Hi, I’m Els!
In my ‘ordinairy’ daily life I am doing a PhD in Cell Biology, in my life outside science I am a photographer, traveller, explorer, website builder, writer, and nature lover.
I started ‘Els op Reis’ (‘Els Travels’) when I went on my first long solo trip outside Europe, in 2013. I took the train of the TransMongolian Express, one of my all time big dreams. After five weeks in Russia, Mongolia, and China I spent three weeks in Japan and another two in Indonesia, Bali. It was really a memorable trip. Writing my blog was a way to share my travel adventures with everyone at home, in words and photos. Ever since, I have an insatiable wanderlust. Travel has influenced me in ways I didn’t expect. That first trip was a challenge for me to step out of my comfort zone but during that trip I also realized that the world is at your feet if you want it to be. I feel more free, wanderlust occasionally takes hold of me and at that moment I want nothing more than to just travel: feeling like a traveller, free, without a fixed place, unbound, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, and absorb nature. I want to renew, refind, and reinvent myself. Travel does that to me as well, I want to go going off my beaten path to discover a new part of myself.
Meanwhile, I am writing my blog as a diary for myself, but increasingly trying to use it to write for larger audiences. I am trying to show everybody you can be a normal girl with a normal job and still go on (life) adventures. I am writing in my native language Dutch, but thinking of setting up an English version of my blog as well. I try new things in terms of writing, photographs, and a little bit of video (I have more than enough ideas, and currently filming 😉 ). I love rugged landscapes and how we live with the vagaries of nature, thrown back to basics. In my blog you will find my own experiences, my observations of my surroundings and people around me, how I wonder about us as people, our behaviour, and the crazy things you can find anywhere around the world. Since I started my blog, I also actively resumed photography. Photography was a bit cast aside when I started studying biology, even though I graduated in 2006 as a photographer from art school and had worked some years as a teacher and freelance portrait and wedding photographer. Being a photographer, scientist, and a traveller all in one, gives me a different view of the world: I am curiously soaking in experiences while travelling, but I am also looking through my lens as an observer. In my pictures you see mostly landscapes, but also small, everyday events, and unguarded moments.
Next to all this, I am just a normal, 32-year-old, tax-paying citizen in society, working as a PhD at the University Medical Center Groningen, doing research on ageing-related diseases such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease (although going on a world trip is still on my life-bucketlist). Maybe you want to know even a little more about me? I am as Dutch as they come: pragmatic, punctual, curious, and direct, I am mostly a solo traveler, meeting people along the way, I am multilingual (I speak English, Dutch, German, some Spanish, and I can curse in Greek), I like trying things I have never done before, being active, expanding my boundaries, I love books, maps, and postcards, I’m a little bit of a nerd (in my profession it’s almost impossible not to be), I have a random taste in music, I am almost always vegetarian, feminist, hardworking, I think peanut butter and chocolate sprinkles sandwiches is a good combination, I am 181 centimeters tall, and without travel I am not a complete human being. Therefore, I will be travelling frequently in the coming years. With my blog I want you to come with me on these journeys! Have lots of fun reading and enjoy the photos!