A new page:

I short-story/radio-play I produced and facilitated for Art Compass artist Amy Szostak. It became an interesting collaboration that evolved into a radio play in 4 parts.
Click HERE to read the story.

Who are you in a Forest?

I live in a forest. When I look out the window I see nature rather than elements created by humans. I do not see other houses, I rarely hear or see people, cars, no trains or planes. There are no flags indicating which country I live in, no shops that try to make me feel, be or look like anyone in particular. The forest is void of identity markers and makers. I am no-ones subject. I do not live here by myself, but with Luke, who, in my eyes does not remind me of any particular nationality either. Yes he is Australian, but like me has spent considerable amounts of time outside of his own culture and in my eyes, is not a typical Australian.

I end up forgetting that I am in Australia when I am at home, to such an extend that every time I leave home and venture out, I get a shock and realise: “Oh I am back in Australia”. Even though I have been in OZ since February it feels as a surprise as everything suddenly looks a particular way, the Australian way. Not that I mind, but I am beginning to realise that when I am at home in the forest, surrounded by nature, I feel like being in a cultural neutral space; no mans land.

I am bemused by this repetitive experience. In a way I like it. It seems to match the fact that I do not feel I belong to any particular nation or culture. People still classify me as being Dutch (my country of birth), or when I am outside of New Zealand as a Kiwi (my nationality), but that does not mean much to me anymore. I know that I how I act and interact with the world has been greatly influenced by the cultures I have lived in, but that does no longer make me feel I belong to any particular culture.

When recently people asked me which country I would be cheering for in the Olympics I said: “none”. They were surprised. It’s true! I did not cheer just because someone carried a particular national flag. I lived in multiple countries, siding with one or another seems a strange and artificial thing to do.

Identity seems so important. So many programmes are designed to help people to strengthen their sense of identity, cultural identity, their sense of self. Self as seen by others, self as classified by others, a self as classified by themselves. In a context of people, identity is of such importance, in a context of nature… well, I don’t know, haven’t lived on this location long enough yet, but it is an interesting situation that poses an interesting question: Who am I when I live in a forest, away from culture? For now I feel living in this forest makes it easier to be just me, even though I may not quite know which part of ‘me’ that is, my ego, my spirit… Only time will tell. What I can tell is that it gives me a great sense of freedom, I no longer have to play a patriots game.

Settling in a Forest

Recently I moved to a house in a forest at 500 meter (1500 feet) above sea level in southern Australia. Never before have I lived on such a remote location surrounded by nature.

It is a big change for me, a change that I have been hoping for. Almost two year earlier I left the life I had created for myself and set out on a transformational journey. That journey has ended and with that a new chapter in my life has begun. Living here is very different from anywhere I have lived before. I am really happy with the drastic changes that are not without challenges.

My life has changed in so many ways externally and internally as well. I live in a new house, a new country with a new partner in a new environment. Changes that mirror internal changes that have taken place over the last two years, or at least so I’d like to think.

Since a few days I have internet access at home, enabling me to start posting again on this blog. I want to start with sharing some images and impressions from this particular spot in the world where only a few people live.

Right now I am having a cold, staying close to the wood-burning stove. It’s winter, the coldest part of winter which delivered even snow, a rare event in this part of the world. So for now I leave you with an image from the magical day the snow came down.

Sit Dancing on TV segment, 1989

TV segment about my dance work with the elderly from the Holmes TV Show, 1989 (New Zealand).
To view click on the link below.