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Month: February 2021

Looking for some vitamins on a blind date

Looking for some vitamins on a blind date

Embrace discomfort

The world has been turned upside down for quite a while now. Almost a year now our lives and that of millions around the world have been controlled by the COVID19 virus.

From keeping distances and washing hands we ended up in partial and full lockdowns where schools closed, lessons were taught online, where grandfathers and grandmothers in nursing homes were no longer allowed to receive visitors, the catering industry went down, we ordered more and more online in webshops and many people lost their jobs. I’m not even talking about overcrowded IC units, and all those people who died from this terrible virus.

Embrace discomfort

Every time we, admins of the Walking Peakers, made plans, we were again dependent on the measures in force at that time.

Our last group walk was in September 2020. Where in other years we were walking somewhere in the Netherlands every 2 to 3 weeks, we could count them on one hand in 2020.

We had so many plans. One of them was going abroad and walk with other Peakers around Europe. Well, we managed to do at least one walk in London in January 2020 and that was it.

I generally have a positive attitude and try to see everything from the positive side as much as possible. I read a post from Jordana Brown on the MPC official Facebook page, where she said, embrace discomfort. With this she was referring to the start-up of the new MPC2021 program and that everything did not go smoothly and without problems. Instead of complaining about what is wrong she said, embrace discomfort. That’s exactly what I did today. And that’s the reason why I started Looking for some vitamins. I didn’t want to get stuck in what is impossible. I was looking for opportunities, for challenges, as I have done before.

So we organized a Blind Date for our Walking Peakers in the Netherlands. Not being allowed to walk in groups, this turned out to be a nice alternative.

We asked our Peakers to fill out a form, tell us how far you would walk, how far you will travel for it and we will link you to another Peaker.

My Blind Date

I was linked to Jolanda.

Jolanda lives in Ridderkerk, not far from Rotterdam. From my place to hers it’s an hour and a half away. We decided to look for a walk halfway.

We met a couple of times on other occasions but never had the opportunity to really walk and talk with each other.

Jolanda is currently without a job but will soon start as a secretarial assistant in the Education and Student affairs department at the 3mE faculty of the Technical University of Delft. That’s quite a mouth full, but luckily for Jolanda she has a lot of experience in that part.

For our walk today, I let Jolanda choose a walk and so we ended up in Hollandsche Rading.

Hollandsche Rading

Hollandsche Rading is a very small village in the province Utrecht. The village has only 1555 inhabitants and furthermore, it lies on the border of the province of North Holland and for that reason has often been controversial in history. It has even sparked several wars. The village is located directly on the Hilversum – Utrecht railway. On this railway we see special overhead wire portals also called the Gothic arches.

We had agreed at this station for the start of our walk.


It was the first time for Jolanda to walk a long distance. All this time she felt she would not be able to keep up with the walks organized by the Walking Peakers. I was a little bit shocked because I never realized that people would have that feeling when seeing all our enthusiastic photos and messages from the walks. We have always seen walking as something accessible that everyone should be able to participate in. Apparently, there were also Peakers who therefore dreaded walking with us, afraid that we were walking too fast and too far.

It gives us something to think about again!

Walk and talk

Walking with someone you don’t or hardly know also brings along a bit of healthy tension. What are we going to talk about? Do we have common ground? Is that enough to spend about approximately three till four hours in each other’s company?

When we linked the Peakers for a Blind Date, we tried to make an estimate for this, but it always remains a gamble. As for linking myself to Jolanda, it couldn’t have been better.

It turned out we had much the same taste for music, read the same kind of books and our love for the city of London.

I now also know from experience that walking and talking can lead to very surprising conversations. Conversations that go beyond the superficial conversation about the weather, a program we’ve seen or our work. Mostly this is how the conversation starts but gradually the content of the conversation changes.

Because you are not always looking at each other while walking, I notice again and again that people I walk with reveal themselves more easily.

Our conversation turned to the influence parents have upon us. Even now being adults and living a life of our own. Making your own choices and let go.

And while we had this conversation, we enjoyed the surroundings of our beautiful walk, somewhere in another beautiful part of the Netherlands.

It was a beautiful day; the sun was shining and what more did we need in my search for “Looking for some vitamins”. 

Thank you Jolanda for being my Blind Date today and congratulations, you did it, you managed to walk a 12,5km!

Looking for some vitamines

Looking for some vitamines

Good friends

Are hard to find

Harder to leave

And impossible

To forget


Although it’s 2021 now, I don’t do resolutions or good intentions. But like every other year I like to think of something that I can do to make the new year more interesting, more energetic and maybe a little bit more challenging (After all I am a Peaker). Something that puts a new dot on the horizon. But most of all I embrace all the new chances at happiness, health and love. In other words, I want to celebrate love and life. After a year full of insecurities, fears, and doubts, there seems to be a little light. And I will take the opportunity to go out and search for these lights. For light gives me energy.


2020 has been a year with far fewer walks than planned. January started so well with our London walk. Walking Peakers together with England Peakers, Peakers England and Imagery Peakers took a beautiful walk from Putney to Richmond River. We had so many more beautiful walks in mind, even some abroad. After that we did, correct me if I’m wrong, four other walks and every time we had to adapt to the Corona measures of that moment.

At this moment the Netherlands, like many countries around us, are in a complete lockdown. Walking with a large group is not possible for the time being. I miss my Peaker friends enormously. We try to do a lot online things but it’s different. I miss the hugging and the talking as we walk. Having fun along the way, oh boy do I miss it.

I had to do something, and an idea was born. I am “looking for some vitamins” this year.I let Peakers, friends and family invite me. They decide what they want to do with me, this could be walking, cycling, cooking or maybe a workout? You name it. Think of something, anything, make an appointment with me and I’ll come over to you.


Today is my first “looking for some vitamins” with Anouk. I met Anouk over three years ago when she was in Glasgow for the MPC Gala and I was there (a fresh Peaker) for the Scottish Learning Festival. Anouk hired a camper van and after the Gala stayed in Scotland for another week. I also remained in Scotland but moved from Glasgow to Edinburgh. And on the last night of our stay, we had diner in Edinburgh together with my husband and Vera, my other Peaker friend. From that moment on, friendship and our love for whisky grew.

As I left home it still drizzled a bit, but the closer I came to Anouk, the sky broke and a beautiful winter sun appeared.

Being one on one with someone is different than in a group. There is more opportunity and space to really talk better to each other. Anouk works for an educational institution where they train students, for example, to become a gym teacher. Normally she sits with three other colleagues in the office and is responsible for all that has to do with the exams.

At this time, however, they all work from home. She misses her colleagues, but most of all she misses the whole school life, the atmosphere, the students, and the interaction. “Sometimes you just walk from your place to get coffee, meet someone down the hall, have a chat. That’s not there now”.

Anouk has two great hobbies, skating and cycling. She has been doing both for a long time, and also in the past in a competition context. But now she does it to stay fit and healthy, and to clear her mind. And about the last one, clearing our minds, we certainly did today.

Anouk took me on a cycling tour through Zaanstreek-Waterland but the region she lives in is called Wormerland. Believe me I have been to places I have never ever heard of before today.

Looking for some vitamins 1

We started in Wormer, cycled through Oostknollendam, Spijkerboor, Graft, De Rijp, Middenbeemster, Zuidoostbeemster and finally de Zaanse Schans.

All these places belong to the region called Wormerland, or for those not to familiar with the Netherlands, just above Amsterdam. I saw a lot of beautiful spots on our trip. Places I had never been to before, roads I had never travelled before.

One of the first stops we made was in a little place called Graft which nowadays has nearly 900 inhabitants. The town hall was built in 1613 and has three stepped gables. Next to the town hall were the tombstones of a 17th century church. The church was demolished in 1951 because there was not enough money left over for restoration. The only thing left were some glass panels with information from the past.

One of the tombstones belongs to a woman called Anne Jans Sappes. One of the richest women of Graft in the 17th century, but also a woman who herself lived very frugally.

In 1621 Graft had about 3000 inhabitants and one in six was so poor that they could not survive without the support of the rich. Anne Jans was one of the rich who made it her mission to look after these poor people.

This morning at the coffee table we had a long talk about women, about us, effacing ourselves to help our loved ones, or anyone, but in the end, we meet ourselves anyway.

We are the kind of women who like to help others, but gradually we have found some sort of balance. We have learned to put ourselves first every now and then.

All the talking and cycling gave us a dry throat and a bit of hunger. We decide to have our lunch along the Noordhollands kanaal with a magnificent view on the Neckermolen. This poldermill is a watermill that is used to move water from a lower level to a higher level.

Sitting on a bench, eating our bread, we enjoyed an early January sun an already felt the warmth on our cheeks. I haven’t felt this free and full of energy in a very long time.

Thank you so much Anouk that you were the first person to join me on my way “looking for some vitamins” and the beautiful conversation we had at the table and on the road. Big hug from me to you.