Confluence of Past Passions

Harvesting Ladakh619X1024

In August/September 1999, I stayed in the Himalayan village of Phyang (Ladakh) to help a family harvest. Harvesting time is very short at these altitudes because it starts freezing in October. Many Ladakhi youngsters quit their home village to seek fortune elsewhere and there are not enough people left to harvest crops in time.

During this stay within a Buddhist family, I really began to appreciate their calm, amiable and humble lifestyle and culture.

In autumn 1999, I was a few months in Ladakh and undertook 3 cycling trips:

  1. Ascent of the Kardung-La pass, the highest motorable road (42km).
  2. Trip from Leh to Lamayuru monastery (124 km)
  3. Trip from Leh to Shakti/Thak Thog monastery (54 km)

After my stay in Ladakh, I flew back to Delhi and started on a bicylce tour in Rajasthan, starting out westbound to Bikaner, then heading southeast direction the holy city of Pushkar with its anual camel fair, and then going southwest to the Mount Abu mountain resort.

After Rajasthan, I went further south to the state of Gujarat, passing via the semi-desert village of Zainabad and the salty Little Rann region until I reached the port city of Mandvi, located at the Gulf of Karachi. From there, I headed to the capital of Bhuj and from there back by train to Patan, near the border with Rajasthan.

In 2014 I switched from medium- and long-distance running (track and field and street runs) to trail running, preferably in mountainous areas. Trail runs are more fun, because they are less competitive and more amicable. It is all about enjoying running in beautiful scenery

In September 2017 I tried to complete the 42K/3000D+ Xtremelagos trail in Covadonga (Pyrenees), but I failed because I did not reach the cut-off time at the 24K control post due to extremely bad weather and mud conditions.

In 1994 I started hiking in high mountains. First I joined group excursions with a local guide in the Pyrenees and the Himalaya giants in Nepal and Ladakh. After a few years, when I had gained more experience, I also took to the Alps and Pyrenees on my own with a small expedition tent.

I started jogging in 1986 and joined Beerschot Athletics Club in 1990, running all distances between 800 meters and a Marathon. I ran four marathons: Three times in my home city of Antwerp and one in Echternach, Luxembourg.

From my 10th year I was addicted to horses. These beautiful animals completely filled my life outside secondary school. From my 18th until my 22nd year, I worked at Brabo Horse Riding Club in Schilde, together with my then partner who owned the club.

At the age of 22, however, I decided there was more to the world than only horses. I broadened my horizon and decided to go back to school to study languages.