🎶🎵In The Jungle, The Mighty Jungle, The Lion 🦁Sleeps Tonight🎵🎶

Sabah, part of Borneo, Malaysia: to the jungle with my sister and her boyfriend.

Yes, my first real holiday in 3 years. No laptop, no work for 1 week 😊
And that was… weird. I felt naked, travelling without a laptop. I took my tablet but only touched it while unpacking and packing at the security line 🙈.

Usually, when I am in airports, I open my laptop, work a bit or start writing my journal or a blog. This time, I only had my phone, which is good for social media posts. And to annoy people via WhatsApp 😉.

My holiday started with a delay in Da Nang; this made me miss my connecting flight (I should have known better … flying with Air Asia😜). I needed to book a new ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu. This one-way ticket was almost as expensive as my return ticket Da Nang – Kota Kinabalu 😳. But it was the only option to get there on the same day. More or less; I arrived around 2.00 am at the accommodation.

And what a nice surprise: the room was chilled! In Vietnam, I have my own sweat lodge🥵. Saves a lot of money instead of going to a real one; I only have to turn off the AC and my fan and tadaah: the sweat starts. Every morning I wake up, drenched, although the fan is running (and ruining my sleep so I have to turn it off, as well a the AC).

I hear you asking this question: Why did you meet your sister and her boyfriend in Borneo? They were there to finalize their 6-months world trip. And so I took the chance to meet them before they flew back to Europe. It is almost ‘around the corner’ from Da Nang.

We took it easy. We spent 1 full day in Kota Kinabalu, a nice little city on the northwest side of Sabah, located on the beach. The next day we flew to Sandakan and took a taxi (in Malay: teksi) to Sukau, to the jungle.

The weather was nice, we had barely any rain during our stay, although the forecast predicted thunderstorms and rain.

In Sukau, we took 3 river cruises and 1 jungle trail to the cave. We saw a lot of monkeys (in Dutch we say: aapjes kijken 🐵😉), birds (we saw the hornbill and the Angry Birds birds), a little snake, a King Fisher and some more animals. The night cruise was great: so many stars, and stillness, only jungle sounds and fresh air.

These things are not in my ‘home city’  Da Nang.  I realized suddenly how polluted and unhealthy Da Nang is: it is a real concrete jungle. The sounds I hear are horns and motorbikes, yelling people and kids. And the stars I see are street lanterns or the lights of vehicles. No nice smell; the air quality is bad. Maybe it’s time to search for a healthier place (which I am doing within a couple of days from now 😊, perhaps you can guess where I am going to 😇).

In Sukau, there was no wifi, and mobile internet didn’t work all the time; only then I realized how much time I spent online (or wasted!). This short digital detox was nice.

On Monday, we split up: I went directly to Sandakan; Marleen and Claudio did another river cruise to see the Pigmy elephants and went to another cave. They saw the elephants from a distance! It is exceptional because often the elephants aren’t there.  

The next day we went to my buddies: the Orangutans🦧🦧! And also went to the Sun Bears🐻, the smallest bears in the world. The orangutans, as well as the bears, are harboured in the sanctuaries in Sepilok. They were brought there when they were young, without or split from their mother and often (heavily) traumatized. Only a few go back to the wild.

Twice a day, the orangutans are being fed. Guess they didn’t want to have any breakfast, only the macaques came around. The second time, we saw a lot of orangutans, including a huge male, he was a wild one! Amazing!

We have seen a lot of longtail and shorttail macaques. This type of monkey is active and aggressive. Orangutans are chilled, relaxed and quiet. And as hairy as my arms 🦧😜.

We had local food on the local night market and live music in the evening. They even played English songs for us. Claudio and I were enjoying it, we even danced! We were filmed by many locals; now we are famous in Sandakan 😉.

Then, the moment to say goodbye – not the best part of me🥹. I went back to Da Nang the next day, in the early morning, they were enjoying their last days in Semporna and flying back nowadays.

I am really grateful that I could create the option to travel to see my sister and her boyfriend! I often see them once a year, maybe this year we will see each other twice a year. I can already say: Mission completed ✅👍!

Luckily I made it to Da Nang without any issues. I had 3 flights with tight connections, and I started with a delay on the first flight. Fortunately, the delay was only a few minutes and the immigration line during the transit was short. So I made it to my connected flight. The last one was delayed for 25 minutes but I couldn’t care because that was to my final destination. Sorry for the people who missed their connection🙌.

Once on my way home, I felt that it was nice to be back: the structured chaos, the beach, the concrete jungle… for 1 day only😳. My heat rash returned within 24 hours.

Therefore, changes in directions and destinations are coming up! On to the next adventure💫🤿🌴.

With love 💜 & light✨,

P.S.: I got a refund for my delayed flight! Thank you, Air Asia🙏!
P.P.S.: Spent that money already on another flight with Air Asia😝

Hello🙋 and goodbye🤝 Bali: one of my greatest teachers over the past 18 years

Yup, you read that very well: I have said goodbye to Bali.

But first of all, it has been a while since I last blogged, shame on me, right? No excuses for it, I just simply didn’t do it. But hey, here’s an update about my Bali adventures.

Let’s rewind first: I was on Bali during  August and September 2023, taking a short break after teaching yoga in Laos. Those were my last yoga classes for now, but who knows, I might spice things up a bit in the future 😉.

Bali as a holiday residence was good, the weather was nice, and not that sticky. Even a bit cold in the evenings, like 23 C.

Mid-September, I went back to the Netherlands, for some family gatherings. I left in October for Portugal for cat sitting and continued my trip to Spain. With the idea: I will find a house at the area of Malaga that will be my home 🏠. Whoop whoop, finally a real house! What a nice feeling💫💃!

After six weeks in Spain, I realized this country, at least this area, wasn’t quite what I was looking for. My heart still longed for Bali. So, I took the leap, sold or gave away most of my belongings, packed two suitcases (weighing 40 kilos in total, including the suitcases themselves🧳🧳), and left. Said hi & bye to my family in Amsterdam and touched down in Bali in mid-December.

What a nice feeling💃… for a few weeks. But soon, I realized that Bali couldn’t offer what I needed anymore. The visa regulations were changing too rapidly, and I couldn’t align them with my values of honesty and transparency. Plus, it just didn’t feel like home anymore. Bali, the land of my dreams since I was four, felt shattered.

So, I had a choice: try to mend my dream or forge a new path. Remembering lessons from past challenges, I knew rushing to mend things wouldn’t work. So, I decided to let go and embrace whatever new opportunities came my way.

Back to Europe? No, too cold🥶. I would stay in Asia, for sure.

Then, out of the blue, a message from a friend in Vietnam, Da Nang. He knew I was in Bali, and looking for a house. He figured out that it didn’t work out as I was hoping for. He asked me: why don’t you come to Da Nang, where I live? To make up your mind, and have a little fun. Best question and invite ever of 2024 so far!

Because I really like Da Nang, it’s beyond my expectations 😊.

So, I made up my mind and booked a ticket to Da Nang for early February 2024, just before the Chinese Lunar New Year 🐉 (which started on 9 February 2024). Visa approved, last days in Bali cherished — yoga on the beach, catching up with friends, and diving into my Human Design studies (more on that later, it is a really interesting topic, and I love talking about it).

Packing up, I found a few stray pieces of my Bali dream hidden under my suitcase. Tossed them out, made peace with Bali: you’ve been a good teacher for me from March 2006 to February 2024. I have learnt my most important life lessons. Thank you for being my teacher👩‍🏫👨‍🏫🙏.

On February 7th, early morning, a friendly Grab taxi driver drove me to the airport.

Bye Bye Bali 👋🙋‍♀️. Vietnam, here I come 🤗!

With love 💜 & light✨,

P.S. Check out some pictures here if you’re interested!

My favourite spot to chill out: Gili Meno, Indonesia

I am in love 💜with this island 🏖

In case you don’t have any clue where it is – Google Maps will tell you

Gili Meno is the smallest of the three Gilis, it is the one in the middle. Once you arrive here, you go back in time. No motorized traffic but cidomos (horse cars); they use them as taxis and carry cement, wood, water gallons, and even fridges around the island. No proper roads too, often just sand. Jalan kaki (walking), on a bike or an electric scooter, are better ways to move yourself around on the island.

Cidomo – to transport building materials

Talk of the day on this island is when a chopper 🚁is landing. Yes, a chopper! For people who don’t want to take the boat or are seasick 😉, or just because they can. It’s just 2,500,000 million (roepiah 😉), per person, one way, not that expensive actually 😉(2,5 million is around € 150). It goes straight from Sanur to Gili Meno, definitely faster than the speed boat. I may try it next time😇🤣.

To give you an estimation of the size of the island: you can walk around the island in less than 2 hours (slow walk)! And that includes taking pictures and zigzagging to avoid the dead coral. At least, that’s what I did 😉. In the morning, instead of my usual ritual (yoga on the beach), I decided to take a walk. In bikinis and barefoot, feeling the warm water and sunshine on my body🙌.

The first time I got here, July 2008, there weren’t ATMs, so you needed to carry millions 💰 💰 💰 with you. And when you had spent more uang (money) than you had estimated, you had to take a boat to Bangsal, the mainland of Lombok. Now there are 3 ATMs on the island, but I think 1 is broken haha. Still, 2 left, enough for the few tourists here to get money (so no need to fix the 3rd one😅.

However, I recommend, in case you want to go here, take enough cash with you, just in case the ATMs aren’t working. And because you can’t pay with a card in shops. Even changing a note of 100,000 is hard. I had this after my supper. I ordered gado-gado, Lombok style (enak sekali!), it costed 25,000, I only had 100,000 (around US $ 7), I had to ask 3 places to change it, then went back to the restaurant and paid.
FYI: 25,000 is around € 1,50.

This island has been a healing place for me, ever since the first time I got here. The peaceful, quiet nights (ok, until 5 am, then the show ‘Gili Meno has talent’ starts, or in other words: the prayers from the mosque 😉). The clear blue waters, white sandy beaches, the silent whispers of the sea, the waves touching the sand, the genuine kind people, kids playing around, good food and the tanned beach boys trying to sell their snorkelling trips.

Besides the beach and snorkelling, there isn’t much to do here and I like it. It is stimulating my creativity, my intuition. I slow down and enjoy life much more. I am still working though, not yet enough passive money coming in 😉 (working on that!).

And, I realize how grateful 🙏 we should be for all we have in life! Drinking water from the tap, here it is not possible, not even to make tea because it is salty water. Taking a shower? Salty water. Washing your clothes? Salty water. 1 thing that I sensed is that my soap bar doesn’t foam, probably because of the salty water🤔. Can anyone explain this to me?

Cockroaches🪳 don’t mind salty water, I got one, a GIANT one, on my toilet seat, of course in the middle of the night! The first night I got here! What a nice surprise. I screamed and that must have helped. I haven’t seen it again, thank God 🙏.

Oh, after 3 weeks in Sanur, Bali, I must say: the food here is amazing, although having a food buddy, like I had in Sanur, would make the food taste even better. Gado-gado Gili Meno style and tempe curries, my favorites, really yummy. I even found delicious brownies. The landlady makes especially for me nasi goreng pedas (spicy fried rice) as sarapan (breakfast) and she is surprised at how spicy I can eat without having a runny nose or starting to sweat. Yup, from the inside I am more Indonesian than I look from the outside 😜☺️.

Yummy, tempe curry!

Short summary for my upcoming travels: first Sanur, Bali until 12 September. Then back to Belanda, the Netherlands for a few weeks (not sure if I should be happy 😕). Then cat sitting in Portugal (Algarve) and most likely visit Porto before or after the cat sitting. But…. Changes are coming up🙌. Which ones? I keep you posted!
1 hint: 🎵🎶Welcome to my paradise🎵🎶.

You can find more pictures about Gili Meno & Bali here.

If you like to know more about Gili Meno (good places to stay or to eat), or about the other Gilis or Bali or you just wonder why I don’t gain weight but you see me eating all the time, just ask 🙌😇.

With love 💜 & light✨,

P.S.: If you want to meet me in the Netherlands, reach out quickly because I have a full agenda already and I am travelling to Portugal as well in October. I would suggest, visit me in Portugal 😊.

P.P.S.: Who wants to join me for a few days to visit Porto (and you can also meet one of my friends there, whom I met in Laos). Let me know when you are interested 😊.

P.P.P.S: This island is also known as the Honeymoon Island. Who did I bring with me? Let me see… me, myself and I 😉. Hopefully next time I am here with my Prince Charming🤴.

Life-changing decisions and slow down🐌🐌

I am 1 week in Thailand now, in the area of Ao Nang Beach and Nopparat Thara Beach (Krabi). A lovely destination, but not what I had in mind in the first place.

I was about to live together with a handsome and very kind Portuguese man, in Torremolinos (Spain). We met on the stairs in Torremolinos and there was a special connection immediately. This was in January 2023. All went fast, maybe too fast. Maybe things were too good to be true.

The good moments passed by fast, the bad ones too. And we had quite a lot of bad moments 😔.
But, I was sure he was Mr. Right. I kept a positive mindset and kept the relationship alive.

Mid-June 2023 I went back to his place, to officially live together. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. After two weeks I took the decision to end this relationship. That was not easy; my head, heart and gut feeling weren’t aligned at all. Confusion all over😕. Heart-broken💔, but I had to do this.

I had a short touchdown at my parents’ place (thank you Mom & Dad for being my ‘last resort’🙏). I knew it would just be for a couple of days. I initially did not want to leave Southern Europe but high season was around the corner. Places to rent for longer than a week are rare. And if you find one… it is expensive🫰💰💰.

So… where to go to? Suddenly a voice said: Thailand. Alright. Check Skyscanner. Yes, affordable tickets. But not to Bangkok. Close to the beach, please! Phuket? No, just got there. Where else? Krabi! I found a direct flight to Kraby, for a nice price and found a really nice spot (Krabi Forest Homestay). Perfect location. Shops, cafes, restaurants and 2 beaches are within walking distance. Saya senang sekali (I am very happy) 😊.

I booked the accommodation for 30 days – the maximum length of the visa (FYI: Thailand has a free visa for most European passports😊). On purpose I booked 1 place: no packing and unpacking please for 4 weeks, I did that enough in 5 months😅.

I am here now for a week; I am here to heal my heart💜, relax and chill out🧘, enjoy the rain now and then☂💃 (yup, it’s monsoon season here) and slow down. And that’s the hardest thing.

Usually, I learn new skills quickly, but the skill of slowing down… it is a punishment.

I told myself: no to-do lists, no have-to’s, except for a few like sleeping, eating, taking a shower, going to the toilet and putting on clean underwear daily😉.

Every morning, I remind myself that it is perfectly fine to do nothing. I deserve it.
My new mantra, as I call it. (FYI: the last 5,5 months were a roller coaster🎢)

The first few days, all went ok. Unpacking, taking it easy. But now, after a week… boredom, the urge to start doing things, to pick up new things, to meet new people… to speed up🏃‍♀.

It’s hard not to give in to this voice, to this well-known pattern. But, I manage. I repeat my mantra daily: I deserve to do nothing, I deserve to relax and chill out.

And then I have days like today: a lazy day! I slept in, did some gentle yoga on the beach, sunbathed in the afternoon on the beach, had a late lunch, went back home, worked a bit (that’s an ongoing thing, so happy to have flexible working hours 🙌), and took a little break. I lay down on the bed. Staring at the ceiling, while observing the sensations in my body, feeling my sunburnt skin🦞, observing all the voices in my head, and observing my breathing. No action, just observation.

I dozed off for a few minutes, woke up and thought: going out for food? No, I am too lazy for it, I’ll grab the fresh-cut pineapple I bought earlier today, and some peanuts, with hot choc (yes, I love warm drinks even though the outside temperature is about 30 degrees 😉). And then I felt; let’s write a new blog.

Writing gives me energy, insights, and new ideas. And the little voices in my head are finally shutting up.  And, I can practice the art of slowing down: typing slowly 🤣.

What I realize now, after writing this blog…I might not be such a quick learner as I thought I was, especially about the skill of slowing down. And that’s ok. Because better to learn a new skill slowly, steadily and properly, than too hasty and start again from the beginning 😉.

Maybe you realise after reading this blog that your life is also going too fast and you want to slow down. You want to live your life, not being lived by your life.
Give a shout-out, I am curious about your experiences and how you think you can take a step back.

Oh, and guess what?! While I was typing this, 2 snails were on my terrace (the ones in the picture); I think they were playing catch me if you can😜. Lovely synchronicity💫!

With love 💜 & light✨,

One of these days…

One of these days that you feel heavy, down.
Disconnected from your body, mind and soul.

One of these days you feel lost. Walking in circles. All is unclear. All feels heavy, as a burden.

You are fully aware of this but you don’t know how to break this circle.

Well, I have one of these this day today.

I cry out loud. A lot of tears are falling on the floor.
I shout, I scream.
I stamp on the floor (sorry neighbours beneath me).
I punch the pillow to release my energy (sorry pillow).
I laugh too loud.

I am angry, sad, frustrated, happy, and grateful at the same time
I feel defeated. I feel strong and invincible too.
Confusion is taking over, I feel it in my body and mind.
It is like drinking a delicious but deadly cocktail.

And then, suddenly: THAT MOMENT.
It is just there, no knock on the door.  Unexpected, standing right in front of you.

I take a deep breath in, and I breathe out with a deep sigh.
I surrender and everything flows away.
Relief, release, clarity, relaxation.
Fully connected again: body, mind and soul perfectly aligned.

The power of breath.  
The power of acceptance and letting go.
The power of trust and surrender.

I have accepted that one of these days is part of me. And I am no longer ashamed of telling it. I am no longer fighting against these days. I embrace them, and from the moment I accept them, they don’t seem that worse anymore.

The more I accept my shadows and my dark side, the more I feel complete, whole.
Every single day 🌟.

I guess some of you have experienced these days too.
And that’s why I share my story with you.
Just to let you know that you are not alone 💜✨.

With love💜and light✨,

P.S: About the picture: all credits go to Caroline who made this painting