Opinions. Everyone has one, and many don't hesitate to share their perspective on your life with you. Often, it's not meant to be malicious, but I'll tell you here what effect opinions should have on me and my life.

Jo in the snow in front of the van. A heart is drawn in the snow on one of the windows.

My lifestyle makes me happy right now, despite the ups and downs. I am content, but I don’t have to convince anyone of that. I realize that my path in life is not suitable for everyone, but we would like to share our lives without constantly encountering prejudices.

It would be nice if we could speak on equal terms without being constantly judged. A respectful exchange where we can share each other’s joys and challenges in a neutral way would be desirable.

Who has rights also has duties. In a world where we have the right to freedom of speech, we should ask ourselves: when do we have the duty to step back from it.

These thoughts come to mind, especially when it comes to our unconventional lifestyle. Honestly, the unsolicited opinions about our life in the van and everything that comes with it are often annoy me. I try to be understanding, but sometimes it’s really hard for me. Especially when it’s always the same critical remarks, repeated like a constant song.

A recurring “How long are you going to keep doing this?” “When are you going to live normally again?” or “What about your retirement?” or even “When are you going to start a family?” “Don’t you want to go back to work properly?” accompanied by equally meaningful facial expressions feels degrading, hurtful, and condescending. Yet I try to smile and not let it get to me because I know that every criticism could be interpreted as a rejection of our way of life. It’s a tightrope walk between the desire to express one’s opinion and not losing respect for others. Being constantly confronted with the same questions leads to my life choices being devalued in our eyes. It would be naive to claim that it doesn’t bother me, but it’s not worth arguing about.

The question of boundaries and who sets them remains unanswered. I don’t want to convince anyone because whether someone else wants to lead a similar life is entirely up to them.

As the old saying goes: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In this simple wisdom lies the truth about how to treat each other and respect different life choices.

In this spirit, Best regards to all of you out there! Yours, Jo