The vanlife journal, 19th August 2017

The vanlife journal, 19th August 2017


I’m in Wellington now, on the ferry, almost crossing over to the South island of New Zealand.

It’s early in the morning.

While drinking my coffee, I just realise, that after I thought I learned so much during my burn out, I’m still a perfectionist. Never completely satisfied with anything I do.

Damn.. Just when you think you’re doing so well.


I am going to kill this habit, right here right now, by writing a post from scratch. Like writing a journal.

Not thinking about a storyline, techniques, keywords. Not thinking about a beginning and an ending. Not thinking about how people might read this. What you might think.

No deleting, no re-arranging, no editing.

No dictionary (help).

I’m just going to write, like writing a journal (a censored journal).

Pure, raw, impulsive, imperfect.

So… what’s up? How are you doing?

I’m on the ferry to the South Island of New Zealand

After spending 2,5 months on the North Island of New Zealand, mainly working, I’m heading South again.

I thought my heart belonged to the South, but the North Island has earned a lot of credits the past few months. I’m sad to leave, but mostly, I feel grateful. Grateful for all the beauty, the experiences I had, the people I met. It was amazing and unforgettable. Life-changing even. Beautiful.

Let’s summarise the North Island. Roadtripping with Anna in the van, doing The Tongariro Crossing (twice), soaking up some Maori Culture, mountainbiking, spending some time in Piha, meeting people, doing soul searching, working at the Tauhara Centre, meeting amazing people, falling in love, learning, growing, roadtripping on my own. Mountains, hills, lakes, waterfalls, hikes, yoga, runs, swims

and here I am… on the Bluebridge Cook Ferry, because it’s a little cheaper than the Interislander.

Goodbye North Island. Until we meet again.

The past 1,5 week I spend at a beekeeper and on a remote beach in Hawkes Bay. 

Being on the road again, the sun reflecting on my windshield, open window, hair in the breeze, I felt extremely free.

That is what the vanlife is all about for me. Freedom.

You can go wherever you want. When you like it somewhere, you decide to stay. When you’re done with a place, or when you have no more reason to stay, you leave. You sleep on beaches, in the forest or on a carpark. Wherever you feel like. You only spend money on gas and food. No rent. Not having to work for your accommodation, saving your money to do valuable stuff. Wow. That feels good.

So, after two months of working, I was on the road again. I felt like absorbing sun, so I stayed a bit longer in Hawkes Bay than I originally planned. It was almost 20 degrees, which was a surprise to me, because it is winter in New Zealand.

From now on, I decided, I will follow the sun 🙂


But first, let’s go back to the start of my roadtrip. I felt sad when I left Tauhara Centre, and I cried a lot while driving to Napier. Weirdly enough, this is what happens to me in New Zealand a lot. I cry. All the time. Haha.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing. I opened up.

Every tear is something you’re letting go off. I love to cry. Let it out. Feel a lot of self pity and then be free. Crying is such a relief.

I can also cry from gratitude, beauty.

Raw emotions. Don’t think about it, just feel. Hate it but love it more.

The vanlife: the importance of speakers and travelbuddies

I have a good speaker in my van and damn, I used it well, playing my ‘Guilty Pleasure’ playlist on Spotify. Of course, it started to rain. It was like the perfect movie scene. Me, self-pity music, rain and teardrops.

And then something shifted. I arrived in sunny Napier…

Napier New Zealand vanlife sun
Sunny Napier, 20 degrees in winter

Though I thought I needed some alone-time, when Nadja & Anthony – who I met at the Tauhara Centre – texted me, I felt so happy. An hour before, at Countdown, I’d found a bottle of wine from a brand which I know from back home. I have a special connection to this wine, because I shared it with someone special a long time ago. I was reliving happy memories.

The first night in Napier was spontaneously amazing. 

I parked my van at the beach in Napier, had a glass of Diablo wine and damn I felt happy.

An hour later, Anthony and Nadja arrived with their van. It was windy and it looked like it was going to rain, so we made a little hut.


Vanlife napier new zealand
The vanlife in Napier, New Zealand

vanlife new zealand van campervan

Napier New Zealand campervan
Sooo muchhhh funnnnnn

They brought their awesomeness, good music and honey vodka, made by the beekeeper at who they were Wwoofing at.

We had an amazing night. Good conversations, music, drinks, good food.

Banana Pancakes Jack Johnson Napier
Banana Pancakes for breakfast

Banana Pancakes for breakfast, while listening to Jack Johnson. It was the perfect start of my final road trip in New Zealand.

Beagles Bees in Napier

When you are open and spontaneous, you end up having the most amazing experiences.

Anthony & Nadja invited me to join them at Beagles Bees, a beekeeper in Napier who produces 100% natural, unheated honey. I always wanted to learn about beekeeping and they told me what an awesome time they are having there, so this was a no-brainer. I went beekeeping. See Instagram to read about my awesome time with the bees, and if you would like to learn something about honey.

We tasted at least 10 different types of honey, had the most interesting conversations, played table tennis and darts (I beated them all :P), drank honey vodka, smoked weed out of an apple, and we had heaps of free time to do our own stuff. It was perfect. One day, Beagle took me to two of the places where his hives are and I helped around. Priceless experience.

Beekeeping, bees, honey, napier New zealand
Beekeeping at Beagles Bees, Napier

honey new zealand beagles bees

Beagles bees beekeeping napier new zealand
Beekeeper for a day

Seasickness, bummer

Ok, something happened. I was supposed to write this story and upload it directly on the ferry from Wellington to Picton. I guess I worked on my laptop too much, doing some work for the website of the Tauhara Centre (which will be released soon :)) as well, and I got a bit seasick.

So my perfect plan is again, imperfect. I didn’t publish my story.

But it doesn’t matter. I’m in Napier now, met up with Giulia, who I Wwooft with at the Tauhara Centre. I kept the promise to myself to follow the sun. We are sitting outside now, it feels like summer.

Nelson Wine Friends travelbuddies

Nelson Bug Hostel Sun Macbook
Sunshine, colours and hammocks

In two days, we will do the Abel Tasman Coastal track. Four days of hiking on beaches, in the forst, sleeping in huts, sitting next to the fire.

We are super excited!

I’m going to end this perfectly imperfect post now, because I want to chill in the hammock. Enjoy the sun. I might write about my time on the remote beaches in Hawkes Bay later. I might not. We’ll see where life will  take me next.

See you soon 🙂

“What do I want to do with my life?” To everyone with expectations: I’m sorry, I won’t climb a corporate ladder

“What do I want to do with my life?” To everyone with expectations: I’m sorry, I won’t climb a corporate ladder

Healthy mind Travel

I’ve always been struggling with the question ‘what do I want to do with my life’. Studying Social Work, Cultural Anthropology, Communication, Marketing, having different kinds of jobs, I was always in search of something. Now, after ten months of traveling (and 30 years), I finally have sort of an answer. I wouldn’t say it’s the perfect answer, but at least it’s an answer.

To all the people back home, who have expectations: I’m sorry, but I won’t climb any corporate ladder.

I’ve been in New Zealand for ten months now, leaving very very soon. Without doubt, I can say this has been one of the most valuable times of my life so far. With everything I’ve learned and changed, I know that it’s going to be even better. Did I answer the question “What do I want to do with my life?”, and how? Continue to read… Continue reading

Minimalism: after living in my van for seven months, these are my thoughts about what we think we need…

Minimalism: after living in my van for seven months, these are my thoughts about what we think we need…


The newest iPhone, new clothes, shoes, hot showers and big houses. Especially in the west, we are absolutely convinced we need this. This is what makes us happy, right? After six months of living in a van, experiencing a minimalistic lifestyle, my view about what we think we need has changed. What did I think I needed, before living the vanlife in New Zealand? What did I think that made me happy?

Backpacking in New Zealand, what to bring?

September 2016: my journey began, I went to New Zealand with my backpack

In september 2016 I went to the airport with my backpack. Some clothes, a laptop, phone, powerbank, toothbrush, e-reader, sleeping bag, some money and my paspoort. That was about it. Two months later, I bought a van which I converted into a self contained home. I fabricated a bed, curtains, shelves, a ‘kitchen’ with sink and gas cookers and I bought a toilet (which I haven’t used yet). This is pretty much all I own at the moment.

Travelling in a van or work & travel New Zealand?

What we think we need… Do we make a mistake?

The delusion behind what we think we need is, ‘I want to be comfortable. Comfort makes me happy.’. We also think ‘I need new clothes because it makes me feel better about myself, people will like me more when I look like those women in the magazines. I need a good kitchen and a good bed because then I can cook and sleep better’.

My conclusion after seven months: this is bullshit. Comfort makes us numb.. sleepy.. We get bored, and we don’t even realise it. What about stuff? Your self confidence, feeling good about yourself, doesn’t depend on the beautiful clothes you wear.

So here’s my list of 7 things I thought I needed…

  • A hot shower, twice a day
    Let’s start with the obvious. I’m a little ashamed to tell you this now, but I used to belong to the top 5% shower addicts in the world. Back at home, I showered at least twice a day. Ask my mom. Even as a child I showered at least 20 minutes a day, it made my mom almost cry, and the number only increased when I went living on my own. When I did my workout around noon, I sometimes showered three times a day. I loved, and still love hot showers. In the morning, I thought I needed it to wake up. In the evening, I thought I needed it to ‘wash off the day’ or in other words, to relax. Like everyone with ADD, I’ve been a troubled sleeper my whole life, and a hot shower helped me fall asleep, so I thought.
My friend Tanja, using the portable shower

I don’t have a shower in my van (except for a portable shower) and after six months I’m convinced that we don’t need so many showers. I do still care about hygiene, and luckily I have a sink and water supply. When you travel around, there are a lot of other ways to refresh yourself. You can jump in lakes, the ocean, use public (cold) showers or go to the local swimming pool. Lately, I’ve been a huge fan of the public cold showers. I guess it’s pretty healthy, boosts the immune system. It’s the best way to wake up in the morning and I’ve been sleeping like a baby lately.

That shower doesn’t make you happy. It’s just comfort. So come on guys, save the planet, have at least one shower less a day. 🙂 (To be honest… I’m really curious how often I will shower when I’m back home)

Continue reading

Which of the two islands is your favourite, for traveling/backpacking in New Zealand?

Which of the two islands is your favourite, for traveling/backpacking in New Zealand?

Outdoor Travel

The North Island and the South Island of New Zealand are very different from each other. Some prefer the warmer North, where you have beautiful beaches. Others prefer the South, with glaciers and impressive mountains.

I get a lot of questions from people who only have a short amount of time to travel the country. They ask me which of the two islands they should visit.

I haven’t spend enough time on the North Island yet, to be able to have a strong opinion.

Help me and vote for your favourite island

I’m really really curious which Island is the most popular among travellers, especially backpackers.

Are you a backpacker?

If you had to choose between visiting one of both islands, which one would it be?

Will you help me with my little research? 🙂


Thank you for voting, I really appreciate it!

I’m looking forward to see the result.

I would love to hear why that is your favourite island

If you want to make a comment, scroll down below.

I would love to hear your opinion!

Hiking in New Zealand (Avalanche Peak in Arthurs Pass); how I fell deep (into my old pattern)

Hiking in New Zealand (Avalanche Peak in Arthurs Pass); how I fell deep (into my old pattern)

Outdoor Travel

Hiking in New Zealand is amazing. I will tell you about the amazing Avalanche Peak/Scotty’s track in Arthurs Pass (on the South Island), but first something else…

Before I had my burn out, I was a perfectionist. I had to be able to do anything with full dedication and perfection. I couldn’t say no. I didn’t pay attention to how I was feeling. Payed no attention to my body. I just kept on going.. From one job to the other, to school in the evening, to heaps of social events and obligations in between, and lots of physical exercise. I thought I was really happy. The result was a burn out.

The last couple of years, thanks to my ADHD-therapists, a Mindfulness course and a course about assertiveness, I kind of learned to listen to my body and to myself. To how I feel, to what I really want.

I say ‘kind of’ because sometimes, old habits die hard, like what happened to me during this hike.

Hiking in New Zealand

If you go to New Zealand and you love to do a great, challenging 1-day hike, you have to do the Avalange Peak in Arthurs Pass. Amazing! This hike is categorised by DOC as Expert: Route. This means you have to have high level backcountry skills and experience. Navigation and survival skills are required, as well as complete self sufficiency.

To be honest.. I do not fit into this category. I’m reasonably fit, but I have none of the skills mentioned above. When we went on this hike (on February 2017, sun/clouds/rain), we brought food for one day, warm, waterproof clothes (layers!), drinking water. That was it… Not completely self sufficient, right? Luckily I can tell you how it ends: we survived (so if you are bored, you can stop reading now;)).

My friend Oriane Gabali.. the fittest, strongest, toughest woman I ever met

I did this hike with Oriane, a professional athlete. She was living in New Zealand for a couple of months to participate at the Rowing Nationals in Twizel. This means, she was training 2 or 3 times a day, 6/7 days a week, for months. Imagine her level of fitness. HELP.

We started a 5-day trip only one day after she won some medals during the Nationals. This girl is fit. I mean.. she told me she was exhausted from the Nationals. But still.. I was in for a treat.

Lunch avalanche peak
Track Avalanche Peak, Arthurs Pass

Our first day in Arthurs Pass; Avalanche Peak on the menu

On our first day, we arrived in Arthurs Pass (where the track starts) around 1pm. We went to the I-centre/DOC (which is where you want to go when hiking in New Zealand) to see what hiking tracks we could do. She took 1 look at the information board and she instantly knew. We were going to do Avalange Peak, a 7-8 hours walk up the mountain. My first respons was: It’s already 1pm.. are you serious?

Don’t argue with a rower.

So… I didn’t agree with Oriane in the beginning. I was exited about this track, but I really wanted to do it the next morning. Starting a challenging hike that will take at least 6 hours after 1pm.. no way.

But Oriane said ‘No, don’t worry. We are fit. We can do that in 5 hours’.

Right. Don’t argue with a rower. (actually, it was more me thinking like ‘I’m tough.. I’m not gonna be a weak, anxious girl here’)

So off we were…

Avalanche Peak Arthurs Pass

So… When you go hiking in New Zealand and you like a challenge, do this track!

Some details about Avalanche Peak 

What the DOC says about Avalanche Peak:

Avalanche Peak is the only peak in Arthur’s Pass that is marked by a poled route to the summit. The climb is 1,100 m vertical from the village (over just 2.5 km horizontal), and on a fine day, you will be rewarded with grand views of the surrounding peaks.

Height: 1,833 m (1,100 m from the village)

Length: 2.5 km

Duration: 6-8 hours

Dying for the view? Be safe!

DOC says: ‘Many people have enjoyed this mountain-top trip with panoramic views of the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana. However, some people have died on this extremely steep and rocky journey to the top of an 1833 m peak‘.

So be careful!

You can do this

If you want to stop reading now because you think you can’t do this, don’t! When the weather is good, and you are reasonably fit, you can do it. We crossed one person during this hike wearing Vans (by accident, but still…). Don’t worry too much, this track is awesome and doable. Especially when the weather is good.

Wow, this track is awesome!

From the start, you face a nice steady climb until you reach the bush line. If you like flat tracks, this is not your track. There’s literally no flat part, you’re climbing continuously. When we started, the weather was good. A bit cloudy, but luckily we still got some awesome views.

Physical exhaustion?

We were going fast (Oriane took the lead and I didn’t want to give in to my ‘weakness’, so I kept on going). We were talking about the movie Touching the Void, about two climbers surviving a nearly fatal climb in the Peruvian Andes. We talked about how we (humans) are capable of way more then we think we are (physically). Oriane told me how she trained her mind to ‘not feel’ pain and exhaustion. When you are an athlete and you’re goal is ultimate performance, you have to.

I just learned, from my burn out, that it is important to listen to your body. This was a contradiction. I wanted to be strong, I didn’t want to ‘complain’ or slow her down, I didn’t want to feel week. But I should have listened to my body, because after 1,5 hours running up the mountain, I was exhausted already. We weren’t even halfway there.

How do you decide to keep on going or to go back?

It was getting late. For the next hours, we asked all the people that were walking down, how far we were from the top. The clock was ticking (we wanted to be back before it got dark). Literally everybody said ‘ehhhhh… maybe an hour?’. At the beginning, we were happy. “oooh, just one more hour”, but after 1,5 our, or 2 hours, it got really annoying. I was exhausted, but I really wanted to reach the top. I didn’t wanted to screw it up for Oriane (and myself).


New Zealand: 4 seasons in one day

It started to rain, and the view was starting to disappear. When you are hiking in New Zealand, make sure you bring enough warm clothes. The country is famous for it’s ‘4 seasons in one day’. It’s good to wear layers.

We really, really wanted to make it to the top. But it was getting late. And it was harder and harder to see the route. When we passed to bush line (that was a huge relief), it was getting harder and harder to see where we had to go.



Where it was walking before, it started to look more like climbing. We were climbing over big boulders, which made it challenging and fun. Though I was exhausted for almost the whole track, it was an unforgettable experience, especially the climbing part.

The visibility was decreasing, but we were still determent to reach the top. We just had to follow the poles.

After heaps of people saying ‘oh it’s just one more hour to the top’, we finally heard the magical words… “YOU ARE ALMOST THERE, just another 20 minutes”. Those last 20 minutes were amazing. We were increasing our speed and though we couldn’t almost see anything, we were having so much fun. Some impressions:

We made it!

The last part is tough (but fun) and can be dangerous when the weather is bad. It’s a narrow ledge made out of boulders. For me, this was the most fun part. I felt like being a kid again, climbing in trees. I was completely worn out, and I didn’t care.

After a while.. we could see it… the top! We made it. It was 5pm and we made it!


New Zealand, Arthurs Pass, Avalanche Peak

Oriane kept saying that the way down was going to be harder. Luckily, for me it wasn’t. I mean, it wasn’t easy. I was still exhausted, but it wasn’t as hard as the climb. It was still raining, and it was getting a bit cold, but we didn’t care.

around 6.30pm we arrived at the van. WE MADE IT!

We were totally wet and sweaty and decided to take a shower in the river. The water was freezing (came directly from the mountain), but it was awesome! A great energy-boost, and we felt all clean again.

Having a burn out twice, that doesn’t happen, right?

Although it was an amazing experience, I would do it a little bit different next time.

The days after the hike, I had sore muscles. Not just a little bit, no, a lot. I was completely worn out, had no energy for a couple of days. I didn’t enjoy the next hikes as much as I would like to, because I was exhausted. Hiking made me nauseous for at least 4 days.



Living in a van in New Zealand, Arthurs Pass, Avalanche Peak

When I heard of people having a burn out twice, I always had kind of a judgement about that. How can you let that happen twice? Don’t you learn anything?

In the Netherlands we would say ‘it’s the nature of the animal’. Though you can learn a lot from your burn out, like taking care of yourself and listening to your body, your personality stays the same.

I will always be a bit competitive. I wouldn’t give in quickly. I will continue searching for my limits.

That’s just the way I am.


Please share you experience!

What do you prefer.. Living the vanlife or work & travel in New Zealand?

What do you prefer.. Living the vanlife or work & travel in New Zealand?


I’ve been in New Zealand with a Working Holiday Visa for almost six months now. I started in the Northland (on the North Island, above Auckland) with some Wwoofing (working on organic farms). I also did some travelling in a van with my friend Barb.

1,5 month later, I flew to Christchurch. I bought my own van, rebuild it, did some roadtrips. Some alone, some with friends. I did some couchsurfing and some Wwoofing again.

While both ways of travelling are a great experience.. I might have a slight preference for one or the other.

Traveling in your own van (in New Zealand)

Doing a roadtrip, living in your own tiny home, is amazing. For me it feels like absolute freedom. You can go wherever you want, stay as long as you like. You can follow the weather, follow the great people you meet. You can spend money or spend almost nothing, depending on the distance you want to drive and the food you buy (sometimes you’re lucky and you get food from the local people, like from fisherman).

New Zealand is ideal for travelling in a van. The distances between places are never too big, there are a lot of other travellers (mostly Germans……), there are apps to find the best places to stay (I found WikiCamps is the most valuable app). And there are soo many public toilets. Sometimes you can even have a free (cold) shower. Or you just bring your portable shower, like me :).

New Zealand, a natural playground

New Zealand is a big outdoor playground. You find great mountainbike tracks an hikes everywhere. Just bring some good hiking shoes, outdoor clothing (wear layers, because you can experience 4 seasons in 1 day in NZ). You drive a bit, hike a lot, cook some dinner, go to sleep, and repeat it the next day. You can spend years exploring this amazing country in your van. I love it!

Working & Travelling

Though I love travelling in my van and want to keep doing that for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t want to miss the working/Wwoofing part. When you travel, you meet other travellers. When you work/Wwoof, you meet the local people. You not only meet them. You become part of their family for a week or longer.

Wwoofing is working for 4 hours a day, 6 days a week (sometimes less or more) in exchange for accommodation and food. Wwoofing is an amazing experience! Some of the hosts see you as nothing more than cheap labour, but in my experience, they are the exception. Most of the times, I feel very welcome, and the hosts are genuinely interested in a cultural exchange. At Christchurch Lavender Gardens, I even found my New Zealand mommy ;-).

Wwoofing.. Meeting the local people of New Zealand

New Zealand residents (Kiwi’s and Maori’s) are sooo friendly. They say hi on the street and the bus drivers talk to you. You almost never see that in The Netherlands. Kiwi’s are very helpful, for example, when we got stuck with our car, a local farmer pulled us out with his tractor (I won’t talk about the details:)).

Meeting the local people is such a valuable part of my experience here. The Lonely Planet gives you very good information about where to go and what to see. But there’s no book that can compete with the stuff that local people tell you. They’ve been living in the area for years. They know where to go, what to visit, where you can get discounts, where to shop, where to find the beautiful hidden places. They can tell you about their way of life, the way they think.

In that way, you really get to know the country.

When you work for 4 hours a day, you have the whole afternoon and evening to explore the area. The most beautiful things I saw here, I saw it with a local. When Jason took us on his quad to the sand dunes at Cape Reinga, when Tanja & Nikola took us to that beautiful beach, when John showed me the best places in and around Christchurch, when Lisa took us kayaking in Doubtful Sound (okay that’s cheating, we payed for that;)), and I can make a long list with amazing ‘local experiences’.

Wwoofing is not only a cheap way of travelling. It’s an awesome experience.

So what do I prefer? Living the vanlife, or doing Wwoofing?

At the moment, I’ve been living the vanlife for 1,5 week, after I was working at Christchurch Lavender Gardens. In a couple of hours, me and Barbara start volunteering at a Buddhist Centre. At the moment we feel sooo sad to ‘leave or freedom behind’. We have to work again.. Get up early in the morning, be there, talk to people. We have obligations again. That sucks… But I’m pretty sure that we will feel sad when we leave that place and go roadtripping again. Because that’s how it goes. you do something, it’s amazing. You have to leave/stop/go somewhere else and you feel sad. But the new thing is amazing again.

There’s no way I can chose between travelling and working&travelling. The combination makes it an unforgettable experience. I’m curious.. what would you choose?

How I (ADD) decided to go to New Zealand, indefinitely

How I (ADD) decided to go to New Zealand, indefinitely


Is impulsiveness a symptom of ADHD/ADD? The people who know me well, might have the answer to that question 😉
The issue that I’m contemplating over the last year is, is it a bad symptom, or a gift? And how did I decided to go to New Zealand?

Let’s find out…

ADD on the mountainbike

One day, a little over a year ago, I was mountainbiking in Meijendel, The Hague and Katwijk (The Netherlands) with my friend Barbara. We did an awesome trail through woods, dunes and the beach. I just got my GoPro and I was excited to take some good cycling shots. (unfortunately those shots are missing at the moment, due to another symptom of ADD: losing stuff all the time).

And of course, we got lost

Barbara and I were discussing which way to go, because we were kinda lost (like we always are, both in life and on the road). We were driving on the road, not on the mountainbike track we were supposed to be on. At one point, she said: ‘I have to tell you something’.

Okay, that sounded kind of exciting but scary at the same time. Is she pregnant? Moving back to Rotterdam? Is she quitting her job? No.. she said:

‘I’ve decided to go to New Zealand next year.’

Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand (Our clock was ticking, nope, not the biological one)

‘Whaat? Thats awesooomeeee!’, was my response of course. But it sucked at the same time, because then I’ll have to miss her, I thought. I had millions of questions and she was explaining me her plan. She was about to go there with a Working Holiday Visa (which you’re able to get until you are 30, and yes, we were almost 30.. so our travel-to-New-Zealand-clock was ticking).

Her mission was to stay forever. That was the plan. She wasn’t lost anymore. She had a direction.

Me, impulsive? ADD? No way!

We were talking and cycling, and getting lost, and finding the road again. After a while I said, impulsively like always: ‘I wanna go too! YES, I’ll go!’. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I thought.. ‘Oh boy, my family and some of my friends are not going to like this. I didn’t think this through’, but at the same time it felt so right.

I thought Barbara’s response would be: ‘okay, but are you sure? because I’m going alone and I want to do my own thing’, instead of that she said: ‘ARE YOU SERIOUS? OMG? JOOS? REALLY? YOU’RE COMING? YAYYYYYYYY’. She was so happy. And I was happy. And she said ‘but you’re not making me happy now and making up your mind later, aren’t you?’

I didn’t.

And that was that..

I decided that I was going to New Zealand.

My ADD-coach

At that time I was still in therapy for ADD. I had a session with my coach and she was so exciting for me. ‘This will be a great ending to your therapy and an awesome new beginning for you’.


Almost a year later.. I was on the plane.

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Impulsiveness… a bad ADD-symptom or a gift?

I’m totally happy with the decision I made. It was the best thing for me to do. After a period in my life that has not always been easy, I feel like I live again. I’m learning, I’m developing. But the most important thing.. I feel happy. Here and now.

I wouldn’t state that my impulsiveness is always a good thing, but in my opinion, 90% of the time it is. Like many other people ‘with ADD/ADHD’, I have a strong intuition. A strong connection to my intuition, or however you want to call it. I’m learning now, to listen to that intuition, instead of doubting it, like I did before. Because I’ve been called crazy and impulsive many many times.

No, I don’t have a fulltime job in a fancy office. I don’t have a big carreer. I didn’t buy a house. I don’t earn a lot of money. But there’s a lot of stuff that I do have, thanks to my impulsiveness, and that I value way more than a house, a job and those other things.

How do you feel about this? Are you impulsive as well, and how does this work for you? I would love to hear about your experience in a comment!

ADD & Gluten free.. how I accidentally found out that my body doesn’t like gluten

ADD & Gluten free.. how I accidentally found out that my body doesn’t like gluten

ADHD/ADD Gluten free Healthy body Travel

Is there a correlation between ADD and gluten? This question came to my mind a couple of weeks ago, while couchsurfing and living the vanlife in New Zealand. So why not write my first blog post about this. Because that’s what ADD’ers do. They start somewhere in the middle of a story.. and the story never ends.

Welcome to my world 🙂

Medication and vitamins

In the beginning of 2016, after a year of using medication (Ritalin and more), I started using vitamins instead. According to New Zealand research, vitamins can help reduce the symptoms of ad(h)d. I started taking 7 different types of vitamins and minerals, among which Magnesium, Zinc, Omega 3 and Calcium. After a week, I already felt the difference. I’ll write about this discovery in another post. Almost six months later, I found something different that helps me a lot, to reduce the ADD symptoms.

My first ADD gluten free experience

During my first months on the South Island in New Zealand, I spend a lot of time at Johns place in Christchurch. John does Couchsurfing. He welcomes many amazing people into his lovely little relaxing home. We shared a nice time, did a lot of painting, played games, and we shared meals.

John is mostly vegan and doesn’t eat gluten, and so didn’t we. We were having a lot of rice, potatoes, soups, salads, vegetables, nuts and seeds, instead of bread, noodles, pasta, etc. This was different from what I was used to. I used to eat a lot of pasta and bread. But I absolutely loved the food we made at his place. He/we made the most delicious dressings, deserts, and other meals with rice or potatoes.

My energy was increasing, but I didn’t immediately think it was because of the gluten. Johns’ place is so calming, and because he’s such a lovely person and I felt so relaxed and welcome, I thought that must be it.

The gluten road trip, HELL (called ADD) 😉

After some time at Johns place and other places, I went for a road trip on the South Island with Tanja, one of my best friends in Holland. The first week, I stayed on my new ‘diet’, trying to be gluten-free as much as possible. I felt good and I wanted to keep it that way.


Tanja and I both love healthy food and we were cooking each night. Cooking was a (mostly) enjoyable part of our #vanlife. But one day, we were driving many miles and we’re very tired. We decided to have pancakes for dinner. Soon after dinner, we went to bed. The day after, I had bread in the morning, with Pics Peanutbutter (yummie, the absolute best peanutbutter brand in the world) and in the afternoon we ate wraps (made from wheat).

My head exploded

We were heading to Abel Tasman. I was driving, and I was absolutely a horrible person at that moment (Sorry Tanja!!). We needed to get Diesel and drinking water, and I was almost screaming at Tanja, who had no clue of what was happening. I was totally raised, almost angry, not at Tanja but at the whole world. I wanted to scream, or hit someone, or do both at the same time. At some point, I almost wanted to drive my car into a tree. It felt like my head exploded. It felt like ADD+.

I couldn’t focus on driving, which annoyed me. I didn’t want to check where the petrol station was and where we could get some water. It was all just too much. I felt like screaming and crying at the same time. It wasn’t a new experience, I had that feeling before… but it was a while ago.

Tanja said ‘calm down.. you don’t need to act like this’. She knows about my ADD-stuff, but she wasn’t used to that behaviour (anymore). When we arrived in Tasman, we had a good conversation and I started thinking about why I was acting like this. Then it dawned on me.. that it might be the gluten.

‘Is there a correlation between ADD and gluten?’, I thought.

Gluten and refined sugar

It started to become clear to me that gluten have a similar effect on my body and brain as refined sugar. A year earlier, I already noticed that I can’t handle refined sugar, especially at night. I get hyperactive, not necessarily physically but in my head, but also hypersensitive and annoyed. In Dutch we would say ‘I get long toes’ (so people can easily step on them.. and you don’t want to know what happens next).

After a few weeks of trying to eat gluten every now and then, it became more and more clear to me. For me (!), eating gluten worsens the side effects of ADD. So I’ll stick to my gluten free diet (with tini tiny exceptions.. for cake, or deserts, when there’s a special occasion).

A gluten free diet, easy peasy!

Is it hard to be gluten free? Absolutely not. You just eat different things. I eat rice crackers, rice pasta, rice noodles, gluten free bread. My diet consists of a lot of vegetables, nuts, seeds, salads. You can have cheese, meat, eggs. Anything but cereals, especially wheat.

It can be hard when you are Wwoofing or Couchsurfing at a place where they have a lot of gluten. And I’m sure that, when I’m going back to Holland and have dinner with friends, they don’t want to cook gluten free all the time. And I just don’t want to be a difficult person. But my current experience is that most people are more than happy to provide gluten free meals.

Vitamins or gluten free?

The less gluten I have, the less I ‘need’  the vitamins. I take the supplements maybe every 4/5 days now, instead of every day. It saves me money (although eating gluten free can be expensive as well), and I don’t want to be ‘dependent’ on vitamins (though it’s better to be dependent to vitamins than to Ritalin or Concerta, is my opinion).

Dealing with the symptoms of ADD on a natural way

I’m so happy, because when I found out that I ‘have’ ADD (whether it is a disease, a hormonal imbalance or anything else), I didn’t want to deal with it the same way my doctor did. She wanted me to take Ritalin, Concerta, Dexamfetamine or Dexmethylfenidaat Retard on a daily basis. When the side effects were too bad, she wanted me to try other medication. She wanted me to try anti-depressants because these have shown good results in ADD research as well. Anti-depressants, seriously?

Now I’m encountering almost the same result that I had while using this crap, in a natural way.

I couldn’t be more happy:)

DAMN..this blog post turned out way too long.. and all over the place. Welcome to my world again 🙂

And please share your experience below!