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New Life :: Keeping a journal

When I was still in boarding school, I kept a diary. Just to write down my thoughts, how I felt, what I learned and where I could improve.

Keeping a journal or diary is a great way to keep track of your personal progress.
‘You are here’ – ‘Start at the beginning.’

It can help you get rid off all the thoughts rumbling around in your head.
As I was trying to find myself and the secret of New York, I wrote letters to myself.
I tried to find my core values. What drives me to do the things I do?
What gives me energy? What will always be true about me, regardless of the days ahead or in the past?

There are plenty of books about mindfulness and topics like discovering yourself.
However, the book that stood out for me was:
Elle Luna – The crossroads of should and must.
I bought this book on my way to Brooklyn Bridge Park on a sunny afternoon.
It was a signed copy by Elle Luna herself.

On one of the first pages, she asked the question:
‘If you were to look for your dreams in real life, where would you start?’

I knew I was in the right city.
How did I know? No idea, but being in New York felt just right.
It felt like coming home.
Why? That was my quest. One that I was very excited about!

So what does your dream look like?
Have you found it yet?
If you can visualize it, you can create it!

Xo – Ann

Photo Credit – Elle Luna
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New York (2) – The Tourist

Februari 22 2015
The day I turned 25. I had dinner with my best friends in Antwerp.
Everything was packed, I was ready to go on this new adventure.
Februari 25 – all passengers proceed to gate 35 to JFK International Airport.

Marjorie, one of my friends joined me.
New York was listed high on her list and decided to tag along the first week.

It was February, cold and the city just got hit by a snowstorm.
We checked in into our hotel in Brooklyn and decided to discover the area a little bit.
The Brooklyn Bridge was a 10 minute walk away.
We were all dressed up and headed towards Manhattan.
That view of the skyline was the confirmation of the exciting time I had in front of me.

I didn’t had a plan, I only knew this was where I wanted to be.
I had 90 days in this urban jungle and wanted to make the most out of it.

My former colleagues had bought me this city guide, Be NY by Patrick van Roosendaal.
Not your usual city guide but 10 people that were telling their story about the city.
We decided to follow in their foot steps and made our way into the city.

Xo – Ann

Photo credit – Pinterest

New York – The dream …

In 2010, I came to New York together with my sister and my uncle for a city trip.
It was a trip listed very high on our to-do list and we were all super excited about it!

One night, we were walking around in West Village, we saw a town house for sale.
It was one of those brownstones.
My sister and I looked at each other and joked:
‘Let’s buy it, so we can always come back to New York!’

We didn’t end up buying it, but right there I made myself a promise.
To come to New York for 1 year, just to live here, to experience what living in New York does to you as a person.

We went back home and got back into our routines of work and life.
I had an amazing boyfriend at that time. We lived and worked together in The Netherlands and our lives were pretty stable.
My nomad soul started to rumble again after 2 years, the rest of the world was calling me. We looked into working on private yachts for the wintertime but a great opportunity for my boyfriend came up and we decided to stay in The Netherlands.

2 years later, my head started spinning around again. I was getting anxious about the future, felt like the time was going too fast and nothing was happening.
Traveling and moving to New York was still my biggest dream.
So when my boyfriend came home one night, he told me:

‘Ann, I know that we both will be very happy, but it won’t be together.
I know you have this dream of going to New York or to move abroad. 
I think it’s time for you to start chasing your dreams and don’t let anybody stop you.’ 

When he said that, I could honestly punch him really hard in the face.
Now, I’m just glad he encouraged me to do so.

Xo – Ann

It always starts with a dream …

I remember being a kid.
Everything was so much easier back then!

My uncle had a restaurant and every once in a while, my mom would take us out for dinner at his place. There was a bouncy house, the most exciting kids menu, a little playground and a huge parking lot!
But the best part of our visit was always going to say hi in the kitchen.

Nobody else was allowed there.
How cool were we?!

I was 7 years old but I knew then and there that one day, I would have my own restaurant. I just decided that running a restaurant would be my dream, my goal, my purpose.
I would step into the footsteps of my Godfather and make people happy!

Thank you Omen (Uncle) Eric, for lighting a fire that – until today, is still burning inside of me!

Xo – Ann