Friday, December 26, 2014

Time to Quit

Yes, ...yes,'s almost 'that day'. I will have worked in this cubicle environment for exactly 3 years now. It was an experience, yes, and also a good one. But,'s time to quit!

And I won't miss it for a second when I think of where I will be working next. My office will be the sea starting somewhere in April 2015. I am so looking forward to it, but you all know that. I'm sure I'll miss a few people from the floor though. But they can visit me any time. Malta is not far. :-)

My blog will most probably (hopefully hehe) start to get more interesting from that month on, with ofcourse more pictures and personal experiences from abroad, starting with Malta. Bare with me!  

So, on tuesday I will resign from my current job. My resignation time will overlap 2,5 months, making me jobless around half March. Not a big deal ofcourse, because after all another real change is being brought to reality. The best change ever, and one I need so much.

Almost all my collegues and especially the managment and the team coaches have been notified a few months ago around August/September about my plans. Even if not all of them really believed in the fact that I would persue my dream, they were alerted in time.
A few days ago I had a conversation with my TC and HR to inform them I will be asking for my resignation next week, on tuesday more precisly, since I'm off for a few days till after New Year.

Hence, my resignation period will kick off the 5th of January. I must say at this point of the day, a few days before I send it in, it feels quite weird. It feels like there will be no turning back anymore.
And to be honest, that's exactly what I want and need. Again, this action will put me in a whole different level of preparation, if it were only mentaly.

There are days that I still have doubts about my adventure, but these thoughts are only short moments and get quickly voted in my mind as: You've been there, forget the doubts. You 've gone through everything needed in order to feel comfortable with your decision. Note that it's good to have these unsure thoughts, just because they often make you dig that little bit deeper in that internet in order to find the information you need to boost your moral in the right direction. 
When it's needed, it's needed, but I need those mental boosters less and less. :-)

Time to embrace something new, as a matter of fact I start to realize it as if that dream has always been there. 

These last months I have been reading a lot of stuff concerning my future and I stumbled upon some very intersting blogs and sites.

Here's a few of them I have enjoyed a lot. All of these helped me form myself a picture about what to expect. Both from a positive as well as from a negative approach. You can get tramendous information when reading up on all kinds of blogs concerning the travel bug. And I can tell you, there's a lot of interesting people out there trying to do be a good expat, and also a lot of them are living it. They do live their dream. 

For me, it all started when I started reading Rika's Cubicle Throwdown shortly after my first Malta vacation, when I started thinking about living abroad and wondering what to do with my life.

Here's another few good reads that I've come across and all helped me, partially giving me the strength to continue with my the dream plan:

Travel stuff
Turner Bar
12 Characteristics of an Expat
Expat Guide: Is Expat life for me? 

Diving stuff
Steve Prior 
Dive Careers
Alex Brylske

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My last winter

Another great thing to be looking forward to is the lack of wintertime in my new world. I can't tell you how relieved I allready feel. Just the idea is something else to look forward to. A nice add to the package I would say.
If all goes well, apart from this winter I probably won't be seeing any more snow for quite a while. Will I miss it?

According to me our winters here in Belgium never really have been that strong. It's not like we had snow lying around for more than 4-5 months in a row for example.
Most of the time here it will just get cold, or not cold enough and when snow comes down, it usually only leaves an ugly brown gew along the streets because the temperature is too high meaning it will melt pretty fast and turn into this ugly sticky brown gew.
It does seem to clean the streets though seen the color when it melts down, wich is a good thing I guess.

But when the snow does mannage to lie around long enough on the occassional harder winter, I must say I enjoy it. Especially when you can take a few good walks in the fields with everything covered in snow, like a big white blancket. A very beautiful landscape indeed!

Ofcourse I made snowmans and snowballs when I was younger and enjoyed it, when you are a kid you don't feel the cold as you do when you are older, your body forgets the cold because you are young and it's easier for it to choose for fun instead of cold.

But will I miss it? Will I miss the cold, the snow,
the dark ...partially because of the winter hour... as I do miss the sun when it's not there? 

There the answer most likely is: No ...and yes, ...a little bit ...probably. 
And the re-anwser would be: Well hopefully I will get used to working in these very hot environements where I am going to, otherwise I might miss winters more quickly hehe.

No, I have no doubt, I like summer more than winter, for sure!

For long I have been unconsciously striving to live somewhere where there is no winter but only sun, or at least no snow or cold as 0° Celsius or less. And now, starting in April 2015, the hot adventure begins. Hell yeah, I'm sure I'll be getting my beloved sun.

From that point on, I'll wear slippers every day, I'll walk around in shorts & t-shirts most of the time, I'll dive almost every day and that ...all year round.
I call it a blessing. 

And who knows I'll be whishing for winter some day again. Quite possible really. 

Will I enjoy this winter more than others because it will be my last one? I don't know yet, I'll keep you informed on that one, winter still has to take shape. I guess autumn is a good warmup, let me try to enjoy this first. 

In the mean time, keep it warm! :-) 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Get ready

Well here I am, with my decision made now for 99.999%, heh, you never know what can happen right. Realism is important. Even if it's only 0.001%.
I can now start concentrating towards the big move. The day of departure will be somewhere around April 2015, somewhere in that month or maybe just before April. Adventure calls harder than ever now. 

I can't wait to get started really, with this new life but during the time that I'll still be here, my time will be wellspent to settle everything and to save up the money I want to take on my journey.
At ease though, I have time. Things like work, extra work and going to the gym are things that I'll be doing constantly but there's other breaking things that will need my attention and they will be determining and the right step towards my new life. 

On my list and more or less in that order:

- 1 & 2 November 2014: 2 day course for my boatlicence
- 8/11: my birthday, 43 - finaly. -sigh-
- 15/11: boatlicence exam
- 22 november: sailing for the practical part of the licence
- putting my appartment up for rent
- selling my car
- working two jobs to get the money needed
- selling my furniture and other stuff
- choosing where I will do my DM and IDC (dive courses and instructor exams)
- arranging a party for my closests family and friends just a bit before I leave
- going to the gym to get in better shape (this already started again)

Hehe yes, it's all starting to roll in the right direction now, this weekend I will have 2 days of theoretical courses on saturday and sunday to learn how to sail a boat. I'll test my new knowledge on the exam that comes with it on the 15th November. After the exam, and on the 22nd I will have my practical testhours (6h total) to gain the experience needed in order to get the final licence sent to me after completion of these practical courses. This boatlicense will come in handy when I'll be in my new line of business. 

It's a good thing that I am doing these courses now, this way afterwards I can fully concentrate on the other practical stuff before moving abroad, beginning around 2015. It will be a good hassle for sure.

Putting my appartment for rent shouldn't be too much of a problem, hopefully it will get rented fast. This will generate a nice extra monthly income even if there's only half of the morgue left over. In 8 years it will be mine and I can benefit the full amount.

Selling my car, hopefully I get a good price for it, we'll see. But this is the major cash right here so getting a good price for it is important as hell. 

As I was offered a job at my last diving club from my vacation in Malta, I will surely consider this as soon as I get my response mail concerning the whole idea. I guess feeling good somewhere is a good plus, even if it's not directly in a paradise-like location like Curaçao or Thailand. Malta is good enough to get started, it's a facinating island imho.

When following FaceBook and having some of my instructors in my friends list, I get thrilled by the locations they all go to work at. I can't wait to be working in those same estonnishing locations. Also I got told that languages are by far the most important thing in this business, which is totaly me, I do speak 6 and will learn others while I'm abroad, I'm sure. Russian or Japanese are high on my list. One of these 2 could open even more doors. 

It's funny how a dive vacation can change your life just because you notice that you could perfectly function in this new life due to the life-experience you have accumulated over the years. I love to teach people the things I like to do, I can be patient, I am very social, intersted, and I love diving, that much I 'm wanting to make it my job.
Even if this job will pay me less money than what I am used to. It's a choice really, it's not because of the money, not because of the diving, it's the whole concept all together that is attracting me so much.

Getting ready for the rest also means getting my head ready to leave, it will be a big step, for sure. Leaving my comfort zone, leaving my closest friends and family behind.  But when I think of the adventures that await me, it's all worth the decision. 

I'm not troubled by the idea of leaving my personal belongings behind, at all. 'Stuff' never meant much to me, and seen where I'm going and the life I want to lead, I can't carry it with me anyways. So yea, stuff don't mean much at this time. 

I'll be ready! 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Follow me

Blogs are here for you to enjoy, read, learn, share and also to comment on where ever you feel like it. In this chapter I won't be talking about my plans, instead I want to explain the benefits of following and commenting the blogs you read.

"Where was this blog again from that guy who's changing his worlds, for a better life, worth living?"

I have been writing this blog for quite some time now, and I love it! Even if I see a lot of women writing blogs, less men are doing it as I investigated.

I like this and it will also be my way to keep in touch with the people who I have shared my life with for so long when I leave my home country. This way they can follow my adventures if they want.
I would like you to ask you readers to follow me in any kind of way after reading my blog, if you liked it ofcourse.

My blog can be followed with Google+, with Twitter, via e-mail subscription and above all with Bloglovin. For those who don't know Bloglovin, it's a gatherer for the blogs you are interested in and a blogwriter can claim his blogs here and mannage some related basic features.
Later on I may add Facebook and some others but this is where it starts with this blog.
You can find the follow buttons/links all around my blog.

If you follow me, with any of those listed above, you will get a notification when I post new chapters. Easier than just searching for the link that I once sent you. 
Preferably you should follow me in all the ways possible, that way you won't miss any new notifications. Or you just follow me with something you are very familiar with and that you use frequently.

"That's interesting, or...crap, I sure want to know more about this or share something that might enhance his posts." 

Feel free to give your opinions or to get in discussion with me. Share whatever comes to your mind really. Comment, and also like posts if you did, disklike when you didn't. This way, it may open conversations and allow for both the reader and the writer to get more out of the blog phenomena.

Thanks for reading.
Happy reading wished to all of you!
Happy writing to all the bloggers!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Time to focus

I'm back in Belgium after a tramendous vacation of 2 weeks in Malta. Being there for the second time surely had some advantages. I knew my way around the island, I knew what to expect and could now concentrate on different things.

One of those goals on my trip was to get some answers concerning questions I had about my own cubicle throwdown.  Questions you prefer asking while actually being with the person in real life just to see the honesty in his eyes. And answers I got, from many different individuals that I met along my stay on that magnificant rock.

Really, I can't explain how amazing it is to be able to talk to so many different people concerning life, working abroad and travelling the world. I had great talks with different instructors, other tourist-travellers, settlers, others divers and so on. I guess they all meet on islands like this. 

Diving in Malta was this time very different than when I did my OW and my AOW in June, while doing these courses you are often practicing in the same dive sites because at first they are easy to access and dive from and secondly you know where you are and it makes you more confident for the courses themselves. 
But this time, I dove at the best recreative dive sites in Malta, Blue Hole, P-29 wreck, Rosy wreck, Um El Faroud wreck (awesome), Comino Caves, etc. A lot more fish seen then when I was there in June. Amazing. I also enjoyed the two extra courses I took being Nitrox and Deep Dive Spec. With succes! 

Um El Faroud

Right, well now I'm back in my cubicle. Meanwhile I have had the chance to summerize the answers I got and they all point in the positive, right direction. I am now even more motivated than ever to start this journey and make the best of it.
These good talks allround gave me a lot more confidence really, just what I was looking for, initialy it's why I went back a second time, I knew this time would be swell different.
Trully? I can't wait to give this job up and will have to cancel my current contract around the 1st of January because I'll have to resprect a resignation period of 2,5 months.
My deadline at this moment is the 1st of April 2015. I won't be fining myself if I don't make it exactly the 1st but for sure it will be maximum the 30th of April 2015. 

Some of the most important things for this dive instructor life are (apparently in the first place) knowledge of multiple languages, being social, openmindedness, patience, the ability to teach, flexibility, loving to dive, being happy with what you have, choosing a different life, and some more. But these are the ones that relate most to me, and I now feel ready to take it on.
Most of the instructors where a bit jealous they said when I told them I spoke 6 languages, because it's so important in this job, especially for finding one. They went: Well what are you waiting for? :-)

To the side, I now also made my reservation for the boatlicense course. 2 days begin november to get all the theory and explanations you need to participate on the examination 2 weeks later. Upto me to prepare myself to the max and get a good result. It will indeed come in handy when I need it.

Second goal was to have great fun and great fun I had, diving during the week, partying in the weekends making I had a good chance to socialize, also giving me a lot of satisfaction. I always was used to get in touch with the locals in Italy where my family lived. You get around with your cousins and meet other people automaticly. But on this Island it was very special, thanks Aaron, Mei, Sarah, Rodrine, Erick, Luke, and others for this second georgous welcome to your rock!
I'll be back!

The new dive club I was at offered me an internship as in 'work there for my courses and get professional divemaster education in the meantime'. It sure feels great to have been offered that from a rather small dive club. I am going to take this in consideration, the staff at H2O Divers Orange Shark are very nice people and they have some very experienced instructors. I felt really confident with both the bosses and the employed instructors. It was good for me to have chosen to change, now I could see the differences. 
The other options I am looking into are Middle America (Mexico) or Thailand. I have been recommanded a few clubs by now, and am getting in touch with them as we speak. That's my biggest concern at this time, finding a good dive club where I get a good package, with a professional instruction level, in a country where it is cheap and good enough to live and where I can concentrate me on getting a good instructor education to finish my DM and my IDC and my DM specs to become an MSDT.

Other concerns are getting ready, saving money and working as much as possible at my job and also at my second job. Well they are not really concerns and above all totaly worth the effort.

Another thing is going back to the gym to get even more in shape. When I'll leave I want to be fitter than I am at the moment. I lost 10kg before my first vacation in June, and now I want to loose another 10kg, after that I will be pretty fit.

So yeah, thanks to diving my life is finaly turning into what I want it to be. I have a real goal. From now on it's time to focus till I can start enjoying the real ride, when I will be abroad and under water, diving and working, working and diving.

It's the best feeling ever, I feel reborn! Like a reborn maggot.

By the way you can aslo follow my blog via Bloglovin

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

If you never try....

After one month of floating between all kinds of thoughts, ups and downs concerning my plans, gathering as much info as possible concerning the project of a lifetime, I am now ready to get back under water for a bit. 

I realize that making this giant step often comes together with overthinking everything you have set your mind to. Which is a good thing.
As time comes along, I get in touch with more and more people to make me the best impression possible about what I'm going to encounter.

I try to gather and dig for as much information as possible. Sometimes you come across info that makes you think twice again, and sometimes you have friends asking you things as Why are you leaving, your comfortzone? and Are you sure this will go well? and Are you prepared to enjoy your life with less than you are used to? ....which all ofcourse make you think, ofcourse.. but the answer to these questions still is this general state of mind: 
Both Yes and No, but if I don't try it, I won't even know the answer(s). How silly would that be? 

So yes, I am going through with this, but first I need to get back into the water and enjoy Malta again and do some good diving for 2 weeks. I can't wait really. Four more days and I will be there again, flapping my flippers. 

I haven't decided yet where I will go to do my IDC and internship but it looks like it's going to be Thailand or around, or around the Middle Americas. I'm sure I'll start to focus more on this once I'll have had my last vacation at this job.

But for now, I'll be enjoying the diving and the people on that awesome small rock together with the stories I will hear from my instructors.

The double feelings I have about making this step are only present for a little bit. They will never hold me back, but they make me search for more answers for sure. Not that I need all the answers, that's also impossbile, but one looks for anwers as much as he can right? 

So Malta, here I come again, to enlarge my envie to dive. I'll be leaving on saturday for a 2 week vacation and hopefully do 20-ish dives, getting my confidence under water up even more and log the dives. 

After that I'll be home and start working towards my dream, deciding where I will do my courses and IDC, the day of departure will be somewhere around march or april of next year.

It's time, I can feel it in my bones. I will embrace this different life, hopefully it will all last.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Enough dreaming, continue planning

Ever felt like time is not moving fast enough? Hehe usually it's the other way around but at this time, it can't go fast enough. But I still need to work more and save up. If not I guess I would have been gone already.

Good thing that I planned another 2 week vacation to Malta for the end of September. Can't wait to get back in the water.  

I might be buying some starting gear like a diving computer, mask, flippers and a BCD. I'll just need the wetsuit after that and some other basic accessories. I will be getting comfy with my new equipment doing mostly recreational dives this time and maybe do a few courses like 'Nitrox' or 'Emergency First Responder'. Can't wait really. Diving is the best feeling ever. 

Although it would be easier to just wait and buy my gear when I make my real move in 2015... I really want to start owning my own gear. And travel with it, just to get the hang of the feeling already.  

I'm going back to the same dive center as last time and I'll also be asking a lot of questions considering my plans. And questions I have. I'm sure my superiors will be able to fill them in as they went more or less the same way that I am going to follow. This is not just a trip, it's part of the preparation towards a different life in a different world. I can't get enough info to start this off at it's best.

Anyways, after my day job, I am now also working 3 evenings/week at the restaurant to gain more money. 
And tomorrow I have another job interview, hopefully it will be what I am looking for and I will get my budget arranged more quickly. Fingers crossed. 

I won't be selling my car just yet, as I need it to go to the places I work at. So I'll sell my car a bit before I leave. Can't do it the other way around, sadly. It will be worth less in 6 months or more, but nothing to be done about that.

Added to the planning line, is getting my boat license since it's known to be a good bonus for the work I'll be choosing. Yachtsman is the degree needed to be able to handle a boat along the coastlines/islands and inland waterways.
I will need 6 or 10 hours of practical sailing, depending on where I do it and with whom, and the theoretical courses can be done in 8 Saturdays, or in a quick-course of 2 days. I think I better go for the 8 Saturdays, it seems more right to me.
Really I don't think handling a boat is that difficult, but I really want to make sure I get all the important know-hows fed to me in a secure slow way, so that I have the time to review it and (hopefully) learn to sail accordingly.
I mean, the boats I'll be sailing are not just rubber boats with a set of wooden peddles, no, tourist boats can get up to 7 meters and bigger. I think some quality preparation is most definitely required here!

I'll need to go to the Italian Consulate some of these days as well to inform me about necessary documents I might need to start my journey. Also will I stay subscribed in Belgium for social security reasons? For if something goes wrong and I need to come back all of a sudden.
Not that I intend to come back but you never know right. Of course I hope to come back .... on vacation yes, and just 'only visiting'.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Enhancing the dream

For 2 weeks now I have been gathering more info over the net concerning my decision. I am trying to plan this out to the max. Double thoughts at times - yes, for sure - but I know what I have to look for when I'm in the middle of this transaction zone.
Want to know what keeps me running? Well, I just watch some movies about diving and that's more than enough to keep me going and get my head straight again, right away.

The under water world is an amazing scene that really attracts my attention, and I really feel like I want to embrace that feeling and just get out there and dive.

It's not just the diving, it's the whole concept. The path to becoming a good instructor, experienced diver, passing it on to others, enjoying my work location, taking care of my work location, working in a field that is at the same time recreational and professional, yes, diving the oceans and seas. Making others aware of the darkness that is slowly taking over.
Embrace the oceans. If the oceans die, I'm sure we soon will all die. So why wouldn't I make this adventure worth living for, and pick the right side.

Diving will give me the degree I want, allowing me to exercise this profession in great places, near the sea, in the water. All over the world.
Right there where all the sea creatures are at, the ones you only see in pictures, and movies, or the ones you never saw or heard about.
Soon I'll be able to swim with the biggest of them and I'll be amazed by their beauty and serenity.

An even more growing important thought to me now is the fact that I am getting more and more aware of what is wrong in this world.
I all ready had that feeling in our materialistic non-sea world. I mean, the way we are living, is not really supporting our planet. It's killing it, we just don't realize it, and we live on with our lives, not really thinking about what's coming next. Greed is killing our world!

Well it's totally the same down there, under water, ... that world is also suffering. Actually it's not just suffering, ... it's slowly but surely dying. Most fish might be exhausted in 30-40-50 years if we continue to take what we want and do what we are doing, the way we do.
Where did this awareness come to my mind? Well many of the divers I met in Malta, at the dive club, tell me about tons of fish swimming around Malta like 10 years ago. It's not like that anymore. We are over-fishing, that's what's happening and it's killing the sea and oceans! Of course over-fishing is not the only problem. It's a vicious circle, hidden from us as we get blinded by our so perfect busy lives.

I have no children, but this does not mean I don't want this world to be a liveable, better place for future generations! 

So here is where I get sad, ... sad, very sad after watching these 2 video's. I am goose bumping when I see the passion of this 20 year old girl. I think this is truly amazing!
Feel obliged to watch these; if you are reading my blog, I encourage you to do so! As a matter of fact, if you don't watch them, simply stop reading! (just kidding but you'll get my point).
This is not only happening underneath the surface of the earth, it's even worse above level-zero in my humble opinion. We are destroying our planet.

Watch and listen:

Again, watch and listen:

I am not turning into an ocean activist all of a sudden but's simply the truth. What is being said here on a shark-level is totally not contradictory to what is happening to the rest of our world. We are really killing it. How long can we go on like this?
I know, it all seems far away for us or better: We just don't get a chance to see or think about this stuff because, we are all brushed up with our busy materialistic lifestyles controlled by the system, the media system, that is controlling our lives, blinding us from what is really happening, making us feel comfortable and safe.
The media, controlled by powerful engines set up by world governments. Untill ... someday, it will be to late to bother.
Someday it will all be over if we don't act. Heck you gotta start somewhere right? Well I'll start right here, as my dream took shape!

I hope some day I'll be able to help fight against all these bad things and I hope I'll be able to contribute my mite for real. Good thoughts like these are a good start. A good start towards a better me, and hopefully a better world. I'll try to convince as much people as possible.

And thus, by having said this, I am all ready contributing in the fight. Yes! Because you are reading. I'm sure some of you have similar thoughts. ;-)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Live your dream

Pretty far out right? 

With this quote under my skin, after quite some internet research in different fields and good family and friends conversations, I now am certain about what I'm about to do. 
I really am doing this now, it's just a matter of time... and savings. :-) 

But it's coming closer than ever before, that's for sure!

So the plan is to gather money from different angles now. I'm about to sell practical stuff like furniture and housing equipment, ... as in everything I own. Except for the personal stuff, this will all get stored somewhere.
Also practical is my car, but it will also have to go, it's no good lying around here for ... who knows how much time right? For ever? :-) So there it goes, it's all FOR SALE.

I now have set myself a deadline of 6 months, and hope to leave this town and life behind in February, at the latest march 2015.
Once I am an instructor, more or less after 6 months, I will gain experience but at the same time work in a resort/dive club, teaching others to dive. 
Who knows what comes along, one can't plan this, this is truly another life and I'll roll in it as it comes. I'll be wearing a life vest (BCD), don't worry! ;)

Name 10 things why you would leave?

1 - Because I found a (new) passion: Diving and loving the ocean.

2 - Because I want to exercise that passion on a professional level, I have had a professional year of local tourism, I enjoy working with tourists, I speak many languages. I could do that elsewhere where there is a lot more tourism and I'd also be diving, participating in all action. I'd also be teaching my passion to others which is in my opinion very satisfying.

3 - Because I don't want to spend the rest of my life in a cubicle (thanks Rika), not that I don't have other competences but it's so close to my home and it allows me to work after hours at a restaurant to make extra cash. It's easy and it still is 'crisis' around here. So you stay where you are right.
Now I must say after 2,5 years it seems that now this envy of working there is slowly coming to an end. Good that this diving-thing came up. ;)

4 -  Because I never in my life have tried something like this and I am really curious and excited about it. I have in some way always dreamt about moving to warmer oceanic places. My Italian roots must be in it for something...

Yes, you have to work there as well but at least you will have sun and even the beach when you are off. I truly am going to enjoy this to a maximum level. I can't wait to be able to dive every day, even if it's during work.

5 - Because I can't find what I'm looking for over here anymore. 

6 - Because it's now or never. I can't wait like 10 more years to make a great move, and why would I?

7 - Because this is the experience of a life-time. And I'm going to live it, and love it.

8 - Because I want to travel the world, and the oceans aswell.

9 - Because I don't want to explain number 9. It's personal.

10 - Because "The future belongs to those who believe in the reality of their dreams.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

OK what else do I do for extra cash?
As I pointed out I do work in a restaurant as a bartender/waiter to make some extra money. I now will start working there more evenings to make more because more is more and more is better. At least at the moment it is.

More More More, more work ... for a better life - sounds crazy right? :-)
Well it's not and it's totally worth it.

Feels also great to be selling all my stuff for the first time in my life. If I had a yard, I would probably do a Yard Sale, but I don't have any. Nor a garage. Dammit. Well thanks to Bill Gates, there's the internet!

Well for once I finally set a real goal in my life, a goal I call my own this time. 

Get out of Town - Admiral Freebee

There are five rules of how to be a cruiser
Five rules of how to be a highway man

Number one
You travel alone

Number two
Never use the fast line
Never travel by high speed

Number three
Take some tapes along the way
Of your favorite music and your favorite bands

Number four
Take the road as it comes 'cause it comes so slow
Take the road as it comes 'cause it comes so slow

Get out of town!
Get out of town!
Get out of town!
Get out of town!

Yes I'm a music lover, and if you say music, it comes with lyrics, and there's music out there for all moods possible I'm sure. :-)
I do enjoy festivals, or concerts, Belgium has loads of them. I will miss them, amongst other things but once you set a goal like this, nothing can stop you anymore. The choice has been made and you will tolerate a lot just because it's part of the path. 

I'm leaving my comfort zone for a new world, for me to discover, at my own pace, doing what I want to be doing. Superb! Just what I need! 

Time to get really organized now. These 5 months will be over in a jiffy. :-)

Creating the dream - third part

After a great weekend with locals and visiting parts of the island, it's monday and time to dive again. Start of a new dive week. 

With the upcoming dives, I get picked up again at 8.25 AM to start my Advanced Open Water course.

The first two dives were for navigation and multilevelling. Interesting skill courses IMO. But the three last dives absolutely took my breath away. The first of them was a night dive, scary, yes but so much different again, it was amazing!! Thank you instructor! Thank you! 

After this great night dive, the day after, I start with my first 30m dive ... and that too was something else again. 27.7m is my first depth and I get to do some logical exercises to see if my brain keeps functioning normal at that depth. All seems fine, we ascend and as we are waiting for another team to surface I get to hear a (second) great life story from my instructor. 

Indeed my original instructor had a nice story about how he became a professional diver and now my new instructor comes up with an almost identical story but then still so much different. 

At the end of his story, for a moment, I wonder if I could be doing a thing like this and become a diving instructor myself. He tells me that if I like diving, I really should consider. Be happy with less but have so much more life filling thrills is the clue of the whole thing. He also tells me my knowledge of six different languages will surely come in handy and that they are a great bonus. I make him understand I envie his life and that I will be considering for sure. 

Then finaly we go for the second dive of the day, the wreck dive, at 30m, this wreck was at the same time frightening and overwhelming... no words can describe that for me really.
The first time you get to see a massive 55 meters long wreck on the bottom somewhere is really mind blowing. It sucks you up completely. Next time I will have less fear I'm sure. :-) It was awesome. 

So now, ... after these sessions I am an PADI Advanced Open Water Diver. Yeah!
Again for how much this is worth but I now know I'm well on my way. This diving thing simply rocks. 

As I go celebrating with some Maltese friends a thought crosses my mind and I'm thinking of moving to Malta, get a job and dive more, maybe become instructor at some point. Apparently there are a lot of call centers in Malta, all wanting foreign workers who speak more languages. I do speak six so it might be worth trying to get in. Heck yes, why not?! 

Anyways I had the best vacation ever in Malta and I know I will be diving more very soon. When I returned home, I started looking right away into possibilities to get more into diving asap.
I start surfing the web for job applications in Malta in the contact center world and I make some applications, they all return negative. Probably because my pay demand is way to high in the first place. I probably will have to live by their standards if I want to make any chance finding a job there. So I leave it be for now.
A few weeks later after surfing more web to gather info and looking for other possibilities I stumble upon a blog from Rika, with a very similar start of a dream as mine.

She came up with the title and copyrighted it: The Cubicle Throwdown - really matching my situation. I start to read intensively and go through most of her blog. I'm now very close to making my decision.

At this point the dream has almost taken its final form. I will start saving money and make my move as soon as I get a certain amount of money gathered. This money will cover my instructor courses and my stay during this formation. I'm now willing to become a Padi Diving Instructor and leave everything behind to live a very different life than the one I live right now.

It's now almost august, it took me about a month to get this aligned in my head, now let's see how long it's going to take me to make it real.

Thanks Rika, I needed your blog post to confirm my thoughts and ideas! Splendid! :-)
Now, my dream exists.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Creating the dream - second part

First of all, I want to point out that I was planning on diving when I would go on vacation. Yes, hearing my friend out and watching video's and informing myself about the possibilities made me orient my vacation with 'some diving'.  The idea at that time was: Let's see if I like diving!

So after checking out flight prices I was sure to be headed to Malta, it looked like the cheapest option within the EU with, apparently, pretty good diving possibilities. This was around January '14.

Time to book my ticket, low price, well ahead. Voila, ticket booked! Malta it is. You can imagine that after 10 years of not flying or having been on a proper vacation, I already was excited. It was still 5 months away but it sure did thrill my thoughts allready.

In order to get more comfortable health wise, I started going to the gym and knocked myself out doing cardio amongst other things. I wanted to loose about 10kg of weight. I went swimming for a bit as well to get used to bigger things filled with water than my shower at home. 

Yet, for further prep, I still needed to find is a place to stay and a dive club. I decided to find a dive club first, and choose my hotel accordingly in order to minimize traveldistance between both. I got in touch with a dive club and they knew a good cheap place for me to sleep. Perfect! 
Finally I almost had it all, my vacation was almost completly planned. The only thing to do now is loose more weight and get on that plane upon the day of departure. In the end I lost 12 kg before I left in June. Way to go!

A little problem occurred on the day of departure, my passport was not with me because I thought I wouldn't need it for traveling in Europe. But I did since I am Italian and living in Belgium. So I arranged/updated my passport in a few days and left 3 days later than supposed.

*****Note to self: Always travel with passport!!! Where ever you go. :-)

So here we are, in a lot better shape now, leaving for Malta. I can't wait to jump on that airplane, land and smell the air upon exiting the plane. The air of a southern country always smells so much different than what you are used to breath every day. It surely did smell like Italy right away but still different. I could smell the ocean being not to far away now. :-).

It's around 11 pm and a taxi gets me to my hotel in 35 minutes. I meet the hotel manager, very friendly guy, and he walks me around.
I get to take a night-peak from the hotel roofterras overlooking Mellieha. Being on a hill I get an idea of the landscape.

Time to unpack and get to bed. I'll start my first courses for Open Water Diver the morning after!! Yeah!!

I get picked up at 08.25 AM and we head for the dive club in Mellieha bay. After some paperwork and introductions it's time to head to the classroom for a theoretical morning session, followed by a pool session, and this goes like this, 2 days in a row. Outstanding to start with, getting familiar with rules, knowledge and equipment is really necessary.
Still, I can't wait to get in the ocean with all this gear. :-)

We were only 2 newbies, an English guy and myself, so the french, well English speaking instructor had plenty of time for us, which is always good.
On the 3rd day, we finally went for the Open Water Dive till a depth of 12,5m in the ocean... at Cirkewwa bay.
As we get ready and put our fins on, me and my dive buddy start to get really excited and a bit nervous. We went in the water and put our fins on, regulator in the mouth, and we started descending. And that's where I remember seeing what I saw that time when I was 16, back in Italy. It suddenly remembered me how beautiful it all actually was under there, under the surface of the ocean.

After repeating some elementary exercises we rehearsed in the pool the previous days, our instructor took us for a swim around the bay. When we surfaced after 37 minutes ... I felt relieved, relaxed and delighted. This is .... so cool! 

Nothing compares to the real thing, you can all see it on short movies you pick from YouTube for example but...being actually in it is what gives you the real experience with all the thrills, the complete package.

Yes I was thrilled, even more thrilled for the next 12m dive. For that one, we went to Anchor Bay a few hours later, which is at the Popeye Village. Yes, the one from the movie. Another great dive, very different site, with a gigantic anchor underwater.

The underwaterworld is revealing himself, he's coming to life, and I slowly start to trust him. 
And so goes on the next day, two dives, but this time till 18m, after forfilling the written examination. After this day, if all goes like planned, we will get certified with PADI Open Water Diver 18M.

With every dive I take ... the good feeling grows...I start to feel really comfortable down here. I start to look for different things every time and the surroundings really start to catch my eye.

In the water I probably still look like a waving crazy man but I'm slowly getting the hang. Finding my perfect buoyancy takes practice but its...very important! If you find it, you really feel close to weightlessness, it's awesome. 

So I try to relax as much as possible when encountering new things such as octopusses and scorpion fish or astonishing overhanging rock formations with moray eels and short tunnels and arches to swim through. We end up in a really big school of small fish a few times aswell. They just act as if you weren't there although it looks like they all look at you ha ha. Just amazing!

Relaxing is also important for keeping your air supply for as long as possible. Really, you want to spend as much time underwater as possible, most dives are over after 45 minutes or an hour, especially with my newbie breathing style. :)

Finaly, at the end of  these 4 days the overall feeling is outstanding. I had one of the best experiences in my life thanks to my dive instructor and the great team at the dive club. Same goes for my divebuddynewbie, we both graduated with a large smile saying we should do this again sometime!
Any time really Jim!

In the pocket: PADI OWD 18m which will later be replaced by a more bankcard like pass. PADI will send it my home in Belgium once fabricated.
I know this means nothing but it's a start to becoming a recreational diver. Job well done.

Ok well what now? Time to explore the island I guess, and have a good party with appropriate drinks. But first I inform myself in the dive club for the next week because I really feel like I want to do more diving in a few days. Ow yeah, for sure!

I get a price list and some good directions and I decide to do the Advanced OWD 30m. Same deal as before, some theory, some swim tests, exams, and 5 additional dives giving me the opportunity to go dive worldwide at PADIpoints till 30m. Note that this is something you really want to be doing when there is something to see, like a wreck or special dive location or something in that direction. But it's good to have right.

With some time off now I take some days to meet some people, and enjoy local foods and my vacation in general. We also spent a day at the beach and I get the best memory of Italy ever. The sand, the sun, the pick-nick, the beer, the wine, the ocean, the people, their way of life. Getting sunburned even more. 

Malta comes with the ability to go to the beach at off times, even if it's only once a week. 300+ days of sun a year. Nice rock! :-)

And with diving on my mind I get the chance to relax to the max and I can't wait to get back in the water all geared up. My last dive would eventually bring me to the wreck at Paradise Bay, P29 Patrol Boat close to the Madonna. At 30m, with my new instructor, great dutch guy by the way. I'm really excited now. This will be something else.
And the day before the actual 30m dives I 'll be night diving... OMG that sounds scary but at the same time I'm very curious...very curious indeed. The Advanced Open Water course comes with 5 additional dives, to your choice. So in addition to the deepdive and the multilevel dive (standards), I chose for a navigation dive, night dive and a wreck dive. These will be done in 3 days. Again, now certifying me as PADI Advanced OWD 30m after I finish. 

Now the first dream, the one to actually dive, has been realized. And I love it! The next chapter will form my dream to a next level. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Creating the dream - first part

Hi there everyone, 

I'll just start my own way and I will try to put this in a nice coat in time, but this is where it all starts for me. Note that this is at the same time my first blog.

To start a blog you need an idea, a problem, a goal, or a dream, ...or just something that thrills your imagination...and start to write about it.
That's exactly what I 'll be doing here after I got inspired reading other people's blogs, generally concerning the matter 'life and what to make of it'

Well what I have in mind, is all of the above at the same time, even if at the moment it's really just a dream, but me starting to actually write this blog, means I'm about to get really serious about it. Serious about making the dream real! Yep, that's my intention allright!

I decided to share all this on the internet, because I'm sure it will help me and maybe others who are trying to change their own lives in a dramatic way.
Enjoy reading, feel free to comment where ever you like!

At first, I guess I 'll start by introducing myself for a bit. 

:-) Hi again, I am Fabian, I'm half Belgian, half Italian. Friends call me Fabe, in Italy they call me Fabio, and some people just call me Fab. I'm 42 years of age now, I am not married and I have no children.
I was born and raised in Belgium, flemish part of the country, in a city called Sint-Truiden at around 200km from the Northsea. 

For most of my worklife, for about 20 years, I was self employed in construction together with my uncle and my cousin. About 5 years ago, due to upcomming concurrence of foreign workers, we saw workfees and eventually our business collapse and I decided to get out of the construction business. I had to sell my house to cover the financial breakdown and debts I had accumulated over the last years.

Now 5 years later, I have a stable income again, I bought a small appartment, own a car and my life feels .... settled? 
To be more precise, I work in a contact(call)center on an interesting project for a belgian energy company. Allthough it's an interesting project, I don't know if this job is what I want for the rest of my life.

To be honest I am also fed up with my materialistic way of life, and I feel sucked in by the system, even more kind of trapped. This life is at the same time déjà vu all over again and I feel more and more like I need a real change.

A change away from this everything. A change that will also give me a completely new goal, hopefully making me realize a dream and giving me the opportunity towards a very different lifestyle.

The eventual goal of the dream is still far away but the road to it will be more than satisfying and life filling than ever before. If I don't make it, then so be it, but at least I will have tried.

OK well let me continue and let me first give you an idea of where this dream - in a way - got created.

Ever since I was little I got in touch with the ocean when me and my parents were on vacation. To be more exact every 2 years, we went to visit my family in Italy.
They all live in a city near the beach, at the Adriatic side of Italy, more or less on the same altitude as Rome is. During this 3-4 week vacation I got to spend loads of time at the beach and in the ocean, better yet, on a daily bases.
When I am 16 years of age I get to spend 2 months there and really living the wine-farmer life sleeping at my families house in the beloved 'campagna'.

I quickly embraced the much different way of life. Of course it was also work but being able to go to the beach at off-times or more specifically, every day in the afternoon, between morning and evening grape harvests, felt so liberating to me.
It would remain my best vacation ever for a very long time. To be more honest it was my best vacation ever till a month ago. I'll tell more about that further on.

From that point on, I'll carry Ortona, the ocean and the more relaxed way of life in my heart for the rest of my life.
To me, the sun and a beach are two of the most relaxing things possible. Yes indeed, it can also be a forest, or snowed in mountains but if I have to choose, ... I'll be choosing the beach side. I must say I now have found a third thing that is even more'll get the picture very soon as you read on. ;-)

There are several reasons for me to choose 'the beach' but one of them probably has to do with what I'll be explaining in what comes next. Hear me out.

I remember we went mussel hunting in Italy that time when I was 16. For me it was the first time I got hooked up to a regulator and put on fins and snorkeler goggles. To breath, I used the second regulator a scuba diver carries, the one he can hand out to people in need of air. Sensational it was! 

Besides collecting the mussels it was of course a blast to breath under water at 3-4 meters down in the ocean near a rock formation, collecting  as many nice clams as possible. Another great experience I carry with me for the rest of my life. Something out of normal for me, totaly unseen, but for my italian cousins, it was the most normal thing in the world...hehe.

(Sadly) I never got into scuba diving afterwards. Why? Probably because I had other hobbies in my home-country, Belgium, and the location I live in is not really ocean or dive friendly hehe.
Also I never thought about Sint-Truiden having a local swimming pool with diveclubs, which besides do exist after further recent investigation. In search of a new hobby after my 20 years construction rehab ... I finally end up in a dive club in my home town somewhere in 2013.

So there I am in september 2013, at our local swimming pool applying for a spot at the local dive club (CMAS). I get told I am allowed 3 hours of free initiating courses and that I can decide after those 3 hours if I want to become a member or not.
After the 3 sessions of an hour, ... I never returned because I felt it was really slow going and only for 1 hour/week and in the swimming pool. Also it would take me up to a full year to get a (single) CMAS star which doesn't allow you to go dive more independently any time soon.

Anyways with my life in the right direction now, and a fresh start of 2014, it was also time to go on vacation asap, so I started planning something. A friend of mine, who is a 10 year old Padi diver helps me a bit with my search for a good location, taking his diving memories into consideration.

After a few good tips from my friend, I started googlemapping, on my way down from Corsica, I pass by Sardenga into Italy overflying Sicily and making a stop. Zooming in on the south of Sicily I accidentally discover this tiny group of 3 Islands called Malta, Comino and Gozo. Hey hey, what do you know? So that is where Malta is....?!
Heh!, how convenient, and last year in Belgium I met a band from Malta I got introduced to by friends of mine. Would be a nice extra to get in touch with them and meet them in their home country right?

That's where I started looking for a cheap flight ticket direction Malta and the dream began to take shape, right here, well...right there!

More to read as this story comes to life...slowly but surely.