Who I am

I was born and raised in The Netherlands and studied political science at the University of Leiden. In 2003 I got my PhD at the University of Amsterdam and published my first book, Tussen ideaal en illusie, about the history of the Dutch political party D66. In 2012 I published it’s sequel, Langs de afgrond.

Over the years, my interests shifted. Away from politics (although I am still interested in that) and towards philosophy and psychology. Away from what matters in politics towards what matters in life and the wisdom of thinkers from past and present.

You may call it my personal midlife crisis, but like Jimmy McGill, I would rather say: “Clarity. Not midlife crisis, midlife clarity.”

What I think I know about life so far

Over the years I have read hundreds of books and articles, attended workshops and classes, and thought about the big existential questions of life endlessly. Life, death, happiness, meaning, hope, truth, loneliness, values, and so on.

Recently I decided to put all this thinking to good use and start writing things down and share my insights with you. Not all at once of course, because it’s a hell of a lot of work. And the thinking continues. My ideas and insights keep evolving. They probably will untill I die.

So the posts you will find here on this website won’t give you definitive answers. They only reflect what I think I know about life so far. Drawing on the wisdom of the philosophers that inspire me and other people from whom I have learned, they provide practical insights that may change the way you look at things and stimulate you to think more critically too.

I won’t tire you with theoretical philosophical nitpicking, but neither do I offer simplistic feel-good advise like so many self-help literature these days. I dub my thinking ‘pragmatic philosophy’ that I hope will inspire you and help you navigate through life.

If I haven’t been there, it’s on my list

Never having left my home country as a kid, I have been traveling the world my whole adult life. I feel very fortunate that I have been able to visit many incredibly beautiful places around the world. And there’s a lot more I hope to visit in the future. If I haven’t been there, it’s on my list.

The saying goes that the world is a book and those who do not travel read only the first page, and I agree. Traveling broadens your scope and alters your perspective on the world. And it’s great fun of course. So go, discover and enjoy! Browsing my travel reports you will find plenty of inspiration and tips.

Life is a journey

They say life is a journey. And somehow I feel it’s not a coincidence that the two themes I built this site around are life and travel. They come together in the quote on the homepage, that you may consider my personal motto:

Life is an existential road trip.

You are free to drive where you want.

There are no reasons for taking one road over another.

You may crash, and you have to take responsibility for that.

But whatever you do, don’t hand the wheel over to someone else.