It took me a while to finish this one, I didn`t wanted it to be negative, neither sad nor a complain, excuse – just true. Unexpected situations happen, things end, people change … and you know what..?? Life goes on.
So did I. Still the same goal, the same road – a bit bumped and bit longer, still on the way, on a mission, I went on some time ago.
“Every time I fell down as soon as I hit the ground, remind me who I am and I get back up again. I will be back again. Take it or leave it, I am what I am. And life goes on, so do I.”
At the moment of writing this I finally packed my van again and took my passport on the road for another few stamps & stories. So yes together with my bed, two foils, a wing foil, 5 boards, 4 wings, 10 kites (you never know), some bars, harnesses, wetsuits, a kite pump, some bars (but never the right one), a SUP ( yes I do need this one…in case there is really no wind), a skateboard (I know the roads in Greece aren’t that good), a surf skate, skates (there are skateparks you know), an electric skateboard (here the police isn`t chasing me – yet), a bicycle, a soccer ball, some weights for the homeless gym, paddle, helmets, a panini grill (cause why not) the big back off tools under the passenger seat (#frontseatstories), some more useless and useful crap in case of whatever.. the rest of the space filled up with; Dutch water, some food (read; snacks in all corners of the van – in case there is no supermarket the next decades) and a few clothes in case I don’t need just my bikini and a bit more clothes (like in the air-conditioning of a ferry…) – Hell Yeah, I am on the road again..!!
This brave basterd of a van took me all the way down to Greece (3000KM). Proudly enjoying the view on the beach at Paros Island the past weeks ..and a little moment later the stony beach in Nafpaktos (with neighbours dog & donkey), the place of the European Championship Kitefoiling 2022.
We have been through some countries, adventures, crazy roads, amazing yet strange places, friendly people, weird people... Collecting stamps on the way passing the borders of Macedonia, Servia, Greece, Kosovo! (- into the country I decided to google; “is it safe to drive through…?! Is it safe to travel to..?!”) But, in the end I was already into the country – no choice – it was super nice to drive through these countries, see some small villages, incredible nature. Taking the touristic route and not the toll road with some great views! I am glad I drove this way down. In fact my longest road trip with the van sofar.
Yep, after the World cup of snowkiting 2022, I didn`t do any competition anymore. I wished, but nope. Not that I didn`t wanted it; I just couldn`t make it happen – unfortunately. I remember I always said the next one is.. subscribing myself and “forcing” myself, because I had to..? Be ready…? Turning out the next one never happened. I had different priorities for the long term if I ever wanted to compete again on international level into the Olympic class. I was not ready, my gear was not ready. I am still not ready, my gear is still not ready (- working on that one). But I am coming close now. Jus in need of some training hours with the gear now. The kitefoil sessions I did are to count on two hands..and with this kites.. to count on one hand.
“You never know until you go – your passport”
As well as, because of all the “things” happening in the world, for a long time I just had an 11m foil kite. And a hydrofoil which was not my own. As simply as it is hydrofoil racing is expensive, too expensive for a normal & independent person & athlete. And I had to make choices, compete and be the same, not compete and collect my own quiver and make myself better.
But hey! I am here now in Greece, ready or not and that’s all what counts, back to do what I love the most, taking my passport and van on a journey to the windy water for some training. I am here for how many races I can take, I can stay out of trouble and finish! Nothing to lose and all to win.
Meanwhile I enjoyed my wing gear and freestyle, big air kites..and the snow! The year I learned new things about eating (!), the gym (!), wing foiling finally with straps (I love it!). I went climbing which I never thought I would like (boring) I learned more about the different snowkiting disciplines and how to make a MEGA flight of a hill…(unexpected though). I learned about people, about trust and about letting go. I learned about the lonely process of being an all depending on yourself – independent athlete (which means not connected to a team, federation or club). And the hard process of balancing the financing part, working hard, family and friends and other things (and competitions besides kitefoiling). Trying to do it all. I was all in working, so hard to achieve my goals. I almost drowned in it, I ended up in the money thought. Keeping all balls high up, wasn`t possible anymore. I was home but I was not home. I was thinking about myself but actually not. Still fighting for that mission. Like I always did. Becoming the best athlete I can ever be on the water & snow.
During all of this I became a little lost in what I was meant to do, a little lost in goals, dreams and what to train for, what to really work for, what I could take. Snow, water…. Foil, wing, fun. Until, I just went for another night shift and I didn`t really feel like going neither working… …. …. … …. Just another night shift… .. again.
That moment I thought I might have to take another road, at the start of my night shift it changed. “He”, the supervisor of that night told me, looking at my passport; “ You travelled a lot I see..? Yes I did..! .. and used to do. He said; well, those memories, no-one will ever take them from you”. He continued with a because;
“Off all the books in the world the best stories are found in between the pages of a passport”
And that’s what made me smile, knowing he is true. And knowing from deep inside all these memories, are great, it made me look at my passport again. That’s where I live for. I know from myself I always keep looking forward, pushing it and forgetting about the memories I made – always in need of more. Memories which are important to me and the once around me, the made me who I am today. That I can be super happy that I went through all of this, have the possibility to do all of this. Sometimes I just need a little reminder, looking back is good at times too. That all the hard work, sacrifices, decisions ( good or bad) are worth it. On top with all the sleepless nights, doubts, the thought when it turns out right I will lose, when it goes wrong I will lose. So what’s the point of doing this..? Well all these things floating around in my mind, they went aside, because the rest of the night I kept he smile. And realized I can be proud of what I achieved, it wasn’t always easy, but I did anyway. I have been to all those places, I have done all those competitions, I made it work. So I have to do now. Although it might be different than people expect.
From this moment on, when I doubt; I look at my passport and think about all the memories made and the stories told, the people met. All the missions I achieved. All the places I have been, all the memories made, the experiences and adventures, they are worth more than anything else (and any medal) in the world. And they keep that smile on my face.
Keeping the dream of little Mariska alive..? Hell yeah! That’s what we do it for. Asa l little gril I always dreamed of travelling the world being the best, compete being independent and not that shy girl. Inspire you to do whatever you dream.
One way or the other, lets go. Live your passion and collect all the stamps in the world. Back out there on a mission! And getting as ready as I can for the Europeans of 2022 in Kitefoiling, while already enjoying Greece. Lets hit the Greek water, launch some foil kites into the trees, get dragged over the beach (stones in this case) again, crash some gybes, hit some marks and stick some tacks. Relearn the laylines, stay out of trouble, avoid DNF and just go faaaaaaaaaaast!
Ready… or not……. Let`s make some memories.Nothing to lose and all to gain… as someone just told me: “the most dangerous people are those who have nothing to lose”