Time for a New Adventure: From Amsterdam to Los Angeles


Getting ready to take off and move to California

You may have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet on social media this year. 2017 has been a year of ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. However, because of the changes in my personal and professional life, my social media activity has been on the back burner, but now, as I’m settling into my new home, I want to provide some insight.

Wait, new home, you ask? Yes, you heard right. Ready for it?

I moved to Los Angeles!

My move happened about two months ago, at the end of May 2017. Around the Christmas holidays, my long-time boyfriend and I broke up. As I had the ability to work from anywhere and needed time to heal around family, I decided to go back to the States. The majority of my time was spent with immediate family. After being gone for six years and only coming back for holidays, it was nice to do day-to-day activities together — watching my nephew’s baseball practice or cooking a meal with my parents in the evening. My family is my everything. A fantastic group of friends, who did weekly dinners together, welcomed me into their circle, too. The original plan was to return to the Netherlands, but one month turned into three and as I started to get back on my feet, I felt like the universe was directing me down a new path. A new adventure was calling!

Adventure is actually what led me to Amsterdam in the first place. If you may recall, I knew I wanted to move overseas from a young age. The first time I visited England at 13 years old, I told my mom I was going to move there. She just smiled, like all mothers do, and said make it happen. Years later, I said the same thing during another trip to Europe. Finally, in February 2011, my dreams came true. I moved to Amsterdam.

Plane tickets in hand, getting ready to board my flight to Amsterdam (February 2011).

The Netherlands was my home for six years. Six years. I basically spent my entire adult life (post college) in Amsterdam. In a way, I grew up there and a part of my heart will always remain in Amsterdam. It was the place where my dreams came true. I fell in love. I got to live in one of the most amazing, diverse cities in the world. I published a book where I had the opportunity to tell the stories of amazing men and women from around the world. I befriended so many people, many of whom I know I will stay in touch with. No amount of distance can separate the bonds we’ve created. Living abroad opened my eyes to new and different perspectives. That experience changed me to the core; I will never be the same. As I sit here writing this in my kitchen in California and close my eyes, I am transported back to the charming canals and amazing architecture. The wind lightly brushes my cheek, almost like a soft kiss as I bike home. I can hear the laughter I share with my friends, sitting on a sunny terrace. The water sparkles, and I smile.



From top left, clockwise: Savannah and I on her five-country-one-day road trip; Savannah and I at SAIL Amsterdam; Savannah, Maggie, and Pam; Standing in two countries at once (Netherlands and Belgium) for Savannah’s bachelorette party


From top left, clockwise: Michelle and I; the Azavista team; Virgil, Matthijs, Christ-Jan, me, and Katalin



From top left, clockwise: Biking on the back of Matthijs’ bike; swimming in the Amstel river; Savannah riding on the back of Matthijs’ bike with Lane and I


From top left, clockwise: Celebrating Queen’s Day with Luca, Christiane, and Rachel; Matthijs and I in Waal, Netherlands; Savannah with camels during her bachelorette party; Katalin and I eating sushi; Matthijs and I at Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs


From top left, clockwise: Celebrating life at Le Petit Latin with Anca, Brittany, and Ruxandra; Picnic with Bea and Brittany in Flevopark; dining at Restaurant Tjing Tjing


From top left, clockwise: My mom, step-dad, Matthijs and I dining in Utrecht; my Dad and Uncle Eddie in Volendam; Jose, Ruthger, Matthijs, my Dad, and I at Brouwerij t’IJ; my mom and step-dad outside the Rijksmuseum


From top left, clockwise: Zaanse Schans; sunset at Scheveningen; the flowers of Keukenhof; touring Kasteel de Haar


From top left, clockwise: Berj, Dave (not pictured), and Ryan visiting Matthijs and I; Kenny (not pictured) and Alley visiting us and touring around Haarlem; Santi, Cristina, and Matthijs outside the Rijksmuseum; Juho and Matthijs in a wooden shoe at Zaanse Schans; Savannah and I with Jason, Michelle, and James in Alkmaar


Left: my Dad and I at the Zuiderzee Museum. Right: Savannah’s bachelorette party


From top left, clockwise: Ruxandra and I at Booking.com; holding Flavors of Life upon delivery for the very first time; presenting Flavors of Life to Arno and Ali at Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs; celebrating with Jessica at my book release; a peek at who attended my Flavors of Life book launch in Amsterdam

But then the warm summer sun streams through the window and flushes my face; I’m back to reality in LA, and that’s good also.

Malibu Sunset

It’s time for the next chapter of my life to begin, and I am beyond excited. Life in California until now has been full of laughter, love, and sunshine. Most evenings and weekends I’m in the mountains or on the beach, and I absolutely love what I do for work. I landed my dream job out here, and for that, I cannot be more grateful. I work for SAGE publishing. SAGE is an academic publisher. We mainly publish journals and textbooks, and I am responsible for science, technology, and medicine (STM) journals. I am truly honored to work for an organization who lives its mission statement. I have shared some snippets below.

“Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher…. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work… We aim to be the envy of our competitors – to be people with high standards, who care for each other, and above all who take pride in working at SAGE.”

What motivates me? Telling stories and making a difference in this world. My book, Flavors of Life, shared the stories of 62 people from around the world, stories that would not have otherwise been told. Their stories are inspiring, emotional, and impact many people, whether we know it or not. Seeing that impact makes me very happy. Now that I am with SAGE, I can continue to make a difference. I am honored to be a part of an organization that is publishing forward thinking research, research that will better our world. I am one part of the wheel helping it roll forward. On a personal level, I can only hope my positive, bubbly persona impacts people for the better. I’ve been told one of my best features is my smile, and I try to use it often to brighten someone’s day.

Life took an unexpected turn, but everything happens for a reason. I will continue to make a difference in this world… wherever I am. To start, I know I have that opportunity at SAGE. Every choice we make leads us down the right path, and all of my decisions to date led me here to California. Life in LA blends everything I love.


From top left, clockwise: hiking in Charmlee Wilderness Park; hiking in Santa Monica Mountains; hiking to Paradise Falls; watching the sunset at Point Dume


Hiking to Lizard Rock

I want to leave you with a few more words. Never give up on your dreams. What you want, wants you, too. What do you want most in life? Are you doing it right now? If not, what are you waiting for? Do all you can to make it happen. I’m not saying the path will be easy, but it will definitely be worth it. My path has had its ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. I can truly look back and say, “I’ve lived” and I will continue to do that every single day. Thank you for all your love and support over the years. Thank you, Amsterdam, for the beautiful experience, and I look forward to seeing what LA has in store. Cheers to the next chapter!

Please note all views and opinions are my own.


2 replies
  1. The Wandelgek
    The Wandelgek says:

    Hi Jessica, that indeed is an expected new adventure and yes I did wonder why it was quite silent on social media although I know you as a busy bee 😉 Hope you’ll have a great time living on California and congratulations with your new job too!
    Marcel aka The Wandelgek😊


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