The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.

Baruch Spinoza

That quote (by the most badass Dutch philosopher ever) sums up the idea of this blog. I’m trying to understand the world and be free. Very ambitious, I know. But it’s an exciting journey. And you can join me for the ride! I’m sharing all of my personal experiments, observations, failures, and lessons here on this website.

A good start on this page is my 2024 goals and planning document. This is where I share the general direction I want to take my life this year. An other good start is What is explorer core?, where I explain my personal vision/values.

Background information

For you weird internet stalkers (I’m one of them myself as well), here is some personal background information:

I was born into a big family in a small village in the South-East of the Netherlands, close the German border. I had a great time growing up in the country-side. The older I am, the more I realise what a blessing this was. There is immense freedom to explore, experiment, and be bit naughty.

Growing up
Some of the best summer holidays I’ve ever had: cycling holidays with the whole family!

After highschool I moved out of my parents house to study Industrial Design at the Technical University of Eindhoven. Why did I study Industrial Design? For the classic reason: ‘I wanted something technical, but also creative’. My time in Eindhoven was amazing, I enjoyed it a lot. I met so many people from so many different cultures, and I was part of many different groups. A few examples: I was part of an art collective, the national student politics, I founded a company, worked on cutting edge tech at a large multinational, and snooped around at young start-ups.

University days Jaer Mertens
Accurate representation of my university days. Late nights, cheap liquor, acting serious(ly silly).

Later I moved to Rotterdam for my master degree in Innovation Management. This was exciting, because it was a new location, a bigger city. It felt like the appropriate next step. But unfortunately Covid hit and my time in Rotterdam was cut short. Since the last half year of my degree was completely online, I decided to move to Malta to join my girlfriend Becky. And that’s how I ended up doing my thesis defense in a tiny Maltese house share apartment.

Malta Becky Jaer Mertens
United with my girlfriend Becky! After two years of long distance relationship, we were living in the same country for the first time.

And that brings us to the present. I’m currently living in Malta with my girlfriend. Making my money via the internet, whilst having the freedom to explore the world in all its dimensions. That’s where my current focus is on. Trying a lot of things, exploring, experimenting and trying to make sense of the world around me.

What to expect from this blog

You can expect everything really. At this moment my main focus lies on (creative) coding, reading books, and adventure sporting. In the end, I’m just a 20-something-year-old, exploring the world and trying to make sense of it all. So expect experiments, challenges, reflections, essays, and an occasional wild-card-blog-post.