I’ve rewritten this piece about five times. I get a wave of inspiration and halfway through it just disappears; floats away. But I keep coming back to it. All of this transitional stuff feels important to write about too. My life seems to be filled with transitions, whether it’s from place to place, thing to thing, thoughts, interests, desires. Things are always moving, transitioning into either a “next level” of an interest or into something completely diverse. But throughout all transitions, life keeps going. Maybe life is all these transitions and changes put together.
A couple of days ago, on Tuesday I flew from Amsterdam to Saint Barths. The island my mom lives on and where I’ve been living for most of the last year. My current home. “Home”… what does that mean? This thought popped in my head as I sat there because I was now leaving The Netherlands. And yes, I’ve left many, many times, and always returned. But it felt different this time. There is no more dad to return to. The most permanent home I’ve ever had is now gone. It’s become someone else’s home. So as I looked out the window, as the sun rose above the parked planes, I realised that home has never really been a place. Home has been a feeling, a sensation you get when you are with certain people, when you are in certain places. And as I got on the first of three planes that Tuesday morning, I felt like I was going home to myself.
Going home to myself? Shouldn’t I already be at home with myself? That’d be great, but I believe coming home to yourself is more so a mindset. To actively be aware of yourself and how you are growing; to chose thing that help you be yourself and express yourself. And in all honesty, it can be really tough and really confrontational to be actively taking care of yourself and making yourself your home 24/7. I try, I’m on my way, but I’m not quite there yet.
Especially the last five weeks, hell even just the last two months, I haven’t focussed much on myself. I have worked on processing, on enjoying moments, on feeling alive when surrounded with the opposite. But I guess these are also self-care moments.And life has kept going. Work started again. I flew back to St. Barths. Life continued even though I chose to go offline for a while.
Since arriving in St. Barths on Tuesday it’s been busy, it’s been enjoyable. I have some really big deadlines coming up next week for my work and have spent most of my time on finishing what needs to be done. (If you’re curious about what, follow our Instagram), and when not working I’ve been organising my apartment, getting settled, and only today, Saturday, I’ve finally had some me-time. Some Leona-development time. But being here feels good. The energy on the Island is positive, active, relaxed. It feels good to be here. My mom and Christiaan are here. Rowena comes on Tuesday and is currently with Marjolein, who has her family and home base in Eindhoven.
On Sunday it was both father’s day and my dad’s 62nd birthday. We celebrated him even though he was physically absent. We started the day all together. Rowena, Marjolein, Christiaan and I. We had breakfast together and celebrated Father’s Day for Coen, Marjolein’s partner and father of their two kids. A short while after that the three of us headed back to Hilversum. The day would consist of cleaning up, packing, and organising. In the afternoon we made a quick stop by our dad’s grave and went for a walk on the Hei before heading home again. After finishing everything, by 20:30 we relaxed by watching a movie, before heading to bed and setting the alarm for 05:00 – Rowena and I would bring Christiaan to the airport, as he was leaving a day before I would to St. Barths.
Visiting my dad’s grave that Sunday felt odd. I don’t feel like he’s actually in there, in the ground, and it feels odd talking down to the ground. I like to look up to the sky, wherever he is now it must be somewhere above us. A heaven, an alternative universe, someone connected with the Source. Whatever is up there that you believe in. I don’t feel connected when I stare at his grave, rather, I feel connected to my dad when I’m living life, when I’m dancing, when I’m tuning in to my creativity.
It felt weird to celebrate his birthday. Everything is still so fresh, so recent. But somehow it also feels like so much time has passed. I don’t feel like your absence fully sinked in on your own birthday because we were still so freshly in the previous phase. My birthday is soon and I wonder what it’ll be like when he isn’t there to call me first thing in the morning like he always does. I’ve often celebrated my birthday in his absence, but then he could still call.
It feels like a whole new chapter of my life is beginning. And it’s probably a bunch of different factors influencing this, like becoming older, having a real job, thinking of where to go next and where I want to be. But it also all feels strange. Sometimes I have to stand still and really let it sink in that this is my life.
But with one chapter starting, it also feels like another one is ending. The chapter of my life where my home base was in The Netherlands. The chapter of my life where I was a student, where I had two parents, two homes to return to. A chapter where I had a permanent place to live and wasn’t living out of suitcases. And I don’t particularly feel sad about the fact that this chapter is ending. More so just very aware of the fact that my life is changing and that I’m moving into a new place with new opportunities and adventures. Just sometimes letting go of the old can feel scary and uncertain.
So what are the adventures that lie ahead? The idea is to be in St. Barths for about six to eight months. Maybe a trip somewhere around September, but that depends on how the world’s health-and-travel situation develops. Initially I wanted to take two months off and travel to New Zealand and Australia, something that’s been a dream of mine, but their borders are currently closed to tourist and might remain that way for a while. To create some sense of internal peace, I’ve decided, with the current uncertainty of travel, to make no plans (I love planning so this feels quite odd). Instead, the next couple of months I’ll spend on myself and my personal well-being, my work, and developing my creative ideas that I, previously, haven’t given as much attention and time as I would’ve liked. I’ll even be going pescatarian, and soon shifting to vegetarian, this too has been something I’ve been wanting to do for a while.
One of those creative projects is writing more on both my blog and my Medium page. Sometimes I don’t write because I feel a lack of inspiration or creativity, other times I simply don’t find the time. But as there isn’t as much distraction towards my personal goals on St. Barths, I find it easier to connect to myself and my goals there. At least that has been the experience so far.
In the past year I spend about six months in St. Barths and every time I felt incredibly connected to myself. I was exercising daily, as well as meditating and doing yoga. I had time to journal, brainstorm, read, or write on my online mediums. And all of this alongside my eight-hour workday. The perk of having most of my work-contacts in Europe, with the six hour time difference (and five hours in the winter), is that I have most of my work calls in the morning, and get a lot of activities done in the morning, and then have the afternoon to work things out.
But having been away from St. Barth the past three months has also confronted me with enjoying this self-connectedness and self-awareness when not on the island. It’s so easy to get distracted by the world around us. To go out, go into town, meet up with people, go see family, go visit a new place. And when being so active with social happenings I find that I don’t always make time for my personal goals and things I’d like to do. I’m working on it, and I am slowly but surely finding my way with it, but it’s definitely much easier to do so on St. Barths where I don’t know so many people and there isn’t always some event happening.
Currently I feel happy. It’s a Sunday morning and I’m in the apartment by myself. Christiaan slept at our mom’s apartment. My morning started of with yoga on the balcony, a hot coffee from the bialleti (an Italian coffee maker), and some music from my “Coffee” playlist. I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday too!