music Video project. We planned shooting days and drove to all corners of the country to collect all the designs, scout locations and collect our team. In just a few shooting days we managed to get all the scenes on camera.
It was a challenging project to organize, but also to shoot. There were some serious physical challenges were I got way to close to hyperthermia. Another days I was sprayed completely black twice and it took several showers to get the paint of my skin. Last but not least, breaking a mirror with my fist was not a special effect and I got a scar left on my right index finger as a memory to this project.
Many hours went into the preparations, the actual recordings and the afterwork. I’m deeply grateful for the amazing team I was able to work with and everyone who helped us along the way. I must not forget to note that the FLY team probably was the best fed team on set ever. Mark and I took the taking care of the team very serious and we spend a lot of attention and love into bringing healthy and tasty food on the shooting days so everyone would be fueled and energized to do what they do best. The FLY Music Video project definitely was a valuable learning progress and a prove that everything is possible as long as you work hard and believe in yourself and your team.
12. Humping the Desert
Riding a camel in the desert was one of those things on my bucket-list. Since I had already made my way to Morocco there was no way I was going to miss out on this experience. Diana and I made our way down towards Hassilabied by local bus and stayed there with our host Hassan who had lived as a nomad until he was thirteen years old. While entertaining us with stories and sharing his knowledge about life in the desert he brought us to his four camels. All named after great artists. And so I rode through the endless sand dunes on the back of Bob Marley with a breathtaking sunset on my left and the shadows of the camels climbing over the sand on my right. A silent ride through the surreal emptiness of the Sahara.
11. Beast Mode: ON
I started lifting! This new challenge and extreme sensation of progress with regular training sessions is my new drug. I can’t imagine a life without lifting anymore for gives so much positive results for body and mind. I admit that with my traveling lifestyle it isn’t always possible to keep my training schedule up and going, which can be a bit of a duality for I really do want to be in the gym on a regular basis. Same with having a training buddy which is great to have for that extra motivation and push when you are reaching your maximum. Even so, I do what I can. Thanks to inspiring personal coach Jeremy from Jemfit and with a current personal Record of a 95 kilo deadlift I am addicted and motivated for more!
10. JAPAN: Coming home together
It’s no secret that Japan has always played a big part in my life and that it’s one of the few places I truly call home. Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of going to this magical land. It was my big life dream and I worked my ass off to get there. Japan continues to hold my heart and I’m still unable to describe the special bond I have with this place. Like last year I returned to what is home for me, however, this time I didn’t come alone. As the quote from one of my favorite movies states ‘Happiness is only real when shared’. Together with Mark I have been traveling to old and new places here in Japan and while I am writing this we continue to do so. Going on food hunts, praying at the temples and learning about the ancient traditions, faith and wisdoms in the mystical land of the rising sun. Being able to share the place I love the most with the person I choose to spend my live with is as indescribable as my love for both of them in the first place.
9. Villa Carpe Diem
The first retreat that was completely organized by myself! Transforming Villa Carpe Diem into our own little paradise with yoga classes, connecting circles and delicious shared meals made by our private chef Mark. Another group to remember and new friends made for a lifetime. I am deeply grateful for being able to make this kind of retreats a reality and I wish for many more to come.
8. Yoga Roots
As a traveling girl most of the yoga classes I taught were on the road. Teaching new students almost every week. I never fully got to experience regular classes where I was able to see the same yogis every week and watch them grow in their practice. For the first time in years of travel around the globe I decided to stay put in the Netherlands where I got the opportunity to build up regular yoga classes. In a period of eight months I rooted myself down in several locations to share my passion. I never expected I could have so much impact on my students, as well as the students on me. Leaving the Netherlands to continue my travels had never before been so difficult. Tears of gratitude and love where shared by many and myself. I truly miss these classes when I’m not teaching them and they will be the first I pick up as soon as I am back in the flat lands.
7. Travel Sisters
Most of my travels have been solo and the ones that weren’t were shared with men. Never before I had travelled together with a girl, just like I never had many female friends when I was little. However, when the right chick crossed my path who I know is almost as crazy as I am, I was up for the journey!
It is true what they say. You truly get to know someone when you travel with them. That’s why sometimes traveling together can be very challenging. One whole month Diana and I hit the road together. We believed it would be awesome to combine the power of two solo travelers. Damn, we were right.
We took our backpacks and searched for the cheapest tickets. We didn’t care where our journey would take us as long as the sun was shining wherever we went. And so we ended up on the island of Elba where we went paddle boarding, scuba diving and hitchhiked our way to the other coastline for the best ice cream on the island, a good pizza and some red wine. The weather wasn’t as sunny as we hoped for and we ended up sleeping together in a tent which we feared would be blown away by the storm. It was time to move down somewhere more south for more sunshine. Without searching for any particular place we ended up going to Morocco since tickets from Milan to Marrakech were sold for just twenty euros. We hitchhiked our way up on the mainland of Italy staying with locals in Lucca, Genova and Milan. Most time on the mainland we spent dancing, eating and drinking. You know what they say: Girls just wanna have fun!
Morocco brought us lots of invitations for a cup of tea while roaming through the medina, a spontaneous and a bit escalated cat-rescue mission, the search of something edible that wasn’t tajin, couscous or dry bread with olive oil. Sunbathing on the rooftop of our beautiful Riad and full Hammam body scrubs in a very local and traditional bath house as well as in a more modern spa. Our shared geeky heart also took our travels to the city of the Mother of Dragons and eventually ended in the Sahara where we sat next to each other under a blanket watching the millions of sparkles above our heads filling the dark night.
Along our way people kept asking us if we are sisters and I guess that in a way we are. We are so much alike, yet different. We compliment each other perfectly which has truly been helpful while on the road. Where I would embrace the unknown and the dangers it holds, Diana would choose the safe path and the known. Where I got lost and asked the locals for the way only to get lost again, Diana would get us home with her technology. Giving us both the experience as eventually a safe back up plan. We agreed that Diana is the Mind were I am the Heart so that together we form one (crazy as fuck) human being.
Traveling together can be tough, but with the right person: it’s fucking awesome! Thank you my Crazy Sister on the road. If the opportunity presents itself in the future, I would go into the unknown with you all over again. For now, let’s both work hard, travel far and do whatever as always!
6. Mythodea’s PRO League
To be honest I never expected to become Mythodea’s new and first female Fist Fighting Champion. Mythodea is a land full of magic and old tales that comes alive once a year on Conquest in Germany. The city which is built up out of nothing for just one week brings you back to medieval times with warriors, magicians and musicians and is the biggest LARP-event the world knows with almost 10.000 visitors.
After visiting last year and seeing the fist fight tournaments in the main city I couldn’t help it but notice that there were no females participating. At that moment I was determined to join as the only female fighter on the next opportunity. Normally you would get to join only the amateur league in order to prove your fighting skills and abilities. Whenever you prove that you are able to fight with control over your movements you may be allowed to join the Pro League in the year after. Things turned out a bit different for me though. After fighting my way through in the amateur ring this year the former champion and organizers seem to have fallen in love with my performance and style of fighting. They not just allowed me right away to join the Pro League, they wanted and expected me to do so.
As this clearly already exceeded my expectations I got all pumped up for the bigger and more serious fights. I even got sponsors taking care of me. Some of the fights were semi-contact and some were full-contact. Some fighters fought with honer and respect and some played it cruel and dirty. In the end it was all about giving the crowd a good show and so I did. Combining the several Martial Arts I practiced since I was nine years old and combining them with all kinds of body movements made me a quick and unpredictable fighter. The crowd went wild when I jumped up and threw my legs around the neck of the big guy standing in front of me, twisting my legs and bringing his head back to ground level.
Winning the tournament was never an expectation, but it felt damn good! Even though I got some serious damage and nearly broke my shinbone which took a while to heal, it was worth it. My fighting spirit is burning within me and stronger then ever before!
Here is an impression of the training I did with my group the ‘Carmine Brotherhood’ before Conquest.
5. FLY Premiere
Imagine your work on a eight meter wide screen in a big theatre like the ‘World Forum’ in The Hague on an event with more then 6500 visitors. What better way to officially launch the FLY Music Video! The whole team was present dressed in style and ready to pop the champaign in celebration. Great work everyone!
Make sure you watch the music video in full HD!
4. One Thousand and One Nights
Favorite books like ‘the Alchemist’ and ‘the Little Prince’ added to my dream of roaming through the Sahara under a thousand and one stars. That one night I spend in the Sahara feels so surreal as if it was a dream. In the middle of nowhere, surrounded only by sand dunes in all directions I shared a meal with a handful of people. We made a fire and played music under the full moon. When everyone went to sleep I walked alone into the emptiness of the desert with no footprints to be seen. I meditated in a place that was so beautiful it can’t possibly be real. As soon as the moon went down, yet the sky was still dark, millions and millions of stars became visible and just that one night some planets aligned. I sat their in the sand under a blanket in awe watching the stars fade and the sun awake.
3. The Truth will set you Free
I never thought that I was able to share the things I had experienced. Especially not online. Covered in sweat and feeling anxious I clicked on the share button late July 2015. It was a moment I had been waiting for. A moment I knew that would come someday. My mind feared, but my heart wanted to be open. My mind wanted to build walls, but my heart wanted to get rid of them for good. I feared what people might think after reading my story, but at the same time I couldn’t care less. At that moment I chose love over fear and I couldn’t be more proud of myself. By having shared this part of my story I was able to move in different directions. A more respectful and loving one. I was even able to connect with others who had similar experiences. Without a doubt this is definitely one of the best things I did in 2015 for it set free my mind, body and soul and opened new doors for me to walk through.
2. One way ticket to Anywhere
The big dream has always been to get a one way ticket without any plan or what so ever. Not knowing how long I would be on the road. Not knowing where I would end up. The complete freedom of time and space. Surrendering to the unknown and trusting that everything will be alright. The past years I have traveled to more then thirty countries, but I always had my ticket back. Even though I usually travel very free without too much of a plan, I knew in the big lines what was going to happen. Within all the travels so far I never had the guts to just go wherever for an indefinite time. I kept this gnawing feeling of desire and knew at some point that now was the time to go. If wouldn’t go now, it may never happen. And so I left everything I built up in the Netherlands behind and went on SkyScanner for the option ticket to destination ‘everywhere’.
After an unhealthy relationship I never expected to have the privilege of being together with a real gentlemen. Someone who never makes me doubt whether he loves me or not. A man I can fully trust and who I share a mutual respect with. A good listener, but also one who isn’t shy to show his own emotions. A man that rather talks then walks away. A soul that deeply cares and is hurt when he feels that I am. Soft and gentle. The silent Alpa who doesn’t need to be loud or have physical strength to lead others. Honest and always true to his words. The man who patiently helps me to get rid of my past pains and heartbreaks and together we create a space for our love to grow deeper.
Our Love is about trusting each other. Being honest. Playing together. Holding hands. Drinking wine. Crying together. Sharing laughter and giggles. Misunderstanding one another at times, but finding the patience to talk it through. Listening. Knowing when to take a step back. Or forward. Being a base for the other. Surrendering. A flight. Cuddling. Singing and dancing in the middle of the supermarket. A spontanious roadtrip. Cooking. Flowers. Being the light when the other is lost in the dark. A soulmate. Dreaming together. Chocolate. A walk on the beach. Missing your other half. Madness. Not for the mind to try to make any sense out of it. Two souls that connect. Caring. You and me.
Our love is Bananaaaaaas!
I love you Mark.
Thank you 2015 and thank YOU for reading!
I wish that 2016 brings us all new adventures and challenges to experience. May we collect moments, not things, that help us grow in life. Choose love over fear and create your own happiness. Love, love and love even more!
The only thing that’s left to say is..