Uprootings and Other Changes

Fagaras, Hiker, Mountains

The spring is once again here, the days are stretching out longer and there is a little more warmth and a new, vibrant, buzzing energy starting to appear everywhere.

A buzz is going on also in between my ears, as it seems to happen every spring, I realized, now that I looked back to the archives of this blog, for example. Most often it has stayed as that. Buzz between my ears and words on the pages of WordPress. So to be honest, I am a bit hesitant to write anything about any of it this time. It might still just remain as a buzz.

But since I have no impulse control, I find myself blurting.

Well. I was not completely honest right there. You see, something has already happened, so this all can’t stay just a buzz anymore.

We are moving. For real. We have found an apartment closer to Brussels, with a completely tolerable commute to work for the both of us! To get this far has been a bit of a process. Waffle has long roots in Rupelmonde and the surrounding area, so it took quite some mulling over to get to the point of actually moving. Sure, we wont have such an area rich in wildlife right at our door step and yes, we are leaving behind a lot of memories but hopefully all of this will bring some improvement to the overall situation and life quality.

We have the keys at the end of this month, so we have plenty of time to go full KonMari and let go of everything we have gathered. Waffle has been living in the house for 10 years now, so you can imagine there is some accumulation. We are sincerely looking forward to moving, to gaining an hour of extra time every day. An hour less spent on the road, every day. Whoop! And we have been thinking to start going to work by bike,  and getting those killer butts everybody is always dreaming about!

The increased amount of free time is hopefully going to change our daily lives. I am  wishing to and looking forward to finally getting back to horses, back to the saddle! Maybe we’ll be running a bit more the both of us. And Waffle is looking forward to further developing his extensive knowledge of the computer things he does. I am afraid we will be having just extra time, but way, way too much time in our hands which is going to lead to more and more travel plans, plummeting us into bankruptcy and eventually forcing us out of the country and moving to the Azores. Is this the silver lining to every cloud, people keep talking about?

At the same time, I am having the regularly occurring existential crisis. This time it is rather loud and demanding. Partially it probably stems from the fact that I am turning 30 in less time than I would have hoped. And I have a nagging feeling that I should have achieved something in life by now. What that something might be, I do not have a clue.  Partially the roots of this crisis are on the work front. There is some turmoil going on internally. New hires etc. I have kind of promised myself, that once the result of this shifting is clear, it is time for me to figure out where to go.

Ever since I moved to Belgium I have kind of been floating, I left my roots behind me in Finland. Now we are just planning ahead trip by trip, but nothing much deeper than that, it has been quite enough until now. But slowly I have been developing a need to root down to something. Create a meaning for my existence. Possibly not the most unique set of feelings in the life of expats.

One reason to get these thoughts on the move is that lately we have met and surrounded ourselves by some inspiring, brave and curious souls. People who have been and are brave enough to live the life they want, no matter what the people around them think. They have given me some seed of thought.

Maybe work should be something more than just means of earning money. Maybe it would be important to feel that you are doing something meaningful. Maybe it would be good to actually enjoy the work you do and feel that you can be good in it. Maybe. What do you think? It puzzles me, that it took me so long to get this idea.

I might finally be brave enough to actually do something about this nagging feeling. Take and tackle those maybes and get going. Now the challenge is to fit some studying into the schedule, and take a step to the direction without ending up bankrupt and living in the Azores. Hopefully I’ll be able to put some more concrete plans on paper in the near future.

Oooh, what a cliff hanger!

Mediterranean

 

 

Advertisements

Small is sometimes better…

Town, France, Village

As we travel and explore the world it is rather seldom, that we venture into, and get to see and feel the life in the small towns. Big cities and the tourist destinations we do go to,  they are easy to find, everybody is talking about them and of course, normally a city is just has more live into it. More things to see, do and experience.

But that is by no means a reason not to go to the small towns and villages. I might be a little bit biased in this matter. I have somewhat an allergy towards city trips. Cities do not usually end up into mine or Waffle’s travel “to do” lists. But there are just so many hidden jewels in those small, sleepy towns in every single country I have traveled to. Often in those places, in my opinion, you get to see the real culture and the real people, life is less global in these places. And in a way, the culture of the capital and cities, it stems from the villages and countryside.

Take Italy for example, at best, you find a remarkably different cuisine from one village to another. France is not left far behind. Do I need to even mention cheeses and wine? Not forgetting the ever changing architecture from coast to the mountains and back? Not forgetting Belgium, every single village here has a brewery to visit, sometimes even a good one. I am pretty sure the small towns in every country have something similar to surprise people with.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We have traveled through dozens of cute little villages, some downright ugly ones too, but what would life be without good contrasts! Some of the nicest lingering memories from our travels we have collected for a village here or there. Like the unbeatable surveillance system of Romanian villages: grannies sitting by the road. Or the vines in the pergolas of almost every house in Montenegro. And the faint smell of smoke in winter lingering around the mountain villages of France, when people are keeping their toes warm. All in all, the atmosphere is different in towns compared to bigger communities. Everybody more or less knows each other and a traveler is always a stranger.

These things don’t end up in travel guides. Which is understandable, no bureau of travel has the time or resources to go through and discover an endless amount of small places people have chosen to live in. It can indeed be time consuming.

The way me and Waffle travel, almost always takes us to these places. Sometimes randomly, sometimes by planning.  I like these small strolls we have in towns. It gets me into the mood of being abroad.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How do we manage to end up in the small places then? A car. A car is the answer. Unfortunately relying on public transport would be time consuming in this business. Most every time when we head abroad we leave the airport or harbor in a car. Then as we plan on crossing half a country in that said vehicle it is more or less inevitable to pass some villages. Bit of magic on the Google maps will often help us to get started and lessen the randomness factor. Sometimes we even manage to take a photo or two of them, before disappearing for days into the shrubbery.

I guess there needs to be a purpose of this rambling. Let it be an intro to the pictures we actually managed to capture of the villages we have passed during our travels. Maybe this will be an inspiration too, to some of you out there, to take a break of your city/beach/nature holiday and take a step towards a small town somewhere. Sometimes it is worth it to go explore these places in your home country, trust me!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Will I Ever Get There? Project Half Marathon

Jogger, Runner, Mist

There was meant to be a half marathon by the end of the month May. In my case, there was not. You remember how I thought I was doing fine, with the old sports tracker, which lied? The depression of realizing how slow I actually have been is till looming over me. At this point I am barely managing to do 12 km runs at speeds of 7:30 minutes a kilometer. After which I am practically dead.

I have now launched a new training programme for the half marathon in Polar. With it I should be able to do it by the midway of September, if I remember correctly. I am pretty blue about it.

Otherwise things are great. I like the new watch, my shoes are causing no harm – even my knees let me be at peace, they only hurt a little every now and then after longer runs.  So I’ll be wobbling on, powering my jogs with frustration and hatred towards my pathetic physical abilities.

And Waffle?

Mrrpph!

He did it already. Right in schedule, like a machine. The last week of May he just took off after work and ran a 20 km loop, barely breaking a sweat (Ok, ok, there I lied, he did sweat quite a bit). And did it at a massive speed of 5:53 minutes per kilometer, it took him less than two hours.

Unfair! But in the same go, amazing!

Waffle seems to be hooked to the sport and is creating new goals for himself. Eventually maybe even going for a full marathon, but time will tell.