Change yourself, change the world

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself” – Leo Tolstoy

portrait of Leo Tolstoy

portrait of Leo Tolstoy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s necessary, and Leo Tolstoy (author of the book Anna Karenina) has mentioned it already. Even though he died already way back in 1910, this quote is still very much applicable in the world today. I didn’t live back then, but I dare to say that it is even more applicable now.

There are many things that need to be changed in the world; however, these cannot be changed in we don’t change ourself first. Following this quote, I will add my view on the world; how I see it, how I would want to change it, how I think it can be changed.


Happy Freezter (or a Freezy Easter)


Here in the Philippines, it may be summer, but with my Belgian family and friends, winter hasn’t gone into spring yet. Who was dreaming of a ‘White Easter?’


The Trip of a Birthday Package


Sent by my mom in Belgium on February 19 for it to be for sure in time for my birthday (March 26). After being on it’s way for a very long time, it finally arrived on March 27. I wonder what places my package has seen, but it didn’t make pictures on the way.

While I’m on it – Thomas Cook in Jordan

As my previous post is a picture from my ‘specials’ collection during my time in Jordan, I can as well talk a little bit more about it.

I went to college in Belgium fron September ’04 until June ’09. It was a commercial graphical course with many opportunities awaiting fresh graduates. Only, when I graduated, the beginning of the economical recess appeared. This has lead to a close-to-be-frustrated boy. Lucky for the univers, I am, or at least ‘was’, not easily frustrated.


After college, I wanted to make a quick jump into working life. Turned out that I made a jump in the sand of Wadi Rum.

I started my job search immediately and hoped to have a job after my well earned holiday in Portugal (pictures of Portugal will follow somewhere in the future). Unfortunately, since it was recess, many people just got fired. An overflowing supply for a very small demand to fill new positions. Weekly, I applied for jobs, sending resumes and visiting companies, but in December, I still didn’t get the job I wanted. Time for a new strategy.

That strategy was to stop looking into my diploma area and going for something else. There are so many possibilities. We just have to grab them. A cousin of mine applied at Jetair to be an entertainer which sounds awesome, right? I applied too, but without success (both of us). Then, I applied at Thomas Cook to be a host on a holiday destination and from one day to the other, I was hired.


This is me in my Thomas Cook outfit next to the flag pole in Aqaba. That flag is almost as big as a football field.

I had to arrange everything fast, because the next week, I would already leave for Mallorca, Spain, for 3-weeks or training. That was from around February 10 until February 28, 2010. At the end of the training, I received my destination: Jordan. I didn’t really know the country, so a complete new adventure was awaiting.

By March 19, I went to Jordan. No idea what was happening exactly, they’ve put me on a mini-bus. Apparently, the first 3 days of work are visiting places and learning about the country. I made a small roundtrip in the country to see where my guests also go to. I went to: Petra, Wadi Rum, Mount Nebo and Madaba, Dead Sea and some Romas ruins. A three day submersion in old Roman and Arab culture.


Having a Jordanian tea in a camp in Wadi Rum.

After the roundtrip, my job had to start. But I had a job that would make many jealous. This is my weekly plan for my job:
Friday, pick up guests at the hotel and bring them to the airport
• Friday, pick up new guests at the airport and bring them to their hotels
• Whilst on the bus, welcome the guests and invite them for a holiday meeting
• Friday evening or Saturday morning, holiday meeting with the guests
• Provide all information for a relaxed and/or active holiday
• Sell excursions (and earn nice commission)
• Have activities with the guests:

  • Walk through the hotel
  • Walk in the city
  • Go snorkeling in Red Sea
  • Water games in the pool
  • … (yes, I got paid to play games and have fun)

• Daily visiting hour, but I rarely had guests with questions
•Every Wednesday, visit Wadi Rum with my guests


The old SUV, each with six of my guests, starting their trip through the desert. All jeeps are driven by a Bedouin guy who lives in the desert.

And that’s about it. Add to it that most of my guests do several excursions, that gives you a freshly graduated boy, relaxing at the pool with a (virgin) cocktail and he gets paid for it. I lived at the hotel, so my drinks and food were included (5* buffet every day), laundry was done for me and room was cleaned every two days, sleeping in a king size bed and free wireless internet. Can life become any nicer?


Sunset over the Red Sea in the bay of Aqaba.

Yes it can, because during my stay in Jordan, I had a Filipino girlfriend. Turned out that this same girlfriend was gonna become my wife. I didn’t see that one coming while I signed up for the job.


During my visit in Petra, one of the Seven New World Worders.

Anyway, I added some pictures to this post to show some places I’ve visited. I have thousands of pictures from Jordan, but I have limited space. I hope you like them. Anyone who needs tips or information linked to my stay in Jordan, ask!


Floating on the salty water of Dead Sea. Go visit it while it’s still this salty. Dead Sea is evaporating and to keep the water high, they will add ‘normal water’ from Red Sea.

Blue Agama in Wadi Rum

Blue Agama in Wadi Rum

This is the Blue Agama, a lizard that lives (among other places) in Wadi Rum, Jordan. While I worked in Jordan for 7 months, I visited the desert of Wadi Rum every week. However, only during my second visit, I was able to capture this beautiful creature. After that, I have never seen one again.

Hot on Twitter: Songs I Will Always Love

I didn’t tweet since a while, so I decided that it’s time to visit my page again. I saw same post with the tag #songsiwillalwayslove and it seems to be the hottest topic on Twitter at the moment worldwide. I have no idea of course where it came from, but I couldn’t resist making my ow list of songs.

I have some obvious songs in my list, but I have several songs that are not in many lists. The songs I chose are songs that I know for quite some time. They bring some kind of emotion and memory to the surface, mostly from my childhood.


Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
Dromen Zijn BedrogMarco Borsato
Dochters – Marco Borsato
Come What May – Moulin Rouge Musical
Twee MeisjesRaymond van het Groenewoud
Alfie – Lilly Allen
Stand By Me – Ben E. King
You’ll Never Walk AloneGerry and the Pacemakers
Stan – Eminem
Billy JeanMichael Jackson
Thriller – Michael Jackson
Ben – Michael Jackson
My Girl – Michael Jackson
Heist Aan Zee – Bart Peeters
Liefde Is Alles – Bart Peeters
Prachtig In Het Blauw – Bart Peeters

There are of course many more, but I can’t make this post too long. What are your songs you’ll always love?

Walking on Sunset

Walking on Sunset

Love And Marriage

Sweetie, euhm, can I … mmmm … can I talk about marriage? Am I allowed?


Marriage (Photo credit: Lel4nd)

What is marriage? Marriage is what people decide for when they feel that they are made for each other and they want to spend eternity together. Admitting that many others can’t live to that promise, but being sure that for you it’s different. Is it different? That will only rely on yourself and your ‘the one.’

The best situation to keep a promise like that is by being the same. Thinking the same, liking the same things, hating the same people, but how often are people ‘the same?’ Indeed, not often at all. In such cases it’s important that both parties know that, that both are open to the desires of the other and that you also expect the same with out having to worry about what to say.

A marriage is in the best case something that evolves out of love and trust. Trust is important. They chose for you; that means that whatever happened in the past, they didn’t choose that. Think about that before you start wondering why the other wants to know how someone is doing.

Book illustration, pen drawing

In the hunting and dating stage, people want to look good … amazing! Once that boils down to a marriage, it seems not so important anymore. You don’t have to impress anyone, you ‘won’ already. But I don’t get that way of thinking. To me, that looks like tricking someone into it. Wouldn’t it be better the other way around? Being your normal, natural, pretty self in the first stage. That way, you will find someone who’s blinded by your personality rather than your make-up. Once they say ‘I DO,’ you switch from pretty to ‘waauw!’ Jackpot instead of a ‘plastic medal cause you arrived.’

Further in the marriage, support is necessary. The butterflies leave, which is normal, but the love should stay. How? By giving freedom, trust and support. Even if that would mean that it’s not the best for the togetherness, if it makes the other happy, it should make you happy and proud too.

As what I’ve said to others before, and I feel that this is a good idea for many people, “Ok, no problem” with a smily face is a good answer. Not all proposals need questions like “Why?” or “Is that something you would really want?” because that’s more than just words.

Is it ok if I have a drink with the colleagues later?
– Ok, no problem. 🙂 Enjoy!

Sounds easy, right? Well, it is easy. Start today!

So … No babies yet?

When you’re married, you get the question a lot. “So, no babies yet?” No sir, and I don’t mind. Sure I want to be a dad, and no I don’t want to start too late, but I also don’t want to start too soon. First, I need to be sure if I’m ready to be a dad. Do I have a plan on how to raise them? People say that this will just come automatically, but unfortunately, I’ve seen too many examples of people where, apparently, it didn’t come that easy.

What do I expect of being a dad and what will I expect of my children?Two questions which are answered by many, but in my eyes, not answered ‘well’ by many.

As a parent, you should have children because you want to give the gift of life to new human beings, raised with your values and hoping they will absorb these values. Having children is not a business or an insurance. You don’t have them to make profit or secure your old day. You have them as a project, to see them grow up as good people, starting their own life and then, letting them go as a butterfly out of it’s cocoon.

When I become a dad, I take a lifetime of responsibilities on me. Surely, I hope that with time, that responsibility will get smaller to unnecessary, but in case there is something, even when they’re 50 years old, you’re still responsible as a dad  (or parent in general) and you should be there for them.

Embarrassing parents - swan duckling

Embarrassing parents – swan duckling (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Another part of my plan is this: no matter how old I get, I want to stay young and fit. I want them not to be ashamed of me. I kinda feel that such a moment will come eventually, but I hope not too early and not too long. Being young and fit (of mind and body), I want to dig holes in the sand, play football on the grass, help them with physical training if they are into sports, support them in singing, dancing and instruments if that’s what they want, be there to answer any life questions for my boys and girls, give them rules and freedom, …

Do I have a plan?
– Yes I do.
Then what’s the issue?
– In 20 years, I don’t want to forget how I feel about this now. How do I know I won’t?

A Pyromaniac Day

SM Mall of Asia

March 9, Saturday evening at 7 pm Filipino time (which is around 45 minutes later thant the scheduled time), we were ready on the wall at the water to see two countries competing in the ‘Firework Olympics,’ also known as ‘Pyromusical’ at Mall of Asia, Manila.

This was not our first episode of ‘the games.’ We were here before on the opening evening to witness the action of Japan and Finland. This was lacking the action I expected from a Firework competition. Nicely done of course, but it missed some beat.

Philippines International PyroMusical Competition

This time, we were back. VIP tickets to satisfy my European pride as this night, there was macaroni and cheese on the menu: Italy vs. the Netherlands. Who had most fire in their soul and soul in their fire?

Italy took a great start with some kicking action. They also managed to ad one of world’s greatest songs (Bohemian Rapsody) to their playlist and they were able to show the mellow, opera and rock in their fire.

Unfortunately for Italy, the Netherlands brought a show that was never seen before (by me … I confess, I haven’t seen any competition before, but I assure you, it was great). Awesomeness from beginning until the end, bombing the air and the see that even World War II would become jealous. Spoiler alert (as if someone would see this exact show again): it started with some very week fires, sideways and frontways, that we thought it was a mistake … until the bombs exploded and the see was on fire. A serious kickoff that would just rise even more during the show, ending in a climax that made me shake and even almost cry.

I’ve seen only four countries out of twelve, but I don’t need to see more. I have chosen my winner of the 2013’s competition. It may sound prejudice, but I can tell you that this is not common for a Belgian towards his northern neighbors. They just did it!

I’d say “Hup Holland Hup” and “Oranje Boven,” but this is an English blog, so I’ll leave this out of it.