My name is not really Yann Bastiaans. Born long ago under an unknown name as an orphan, the name I got later on is not important. And it is too difficult for any one to pronounce, so I just took the names of both my sons (Yannick and Sebastiaan) and made up my alias.
Under that name I used to have a Facebook profile, because originally I made that profile for my contacts as an amateur photographer. Nowadays most people, even some of my friends, call me by that name and forgot a bit my original name. It also gave me the advantage (which I didn’t realize when I subscribed to Facebook) of a kind of anonymity against the commercialization of FB-users.
Being Free is the most important goal in all my life, starting when I was a little kid and grew up in the savannahs of Africa (my adoptive parents worked there as development helpers). But personal freedom stops where it starts to limit the freedom of others, so the hunt for freedom can never be an alibi for a selfish way of life where others’ rights are of no importance.
My libertarian – or some might say anarchistic – views took me to some strange places, and made me even pursue some careers that might seem very contradictory to my never-ending search of Freedom. After having some misplaced idea that I might become a great researcher as a mathematician specialized in mathematical nuclear theory – I imagined myself working for CERN in Switzerland – I enrolled in university but gave up quite soon after barely two years.
Despite the fury of my adoptive father I quit my university studies and joined the Belgian Armed Forces as a candidate officer. He threw me out of the house, because, he said, “he did not want a future deserter in his house”, as he knew me quite – but not-so-quite – well. After two weeks my mom let me know it would be okay to return home, only to be thrown out again when I shared the news I wanted to become a green beret. Boy, was he proud when I came home years later with my officer’s commission and joined the paratroopers! ?
But after seven years the army felt like a dead-end for me, and I wanted to reach the goal that initially had been the sole reason for me having enrolled in military service: to become a game ranger in an African national park. By luck – or was it misadventure? – I found myself going trough test after test to be allowed in the KLM Flight Academy. It never came into my mind when I was a little boy to be a pilot, but hey!, the opportunity just presented itself.. And being able to fly an aircraft would make me like ‘death from above’ for all those poachers illegally killing game, or so I thought. I just saw it as an extra qualification for my future job as poacher-hunter.
KLM took me in, gave me a contract the first day I started the Flight Academy, and after school I proudly flew around on the biggest passenger jets known to humanity. You know the stories about pilots and flight attendants, but honestly these are just a notch underestimated… But even sea, sex, sun, alcohol, and flying the big ones got boring after a while, and my personal life headed for disaster. By preferring beauty over kindness, joy over happiness, materialism over simplicity, I ended up with some pretty difficult relationships, and a big part of the problems were of my own doing. ?
One thing led to another and I got into some mental breakdown. Not just a depression, but a huge one, which shook the foundations of my whole being and almost wiped me out of this beautiful world.
I got saved by some people I met far from home who now have my eternal and unconditional love.. Those were no psychiatrists nor therapists. Of those last categories of people I like to say that they are usually sitting at the wrong side of their desk (for it is often they who struggle with their problems, which were the primary reasons for them to study in this field).
The company terminated my contract honorably me due to their company rules (2 years of absence trough illness) and I got my retirement from the pilot’s private pension-fund. Nothing in the world made me happier! Free at last 🙂
By birth I was French, by adoption I became Belgian. I grew up in Africa from the age of a few months until my 15th year. I worked in Belgium, and then went to work in The Netherlands.
But things changed pretty fast in the world as it did in Europe and in Belgium. I started to get immensely irritated about politicians who seem to be fighting all the time for just one thing: power. And that power yields them money. Everything seems to be defined in terms of money. We are no humans any more, we are generators of taxes, and commercialized for the huge profits of multinationals who have taken over the real power in this world. The Belgian citizens disappointed me. Nowhere in the world taxes are so high as in Belgium. Personal taxes, VAT, taxes on businesses, etc.. And all politicians have done in the past 30 years is constantly raising the taxes while throwing the people’s funds away for their own benefits. Belgians do protest, but just as long as it takes them to be served their next glass of beer or their favorite TV-show to come on air. Meanwhile the politicians are raising taxes even more as we speak. No wonder an exodus has been started by Belgian citizens to flee their country.
Now I live in Bulgaria. A country I didn’t know at all. But in the year I spent here I fell in love with this country. With its nature, with its kind and warm citizens, with the absence of stress, with the simplicity and easiness of life, and with the very low taxes. Slowly I am learning the language – nobody in my village speaks English – and am I rebuilding my house and garden. I feel like being in exile, but a happy exile to a country I would never leave to go back to Belgium again.
Last, but most important, years ago I had the luck to meet a woman, a soul mate, who accepts all my strange peculiarities, my ranting over politics which only favors the rich, my eternal and obsessive quest for freedom. She manages to take care of me, to love me, to care for me, even if I am gone most of the time. Mostly living in my house in Bulgaria, far away from Belgium, but often roaming around the world with my trailer, or my motorcycle, and my paraglider. Just to be free… ?