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In 2017 I decided to quit my job, put everything I own in the size of a backpack, jump on a plane and leave my old life behind in Belgium in search of finding whatever I needed to find in life.

So here I am, 8 months of traveling are suddenly coming to an end not knowing whether I’ll ever be ready to go back to normal life. 8 months, 245 days of traveling, time flies and so did I. I have learnt so much. Things they could have never taught me at school. I have learnt how to be independent of others and how to depend on myself. I have learnt how to take care of myself and how to take risks and estimate the consequences. I have learnt how to keep an open mind and heart wherever I go, not judging any place and person trying out their local food and drinks, dancing on their music, speaking their language and respecting their nature.

It taught me we are all the same, just a different color, language and culture, having all the same goal in life which is TO BE HAPPY. Some find their happiness in working the job they always dreamt off, having the big house they worked their ass off for and others find it being close to family and friends, being in the place they lived their whole childhood and adulthood. I used to be that kid, dreaming and wishing, always wanting more.

Well, in 2017, I found my happiness somewhere else. I found my happiness in living out of my 40L backpack, jumping planes and tons of busses, no idea of where I’ll be the next day, week or month. I found my happiness being in remote places by the sea, surrounded by coconut trees, seeing the most incredible sunsets and sunrises, speaking to locals in a body language they must have thought I was playing clown with them.



I found happiness in surfing in the rain, feeling the cold raindrops falling on my shoulders and the warm water touching my legs on my surfboard. I found happiness in dancing Salsa and listening to Cumbia and Reggaeton. I found happiness in challenging myself to climb mountains and volcanoes and in being in different time zones celebrating NYE as the last one in the world in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and felt the most alive surrounded by great people on the island of Maui.

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I found happiness in discovering my spiritual self and path while doing my YTT in Guatemala going into places deep inside of myself I’ve never expected they existed.

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I found happiness in finding that one person along the way that made my heart skip a beat in a very long time, showing me there is no such thing as coincidence and that things are meant to be and you feel it when time is right. Which means sometimes you have to let go of good things in order to receive even better things.

Man, I feel so happy, because traveling changed me. It shifts things inside of you no other things can do. It brings out the best of you. It makes you feel alive and makes you feel so many things you would never feel at home. It brings you closer to your purpose in life. It makes you meet people along the way, the right ones and the wrong ones, both are a lesson and a blessing. I have seen cultures that taught me how big things don’t matter, simplicity like music on the street reuniting people, sharing food, a place to sleep… I have learnt languages showing me it does not matter how perfect you speak them. Body language is enough.


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Ive seen sunsets and sunrises, showing me how thankful I am I am alive and how I love Mother Earth for this beauty day in and out. I’ve been in nature, making me feel connected to what this world consists off and disconnected from the unnecessary. Ive walked miles and miles and miles and hiked and suffered and laughed and cried, thinking about everything I want and need and don’t need in my life at the moment and for the future.

Ive been thinking about family and friends and about how much I miss them and wish I could share this journey with them and make them see what I see and feel, in every place I am. Ive been feeling my heart skip a beat, for people and places, for the ocean touching my skin and the wind kissing my hair. Ive been feeling alive. Ive been feeling the completest Ive ever felt, just me as myself, on my own, knowing I don’t need another half to complete me but another complete person to join me and who loves to walk beside me on this journey I am on.

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Here I am, sitting on the wall, listening to the sound of the sea, waves crashing, admiring the sunset, in Lahaina, one of my favourite places in the world. And I am so happy, isn’t that all that counts?

Published by Ellen Van Liedekerke

A wa(o)ndering soul, made in Belgium, traveling to any place that inspires me. Loving life through the lens of my Nikon D750. In love with sports such as yoga, boxing and surfing in order to escape from the world. Sunsets and sunrises are my favourite TV-shows, I could binge watch them every single day. Currently in Belgium finding my way back to reality but dreaming at the same time of making the world a better place elsewhere.


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