July 21, 2012

Travel Dreams

As you might guess from this blog I like to travel: exploring new places, unknown places. Not necessarily very far away (I'm excited about a hiking trip in the Netherlands, for example, to a part of the country I don't know) - but I have to also admit that I'm drawn to isolated and off the beaten track places.

That's why my finger was drawn to Slovakia last summer when I was looking at the East European map trying to find a nice country to explore which wouldn't be swamped with tourists. And it's why a highlight of my last holiday to Japan was Osorezan, a holy mountain far away in the north of Japan's main island Honshu.

There are many many more places I want to go to (in fact, there aren't many places I do NOT want to go to), but there is one trip which is my ultimate trip: taking a few months to travel the old Silk Road. The Silk Road spans different routes, but following this ancient trade route from West (Turkey) to East (China) through the Central Asian region would be a dream come true. But strangely, I've never really thought about it more than that: a dream.

I read a book recently which included a section on setting goals in your life (something that I've never really done before) and how to go about achieving them. And I realized: why should this trip stay a dream? So, it has become one of three big goals that I'm planning to make happen.

I'm very excited. I now have some books on the region from the library, have set up a twitter-list with people to follow so that I can get a feel for what is going on in the region, and am contemplating what language would be most useful to learn (leaning towards Russian....).

Wheeee! :-D

The bad side of this? Reading and thinking about this is much much more fun than jobhunting or finishing my paper to finalize my university course. *Sigh*

July 15, 2012

Full circle

Over seven and a half years ago I started this blog when I was about to spend six months in Tokyo for an internship. That internship was the final part of my university degree (actually, technically it wasn't - but it felt like the last thing to do as a a student).

Of course, living in Tokyo for a while was fantastic. I had been there several times, but was always just visiting for a few days - or at the most a few weeks and always staying with friends. But this time it was actually 'home' for a while.

Apart from that working for six months within the Dutch foreign service was a very unique experience. I learned a lot from being in that particular professional environment and that half year helped me a lot when I was back in the Netherlands to start the search for a proper job.

That turned out to be a lot harder than expected, but looking back it has been good to go through that time. I really do believe I came out stronger because of it and it has made me more determined in what I want to do.

Last week I met my previous boss from Tokyo. Coincidentally, we will be working together again, in a way. Different countries, different roles from then. And it felt so good to be able to show where I am now - 7,5 years later.

It feels like I've come full circle. Which is funny, kind of, because this is no where near the end. Yet. Which is good.

July 10, 2012

Creative Den Haag

An afternoon of walking around some interesting-looking backstreets in my neighbourhood