YouthGoTravel Goes to Flanders

visit flandersI realize when you think that you want to grow more, sometimes you must move on. This year, the biggest thing that I have to let go is my full-time job. The job which allowed me to travel with a minister and gave me the first real press trip. Eventually, I decided to resign last month and to focus on my future plan. No good result from scholarships that I had applied for yet. I am a bit worried about financial issue to study in Europe with my own savings, though. I try my best not to ask my parents for sponsoring my studies, however they always try to help me with some stuff. I believe that I have learned enough in the last 3 years to work hard and seize up my opportunities.

visit flanders 1

Last month, I decided to spend a month in Europe initially for settling up some administrative stuff for my studies. Surprisingly with my growing networking skills, Visit Flanders agreed to invite me in 6 day journey to visit Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges and Brussels. Indeed, that’s not the first happy news that I received after the biggest decision that I made about my job. I also had job offers from two similar institutions, even one of them was bigger and of course the salary was very tempting. However, I gracefully let it go for now because in my heart I believe that after pursuing my studies, I will have better professional chances in the future.

When I write this, I don’t mean to show off how easy for me to get jobs. Not at all… The point is I just want to prove that sometimes people are too scared to move on, especially about their jobs. Sadly sometimes, they become unhappy people who must work because of things they must pay and tend to forget to love what they do. After all, I believe that we just want to be happy in life. If these opportunities come for me, why they can’t come to you too?

Before fulfilling the invitation from Visit Flanders, I spent about three weeks in five different countries in Europe to meet my friends and to have another life contemplation journey. But I will not write about this at the moment. Simply because I only have less than 2 weeks to write “All about Flanders” in MyTrip Magazine issued in July 2016 before flying again to another continent.

visit flanders 2An issue that I spotted during my visit in Belgium was about terrorist attack which for sure decreases the number of tourists at the moment. It’s such a shame because I felt safe once I had landed in the country. Many military and police officers on the road to guard public spaces. They don’t want to “miss” any failure this time. I also saw a movement, “Sprout (Proud) to Be Brussels”.

The people in Brussels are not afraid of IS or any kind of terrorists. They are strong, happy and kind people. I was amazed in one scene when people weren’t disturbed to see two Muslims praying in Royal Park. This is one thing that I truly appreciate from people in Brussels and Flanders that they don’t mix religion and terrorism. As a Muslim, I am angry to this party who makes terror and razes in many regions while claiming to act on behalf of Muslims. For me, my religion (even any religion) doesn’t teach to harm others. I believe and I feel that my religion is a peace and teach to the way of happiness. It is dynamic. Only narrow-minded and brain-washed people who would act like this, while using Islam as black sheep. I really hope that it will end soon and people are coming back to Brussels and Flanders to have vacations because they have wonderful and nice people, amazing places and UNESCO world heritage sites to visit and for sure yumm-ooo food, chocolate, fries and beers.

On my flight from Madrid to Brussels, I sat next to a girl named Martha from Seville, Spain who became a victim of suicidal bombing at Maelbeek Metro Station. It would take her more than two months to move her fingers on her right hand normally. She also had wounds on her left leg and lost her 20%-30% of her hearings. Everything was paid by the insurance of her company but she told me that she didn’t wish for the money as long as she could gain back her hearings and physics back to normal. She’s just amazing! I really appreciate the people who think like this, that material isn’t everything. Health and happiness is more important.

Coincidentally what made me more sad, she had a plan to come to Bali this year that I suggested to postpone until she was totally recover because I really wished that she would have an amazing trip in Indonesia. When I told her that I was a Muslim, she was a bit surprised because I didn’t wear any hijab. But then, when I asked her about IS and Muslims, she explained that she didn’t hate any Muslim, she thought that there were many Muslims in the world who were innocent too. Sometimes, media in Europe just made the paranoia about Muslims and made the situation getting worst. She accepted the accident happened to her sincerely, because it could happen to anyone and every where. I really adore her personality and I truly wish her that she will totally gain back her physics very soon and have a great vacation in Indonesia. 🙂

Evey time I came in Belgium, I always felt like home because in Wallonia, the people speak French. Same thing, when I was in Flanders (Dutch speaking region), I didn’t have any difficulties to interact with people because most of them speak English fluently and very helpful to show me directions. Most of adults, they also have very good sense of humor. It was funny that about five times, other tourists thought that I was living in Belgium or Europe. I was really enjoying my accommodation in Ghent, which was like a luxurious studio. I was imagining myself coming home after going to university or working. For me, Belgium successfully made me feel like living in my second home.

I had also a funny experience with my taxi driver from Bruges to Brussels. He told me the story how he had met his wife. He was born in South Africa from Belgian parents then she met her wife from Bruges in South Africa. She had to come back to Bruges and they had sending e-mails to each other for two years until he decided to married her and came back to Belgium to be happily ever after with her.

He asked me whether I had a boyfriend. I told him that I was a bad example of long distance relationship and my exes did’t talk to me anymore. He felts sorry but he convinced me that a woman usually knew when the man of their life came. Her body and mind would tell her. And then, he remembered his friend who was a widower. He depicted him as a handsome, rich and kind man with 7 healthy horses and a vast field in Bruges. His wife and son were passed away in a car accident. The driver gave me his number and next time I come back, he told me to text him and he would arrange me a meeting with this man. I just smiled and took his number. I thought, it would be a good reason to come back to Bruges… 😛 Hahaha! Even if I won’t meet this man, I still come back to beautiful and romantic Bruges. Indeed, I met a charming American guy there on my last night in Bruges…

Oh, I will come back to Antwerp as well, because I forgot to buy a magnet fridge…See, many reason for me to come back in Belgium!

In my last post, I wrote about the sign which would lead me to a place to live at least in the next two years. My last day in Brussels was pretty unexpected due to a traffic. I almost couldn’t catch my flight. Luckily, my taxi driver saved the day and I arrived at the check-in gate five minutes before it was closed.  I felt that Brussels wanted me to stay longer. 😉 Then, when I came to immigration border, I had a “signaling” conversation with the officer.

Officer: Do you live here?

Me: No, I don’t.

Officer: Why not?

Me: Maybe this summer, but not exactly in Brussels.

The officer smiled and wished me a good journey before coming back to Belgium.

I do wish to come back to Flanders soon for my private holidays. And next time, I will be in the photos. Honestly, I hardly have photos of my own during my visit in Flanders. I wished that my editor came with me like two other press trips. Maybe next time, I should consider to bring a photographer…Also hopefully, next time I don’t have to fly to Belgium. I just need to take train or car. Who knows? I am trying to make it happen. I hope the universe will ease my way. Until then, travel and be forever young! 🙂

Gelato Traveler, Istanbul Ataturk Airport, 27th May 2016

 

 

 

14 Comments

Filed under Belgium, Cultural Projects, Travel and Culture, Travel and People, Travel and Places, Travel Stories

14 responses to “YouthGoTravel Goes to Flanders

  1. Hi Mia, it’s really inspiring to hear your decision to move on. I wish I could do the same thing. Ngomong-ngomong boleh lho kalau butuh fotografer buat perjalanannya, aku orangnya gampang kok hahahaha.

    Apapun itu, nikmati perjalanan dan hidupmu saat ini ya. Dan tetap jaga kontak, siapa tau kita ketemu di belahan dunia sebelah mana gitu.

    Sukses ya Miaaaa 🙂

  2. selalu menggugah tulisannya dan bahasa inggris yang enak sekali dibaca. Keep inspiring and writing! Selalu suka tulisan traveling kak Mia, dan saya selalu berharap untuk bisa seperti Kak Mia. Be a travel writer ❤

    Love,

    Fathia

    • Hi Fathia, makasih ya sudah mampir dan mau baca hehe Dulu, saya cuma bisa mengucap dan mimpi untuk jadi travel writer. Universe listened and voila…Syukur kesampaian! Semoga kamu juga bisa ya..Mulai dari tulisan kecil dan siapa tahu nantinya bisa mendapatkan press trip pertama. Good luck and God bless! 😉

  3. Pingback: YouthGoTravel Goes to Saudi Arabia | youthgotravel

  4. Pingback: YouthGoTravel Goes to Queensland | youthgotravel

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