How 23 years on this earth has shaped me into the person I am now

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How 23 years on this earth has shaped me into the person I am now | The Dutch countryside |

Let me begin with the following; It’s my birthday. So therefore I decided to make a ‘how 23 years on this earth has shaped me into the person I am now.’ Also, if you don’t congratulate me at the end of this article… Damnnnn Daniel. You have guts.


I don’t really feel like it’s my birthday. It’s weird, it doesn’t feel like I’ve changed a bit since I came out of my mom (sounds a bit gross doesn’t it?), but thank god I did change and became the last (and of course best) child out of three. Like we say in the Netherlands, lest best. Or maybe we just have this saying in my farmer dialect. Anyway. I’m ahead of myself. so let’s starts at the beginning, shall we?

I was born on the 25th of June (didn’t see that one coming huh? As it’s the 25th of June now..) in 1994. I grew up with two annoying brothers, but I also took great advantage of them. Them being the earlier kids, they needed to go to bed at certain times when they were my age. As I became older I noticed something I could do to stay up longer. Saying goodnight to my parents while they were watching tv. I stood next to the couch and stood there as quiet as I could. half an hour later they would look aside and found me still standing there. Sneaky, but it worked. And I found out that I could be sneaky via way more ways during my lifespan (I know it’s not as long as some of you are here, but everyone learns stuff and it’s worth mentioning, trust me. Even if it wouldn’t be I still would write it down, just because).

How 23 years on this earth has shaped me into the person I am now | The Dutch countryside |

Flying above Paris

We also went on family holidays to the Spanish island of Mallorca quite a few times. My brother happened to always make drawings for the pilots (it was before 9/11) and as a result, we ended up in the cockpit every, single flight. Most of them while flying, another one on the ground. One time we flew above Paris in the evening. It was completely dark outside and we were standing in the cockpit. It was an incredible experience that I remember like it was yesterday.

Sometimes brothers can be pretty useful. That was also the moment when the pilots and flight attendants used to tell me I needed to become a flight attendant when I grew up as I had ‘beautiful’ blond hair. Good times. Well, it’s not quite what I’m going for but they did see the travel bug inside me already. Nice catch!


Remember I wrote earlier about the sneaky part? Well. I’ve got another one for you. When I was in high school I mostly paid attention to class, or at least, I went to (most) of the classes and faked my way through it. Besides gymnastics, geographics, and history, I loved all three of them. I participated in what we call ‘school cabaret’, which I did for three years of my five years of high school (I went to the HAVO in the Dutch school system).

During my second year, I thought the 7 shows in February were a tad more important than the tests the upcoming weeks. And I noticed the results of those weeks sooner than I would’ve liked. The final period I needed to get my grades up to pass the year. Well, it’s easy to say that I failed at that, but only with a small amount of 0.2. I had a 5,3 as the final grade for a course that needed to be 5,5. So. This is my sneaky (and clever if I may say that myself) brain came in. And I thought; ‘I can always give it a shot.’

How 23 years on this earth has shaped me into the person I am now | The Dutch countryside |

I emailed the teacher of that course, saying something around this; ‘Dear… I have a big problem. I found out that I am missing 0,2 points on this course to go through to the final year. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind adding the final 0,2 points so I can go on to the 5th year. I promise I will work even harder next year.’ It was something like that. I can’t remember it completely. But what I can remember is that all of a sudden I found out that my final grade for that course had changed into a 5.5. I got what I wanted. Mind you that the next year I didn’t pass my exams. Ah well. Good times. And I don’t regret anything at all. Yes, it took me an extra year, so what?

As I finally graduated high school the year later I went on towards Amsterdam every, single day for my university. I was lucky to have chosen the right study for me, straight away, but if you don’t. Who cares? Seriously. If the study won’t make you happy, stop it and choose something else. Unless you’re in your last year, then I suggest you finish your study and choose another one next year.

Solo travel

I first traveled on my own to Berlin, for the Stylight Blogger Awards in 2014 (I think) and I’m not going to lie, even though I was acting tough on the outside didn’t mean I wasn’t shitting my pants at the thought of going alone. But I did it anyway, and boy, that changed the world. I met lots and lots of people. Went to events, felt really out of place sometimes and drank water with bubbles that I thought was disgusting but as everyone drank it, so did I. I changed a lot after this.

Traveling three hours a day for my university is something I’m used to and found it worth it (it’s a lot of Dutch people, trust me), but when I had my first internship at two of the most popular television shows in the country I really started to find out what I actually liked. My direction of my study is Editing and Media Production, and during that internship (where I traveled 5,5 hours a day) I found out that the process of creating content is something I like doing.

How 23 years on this earth has shaped me into the person I am now | The Dutch countryside |

After this internship, I went to London for a language course a few months. And this truly changed my entire life. I got more confident, open-minded, I made friends easily and spontaneously was something that was there all day, every day. And I loved it. The group felt like a big family that I always keep close to my hearts, no matter where they are or how often I speak to them. They have been part of the best experience of my life, and I cannot and won’t ever forget them.

The parties we went to together, the different cultures everyone comes from but yet we made it work, the food that we tried from each other, and simply being around each other was enough to create memories that last a lifetime. I hope to visit a lot of them in the upcoming years as I leave for my South America trip the end of March 2018. Brasil is first and I cannot wait.

Some of my friends visited me, here in The Netherlands, and I visited some of my other friends in their countries. Every, single time you meet them again, it’s like I’ve seen them yesterday.

I grew up in a small village so I was always outside. Playing in the rain, eating sand, swimming in the river behind our house. This has shaped me into loving being outside, especially when I’m in another country.

How 23 years on this earth has shaped me into the person I am now | The Dutch countryside |


During and after that time in London I learned to not care so much. Not only about what other people think (sometimes I care still too much, it needs to stop), but mainly about society. That I’m not the way society wants people to be. I refuse to be a person that sits at their desk from 9-5, in a sweaty office with people who don’t like what they’re doing. And I know, not everyone has the opportunity or wants to, but if you want to be, give it a shot. There’s still such a stigma on failing your exams, on taking an extra year. Or on traveling while you could ‘do something better with your time’. I get that not everyone wants to travel. And that is okay, but I want to and you shouldn’t tell me I have to stay home because it is what I want.

I’m too open-minded for something so strict. There’s so much passion and drive coming from an unknown place that it sometimes works against me. That is something which is annoying as I have close to a hundred articles ideas on an excel sheet, that I keep filling up without actually writing anything from them. As I write out of the blue, like now.

Does it make me selfish? Maybe I am a little bit selfish sometimes. But everyone is every now and then. And yes. That’s okay too.


For my long internship, I was highly ambitious. Maybe a little too much (if that even exists). I wanted to have an internship abroad, just because. Don’t try to ask me why, because I will simply answer back with why not. People wondered, and wondered why I didn’t just take it the easy way. And got an internship in The Netherlands. Well, the reason being, I didn’t want to. If that’s not what I want, then I won’t do something I’m not getting happy from. First, the idea was Los Angeles. That failed, after sending too many letters and resumes, I got a few no’s, a few ‘we would love to have you but cannot sponsor your visa’ aka no’s and twenty thousand of un-replied messages.

I’m not going to lie. I got discouraged. I stopped sending resumes for a while until I thought the time was right again. And I started sending them to companies in Singapore, Australia, South Africa, and even closer to home, Germany. It eventually was Germany and I left for 5,5 months to live in the company apartment in Offenbach am Main, while I worked in Frankfurt. And I had fun. I traveled through the country and to other countries during the time I was free. The people  of the company were amazing, but I noticed that post production wasn’t something for me either. As I missed the creative part. Also, what a colleague said is something I will remember forever; ‘You do not want to start at the bottom. You want to go for it straight away.’ And that is correct. I cannot stand it when there are things that I can do, but am not allowed to as I’m just a production coordinator.

How 23 years on this earth has shaped me into the person I am now | The Dutch countryside |

Then again, I absolutely loved shoot days as I could arrange certain things and could be my straightforward self. 5,5 months flew by even faster than I could think of. While we worked long days, we also had the most amazing team I could ever think of. And I wouldn’t want to change this experience if I had the chance. After all, internships are about finding out what you want to do. To get inspired and more experience.

Doing an internship abroad has changed me even more into the person I am today. I’m lazy sometimes and that isn’t always a good combination, but I’m also very practical. I will save up laundry because paying 20 cents for every 10 minutes of washing isn’t worth the money if you just put one shirt in the washing machine. Sounds gross. Can be gross. But I am gross. Sometimes. Unnecessary fact, I know.

Final countdown

And now, here I am. After going to one of my dream destinations , Jordan, when I finished my internship last year I’m onto the next phase. Writing my thesis, going on a South American adventure next year, and the year after while trying to become a storyteller. But no worries, I will still tell you all the secret places you need to go to. Only, after I’ve been there. Not too shabby for a 23-year old that comes from a village with 350 people, if I may say so myself. But I still don’t really know where I got my sarcasm from, however, I take it.

How 23 years on this earth has shaped me into the person I am now | The Dutch countryside |

Thank you for reading.  This was how 23 years on this earth has shaped me into the person I am now. Please keep in mind that if you are not happy with something, or about something, talk about it. With your friends, family, dog (in my case my cat) and on the internet. Screw the haters, they will be your biggest fans in the near future. There are many places where you are able to find out what you like to do and what makes you happy. And that’s all that matters.


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  • Young And Undecided

    What a lovely read! So cool to show how you have become the person you are today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Hope you have an amazing year ahead 🙂 xxx

  • STIJN.C.R.E.C. Gabeler

    unfortunately the blog text is a bit to light and Grey. can you change the 50 shades of Grey setting into a 23 ways of black lettertype?