Just started year 35 I thought it time to update you all with a:
– Short intro: For who is new or just to get into my story again after 3 months of silence. (For the new; the first English edition)
– Look back: Ponder what I did so far. (Is Walter going to write his autobiography?)
– Update of the present: What have I been doing in the last 4 months.(Is he really going to make us read all those “holi-day” stories?)
– Look a head: Looking a little bit down the path to see what is most likely coming my way. (Is he becoming a guru now predicting the future?)
– Short intro:
Hello new readers basically for you. I would like to stay in contact with you and therefore just put you on the email list for my website. If you are not interested just let me know @ firstname.lastname@example.org Or take yourself of the list with the tool on the right side.
For all; personal remarks, the sharing of your life stories and questions are also more then welcome on this address.
This website was started 15 months ago to keep loved and interested ones up to date with my where about. On the right side you find the previous editions starting 15 months ago with quitting my job, a big farewell party and packing my backpack to go on an outer and inner discovery trip. I traveled in Central America for the outer part and did a three month meditation course for the inner part. Just after the meditation course I met Nerine we fell in love and traveled together. This same love let me in January to South Africa. One can concluded that since then little has changed I am basically still busy discovering outer and inner lessons at a very high but most enjoyable pace.
– Looking back:
As it goes with getting older and especially around birthdays you not only look forward but you also look back. Where do I start looking back? 13 may 1972! I was born in IJsselstein the Netherlands and my proud parents called me Walter. One and a half year later my brother Godert was born in Schiedam. When…….
Just kidding. No autobiography from my hand …(yet ).
Doing the outer and the inner discovery trip I lifted almost every step stone in my life. As with more things in my life, I became very serious. I had to find the answers on the big questions in life. Who am I? Why am I here? Why do I have to go through the daily turmoil? Is there not a quicker more enjoyable way?
God knows I did try very hard these last months to grasp it all, to find the secret of life. I found the key to (the tree of) life in my two months of silence. I do my daily meditation and yoga. I have been reading piles of spiritual books. I am. (And I am rather busy with that!)
Seeing me completely submerge in my quest many of you started asking me to share my new found lessons. What have I been learning so far? Eeeeeeuh. Well I eeeuh.
Surely I learned a lot; small and big, nice and ugly. The problem: I have not found the way of sharing all these experiences. They are all related to each other. Where ever I start I have to explain something else first. Looking back at the complete picture I see that what is necessary to find more peace and clarity is a complete shift. This sounds more dramatic then it really is. Basically we experience here the dilemma of learning something completely new. We all stumbled on this dilemma a couple of times in school. For example when we learned new languages…parlez Francais? You have to learn quite some basics before you can walk into France and start having normal conversations beyond the groceries.
The same applies to this spiritual realm. The language and concepts we are using in most common worldviews are simply not capable of describing what I have been learning. In a conversation touching the ideas I learned I find my self speaking a different language the other is not speaking or not enough. How do we communicate? Most travelers have a practical solution. But it will only bring them the bare minimums Most teachers also know there way around…..but it is the long route and not so practical. On top of the language comes the hard to grasp concepts and on top of that the practical use in daily life. After all spiritual lessons are nor about learning a new languages or concepts it is about applying them. The proof is in the eating!
So I have a dilemma standing there and talking to people. Hearing my eeuhs and aaahs most of you move the conversations onwards with the question: “What did you gain from what you have been doing?” (We live in a goal oriented society after all)
More clarity and peace is my short answer on this question. What is that? I can see the questions marks coming into your eyes. (This is becoming a difficult conversation does this guy only speak Chinese and think in Zen Buddhism?)
To give the conversation a practical twist I give examples of daily life. Not really satisfying for both of us but the most close we can get speaking Chinese.
The different questions I ask. A different ankle I use nowadays to look at things. I see a shift in how I relate to and feel about a lot of areas in life. I am more at peace with myself and environment. For me being goal oriented as I am a big step forwards.
With some examples given we tend to move on. Speaking with hands is as most travelers are well aware of very tiresome.
There is some light shining on this dilemma of not being able to share the lessons. Not really original and already a well traveled path I just retraced my own learning steps. “How did I grasp these concepts?” I seem to have found my way around to start sharing. Will be continued!
For now I can only add one realization to my new found clarity and peace. One realization that always stays out at the end of my pondering. I am a very lucky guy in many ways but one in particular. Not many people do take or have the opportunity to have this incredible luxury experience of absolute freedom and time for oneself. For me it is among the biggest gifts you can receive in life.
I therefore strongly recommend it to everybody in what ever form is suitable for you. Find time for you!! Half an hour, meditation or just sitting still and not speaking can bring a lot of the things I found in the more extreme version. I am more then willing to help you get going. Just contact me.
As I said if I find a better way of expressing the lessons learned in a way that is enjoyable for you I will let you know. If you cannot wait just call or mail me I constantly discover that in personal conversations around a problem at hand the learned wisdom naturally finds its place.
– Share the present:
The last message I wrote captured the first 2 weeks of South Africa. I was on a discovery trip in the bush and it didn’t make much sense at that moment. It improved significantly since then. The most important thing I had to learn again. (I already learnt about it numerous time in daily life, the rule was reinforced by traveling and somehow I still had to learn it again….at least it proves I am not a donkey . Don’t ever compare, or for that matter judge. It is as it is.
With that freshly learnt my logical mind found a better way of interpreting the environment and things fell on there place again. Driving left is not so bad after all. A shopping mall will never be the Leidse Plein but hee being in an air-conditioned environment with outside temperatures above 35 C has also its advantages.
What did I do the last 3 months:
A lot! So I won’t make you read all my holiday(=holyday) stories. Holy they were! A overview you will find below touching: living in South Africa, seeing the big 5 in there natural environment, seeing a lot of the country, which is wide and spectacular, visiting Tzaneen, Knysna, Port Elizabeth, Groot Marico & Rustlers Valley, Groot Karoo. And of course Life in Joburg. Questions and remarks are more then welcome!
I lived in South Africa.
4 Months of living gives you a nice insight into a society. Remembering my lesson I will not start comparing but living in South Africa suits me well. I feel attracted by the enormousness and emptiness of this country. Drive out of Joburg for half an hour and you find your self back in the bush. Wild, empty and alive! I didn’t know that being in touch with raw nature is so healing. The same rawness and emptiness but in a different quality you find back in society. There are endless business opportunities, no laws or rules stopping you from setting something up. A true paradise for entrepreneurial cowboys that want to go to the frontier.
One thing I surely miss about Europe is culture. South Africa is a booming lively environment but I miss the refinement. The cowboy mentality is in every aspect of life and sometimes you would just like a little bit more quality and refinement.
I saw the big 5 in there natural environment:
Impressive! If you haven’t seen them: Come and look and feel for yourself. In wild they are truly more impressive then behind bars in the Zoo.
I saw a lot of the country, which is wide and spectacular! In steno:
Tzaneen: A 5 hour drive, in the northern parts. I told you about this in the last update. Green farming land with beautiful waterfalls in the bush. Nerine’s childhood years were spent here. I loved it.
Knysna: An 11 hour drive, on the coast in the south west. The wedding of Nerine’s sister was held in this beautiful setting. We stayed on Thesen island. A very luxury resort, in the river delta, completely sealed of from the outside world for security reasons. (Beautiful but not my way of feeling secure) In front of us the blue ocean. Left and right the raw coast line of reddish/yellow rock bays with sand beaches. Behind us a vast forest, not European in size nor in variety and wild life. Yep wild monkeys on the road, game in the fields. Unheard of in the European set up you are allowed to rally-drive your own car for hours over the gravel roads in this forest. As a matter of fact it was the shortest road to get in Knysna. What a pity, can I do it again?
Port Elizabeth: Also an 11 hour drive, on the coast in the south west but a little bit less west. We stayed her with the parents of one of Nerine’s best friends. Sally. Sally’s family welcomed us with open arms what immediately made us feel very at home. Together we went to Ado natural reserve because I wanted to see the Elephants close up and wandering around in there natural environment. And I did. Speechless. There is something very peaceful and calming about being near these monuments.
Sally’s father Mike is a big bike fanatic and he took me for a ride along the coast. I surely missed my normal routine of spinning a couple of times a week. This used to be easier or am I getting older? Anyway, cycling gets a different dimension if you hear the incoming waves pounding on the shore creating big walls of water in the blue sky.
Groot Marico & Rustlers Valley: A four hour drive from Joburg. Bush with a lot of exclamation marks. We enjoyed a couple of weekends here. Klaas se hut, Clarence and Rustlers Valley.
Klaas se hut: A cabin in the middle of nothing with nothing. No electricity only wood and oil lamps. Forced to leave everything behind you find time for others and yourself. We had a very nice campfire under a very bright, star littered, sky with Lisa and Rob.
Clarence: Donovan invited us to stay with us in his family home. We made a drive on horse backs through the mountains meeting game and seeing the sun go down., had a wonderful meal in town, slept very well in this ocean of quietness and made a walk in the nature reserve next to the house. We were completely refreshed when we were transported home. What a luxury if you are driven. You just sit back and enjoy. Thanks Donovan for the driving and Nerine for being the DJ.
Groot Karoo: The big plain situated between Joburg and the coast in the south west. We passed it on our trips to Port Elizabeth and Knysna. Big and empty and with that very impressive. It takes hours to cross it. Giving you all the time to suck in the clean air, the tranquility and do all your thinking. Blue skies, flat top mountains and endless dry fields and straight roads. I fell in love.
Life in Joburg: Are you ever at home? Well. Yes. Although we are out a lot meeting friends going to the cinema, having a great time in the bush or else were. I did a couple of projects to start up my life her; I did project papers. Started project income. Succeed in project car and keep my self getting out of bed with voluntary work; Princess Alice Adoption Home (PAAH)
Project papers: Yes I got them!12 April a date to remember I got my temporary permit allowing me as partner of Nerine to live and work like every South African for the next two years. Getting the papers opened my eyes how things seem to work her in South Africa. Calling and going to places is even more important here then else were. The websites where full of information but it was not very encouraging nor very clear. One telephone call by Nerine opened a complete new road, which I quickly took.
Going to the Department of Home affairs you meet a bureaucracy Kafka worthy. But being fair it worked. Even more fair I think it is in the end a lot easier to get into South Africa then that it is getting into most countries.
Kafka: Getting the outcome of my case. I thought it would be half an hour. How much time can it be to hear if you are allowed in or not? I was parking the car when I saw a row that went around the building like a snake. Yes it was my row and I started at the tail at 7:40. Around 8:00 the office opened and the snake started moving but strangely enough parts of the snake were allowed in earlier…I was not among them. Round 8:30 I entered the dark building with a fresh number allotted to me by a not speaking lady. I was number 117 for my specific row. The getting the outcome row.
Still optimistic I thought the row would dissolve quickly. It was 12:00 when I walked again to the front of the row to find out that at that time only the first 20 numbers had been served. Ai. A quick calculation learned that with this speed they were never able to serve the 150 numbers they give out each day. I took a breather and left the building for a while. Seeing a bit of the Zuma trail from a restaurant window looking at the high court. Enjoying lunch. A hour later afraid to lose my place in the row………..they might speed up.. I was back on the flour again with my Sudoku. (Some addictions are really helpful) Around three there was a lot of shouting. People were getting angry and shouting that the office was going to close at three. I decided to be stubborn. Time for another Sudoku, frustrated people started leaving. Survival of the fittest. My bottom was very sore when around 17:00 I also became very nervous. Most offices close at this time all around the world and there were still 40 numbers in front of me but not that many people any more. I stayed put. They had to throw me out before I was going to leave. 18:00 my passport was taken by the immigration officer. Yes one foot between the closing door. The five people in front of me got there outcome. Not ready yet, come back next week. Not all the papers filled in. No, not enough funds. Not ready, Not ready. Half an hour later……..I walked into the sunlight with a big reprieve I had a nice new sticker in my passport.
Princess Alice Adoption Home (PAAH). My volunteer work. For the last month now I start my day at 06:00. After 5 minutes of not wanting to leave to warm bed I do some yoga and mediation and make sure that I start my car around 07:00. To be at PAAH around 7:30 were I have the noble task of helping the nurses to feed the babies living in this house. As a volunteer we can give these little ones some more care and love then the regular staff has time for. With the knowledge in the back of my head that social studies show that missing out love in the early stages of life is something people will never recover from it. It will lead to all kind of social disorders. A nice extra stimulus to get my butt going.
I must say I am completely addicted. Seeing the big eyes of all these complete innocent and helpless little people. Feeling there warmth, seeing there pleasure, making them laugh and cleaning them before they go on sleeping or playing. It is so simple but actually doing it is very satisfying and gives me a big boost for the rest of the day as a bonus.
If you want also some boost and support them, here is some background: “The Princess Alice Adoption Home (PAAH) is a home caring for 25 babies who have either been abandoned or are awaiting adoption. PAAH is an independent organization that solely runs on the gifts of supporters. They have to raise each year more then 1 million rand (about 140.000 Euro) to keep the place up and running.” If you want to contribute in anyway you can contact me or put money on my account Postbank 5974871, W. Hottinga, Saturnusstraat 11, 7622VK, Borne with the description PAAH. I will make sure that they get the money free of bank charges for them.
Look a head: (Which already started…)
The next two weeks I will be back on the road again. The travel virus is still very alive. Wednesday; Nerine and I leave for a trip to warmer Durban for a long weekend. (It is winter in South Africa!) Monday I will rest and prepare to leave on Tuesday for Swaziland. I will return a week later. Have a rest day on Wednesday before Nerine and I will leave Thursday the first of June for a long weekend to the Cape.
And after that……..I am not a guru yet. I have a lot of plans which I hope to realize in the near future, but nothing is decided upon yet.
No time for sitting still, too much to enjoy.
I hope that all of you are also experiencing great times and will keep sending your stories my way,
Till we meet again,