7 weeks ago my mom came up with the idea of doing a little road trip with our MINI cooper.
The idea was to go from Malaga (South of Spain) to Paris. With a few work stops in between in Milan and Lyon.
We’re now almost 7 weeks later and me and my car are in Paris again, after spending 3 weeks in Belgium visiting my family and friends.
We’ve seen some of the most amazing sceneries, driving from the north of Spain, to Sanremo. We crossed the whole south of France’s coastline, it was magical, sun was shining, i could not ask for a better season to do this!
The road trip itself made me get back in touch with myself, what i wanna do in life. It made me think about who i am and what i am, Belgian born, raised in Spain, American influences from the American side in our family. And living in France for the past 3 years. And if i’m very honest i feel very strong connected to all 4 nationalities.
Belgium of course feels like home, but it feels like a place where i have not been for a long time, 14 years to be exact.
My American roots make me feel very strong connected to the United States, and makes me a person with a lot of wanderlust, it makes me wanting to explore every inch of this earth, and my French influences makes wanting to enjoy every minute of this process we call life, the French influences in my life makes a lot of difference as well, it sort of connects my Belgian roots with my Spanish roots.
I was born on the 29th of December in a small village just outside of Antwerp (The Flemish part of Belgium). I went to kinder garden and high school until i was 8 years old.
At 8 years i arrived with my parents and big sister and my cat in Spain, just outside Valencia, I remember not understanding it so much as a kid, like of course every kids dreams of living in a hot country with nice weather and a nice relaxed lifestyle, but actually going through with it is a big difference, i rebelled a lot when i was a kid, i sort of had this strong urge to go back to Belgium, it didn’t understand a single word of Spanish and i could not understand the way life was there, dinner at 9 in the evening, school until 1 in the afternoon, sun always shining, not having any more Christmases when it’s snowing outside, being far away from my family my grandparents in particular. Right before we moved to Spain, my Grandfather had sadly passed away, and it made moving to Spain even harder, i remember being in high school not understand what people were telling me, but step by step i started to bend in, i started to become familiar with the language, the culture, the open mindedness of the locals, and if at times it became hard for me i would hold on tightly to a sweater from my grandfather and hug it so tightly to feel like my grandfather was still around.
It wasn’t until we moved ever further south, to Malaga to be precise that i really opened myself completely to my new country. My parents thought it would be a good idea to put me into a local school to become Spanish as quickly as possible.
I went to university in Malaga, got my first boyfriend, got so many beautiful friends, i was 16 and so happy.
After a while though i felt like Malaga was perhaps a bit too small, i got scouted and modelling agencies weren’t really popular in the South of Spain, so they offered me 2 options, i could either move to London or i could move to Barcelona.
I opted for the 2nd one, and went to Barcelona, after 3 months i loved the city so much i never wanted to go back to Malaga ever again, it was so much fun, Barcelona is such a big city, when you’re young it’s the perfect city, a lot of work and party’s everywhere. Around that time i became friends with a guy called ‘Alex’ Alex quickly became my best friend, we don’t see each other very often anymore but every time when we do see each other, it is always so much fun!
After another 2 years i got this needing feeling inside of me, i didn’t know what it was but i felt like going to Belgium again would help me with it, I started to miss my first home country. I went back to Belgium and tried living there again, I didn’t fit in anymore, i love Belgium but i felt like there was something more or somewhere else i should go to, right after that i got very ill… i was in and out of the hospital all the time, completely sedated so i would not feel anymore pain. One day the hospital said, that my next appointment would be in 5 days so they advised me to go and do something really fun in those 5 free days. I went to Brussels and i saw a car and it said ‘Garage Paris’ I looked at my mom and said ‘let’s go to Paris!’ her first reaction was ‘are you mad?’ but slowly but surely she became a fan of the idea and the next day we drove to Paris. I immediately fell in love with this city… The food, the people, the culture, the lifestyle… There was nothing not to love here. We stayed in a cute little hotel for 3 days and after those 3 days it was time to go back to Belgium again, i remember us immediately planning our next trip to Paris shortly after arriving in Belgium, and again and again and again, after a while we would drive every free day or every free 2 days to Paris just to be in the city. After about 7 months of doing so i figured it might be a good idea to take the jump and move to Paris. Which we did and after 2 years and a half i’ve never regretted making that decision.
Nowadays i spend a lot of my time in Paris, I go back to Brussels and Antwerp very often too, i go to Spain at least once or twice a month and i’ll visit my family in the United States at least 3 times a year.
So now when people ask me what the county it is i come from, i say Belgium, Spain and France, and the United States because all of these countries made me who i am today, they made me the Kelly that loves to travel around the world, that loves to explore new places and new experiences. I feel Belgian, i feel Spanish, American, and French. And so when i arrive at a destination on the other side of the world and i see someone with the exact same passport like i have, it brings back all the sweet memories of my childhood.
And to anyone who’s thinking about moving to another country, or another city or another state, i ‘d say ‘DO IT’ Life is short, you can fail yes of course you can, but you can also succeed, and you cannot know without trying if it will work out or not.