Freedom part 1: Exploring Singapore

‘I feel most at home while traveling, living out of a suitcase’. I was very happy when I recently heard a guy saying that and to know it is not just me with this weird, deeply felt, concept of ‘home’. I guess it is about the simplicity of life while traveling: it really helps me to live in the now. Where do we eat? Where do we sleep? How far does it take to get there? Enjoy the moment to the max, since this is new soil to discover...and you never know if it will be a ‘one of’ or not, so better make the most out of it. And then of course there is the simplicity of just having your ‘must haves’ with you and not all the other shit we collect during our lives. I find that very liberating as well. So freedom for me is definitely traveling the world. 


‘To travel is to live’, I put as an image on my whatsapp. I truly feel that and especially if I travel with Patrick, just the two of us. Of course I also like to travel as a family with the kids. But then, for me, it is mostly about enjoying the enjoyment of the kids experiencing new things. When it is just the two of us, I love the bubble we immediately get into. It is pure: just him and me. I also feel we are at our best: both independently and as a couple. Quite sad by the way, that we are at our best during two weeks of the year ;-), if we’re lucky... Is that free? How would other couples feel about that?



Arriving in Singapore we learned this week the Chinese celebrate new year: the year of the dog, my Chinese sign. ‘That is Maktub’, Patrick said. It is the name of his company and he holds the concept very dear. It comes from the Alchemist, the famous book of Paulo Coelho. It means something like: it is all written in the stars. When we just met, I found this was quite an easy, even lazy way of looking at things: you don’t have to do anything, cause everything is meant to be, yeah right. Nowadays, I realize it is a very free way of looking at life. It is a bit like ‘hakuna matata’: don’t worry, be happy. I realize our own mind (my own mind ;-)) is the biggest challenge when it comes to freedom. We are as free as we allow ourselves to be. It made me think about Victor Frankl and how he explains in his book ‘Man’s search for meaning’, how they can take away everything from you (he stayed in a few different concentration camps during the second world war), but they can never take away your freedom of thinking, hoping. The same thing Mandela said. I even feel a bit ashamed when I am writing this: I can feel very ‘unfree’ worrying about a lot less important things then being imprisoned, yet I can be totally occupied by it...mmm...some lesson to learn for sure!


I love the melting pot that Singapore is. It really feels like sweet harmony: all colours, races and sizes live here side by side. You can feel that very strong in the food markets we love to visit: both booth owners and visitors are a total representation of the rainbow. Yet also here there is another side to it. Our taxidriver tells about his daughter working at the airport and how much security training she gets. Being sandwiched in between Malaysia and Indonesia, the muslim community is in minority in Singapore, yet it is the majority in the area. ‘So there is always this tension’, the driver said. One illusion less. ‘Do you think there will be a third world war’, I asked Patrick. Yes for sure, he said. ‘And do you think we will live to be part of it?’. ‘Yes’. With Victor Frankl and Mandela still on my mind and this insight starting to kick in, I realised once again: I am so fucking lucky (or was it maktub?) that I was born in 1970, the year of the dog, in the Netherlands: one of the wealthiest, healthiest countries in the world. I have the responsability to live and use my freedom to the max, I owe that, the world, don’t I?