When you meet Nick, your first impression of him is likely to be 'a gentle, genuinely kind soul'. And after you spend some time with him, you probably still think the same thought. Nick grew up in Antwerp, and currently lives in Leuven with his wife Fany and their young daughter Flora. During his studies he went to Nepal, and that is where his journey really began. Discovering for himself the different ways of living, poverty, different rhythms and that happiness is in the non material things. Coming back to Belgium and seeing the speed of life and obsession with things there was a bit of a shock.
“It is a very sharp, frustrating and lonely feeling that I used to feel almost every time I came back from Nepal or India”
Nepal is also where he started writing and trekking. He has walked over 3000 km in various places in the world. He also experienced the impact of climate change personally during his trips to Nepal and Pakistan which had a real impact on his own behaviour.
“Monsoons and landslides in Nepal, and not in the monsoon season. In Pakistan irrigation channels were destroyed due to heavy glacier melting. Environmental refugees, destruction of crops … the more you see and experience these things, and the more you talk to people whose lives are impacted forever, the more you realise ‘well, I can’t just go home and act as if I didn’t see this’”
So Nick prioritises his life in a way that he feels most meaningful. By spending more time with his family and by treading as lightly as he is able to.
“you start small and evolve gradually - in small shocks. From meat to veggie, from plain to train, from shops to second hand. I never considered this as a struggle, but as a way to improve my life. But saying it went natural is also misleading, as it did take some mental clicks”