A few days after I stopped working, I went to the supermarket. So I walked and tried to get a taxi.

I remember walking slowly, partly because it was hot (Bamako/Mali, 35 degrees), partly because the African rhythm of walking simply is lower, and partly because I was just going to the supermarket. There was nothing more to it. There wasn’t an urgent job to be done afterwards. There was no need to hurry. I was just going to get some groceries, and that was it.

This was completely new to me. Before I stopped working, I needed to be fast (at least, I thought): more jobs were waiting, things needed to be done before I would go back to work. As I wasn’t working anymore -for the first time in my life- this pressure was off. It felt extremely liberating.

My walk to the supermarket made me realize that time is quite expensive, in a twisted way. I mean, without my savings I could not afford this time off. But then, at the same time, I cannot “buy” time from anyone.

To me, the value of time has clearly increased: it’s priceless.


The beauty of traveling is that we often do not know what will happen. While exploring new territory we do not know what we will see, who we will run into, what we are going to eat or how long we will stay.

The joy of this unpredictability of how time unfolds itself becomes very clear to me when something happens that I would never have thought would actually happen.

When we traveled by train from Bulgaria to Turkey, we met a guy who talked about a particular area in Turkey where many hot air balloon flights take off. This seemed fascinating to me, not even thinking for a moment that only a month later I would actually be in one of those hot air balloons! When I think back to the moment when this guy is talking about it – I feel the joy of not knowing what is coming.

I have the same feeling when I have been somewhere, am not expecting to go back again, but do end up revisiting the place. For instance. I lived in Ghana for a while and if someone would have told me that I would visit Ghana again sometime later with my future partner, I would not have believed it at the time. Then, when this return visit actually occurs, it feels so surreal to be there. To be in a place where I have lived for years, to be back in a later moment in time, with a person that did not yet ‘exist’ in that previous period.

These moments of joy help me to see that time -and therefore life- is a journey that is simply happening: “life is the traveler, I am the voyage.”


People often say that time flies, and I am definitely one of them. I can be surprised when a new month starts or when the weekend has arrived again so quickly. In my own naivety, I somehow thought that time would go slower when we would start this trip around the world. Please don’t ask me why – maybe because I thought that if I do something I really like, I will enjoy it so much that I will feel every moment passing, and that this intensity would make it last longer.

Well – it is not so. Time still flies.

This leads me to the conclusion that time always flies. It flew when we were living in West-Africa, it flew long before that time, and it is flying now. It does not really matter if I am feeling happy or sad, going through good times or bad. Time just goes, quickly.

And therefore, whatever we do, wherever we are, we better use our precious time wisely. To the best of our capacities. The way we think is best. Before we know it, another month will arrive.



  1. Happiness is here and now
    I have dropped my worries
    Somewhere to go, something to do
    But not in a hurry

    Plum Village song, poetry by Thich Nhat Hanh.
    We think of you often! Lori & Carl, in Carlsbad, California

    Liked by 1 person

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