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February was a strange month. We traveled back to the Netherlands to say our final goodbyes to my grandmother. She had passed away at the beautiful age of 100. There are a thousand beautiful things I could write about her, but I prefer to keep those memories private for now.

After the funeral, my immediate family and I traveled to the Italian Alps. We spend the week in the comfort of each other’s closeness. We went for walks, for cycle rides, we played boardgames, and we went skiing. 

Now my family has returned to the Netherlands and Becky has flown back to Malta. 

I have stayed here on my own. And I will not return to Malta for the upcoming two months. Until the end of April, I will reside at casa di Mertens in solitude.

Italy Piemonte Sala Biellese

1. Thought: solitude

In my last email I discussed my vision of the explorer. To those who have read that vision, it will not come as a surprise that I have now retreated into the solitude of the Italian Alps. 

Here in this little mountain village I can focus on my relationship with nature, on making art, and on running.

It might seem terribly anti-social to move away from society like this. And to be frank: it is terribly anti-social. But that is the point of it. I believe it to be healthy to have a period of non-concessional solitude.

Read here about my vision of the explorer


2. Art – Lana del Rey

As most of you know, I’m not much of a music connoisseur. But there are two artists whose music resonates with me strongly. The first one being Leonard Cohen and the second one being Lana del Rey. In fact: I got into Leonard’s music because of Lana del Rey’s cover of Chelsea Hotel #2. 

Anyway, I digress. All I wanted to say is that Lana del Rey is bringing out a new album in March. In anticipation of that album she has released two singles. The album’s titular track Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd and the second one is AW (American Whore). 

I’m listening to these songs a lot these days and they make me very excited about her new album.

Spotify link to AW

3. Quote

Call Me By Your Name’s peach scene walked so Lapvona’s grape scene could run.”

A random one-sentence review on Goodreads about a book I recently read. But for those that are familiar with the peach scene, this one-sentence speaks volumes 🙂

If you are interested in the book (it’s quite a strange book to be honest), you can read my personal review via the link below.

Link to my Lapvona review

running 250k

4. Sport – I covered 250KM running!

This means that I ran 250.000 meters in the first two months of 2023. To some of you experienced runners that might not seem that much, but to put things in my personal perspective: 

  • In 2021 I didn’t even make it to 250KM in 12 months (193KM)
  • 250KM is 39% of the total distance I covered in 2022 (630KM)

My secret? I read the book 80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster by Training Slower

Now I am by far the slowest runner on my Strava feed. But I’m covering lots of kilometers, I am pretty consistent, and I am having a lot of fun while doing it!

Link to 80/20 Running on Goodreads

5. Picture – Fire Salamander

Here is a picture of a fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) that we ran into last week. It is quite beautiful, isn’t it?

Fire salamander