I paid my way through college as a journalist, writing for “De Delftse Courant”, a local newspaper, and the university paper “Delta”. What I liked most about these jobs was the excuse to interview others about their lives. Similarly, when we travel, we meet new and old friends and get a peek into their lives. Why reinvent how to be happy, if you can borrow ideas from others?
For years I have been looking for a job with meaning. One insight from this year’s trip is that a passion can be, but doesn’t have to be a job. I wrote about the life of my brother in The Netherlands here and about my observations of the happy Danes and their hobbies here. Another case in point: we visited my cousins Mirjam and Alexander in Switzerland. Mirjam is two days older than I am. I grew up in The Netherlands while she grew up in Switzerland. Mirjam is and has always been living her dream. She is a fashion designer. Her life is not easy, but she manages and stays true to herself. We were in Zug for the opening of her new shop and studio. She gave the children a short tour and explained about her work. I was not the only one who was inspired. For the rest of the week, WorldTripGirl and Nine were collaborating on the design of a fashion collection.
Mirjam’s brother Alexander is a couple of years older. He is a marketing executive. We didn’t talk much about his work but spent a lot of time discussing his passion for classic cars. He took the kids to his garage, and we were allowed to ride some cars as well. WorldTripGirl wrote about our visit to Switzerland here. I expected the boys to be in awe of the cars, but my daughter was equally impressed. It proves that passion is contagious. Alexander’s wife Anne-Sophie topped off our creative weekend by sharing pictures of her woodworking. If I had known about her hobby, I would have demanded a trip to her studio as well.
As our sabbatical year draws to a close, I am starting to think more about what’s next for us.I don’t know which path suits me better, to throw myself into a job with meaning, like Mirjam, or to find a hobby to balance my work life, like Alexander. However, life is too short not to follow your dreams. Having realized a lifelong dream to travel around the world with my family, I am in search of a next goal. I vouch to my own boss, to work with friends as much as possible and to find a way to give more young people an opportunity to find jobs in high-tech sales and marketing. I am thinking about starting a school of sorts for this purpose. WorldTripGirl wants to redecorate our home and raise money for refugees, while the boys want to do more camping and fishing. We are even thinking of getting a dog. Crazy ideas but for now we are just enjoying our last month!