“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”
– Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
27 marks an incredible crossroad.
I’m ready to settle on a career (or two), yet fascinated by my surroundings. It’s also an age doomed for rock-stars like Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and Jimi Hendrix, amongst others… Which is what influenced me to get started on my bucket list. One never knows when today is the last day.
Things already completed:
- Reunion with my best friends from primary school. We laughed, we cried, we shared, after a long 14 years. Unfortunately, there was one missing member. She passed away tragically last year, but we felt her presence in so many ways – through the memories we shared and photos/ letters we brought.
- Be part of Hillsong Church Australia. This church probably has the biggest congregation in the world, with millions of members worldwide. Its band, Hillsong United, has gone platinum several times. I was first introduced to them in 2007, a year which ultimately was filled with as much good as bad. Their music kept me grounded, when nothing else could.
- Become a published poet. When you least expect it, doors open. Since the age of 15, I’ve been in love with William Shakespeare and John Keats. At 17, I finally started writing my own and four years later, my two favourite poems made the cut: one in an American anthology Twilight Musings and the other in a Christian anthology Angels &Little Scrolls.
- Take a photo that changes the world… Well, my picture of two male students kissing didn’t change the world, but it certainly opened up the homophobia debate in South Africa and helped many scared individuals come out in an unaccepting world. See: Maties’ Gay Kiss Goes Viral
Things to come:
- Do Spain walk (Santiago de Compostela) with my brother. I first heard about this incredible pilgrimage reading Paulo Coelho’s books. It is bound to change one’s life forever, bring you closer to those who accompany you and help you find yourself again.
- Do Oktoberfest with my mom. Munich’s Oktoberfest is filled with hundreds of beers, incredible outfits, fun drinking songs till the early hours… What more could a photojournalist and true Belgian ask for?
- Do tomato fight (La Tomatina) near Valencia, Spain, with my dad. I’m not sure why I chose my dad for this epic adventure, but probably because he’s the most adventurous person I know.
- Finish my book. I started a book in 2007, which unlocks a lot about the mystery of life and true characters I met along the way… Just need to find the guts to complete it.
- Publish a children’s series of books, bring them to the television screen, change their lives. I hope I don’t jinx this dream by placing it here, but children have always been life’s greatest teachers.
- Work in the vineyards in France. Simple. Beautiful. I thank the movie A Good Year for this dream.
- Go on a Contiki tour. Yes, next year may be it: my BFF and I traversing the Golden Age for our Golden Birthdays. Holding thumbs.
See Machu Picchu… Clichéd, yes. But Che Guevara proved anything is possible, even just with a motorbike.
- Interview a head of state… I’d prefer someone who didn’t murder millions of people. Maybe someone who set them free instead, Nelson Mandela would be ideal.
- Win the Pulitzer Prize. The guys from the Bang Bang Club proved stamina, courage and a reliable camera get you far in life.
- Publish my blog as a book… YES!
- Try out for Idols. Okay, Singstar doesn’t really count. I just love singing.
- Work for Top Billing, South Africa’s most successful lifestyle programme. Getting paid to travel, interview amazing people and witness the oddest events? Hell yeah!
Fly in a hot air balloon in Paris. Why Paris? Its history, culture and people fascinate me…
- Sell some art. My art isn’t amazing… but it would be amazing to see it in someone else’s home apart from my family members.
- Be part of a flash-mob. I thank Channing Tatum and Step Up 4 for molding this dream. Booyah!
- Go on a road-trip with good friends. Wherever. Whenever. As long as we’re together.
Write a love letter… Italian style, at the Casa de Giulietta in Verona.
- Learn two more languages: Spanish and German fluently.
- Write poetry in French. Not as easy as it seems.
- See Neuschwanstein Castle in the spring. I saw it covered in snow in December 2010. It was magical, yet mostly hidden.
See Japan in the autumn. Burning colours, peaceful music: a feastful zen for the eyes and soul.
- Work on a cruise ship. I want to photograph people, places, lives, all religions and races.
- Go back to Israel, live in a kibbutz. Israel was the most spiritual place I have ever been to, yet in 1996 I was too young to soak it all in.
- Find someone to do this with. Fall in love. Be loved in return… That seems to be the biggest challenge of all. In the words of Ursula K. Le Guin: “It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”