“What if we could all just live alongside each other and enjoy our differences? To do that, you need to understand the people in this world, and the conditions they grew up in and live in.”
Born in Bruges in 1992 my life journey took off in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I might be a little bit biased, but I have visited quite a few cities by now and I still love Bruges the most. I joined the Royal Belgian Air Cadets when I was 16 years old. After three years in the cadets, I was selected to join the International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE) which gave me three weeks in the UK amongst an international group of cadets. It was the first time I met people from different countries, and I am very happy to call some of them still my friends up to today, over fifteen years later.
The biggest “oh-moment” of the trip was when I became close to Vivian. She grew up in Hong Kong, and is one of the most genuine people I ever met. She and I spent a lot of time together on the trip, and usually sat next to each other on bus rides. During one of the bus rides, I fell asleep next to her. She woke me up overexcited and kept yelling ” SHEEEEP!!! Sheep! Chabely there are real sheep out there! LOOK!” I figured she was joking and asked her to chill down, but she meant it. She had never seen a real sheep in her life, let alone a full herd, and then there they were, grazing the Meadows we were driving past. It was then and there that it dawned on me: the place you grow up in matters. It defines a huge part of who you are, and it influences the way you see the world.
After my middle school I moved to the Netherlands and started studying Aerospace Engineering at the Technical University of Delft, which has a high amount of international students. I met more people from all over the world, of which some became very good friends. These friendships allowed me to continue to have conversations about cultural differences, backgrounds, viewpoints and so on, and it allows me to discover new places and meet new people. When I obtained my Bachelor’s degree and my parents proudly wanted to give me something, I asked them for a ticket to Hong Kong, to visit Vivian, and two of the other air cadets I became friends with: Gionnie and Billy.
Later, my literature study enforced a move to Berlin and my thesis required a few weeks in Singapore. After obtaining my Master’s degree I had enough free time to finally start the travel blog I’ve been dreaming of. But it’s not just a travel blog. It’s a story. Meet our planet is about meeting places, but also about meeting the people who grew up in these places, it’s about getting to know viewpoints, cultures, recipes, dress codes, habits and dreams. It’s an opportunity to look at the world through a different pair of eyes. It’s a way of discovering yourself and the people around you, and about making the borders fade.
To me, my blog serves as an inventory of the places I’ve been and as a reminder that I should never stop going to new places and meeting new people. To you, I hope it may be a source of inspiration to go out there and do the same, and a help to do this.
All pictures have been taken by either me or family/friends of me, and the stories are genuine. Not everything in my blog is 🌹 and ☀️ , but it is truthful.
An open mind is the way to an open heart,