“What is this crazy Dutchie saying all the time in her own weird stupid language?”
Some of my travel mates are definitely thinking this.
Well, the idea of writing or recording something in English has been on my mind for quite a while.
My boyfriend is English for example and his Dutch is still not great… 😉 and I start to know more and more English-speaking people.
In Dutch, my motto nowadays is: “Een beetje experimenteren en daar dan weer van leren.”
Which means something like: I experiment, so that I can learn from it afterwards.
It sounds a bit cooler in Dutch to be honest. Anyway, writing this in English seems like another good experiment!
Let me talk about the name of my blog and podcast though, which is going to be the worst name to go “world-wide”. To conquer the world, ha-ha. “Hansie’s Hersenspinsels”. I don’t even know how to translate it properly. Instagram translated it into “Hansie’s Brain Brushes”. Which sounds funny I think, but my boyfriend said that it doesn’t make any sense.
So, until I’ll have a good new name, if this English-experiment works out well at least, it will stay “Hansie’s Hersenspinsels”.
Saying that, this blog could actually also be a good way for my English-speaking friends to learn some Dutch.
“Spannend!” Exciting, as we would say in Dutch.
Anyway, I was thinking: a good way to start this English experiment is to answer the question: “Who Am I?”
Which is probably the most challenging question you can ask yourself. Where to start?
But you know… I do quite like a challenge.
To really get the answer to that question, I should actually keep quiet and meditate.
But you know, then there’s no point writing this. So I’ll continue.
So, there’s many ways to try to explain who I am, of course.
But let’s just take this as a moment for a recap of what has been important to me in the last, let’s say, five years of my life.
Those years have been the start of a real self-development journey. A journey with experiments and experiences to find out who I really am. For who am I doing what I’m doing, really? For other people only or also for myself? That became quite an important question for me.
My self-development journey started properly, as in almost fulltime and consciously, maybe like two years ago.
But looking back, it actually started like five years ago. I had just broken up with my ex-boyfriend after being together for five years and I was so burned out from work (even though I didn’t want to accept it yet at that time) that I desperately needed a break.
So, I decided to take a holiday and meet my friend in New Zealand for three weeks.
That holiday is how my love for backpacking and traveling started. I had the time of my life. But when I came back and started working again, I felt even more stressed out than before.
I managed to carry on working for another three months until I collapsed and had to stay at home with a massive fever. My doctor (after a friend forced me to go) told me I was obviously overworked and I had to stop working for a while and recommended me to go to therapy.
Hard to accept at that time, but I did it. After a few months, I had to slowly start working again but it didn’t feel right at all. All I wanted was to leave and travel and be free and do everything I wanted without having to deal with anyone. Even socializing was feeling as a burden (and still sometimes) and too much for me every now and then.
I decided to go to Indonesia for six weeks on my own and that was, like New Zealand, one if the best times of my life. So, when I came back it didn’t take long before I decided to definitely quit my job and leave to Asia for another five months. I fell in love with traveling even more, and especially solo traveling.
I had the craziest and funniest adventures of my life, met amazing people, made friends for life.
I felt alive and reborn when I came back home. I decided to only do fun and easy short-term projects in the event business and hospitality to safe money for my next trip to Australia, on a working holiday visa for a period of six months.
Again, I had the best time of my life. I lived in a great hostel in Melbourne where the other travellers became my new temporary family, I earned money with pouring pints, did an adventurous trip along the east coast of Australia and met my current English boyfriend. This was the end of 2019, beginning of 2020.
We all know what that means, old friend COVID came around!
I had already booked my ticket back home for March 2020. Not knowing that that would be a perfect timing. I almost wanted to change it when I had to leave, because: why would I go back to Europe in lockdown, leaving my boyfriend behind? While in Australia everything was still open (not for long of course, but I had no idea…)?!
Luckily my dad – I listened to him even though I didn’t want to – told me to come home and I flew home, all miserable. But it turned out I was lucky, because a week later the whole world locked down and my boyfriend got stuck in Australia, because all his flights got canceled.
I was going through a really hard time though, being back home.
Almost all my jobs were canceled.
I was being in a fresh long-distance relationship with a time difference of like eleven hours for four months.
There were not really distractions of course. There was no “fun” because everything was shut.
Almost every day I was just crying and feeling miserable – those depressed feelings had actually started in Australia – while I didn’t know what was the exact reason and most importantly: how to get rid of these negative feelings.
It was frustrating me so much that I decided to go to therapy again and that is when my obsession with the mind, unconscious or conscious patterns and (de)conditioning started. I started to read so many books and took my therapy really seriously. I had to face problems from my previous relationship with EMDR and I found out that even though I had had a really good and safe childhood, I did have some difficulties with some family dynamics. That was maybe the hardest part to face, but definitely most necessary.
After a long process and facing past memories that triggered me, I decided to write and read a whole letter of four pages to my dad to start letting go of some childhood memories that were holding me back to feel free in the present. That is probably the most confronting thing I’ve done in my life. But also one of the most important things I’ve done for my process.
To be clear: I love my dad maybe more than anyone in this world. That is probably part of the reason why I feel (consciously or unconsciously) so attached to him and why I am having difficulties with feeling a 100% free adult instead of his little child (and this is still a process for me). He has been the most dominant, the most important person in my life whilst growing up, so for my personal development really.
After a year of therapy and taking steps like reading that letter, I was slowly starting to feel better. Or at least finally willing to feel better after waking up quite depressed every morning and talking a lot about this whole process to everyone who wanted to listen. Calling all this “bla-bla” my “wordvomit”. But my therapist told me soon enough that I should stop giving my need for sharing such a “negative” association.
I decided to do an ayahuasca ceremony to finish this process.
I had been reading and hearing about ayahuasca for a while. I was so interested in it. They do say: “Ayahuasca will call you and when she calls you, you shouldn’t ignore it!” 😉
This ayahuasca experience made me realize that I should stop taking life so seriously and heavily, and that I was ready to stop doing all this hard work of facing my “shadows”. It was time to see life in a positive way again and it was time to really start trusting my intuition. Out of my head, more into my body.
My boyfriend always says: “There’s a Hannah before and a Hannah after ayahuasca”.
I get that, it really was the start of definitely going into a serious determination of changing my mindset and starting to look for things that would light me up and would let me look into the future with positivity instead of staying in that negative spiral.
When I was finally able to see my boyfriend again after 4,5 months, one of his friends told me about the book “The secret” and the law of attraction and how it had changed his life. That book had been on my list for a long time and after this recommendation I decided that this was the time to finally read it.
My mind was blown when I read it. I was so fascinated by this whole law of how everything is energy and how manifesting works. It gave me a reason to look to my life with hopeful eyes and with trust.
This is how I started to be more open to spirituality and how I tried to start looking more inside myself for answers, instead of outside.
I got more and more fascinated by how to get out of that crazy head of mine and how to listen more and more to my body with all the strong signs it always gives to me (also during my burn out, I just didn’t want to listen at that time).
I read more books about, of course, the law of attraction, about human design, about mindset, self-love and gratitude. Anything about personal development really. I started to explore more by having experiences to start to implement all this information. I started to do more yoga, I joined an ice bath workshop and I started a law of attraction mastery course.
On top of that I decided to go on another trip this year, on my own, to Mexico. To carry on exploring this self-development journey, I decided to start my trip with a silent retreat of ten days. This retreat has been literally the most beautiful experience of my life. Life changing again, I guess. I walked out of the retreat filled with love. I was feeling like a glowing lightbulb for days. I was feeling the most love ever for especially my boyfriend, but maybe for everyone around me. I was so surprised how great it is to feel so good and alive by just being quiet with yourself. Besides that, I learned a lot from all the spiritual discourses about the mind, meditation, opening your heart and non-duality.
After this I committed myself to do meditation (almost) every day, I love it. I finally found a way to quiet my mind and to practice to trust in the flow of life, and myself.
It’s been three months since I did this silent retreat. I am still travelling, but it’s almost coming to an end.
It was really important for me to take this time alone again, I even decided to extend my stay with 1,5 months. It really took me on a deeper, you can say spiritual, journey but mostly an important stage of the journey to be my authentic self and trust myself and the process.
And what a journey it has been! Travelling made me realize again how nice and important it is to be surrounded by likeminded people. After the silent retreat I decided to volunteer in a community close to Tapachula in Mexico, Alma Mactzil it’s called. I joined another retreat there for two weeks with lots of ceremonies like breathwork, a short silent retreat, cacao ceremonies, temezcal and ayahuasca. I experienced how amazing it is to be in a community with people who have all different stories, but are on a similar path.
Afterwards I even hosted my first low-key mini cacao ceremony with some lovely people I met in Guatemala, which actually made me realize that I more and more love to share my experiences with people and inspire people to look inside themselves as well.
So yeah, that’s my life story really. I am Hannah, Hansie. I am a free spirit. I love to experiment, I love to go on crazy adventures, to travel, to meet new people, to learn, to develop, to explore, to be amazed and feel like a happy child.
I try more and more to not focus on specific end goals, on “achieving” things whatever they may be, but to go with the flow and focus on the journey instead.
If there is any “final destination”, it should be about being my authentic and most happy, loving self.
This goes, obviously, with ups and downs. My biggest challenge in life is to not hold myself back with my mind: my inner critic. I call him Harry, who always wants to make me scared, who wants to protect me from all the risks and consequences you can think of, who makes me doubt and makes me feel insecure, who holds me back from being wild and free and from daring to dive in the deep and to learn with trial and error. Because that is who I truly am inside, I think, and at least it’s what I always try to be, even though Harry is often shouting in my head.
So what’s next? There’s so much to implement from this trip to Mexico and Guatemala, when I’ll be back in Europe. I’m gonna live with my boyfriend in England for 2,5 months and we’ll see what’s going to happen next.
I will keep on going experimenting, exploring life, getting to know myself better. With “Hansie’s Hersenspinsels’ I’ll give you my insights, tell you about my struggles, adventures and experiences. See it as a diary, really. It might continue in English, or it might change to Dutch again. Let’s see what happens.
Oh and if you have some suggestions for the name, or suggestions in general by the way, let me know!
Follow me on Instagram if you want to be updated: @hansiesbrainwaves
If you prefer to listen, you can listen to it here: