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Living life to the fullest!
Hi everyone !!
I'm a friendly and open minded person who would really love to travel a bit more. I've seen quite a few places, but there's just so much to see and there's quite a lot on my wish list. And I absolutely love meeting new people from over the world and show them around my city and country !
I worked as a service engineer in an IT company until September 2008, when I left on a one year trip around Asia. I just got back from my trip and have to find out what I want to do now.
In my spare time I love travelling (of course :-)), music (listening to and playing synths), ice skating, going out with friends, meeting new people,...
I also really love nature and adventure... just being away from a while from our daily stressy lives and enjoying nature and the simple things in life again !
I'm up for anything really as long as it's exciting and fun :-)
Worth mentioning is that CS gave me enough courage to make a tough decision I otherwise would never have made: I gave up my job and in October 2008 Olivier - a good cs/friend of mine - and I started travelling around Asia. I'm always interested in talking to people willing to exchange travel information and helpful tips !
Places I visited:
visited 25 states (11.1%)Create your own visited map of The World
Well, a few of my personal philosophies and things I find important:
"Treat people the way you want to be treated yourself"
"Carpe diem... live life to the fullest, try to get as much out of life as possible as it's way too short, dont't whine or argue, just enjoy !"
"Listen to people... think twice before you act... Communicate! There's so many misunderstandings between people which can be easily avoided. Accept criticism and handle it in a positive way!"
"Do the things in life you really want to do, don't keep saying 'one day...'. I don't want to have become old one day and have to say: 'if only I'd have enjoyed life a little more...' :p"
"Don't do something, judge someone or something, or act just because society or religion tells you to do so... think yourself, follow your heart and make the right decisions for your own !"
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING
I really like the concept of CS A LOT... I signed up in April 2007, and met so many wonderful people, of whom some have become close friends.
I really like getting to know new people and learn about other cultures and countries. Also, I love guiding people around Ghent and helping them out wherever I can. Don't expect all the historical backgrounds because I don't know all that much, but I can show you the nice and cosy places and pubs you otherwise would never find as a tourist for sure !! Besides... guiding people around really sheds a new light onto my own city sometimes... I sometimes get to re-appreciate buildings or views I usually just pass by without noticing...
Put it this way - if I'm available then I'm always willing to help travellers out in any way I can, either guiding around, providing them with information and advice, recommending trustworthy friends of mine if I'm not available myself. Treat people the way you want to be treated they say... that's why I try to spend as much time as possible with the people visiting.
Also, I was a city ambassadorship for Ghent as that enables me to support the community in a more active way. When I started my travels around Asia I became a Nomadic Ambassador.
April 2007: visited Berlin with a friend and decided to check out the couch surfing concept. Surfed 2 different people's couches, which was an absolutely FANTASTIC experience. People were very friendly, advised us about nice places to see, were very welcoming, spent a lot of time with us,... well don't know what else to say. Couch surfing really adds an extra dimension to travelling :-)
June 2007: hosted Ari over the weekend and showed him around Ghent. Met up with Brian and Wendy, Lore, Tina and Sibyl and had a wonderful weekend !
June 24-29th: camping trip to the Provence with Tina;
June 30/July 1st: wonderful CS meeting in Bruges organised by Martine;
July 7: cs meeting in Ghent organised by Lore, hosted Hatim;
July 13-16: city trip Rome with Kris and Tom; met up with a few cs'ers, among them Roberta and Martina;
July 18,20,21: several cs meetings at the Ghent Festival;
July 28: "movie" meeting at Guy and Inez' place in Brasschaat, had a wonderful afternoon chatting and met quite a few people;
August 16-26: road trip around Ireland which was a WONDERFUL experience. Met so many wonderful people... Were being hosted by Pete and Diane, Lisa, Joke and Janet, Jessica, Rob and Solène and met up with Mirna, Anna and Sinéad. Sure hope to see all of you again !
Aug 31 - Sept 1: organised CS meeting in Ghent together with Lore and Graham which was just great, a lot of people and especially new cs members joined the meeting. Also the pic-nic the day afterwards and the party at night were great ! Hosted Marlene, Steven and Isadora, met up for a tour around Ghent with Arjan;
Sept 7, 8, 9: went to the Scottish Weekend in Alden Biesen Brian and Wendy invited us to. Met up there with a whole bunch of cs'ers and had a lot of fun... wow, certainly going back there next year !!!
Sept 23: Organised a joint cs/hc pic-nic in Ghent together with Lore, Karin, Joke and Jacques which was great fun !
Oct 5-7: road trip to Oktoberfest in Munich with Lore, Wendy, Kris, Koen and Rafael... what a party ! Definately going back next year :-)
Oct 26, 2007: Halloween Party at Guy and Inez' place in Brasschaat... which was a private party but cs'ers were all over the place :-)
Nov 2-4, 2007: visited and had a great time with Sandrine (Cerydwenn) in Liège.
Nov 6, 2007: cs meeting Ghent we organised: bowling time. About 18 people attended and everyone had great fun !
Nov 24, 2007: showed Laura and Gunars from Latvia around Ghent and had dinner afterwards. Had a few great chats and a lot of fun !
Nov 30 - Dec 2, 2007: visited Aachen + attended the cs meeting together with Isadora and our great host Andreas.
Dec 7 - 8, 2007: visited Arjanneke who hosted me and 2 friends of mine and showed us around the city of Rotterdam. Was great fun and she had us stay over at her "school building", quite a remarkable cs experience ;-)
Dec 21 - 24, 2007: city trip Prague, wonderful city... Our host Christophe was so kind to host me and my 4 (!) friends and took out a lot of time to make sure we were doing ok and show us around the city.
New Year's Eve, 2007 - : celebrated New Year's Eve together with about 20 cs'ers and friends in Bilzen, great party !!
Jan 18, 2008: attended the "welcome new members in Ghent" cs meeting/dinner Bruno organised and had a wonderful time.
Jan 19-20, 2008: Jessica and Fergal, whose couch I surfed in Ireland, visited Ghent. We partied in Ghent to celebrate Jessica's birthday and they surfed my couch.
Feb 1-3, 2008: spent a cs weekend in Orval together with a bunch of cs'ers and had a great time !
Feb 7-8, 2008: met up with Catherine (Australia), spent some time with her and did my best to show her the best parts of the city ! Met Emi as well.
Feb 9, 2008: attended Oli's Pelgrom meeting... lots of interesting stories and laughter until the early hours :)
Feb 10, 2008: couldn't miss out on Niki and Katrien's Late New Year's Brunch ! Nice food, lots of interesting people to talk to and a beautiful weather... wow :)
Feb 19, 2008: we attended the Lunatics + Henk Ryckaert (impro & stand-up comedy) performance in Ghent, organised a small meeting.
Feb 29, 2008: met up with Aycin from Turkey and Bára from Czech Republic, who are staying in Bruges. Visited a pub and had and enjoyable evening.
Mar 9, 2008: met up with Emi again to show her some more of the city centre, afterwards went to a friend's place where we enjoyed some fries and had some deepgoing conversations and discussions.
Mar 12, 2008: had a last-notice small informal cs meeting in Ghent with about 10 cs'ers, had dinner and an enjoyable evening afterwards.
Mar 13, 2008: attended our Asia Lovers meeting in Antwerp organised to establish contacts and gather some travel information for our big trip. Had a great evening and met some wonderful people I'll certainly catch up with !
Mar 15, 2008: George's b'day party. Well... although George has become a friend he's one of the most active and dedicated cs'ers around so this one's worth mentioning. Had a blast with other cs'ers !
Mar 17, 2008: St-Patrick's Day meeting in Antwerp being organised by Bart and Prestina. Prestina was so nice to let me surf her couch.
Mar 22, 2008: had 2 cs'ers from Canada coming over (and hosted them), Laurent and Nicolas. Set up a small meeting with other cs enthousiasts from Gent and had a great time.
Mar 27, 2008: monthly bar meeting in Antwerp organised by Bart. Great group together, truly had a blast !
Mar 28, 2008: met up with Eveline from Switzerland whom I had met at the meeting the evening before. Walked around the city and had a beer.
Mar 29, 2008: Stella Artois brewery meeting in Leuven organised by Stijn and Raf. Visited the brewery, went out with a fun group of people afterwards. Surfed Andrew's couch.
April 25 - May 11, 2008: round trip to Norway with Reinhold, visiting Copenhagen on our way. Camped most of the times and couchsurfed with Mark (Copenhagen), Paula (Oslo) and Laura (Bergen). Also met up with Anna and some other cs'ers in Copenhagen. Was a wonderful trip !
May 17, 2008: amb meeting + going out in Gent with the whole group
May 19-21, 2008: hosted Carlye (from Montreal) and took a day off to discover Bruges with her... oh and to introduce her to all the different beers of course :)
May 20, 2008: cs meeting Gent: alternative city walk + bar hopping. About 50 people attended and the atmosphere was wonderful!
May 26, 2008: met up with Gaby (Chile), Pascal (France), Evelyne (Poland), Annie (Finland) and Mieke, walked around the city and had a few beers
June 10-11, 2008: visited Aycin and Bára again in Bruges and ended up at a very spontaneous cs meeting with Emel, Sammy, Brecht,...
June 14, 2008: cs meeting Olivier organised: guided tour around Lillo. Nice atmosphere, interesting
June 21, 2008: cs meeting Gent: pic-nic in the Blaarmeersen. Great fun, nice people, a good meal and some outdoor activities!
June 26 - 30, 2008: what was to become a camping weekend in the Ardennen turned out a great trip to Tirol. Had a great weekend, having fun, hiking in the mountains, camping out and gazing at the stars.
July 5, 2008: meeting at the Kalmthoutse Heide and some pan cakes afterwards at Oli's place. Great fun!
July 12 - 13, 2008: hosted Benjamin and Kordula from Austria, showed them around in Gent.
July 17, 2008: hosted Nadia from Sofia
July 18 - 28, 2008: Gentse Feesten 2008. Organised several meetings, was great fun. Hosted: Katrin, Martin, Heiko, Johanna, Katharina, Gaurav, Helmut, Helga, Raymond, Veronique, Sunny, Simon, Simon
July 12 - 13, 2008: hosted Benjamin and Kordula from Austria, showed them around in Gent.
Aug 2, 2008: Vicaris brewery meeting near Dendermonde organised by Lieke and Peter
Aug 16, 2008: walk around Brasschaat and cheese and wine evening organised by Olivier
Aug 21, 2008: monthly bar gathering in Antwerp
Aug 23-24, 2008: cs meeting at Maanrock in Mechelen
Sep 2008: Left for Asia on our big trip. Surfed Kaushal's couch in New Delhi, India and truly had a wonderful time. Also met other travellers there: Jeff, Marion, Kent and Alison.
Oct 2008: surfed Arjun's couch in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Nov - Dec 2008: surfed Somsiah's and her son Rezuan's couch in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, really felt at home there! Attended a few cs gatherings and made some new friends: Joey, Anissa, Zurin, Nanie, Febri, Fanny and probably a few I forgot to mention.
Dec 2008: visited Singapore and had a wonderful host: June. Met up with my good old friend Elin and a lot of new cs members: Linda, Angelina, Amanda, Mae Selina, Hui Yin ; had a great time.
Jan 2009: met some people in Thailand: Mimi and some guys from Austria whose names I can't remember.
Feb - Mar 2009: met some great people in Cambodia: Sokhom, Nabil, Mia (my partner in crime for discovering Phnom Penh :)), David and Sam.
Mar 20-23, 2009: travelled to Cameron Highlands (Malaysia) with Joey.
Apr - May, 2009: met up with people in the Philippines: Grace, Mai, Socs, Rhea, Jeco. Went to Mt Pinatubo with Beauty, Marianne, Vigile, Jason.
May, 2009: met up with people in Vietnam: Dave, Jonathan, Melow and Vanessa, Wade, Doan, Tatiana.
June, 2009: met up with Anna, who hosted me for 4 days in Vientiane, Laos. Had a wonderful time there.
June, 2009: travelled to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur with my Belgian friend Nathalie. In Singapore we were hosted by Cheryl and met up/hung out with cs'ers: Angela, Simon, Linda, Mae. In KL we were hosted by my good friend Nabil and met up again with Joey, Fanny and Surayya.
July - August, 2009: travelled around Indonesia and had a great time, especially with the cs bunch in Jakarta. They're absolutely crazy :) Gonna miss you guys - Wisnu (who hosted me for about 2 weeks), Dina (who was so nice to offer to pick me up at the airport), Sandy, Genie, Andri, Fajar (who did a great job organising all kinds of activities!), Lia, Indah, Hellen, BBY, Rahra... Also met Glo and Yonkie (who was our wonderful host in Bondowoso).
Dec, 2010: hosted Janet from Taiwan and Frank from Germany, two fun people we had a great time with!
Well... I've met up with quite a few people, of which some have become very good friends. And I got to know a lot about different countries and cultures.
Travelling, different countries and cultures - I'm not a real culture freak, but I do have a basic interest in it. Always like to combine different aspects of travelling. I really like travelling a lot, getting away from the normal day-to-day life and being able to... just explore. Feels to be alive ! :-)
Nature, adventure - I really love nature and adventure a lot... let me go camping in a wonderful landscape or hiking in the mountains and you'll see me revive :-)
Music - I really love music a lot and it really helps to put my mind at ease after a stressfull day. As for listening to music, I really like any kind of music... as long as there's enough variation (don't make me listen to techno music for 3 hours or I'm getting crazy :p). Also, I play synths... used to play in a band but due to a lack of time the band kind of... retired :-) I do still spend a lot of time playing the synths at home though, which I really enjoy;
People, philosophy, psychology - I put a lot of efforts in people, trying my very best to always be there for the people I care about. Also, the way how people react in different situations intrigates me. I always like to expand my human knowledge, which I think is very important in life;
- performing arts
- pub crawls
- outdoor activities
Music, Movies, and Books
Movies: just a few I like: Silence of the Lambs, Ice Age, Memento, La Vita e bella, Seven, Tears of the Sun, Forest Gump, Needful Things,...
Music: like all kinds of music, ranging from alternative, (hard) rock, irish folk,... Fav groups: Levellers, Shinedown, Nightwish, Three Doors Down, Live, 80's music, Status Quo, Therapy?, Great Big Sea, Gorky, Alanis Morrissette,...
Books: used to read Stephen King's novels, however, don't really find time to read any more. A novel I really liked was Cujo. One of the last books I read and really enjoyed is "Child of Tibet" by Soname Yangchen;
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
Well I think always being there for the people I really care about is worth mentioning the most.
Besides that... a few silly adventures in the mountains, go camping in winter and getting stuck in the mud with my car...
Doing a 20-day trek in Nepal up to Everest Base Camp.
Subscribed myself to Couch Surfing ! :-)
And... well, the biggest decision I ever made: I gave up my job and travelled around Asia for one year!
Teach, Learn, Share
I'm always up to learn and experience new things... and more than willing to teach others what I know !
I've travelled around Asia for one year... an experience which was truely an eye-opener for me, getting away from Western society, experiencing other cultures and getting to compare it to ours, finally having the time to travel long enough to experience how a country, its people and its culture is really like. I'm always willing to share information and insights, or advise fellow travellers who have questions about travelling for a long time.
Countries I’ve Visited
Austria, Cambodia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, Slovenia, Thailand, United Kingdom, Viet Nam
Countries I’ve Lived In