Travel Tip: Keep a travel box

When I go traveling, I tend to write my explorations and experiences down – that way, I can recall my most treasured travel memories at all times: New friends met, funny/scary/sad situations experienced, beautiful and cool places and attractions explored as well as nice restaurants etc. However, sometimes I simply don’t have the time to write down everything. As such, I recently decided to keep a travel box on the side. In here, I put handwritten notes, post cards, tickets, bills etc. with travel memories that I don’t want to forget about in the future.


I thought I wanted to share this idea in case of you also have difficulties writing everything down in the middle of/at the end of an adventure abroad.

xo P!


The Thrill: Dating the nice guy

I think I can easily argue that we’ve all been there, ladies: Dating (or pursuing) the bad guy – for the thrill of it and the goal of ’turning him’. I thought that the thrill of that adventure was the high of the highest…then I dated the nice guy. Yes, the guy that can’t wait to spend the day after a date night in your company…that guy…
I can honestly say that the thrill of dating the nice guy exceeded that of dating the bad guy. I never thought in my wildest dreams that such thrill could come from the simple comfort of knowing that what I see is what I get – of no playing around, no mind games. With scars on my heart, it’s difficult to let a man in but with his honesty, genuine interest and persistence, he makes it easier. Even if I feel like I’m climbing the highest mountain every time he looks as me, at least I know that I’ll make it to the top in one piece – no matter the outcome.

He might not exactly be the type to make himself noticeable at social gatherings, he’s most likely even slightly shy. However, his kind heart and hidden confidence make up for it. In comparison, he is the cuter and more exciting choice, and because he is who he is, he makes you break all your rules. The fact that he makes you do so makes him the most exciting guy you’ve come across. Especially, as with him, there are no games: He’s open about his feelings and you can actually trust your own feelings in all of it – he makes you feel comfortable.

Love Actually

My nice guy does many things that make me feel comfortable in the dating-relationship: He’s interested in getting to know me, he gives me genuine compliments, he texts me right after we’ve met up just to make sure I’ve made it back home in one piece, he buys my favourite snacks on date nights, he plans the nearer future for us, he spends hours cooking the right meal for us, introduces me to his friends, holds me all through the night in his sleep and kisses me on my nose because he knows that it makes me happy…he brings a smile to my lips on a daily basis and brings a little extra happiness to my life. And then he laughs at my horrible attempts to pronounce Dutch words. In short, he does all the right, little things that make my heart melt, which ensure me, on a daily basis, that he’s right for me. I know that I can be myself around him even in moments when I feel most flawed and messed up. However, it hasn’t been easy for me to accept his interest for so many reasons – the main ones being that I’m not good at letting guys into my life and I don’t believe I deserve his interest, attention and care. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s better than I am – in every way: He’s much more personal, open and genuine. Being with him, however, brings that side of me out, more and more – I hope I can bluff my way into his heart before he realizes this. Because of his good nature, it confuses me that he’s still here… For certain, I thought that I’d by now would have chased him away a long time ago – even if I try to behave and not push him away. I’m so glad I haven’t.
I thought about ending it so many times – especially in the beginning. I’ve told him this. The look on his face when I told him made me so guilty and ashamed – hurting him is the last thing I want to do. …I didn’t end it – the thought of not pursuing this and see where it takes me brings so much sadness. Selfishly, I have to see where this is going – even when I believe I’ll end up hurt because he for sure will realize that he’s too good for me. But he’s worth the potential pain – because what he brings to my life cannot be measured in pain anyway.


xo P!



Grown-ups: When you know you are one

The horror… Becoming a grown-up. I always feared to become one… I still do – because I don’t think I’m quite there yet. Honestly, I hope I’ll never truly become one. Like Peter Pan, I never saw the point of it. Sure, there are responsibilities linked to growing up and living on your own etc., responsibilities that I like (most of them anyway). But then the weird thing happens, you start to wonder, which leads to you finding out that you kind of are a grown-up already (…ish).

Being a grown-up

You know you’re a grow-up when:

  1. You moved out from your parents’ house and live by yourself, paying rent
  1. You have a monthly budget
  1. You pay your bills on time
  1. You find peace and calmness in somewhat planning and structuring your life
  1. You appreciate the relationship between mother-father and child
  1. You no longer fight with your sibling(s) because you’ve come to appreciate the friendship that has developed
  1. You can actually handle liquor, and an evening out with friends no longer ends in major hangovers (or black outs)
  1. However, you’ve also found that a weekend in shouldn’t be underestimated
  1. You no longer care for fitting in because you’ve found it’s more fun not to
  1. Potential life partners are no longer evaluated by appearance but by personal traits, which let’s face it simply is much more important

When did you know, you were a grown-up (ish)?

xo P!



Culture Shock: Why it’s a good thing

We’ve all been there. Whether it was due to starting at a new school or job, moving away or even settling abroad: Culture shock is a thing. It leaves us with lasting impressions and ways to improve and better our lives and the way we live them. Personally, I think it’s crucial to experience culture shocks every once in a while in order to become the person you wish to be.

Culture Shock

Of course, there are different levels of culture shocks and depending on these, it’s more difficult to adjust and assimilate to a foreign culture. However, once you learn to do so, you gain so much perspective and understanding – understanding for the foreign culture as well as yourself. For several reasons, I therefore believe you can gain much from these so-called culture shocks and grow as a person. Be careful though, they are addictive:

  1. It makes you stronger to assimilate to foreign norms and behaviour through various and different challenges. Leaving one’s comfort zone is never easy, however, through loneliness and battles, you develop thicker skin
  1. As a result, it makes you more confident in yourself and your capabilities. Furthermore, you end up believing in yourself and stop finding excuses for not chasing your dreams
  1. You will inevitiably start chasing your dreams and you’ll find inspiration for further personal development through it. There’s thus something truly uplifting and inspirational about the process of culture shocks
  1. Furthermore, you will get to know yourself better and find out what you want in life as a result. Only through challenges, you’re faced with making important (life) decisions. As such, you have to dare to choose, and there’s no better way to discover yourself than through these life decisions
  1. Finally, it gives you a chance to start all over. Whenever you enter a new culture, you have to start over – you have to find your role in all of it. As a result, you get to reinvent yourself – it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity (unless you chase these culture shocks on a regular basis: Then you get to experience it every once in a while). In other words, you get the chance to become whoever you want to be…and is there anything better than that in the long run?

xo P!



Lost: When circumstances influence you

Sometimes you get lost in circumstances…
…It’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, when you awake, you’re somewhat baffled by yourself.


Relocating abroad this time has proved to be a somewhat difference experience from the beginning compared to previous relocations I’ve made. This is solely due to circumstances… Circumstances such as not being a student anymore but a ’grown-up’ with a full time job and certain responsibilities. This is not to forget all the formalities and paper work that need to be done when relocating. And then there’s the love interest too…

Being away from home for 12 hours a day doesn’t leave time for much during the week. That means the weekend has to make up for the ’lost time’ – the lost time that would have been spent on exploring. However, with a newly love interest that you, of course, want to see and socialize with, it has proved to be rather challenging for me to explore Amsterdam and meet new friends here. Of course, I have my colleagues and dear roomies and friend for almost a decade but that’s just not enough for me. I’m so used to having a big social circle that I’ve been building up for years – I want to I need to build a network here too. I need (as in personal need) to explore the culture…

Today, for the first time since I moved here, I’ve had a moment to catch my breath and actually reflect upon my current situation. It’s not as if I regret what and whom I’ve spent my time – quite the contrary! However, I so badly want to explore my new home city. So as of today, I will plan to do exactly this at least once a week. For my own sake, I need to root here and know my own city.
Luckily, I will also frequently receive visits from friends abroad the following months, which means that I’ll be able to explore Amsterdam (and other cities in the Netherlands) with them as a tourist and traveler. I can’t wait for this! Let the adventure vol. 2 begin!

xo P!

Travel Tattoos: Inking memories

Today, it has become normal for people to have a tattoo. It’s no longer possible to pin point certain types of people that are likely to have tattoos, as people with tattoos no longer belongs to certain social groups: No all types of people today have tattoos. As a result, new trends within the tattoo industry shows up every day. For the last couple of years, travel tattoos has become a noteworthy trend – one that I, myself, have influenced by.

Travel tattoo

Everybody who gets a tattoo gets it for a reason. The reasons are as many as there are people with tattoos. However, a tattoo marks a story. This story may be connected to home or travels themselves however, one thing is certain: It mirrors a personal development.
This permanent mark on the body functions as reminder or mark on what a person has been through and what s/he learned as a result – it reveals personality. In this sense, it’s always interesting to hear stories behind tattoos, as people can really surprise you – you learn from them. All experienced made – even if it is made by others – are experiences gained…

Personally, I have four travel tattoos. All of which I treasure. They mark my four abroad relocations and serve as reminders – or marks, really – for an old version of me. Each tattoo reflects a personal growth and development. Be this in relation to following my dreams and passions or letting go, they function as reminders… In this relation, my most treasured tattoo is a swallow on my left lower arm. The symbolism in it is clear… To me, this tattoo marks a change in my life, a choice I made. A choice from which I grew. A choice that made my life a lot easier but also, at times, a lot more difficult.

Bird tattoo

Do you have any travel tattoos? Or tattoos in general? Why did you get it, if I may ask? And what does it mean to you?

xo P!


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Travel Tip: Keep a travel journey

For the last five years, I have been keeping a travel journey. The reasons for this are many, however, it’s mainly because I wish to remember the details and my observations made when abroad. Furthermore, I want to remember the people and their stories. To me, a travel journey represents the perfect way to capture all the significant memories from travels. When having a travel journey, you can namely always take it out and explore again what you’ve already explored: Remember where you’re perspectives comes from and reflect on it.

Travel book

Exploring foreign cultures and acquire insight into these and perspective on foreign and own culture can be a somewhat comprehensive and daunting experience – wonderful and exciting, of course, but daunting indeed. So much happens when you travel to explore foreign cultures. Because I personally tend to forget the details in happenings and the funny stories, I decided to keep a travel journey in which all my adventures along with the experiences made have been written down. For me, this is the perfect way to remember all the small, significant details that makes my memories complete. Of course, I don’t write everything down – only the, to me, important stuff. Along with photos, I that way have a detailed overview of my travels. Sometimes, it’s interesting to go back and refresh your memory: Remembering the people foreign norms and customs and the funny stories from travels.

xo P!


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Travelers: The best job candidates

…Yes, you travel in order to enjoy yourself by exploring foreign cultures …with everything that entails. However, in the process, you learn – it’s an education, really. You learn about the foreign culture itself, you learn about yourself as well as about other (foreign) people and ways of living. Moreover, you learn about your own culture – in general, you simply acquire perspective. As a result I argue that traveling builds character, which is why I believe travelers make good job candidates.


With a constant need for adventure in foreign cultures, travelers are obviously good communicators that do not set themselves limitations – on the contrary. As such, we have a lot to offer a work place – even if we have gaps in our resumes filled by traveling or periods of saving for traveling:

  1. We live to explore and acquire knowledge
  2. We like to try new things
  3. We take risks
  4. We know how to adapt to change
  5. We’re cultural thinkers with a open mind
  6. We think opposite in order to deal with foreign situations on out travels
  7. We’re willing to learn and welcome construct criticism in order to better ourselves and our skills
  8. We’re quick to make decisions
  9. We’re good at problem solving
  10. We’re dreamers who turn negative experiences into positive ones because, in our experience, we’ve found that there’s always a silver lining

As a traveler, which skills would you highlight as important skills learned during travels?

xo P!

An Open Letter: The undesired, yet desired sparkle

For so many years, you’ve been stereotyping all guys to mirror the absolute worst of the worst. When approached, you have pushed them away with a twinkle in your eyes and a smile that convinced both you and them that they were undesired – or …what this approach could potentially lead to was undesired. This, you have done in order not to get involved – no strings attached. You have done so in order for you to have no hindrances when following your hopes and dreams. You have done so because it was the only way to make sure not to compromise with yourself and your ambitions. In your head, this made perfectly sense – no strings attached. In your head, you have convinced yourself that this was what you wanted – that a love interest was undesired. Suddenly out of the blue, reality hits. Hard.

You’ve meet someone. There’s an obvious chemistry. Suddenly, you find yourself on a date – nervous and excited. A date with someone you really find interesting. Someone who appears to be real – honest with a good heart. Someone who treats you with respect and make you feel special. Someone who makes you feel absolutely comfortable in his company. For some reason, this is highly difficult for you to process. Truth is, you suddenly realize that you’ve been lying to yourself just because it was easier – no strings attached. Because with your hopes and dreams, you’ve convinced yourself that a man couldn’t fit in your life. Now, you realize maybe he can? Even though he might can’t? Who really knows… But maybe you owe it to yourself to at least give it a try… You’re confused…


When you deliberately have avoided anything related to romantic love for years, you become very skilled at ignoring and pushing it away. You, especially, become skilled at preventing it and making sure it doesn’t become part of your life. In the end, you convince yourself that it’s just easier – no strings attached, no problems, no hindrances for your hopes and dreams. When an interest then suddenly after years of this guarding of the heart appears and you for some reason can’t ignore it as you’re used to, you become very scared. What is supposed to feel like an adventure not only feels like this but also to a certain extent feels like an obstacle. The first response might be to push it away. You try. For some reason, though, you can’t… That’s when you get confused. How is it possible to escape reality – even if you know, you should just go with the flow? Because it’s not as if you don’t want it. It’s that you’re terrified. Absolutely terrified. Terrified of the whole thing. After years of rejecting love interests because it’s just easier – no strings attached, you become scared of getting rejected. In your heart, you hope that although this feeling is overwhelming and insecurity may come across as a result, he doesn’t withdraw. You become aware of the solid wall around your heart that you’ve actively been building for years has to break. Step-by-step. You’ve known for a while now that this could eventually happen and have started the breakdown of the wall yourself. You can’t break it yourself, though. You need help. His help…

With years of guarding, with years of building a wall around the heart and with years of ignoring the sparkle, it has been years of standing on your own. Although this is a part of yourself that you truly treasure, maybe it wouldn’t be terrible sharing your world, maybe it would be rather nice have someone there for you. Someone who cared. Someone who actually cared. That wall won’t be easy to break, though, and you just hope he, with your help, doesn’t give up when trying to break it, step-by-step.

The dating continues… Then you find yourself not knowing the next steps – and you hate it. At the same time, you know it’s the best thing that could happen to you because let’s face it, it’s not like the way you normally handle men in your life has proved to be bullet proof for the heart anyway. So maybe it’s not that bad. Maybe it’s actually not that scary. Maybe it’s not even going to end as you predict. And wouldn’t that be nice. Maybe you should just simply run with it – not thinking too much, just explore. Because isn’t that what you always preach – go explore!?

xo P!