This vacation was quite different from others I had taken. It was just me and my very best friend. We rented a van, threw a mattress in the back, and drove through Sweden and Norway for three and a half weeks. During our other trips we’d backpack, stay in hostels, and go into different cities spending time with all kinds of people. But this time it was basically just us, So we had a lot of time to think and reflect on life. “Summer Storms” by Jake Etheridge popped up on the beautiful playlist we had selected to fill the silence as we drove through the mountains of Norway. I absolutely loved the vibe of the music and the lyrics were absolutely brilliant. It’s quite a sad song about a guy who was just left by his girlfriend. She felt trapped in a small town and dreamt of bigger things so she finally decides to leave it all behind. I completely identified with that girl because I grew up in a really rural, farming village in Belgium where everyone knows each other and no one ever leaves. All my parents wanted was to keep me close, in that village. They thought I should go to school, get a good job, get married, have kids and live an ordinary life. Stability is everything to them and their generation.
We listened to “Summer Storms” so many times on that trip, over and over again on repeat. The more I listened to it, the more I imagined I was that girl in the song who decided to leave everything behind. We’d usually end up in really deserted places, mountaintops miles from anywhere, no people, no internet, no nothing. It was in that space and time, with no distractions, listening to that song, that it became clear to me. Oh my god, I’m so sick of that village and the life I’m living, I have to get out. I have to start living my own life. I had felt suffocated in that village for so long and I knew that there had to be more for me out in the world.
When I returned home I couldn’t shake that feeling. I knew what I had to do, but it was way too big of a step to just pack up and leave. I didn’t even know where to start. The feelings inside of me continued to grow until one day my boss was being horrible to me. I couldn’t take it anymore and I sort of got fired. When I stopped, took a step back and looked at everything, I realized that this was the time to drastically change my life. I wanted to travel, I wanted to tell my own story through music. So I explained to my family and friends that I had to go for at least a year. I didn’t want to look back and regret never trying. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I had no idea if I was strong enough to adapt to new places, if I would be lonely. This would be the first time I was completely on my own. What if I run out of money, what if I realize after a few weeks that it’s not what I want and I have nothing to come back to? But I knew from experience that great things come every time I get out of my comfort zone. So yeah, it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but so far it’s been great!