Chalet Wengen Switserland

I just came home from going back “home” for the second time in a little over a month. Seeing all the faces of the people I have to do without on the other side of the water is always the best thing. Seeing the places I used to live in – and loved living in at the time – on the other hand honestly doesn’t make me feel all that much. Walking along the beautiful canals in Ghent or having a ‘Trappist’ too many in one of the cosy bars is still just as nice as it was while I was a student there, but these things never even cross my mind while I’m abroad.

The people I used to share it with do.

When I was about eleven years old and visited London for the first ever time, I was immediately 100 percent convinced that that was the place I was going to have to live. In my mind there no other place would do. This conviction persevered for more than ten years and when confronted with the choice of his or my home country, it was relatively easily made.

After moving though, the city that was once love at first sight really had to grow on me again. You see, it doesn’t matter how many cool coffee shops or pop up somethings there are if you don’t have mates to explore them with. You need to gather the who around you before the where can live up to its full potential. Building a life in a new place takes a little time, I seem to forget that every time.

Although I now love my new location I can also tell my eleven-year-old self that I’m pretty convinced I could be equally happy elsewhere. I could move back to Ghent or Milan or go live in the middle of the countryside like both my parents now do as long as some of my favourite people lived within ‘come over for a quick drink’-distance.

I used to really dislike my hometown – in my mind the most boring place on earth – but I’m starting to think now that it might have had more to do with the attitude of a lot of its inhabitants than with the severe lack of nightlife. (I probably still won’t go back though, post small town stress disorder etc.)

The longer I think about it the less important it is to have ten cool bars within walking distance than it is to have a real connection with the people you would go there with.

Let’s be real though, I love being able to chose from thousands of restaurants when I want to try something new and I will make the most of it while I’m here, but I do think it will be my favourite Londoners and not London that I will miss if I ever leave.

Location, location, location really isn’t all that counts.


Coronations London

I LOVE to talk. I was a pretty well behaved kid at school, apart from the constant blabbing that would drive some teachers mad. They would try to put me next to someone quiet or someone I wasn’t really friend with. However, their efforts were usually to no avail, as I would always find something to start chatting about.

I’m still like that. Having hours worth of conversation at the pub about how to set the world right with good friends or someone I just met is my favourite thing to do. One of the things I miss most about travelling is being able to just walk up to a fellow backpacker, ask if you can join their table and learn about their travel experiences and back story. I’m sure that if I would try to do that in London, people would think I was A: Drunk, B: Mad, C:Begging for money or D: all of the above.

At the same time though, I’ve figured out I need peace and alone time on a very regular basis. Writing down to do lists (usually of ambitious future plans that I then rarely commit to) a blog post or just lying on the sofa in my pyjamas watching Netflix in an empty apartment I find almost (and occasionally probably more) fun than going out until 5 AM.

FOMO is a phobia I’m not entirely insensitive to; colleagues with more exiting weekend plans or bloggers I follow who seem to go to an interesting event every night do sometimes give me that nagging feeling that I should probably be doing something even better/more Instagrammable. The older I get though, the better I get at saying no to things when I actually just don’t fancy it (if I would get just as good at actually sticking to “just one drink” we could REALLY talk about progress).

Side note: I’m pretty sure JOMO or the joy of missing out is now also a thing (I think I read it on another blog, so it must be).

It’s all about balance I guess, even people who could have a passionate conversation with a brick wall probably need a bit of quiet me-time every now and then. Saying no and carving out some time to fill with no plans at all is an introvert pleasure this extrovert loves to indulge in more and more.