To explain why I’m taking a year long vacation in Latin America with my family (apart from the obvious reason that it’s really fun to take a year off), I have to start with a piece on activism from Edward Abbey’s fantastic speech “Joy shipmates, joy”.

One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out.

Be as I am — a reluctant enthusiast… a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here.

So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space.

Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.

I love my job. I feel like I’m one of the fortunate people who have been able to translate their passions and interests into what they do for a living. And for me switchrs is the next step in that adventure. Bringing together interesting, passionate people fighting for the same cause but with different skillsets, I can’t wait to really get going!

I think I love working because there’s both so much interesting stuff going on everywhere (technological developments, schools and universities that are rethinking themselves, our big societal and environmental challenges, economical transitions…), and the fact that I have had the luck and fortune to be a part of a lot of these developments over the last few years.

How can you not say yes to shaping the future, teaching the next generation, and sharing your ideas on these matters?

But sometimes, I love working a little too much. Sometimes I have to take the time to reflect on what I’m doing. Why I’m doing it. How I could be doing it better.

There have been ideas riping in my mind for the past years that now really want to mature. There’s a book bouncing around in my head, waiting to be written. There’s the ever present fear that I’m losing sight on the bigger picture because I’m constantly working with what I already know. And of course there’s my wife who has to keep up with my always racing mind and restlessness, and my kids who won’t wait to grow up until I’ve got the time to watch it happen.

So we (my family and I) decided to take a short break. To reflect on everything we are and do, and enjoy each other’s presence.

This doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped working though. I’m writing that book that has been bouncing in the back of my head. Together with switchrs I’m working on those ideas that are ready to be harvested. And I finally found the time to explore what you’ve all been up to for the last years.

During this travel I’ll be closely involved in switchrs, but more in a background role. Reflecting on what I can bring to the game once I get back. During this year I want to take the time to meet new people. In Latin-America (all suggestions welcome!), but also online. Expanding my network. Get a better view on that bigger picture, and connecting with ever more people working on making this world a better place.

I can’t wait to hear from you all!

Best,

Jan