Evelien launched her own storytelling business, Optimiro.

Evelien went from a broken Olympic dream and a ruined trip around the world to building her business to freedom: “I’ve learned to turn tears into opportunities to grow”

“These past two years, I saw two dreams fall to pieces. When our long-awaited rugby qualifier game for the Olympics was ruined because of a decision of the trainers, I sat down and cried my heart out. But instead of continuing to wallow in self-pity, I decided to push the departure date of my world tour forward. It was the best decision ever: I made it out of Europe just in time before the pandemic hit hard. My dream was to travel around the world, an adventure that had been on my bucket list for a long time. It turned out 2020 wasn’t the best moment to do so… I got stuck in Australia and with my plans put on hold, I suddenly had time to reflect on the direction of my life. In the end, the setbacks I faced prove that I’ll find ways to turn a defeat into an opportunity.”
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Ann and Mike in Berlin

Ann moved to Berlin for love and re-evaluated her career: “When you make plans, you’re often pushed into a different direction – one that might be better than what you had in mind”

”Almost a year in, Berlin has come to feel like home. The street scene is extremely diverse: you see women with half-bald skulls or green hair going for a run, or 50-year-old men with mohawks cruising by on their Harley Davidson bikes… Nothing is too crazy or too wild. I appreciate the freedom of possibilities that reigns here; all Berliners can be themselves. Due to the pandemic and lockdowns, I haven’t missed out on much in Belgium. I do miss my family and friends, but we call each other often – more than before. I used to believe I had to attend every event in order for my friendships to be strong. I’ve let that go: I realise it’s not the quantity, but the quality that determines how intense or deep my connections are. Nowadays I’m more focused on my priorities – the people and things that are important to me – and trust that the rest follows in due course.”
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Karen settled down in Spain and launched a successful business

Karen settled down in Spain and launched a successful business: “Embracing risks has led me to where I want to be in life”

“Bright orange strokes fill up the sky as the sun slowly sets. I’m pouring myself a glass of sweet white wine when the phone rings. The excited faces of my sister and niece appear on my screen. I look at the stack of papers in front of me and put them aside. After the call, I’ll get back to prepping our business meeting to discuss a new franchise of our salad bar. My niece enthusiastically jabbers her head off about her day – and before we hang up, we count the days until her next visit. When I put the phone down, I remind myself how lucky I am to see the ocean, our balcony view, in a different light every day. I lean back in my seat and let the last rays of sunshine warm my face.”
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