What is this website?
This website is about me and what I do. Hello. Nice to meet you. I write a lot.
What is your favorite band or musician?
I grew up as from the Generation X, so I was born and raised with an older brother who would turn up his hifi stereo system with speakers in all four corners of his room above mine, and he would play Michael Jackson, George Michael, Bon Jovi and the Dave Matthews Band. Later in life I discovered the fascinating world of commercial European dance music of the 90’s that will never let me go. Since then, and after a career of just-play-everything-deejay, I never really cured.
What do you listen to when writing?
I either write in silence or have the buzz of a coffee shop surround my thought. But if I am writing and I need non-disturbing music, it is Portishead, the pioneers of trip hop music. Easy, chill and never over the top. Just simmering there, just behind me, while I am writing.
What is your favorite movie?
Of all times, count in Field of Dreams, with Kevin Costner being the corn farmer who decides to build a baseball field on his land, based on the fascinating book Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella.
I run a movie theater in Cambodia, so don’t just ask me about my best favorite. Second should be Stand By Me (based on a short story written by Stephen King) and the first movie I ever saw in a movie theater comes next: The Goonies.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I remember this very well and it was in kindergarten, so I must be 5 or 6-years-old. While my class mates wanted to be fireman, policeman or baker (oh, how small that world was!), I had already traveled the world and said “airplane passenger”. That’s when my teacher Miss Silvia told me that that wasn’t a real job. If only she kept track of me some twenty years later and saw me do what I do best. Fly around the world, for a living.
When my parent introduced me to their typewriter, I lost it. I just started typing on it, before I could even write. My mum would look at the character I stamped on paper and would point out if I actually wrote an existing word. “You wrote bucket.” When my brother got his first game computer, a Commodore 64, the first thing I asked was if I could type on it.
What languages do you speak?
I speak Dutch and English and had Spanish and French in college. I learned Khmer in my 7th year in Cambodia. It’s never to late to learn another language.
You lived in Cambodia. Was it hot and sunny there with loads of palm trees?
Yes, it is always hot. Say every day it’s 35 degrees Celsius (66 degrees F), the only difference if it is dry or humid. Dry heat feels colder that humid heat. Seriously.
I lived in the capital city of Phnom Penh, where colonial villas got taken down and replaced by Chinese paid high rise condominium towers in every street. The last palm trees I could see from my house were taken down in 2018 as a car garage, surrounded by lush trees, was flattened for future developments. Due to covid there was not much left in Cambodia. The expats that I relied on with my foreign film theater businesses had left and it would take quite a while to get the tourism back. And Chinese expansion made even weekend-getaways unnecessary anymore. Thanks for the great 6-lane express ways, but they bulldozed the beaches too.
Then you moved to Georgia in 2021?
Yes, but that didn’t really work out. So I moved on to Casablanca, Morocco, which was impressive, but not really my thing. Then I continued to chase my dreams and ended up living just south of Lisbon, in the quaint little city of Almada, between the big bad touristy city and the great beaches. Loving it. Except in winter, so that’s when I evacuate myself temporarily to the beaches of Sri Lanka.
Do you have pets?
I moved to Cambodia with my then 5-year-old cat Piri Piri, who made it to a comfortable age of 10 years. In the meantime other cats joined as lost kitten, walk-ins, street rescues or dropped-off basket cases. At one time I had 10 cats roaming around. In the end my calico cat Fifty Shady joined me from Cambodia to Georgia and on to Morocco.
What is this blogging thing you do?
I was one of the first 10 bloggers in The Netherlands, in the end of the previous century. We were all trying to find out what we could do with this internet at our finger tips and we were basically blogging about what we found online. Very nerdy. Other would wonder why we would even put a picture of ourselves on your homepage. Later, people who would start blogging about their life, and we joked about them. The were no webloggers, they were lifeloggers! But it changed everything and now it is totally acceptable to make your entire website about yourself. And everybody has a photo of themselves on social media.
When I started traveling around the world on the hospitality of strangers worldwide, I blogged about my travels and the people I met on my website. It gained at one time about one million unique visitors per month. If I was behind on one day of writing, my Hotmailbox would have at least 3,000 people complaining about me being lazy and not updating my website on time for their entertainment.
What is the one thing you regret?
I have done a lot in my life and I failed little, so I should be proud and happy with how things have gone. Regrets are therefore also little, and might involve meeting loved ones in my life which didn’t work out in the end. Or the ones I didn’t pursue when I should have… Oh boy, that’s life.
Find 7 more questions answered in the Phnom Penh Post, right here!