All Hail the Pioneers Life & Low-Tech Uncategorized

All hail the Pioneers: Day 3

This is the last part of a 3-day series. Click here to view all posts in the series.
About 2 days late, sorry about that 🙂

The last day! Picture made by Hans Stockmans, used with permission.
The last day! Picture made by Hans Stockmans, used with permission.

I woke up and rushed out of the tent quickly, as this was my last day. I really wanted to take it all in this day. Every day there are new workshops that you can do.
These workshops vary from technology, entrepreneurship to philosophy and spirituality.  Today was the first day I actually could do them all day.

I decided to only focus on the low-tech workshops (that didn’t have anything to do with technology or entrepreneurship).

As I walked still half-asleep to the panel with the workshops for today, I couldn’t really pick one. A nice lady behind me shouted “Who’s in for yoga?!”.

“Great!” I thought, now we got something going on!

About an hour later we were back at the main campsite, the yoga in the morning really helped to wake up, I even decided to keep doing it at home as replacement to morning gymnastics because it’s less intense but gives the same result. I think it’s around 10 in the morning now.

I don’t remember if the second workshop was first or the breakfast. Needless to say, the breakfast was very good, as was the lunch. This was the first day I actually could eat breakfast or lunch without being in a hurry. I think there were more than 4 different kinds of bread and around 10 different things you can put on it. So for everyone’s taste there was something.

The second and my last official workshop was a spiritual one, called “Travel to your past life”. Now I would like to mention first that you don’t have to believe in reincarnation. For me, if something brings you the feeling you intended to get out of it, from that point, it doesn’t matter if it’s real or not anymore. I can understand that most of my readers would lose me from this point on 🙂 All I can say, I would lose it too if I would read this without being there myself. So try to focus on the result and the feelings rather than on the believes, if that’s not your thing.

We were with a big group, I think around 20 people isn’t exaggerated.
We gathered around a tent in the main campsite, the instructor, called Anita, introduced us to the workshop. We were explicitly warned that not everyone could travel to their past live because of the large amount of people that joined today, and moved to the same location as where the yoga took place in the morning.

I’m not going trough everything we have done there, as that would make the post too long, so we focus only on the first and a bit on the second person who got a reading before we move to my experience.

After everyone sat in circles around Anita, the first lady who got a reading was chosen. She lied down next to Anita (who was sitting besides her) and trough different routines she was able to read what the unconscious mind was telling you. Every time she tells a century like ‘1500’ and by lifting your arm she could tell if that was the year your past life was in.

After a while, the girl was able to describe where she was and what she was feeling. I noticed that she was more capable to describe her feelings than her surroundings (which sort of kept being the same throughout the process). She told us that she was being betrayed by her husband at that time and killed by the villagers.

I was a bit shocked by how much it got her. You could see the fear on her face. At that point, I didn’t really wanted to go myself anymore.
After that was done, there was another process where you would accept what happened. So basically ‘forgive’ your past self. At that point everything seemed OK again.

After that another girl got a reading, she had a much more relaxing past life (in a cave eating a raw rabbit) which was also described much by feeling (she said “I can taste blood” before actively describing her surroundings) which made me more eager to try it myself again, since nothing really happened.

The third person was chosen in a different matter. Anita used the energy of everyone in the group with 1 chosen ‘medium’ (which was me) to ‘vote’ who would go next.
Eventually Anita was asking if I would want to go (which my unconscious mind would answer) and it said yes.  So here we go!

I was lying there, where 2 people before me had good and more fearful experiences. I was asked to focus on a giant gate where I would go trough, to find my past life behind that gate. The thing didn’t open for me, but I looked up. I saw something that resembles a hot air balloon. A moment later I was in some sort of shed, in a small village, it looked like the middle-east. It was very hot, there was a lot of sun as well. I saw a man in the shed that looked like me, but darker skin and longer hair. I knew it was me, not because I recognized him, but he had that look. That look what I have too when I’m working on a brand new startup idea. He had that too, even more than I had actually. In front of him was the balloon. It looked like a bad quality version of the ones today. The balloon was hard, made of leather, the basket was very badly made, you could see the floor trough it.

My shed was open, people walked outside, they didn’t really care about me, but did leave me alone. This was a comforting feeling to me, and I was happy.
So overall a great past life! Everything I describe, I said out loud while I was in my past life, so the other people could hear it.

I felt a handshake (like physical in my right hand) but I knew it wasn’t real. I focused on my right hand in my past life and a man was there. He didn’t speak but I could feel what he was doing there, we was a friend that helped me and came looking how it was going.

Anita brought me a bit forward in time. We were at some sort of smaller version of the Grand Canyon. There I was, with the man and some sort of wooden cart that I think carried the balloon. The balloon was in the center between us. I could feel the thrills.

Then the whole thing turned.

My past self was doing something, where I myself was thinking “am I really that stupid?”. I couldn’t believe what was going on. I didn’t want to describe it in front of everyone, without knowing if it actually was happening. I was dragging the balloon on top of a hill and jumped off of it with the balloon.

Then the images stopped coming. I couldn’t see what happened but I knew it very well. I died in the crash. I broke down because of this. My eyes were filling with tears, not because that I saw some sort of death, but that I was so ambitious there, real or not, it was a manifestation of me, that I wanted to give my own life for the balloon to make it work.

Moral of the story

After the past life workshop, I kept thinking about it. I saw it as a symbol. The balloon could have been anything else.
I am very ambitious, I don’t know how to give up, I failed a lot of projects and yet I keep going and keep learning and it never wears me down.
When is that too much? How long does it take for me to ‘crash’?

That was what kept me thinking.

The ending

The rest of the day was going really well, I talked to a few people, we still got a part of the ball pit set up!
When it was time to go, I arranged a lift to the station, and left with a whole bunch of new experiences, and thinking how I would write about them.


I started this 3-day series to encourage open-minded, smart people to organize meetups like this. Be yourself, get years worth of self-reflection in just a few days, and have fun while doing it.

I’ve been to a lot of meetings myself and the bottom-line is usually the same. Go do some networking, make sure you up to date with what’s happening in your industry etc. And while that is important, this will never let you be truly yourself around the people around you, even if they are like-minded.

You’ve read the last part of my story, let this be the start of yours!

All Hail the Pioneers Life & Low-Tech Uncategorized

All hail the Pioneers: Day 2

This is the second part of a 3-day series. Click here to view all posts in the series.

It was early in the morning. I just woke up expecting to be annoyed by the fact that I was sleeping in a tent in the middle of the woods (I don’t like camping in general) but that didn’t happen. I found the sounds of the early birds and even the moist air quite pleasant. I got up quickly and joined the rest of the people for breakfast. This didn’t last long, as I had planned to join René (A friend of mine who I knew before the festival) in making a hardware/software project that will allow easier networking between 2 people. It was my way of contributing to the festival, aside from smaller tasks.

It was some sort of ball pit where next to it a pillar with a big button was placed. Another pillar would be placed in the center of the festival. The idea was that you push the big button at the ball pit and a voice will tell you that you can enter the ball pit. The pillar at the festival would light up then, where, when pushed, another voice at the ball pit will tell you that someone is coming to join you. When 15 minutes have passed, the routine starts over.

I quickly grabbed 1 slice of bread, then we drove away to a working place not far from the festival.

At the working place

When I first entered the work place, an open space where different kinds of people go, it was heavenly. The whole thing was so peaceful, that even right now it still cracks my head why I liked this place so much. I think it must be the combination of the simple things that where there. The sound of the pool, the chickens that walked the lands, and the view of the big house that sat in the middle. Each one filling a gap that would otherwise be empty. Nothing overfilled, just enough to create a smooth surface ready to slide away on.

[easy_panorama id=”167″]

Although it wasn’t all that fun. I planned to go back to the festival around 16:00 as this ‘would be’ my last day. I would do some workshops when I got back (every day there are new workshops you can join)

We got delayed heavily on our project and ended up working for 8 hours straight if it wasn’t more. We couldn’t finish on time and we stopped around 22:00. While I did enjoy the view and the people at the working place I wasn’t that happy that I missed so much today at the festival. I decided to talk to my family and see if I can get an extra day so I can enjoy some of the workshops. After all my chores were delegated I could stay an extra day and as disappointing I was, as happy I am now.

We missed dinner, but we got some surprisingly good food (it was like chilli con carne with bacon) from the people who ran the working place. To my surprise, this was also my first technology-related conversation I had during the festival.

Back at the festival

We got back late. After a few talks I joined the campfire and got into a new conversation with ease. After I started talking to a good friend who just arrived, I felt like when I close my eyes, I would fall head-first into the campfire. So I decided to be honest and tell him how tired I was, instead of pretending to listen. We could finish it tomorrow.

I took a shower at the camping’s public bathroom which woke me up again. At this moment it was like 00:00 and I joined the campfire again. New people sat around the fire, and this is where the second and third conversation was about something in my comfort zone (entrepreneurship, technology). All other conversations were non-tech related. As I talked about my upcoming project/startup, my enthusiasm rose and thus did my energy level. At the time I really went to bed it was like 4:30.

But I was happy. I didn’t regret that I stayed so long at the workplace, as I would never had found such peace while working. I still got another day to really get into the festival. But that is for tomorrow!

All Hail the Pioneers Life & Low-Tech

All hail the Pioneers: Day 1

This is the first part of a 3-day series. To see all posts in the series, see:

Here I am, sitting in the train, slowly descending back into civilization as I traveled from station to station, away from the Hamlet’s of the Netherlands, back into the cities. I’m looking outside, thinking about how I would write everything I’ve been trough in just 3 days. I think I got it now. So let’s begin…

First, I want to emphasize what this post is not. To all developers, investors, inventors, entrepreneurs and anyone else who has read some of my posts: This is not one of those posts. This is not a new project that I’m super stoked about, or a game that I love to explain every bit about, no, this is a story about how I got into a 3-day, medium-sized invite-only meetup called Permanent Beta Festival, set in the Netherlands, in a camping, in the middle of the woods.

I also do not represent The Permanent Beta organization in any way in this post, all the quotes, people and situations explained in this post, are the view of a single first-time visitor and volunteer of the Permanent Beta Festival.

This is also not a review. It’s not a compliment, it’s not critique either. Why not? Because when people read a review about something, they set, if they like the experience the reviewer had, expectations, mostly similar to the ones of the reviewer. If those expectations are not met, then the experience of the readers of the review is overall not very positive. Not because it isn’t, but their mind is locked on that one experience.

With our story it’s different. It doesn’t matter to me what your experience would be, just as it shouldn’t matter to you what my experience was.
Also reviews are typically about services like hotels, restaurants, and other places where there is typically a centralized ‘service’ that will make your experience as good as possible, either by having waiters, staff, and other people ready to serve you. They make sure you have fun. If you are not satisfied you go to the management and explain your complaints.

In the Permanent Beta Festival, everyone makes sure everyone else has fun. Imagine a place in the middle of the woods where there are tons of people who are like you, but total different interests. This is something I didn’t think was possible, but it was. I spoke with around 20 different people and around 3 of them were actually working in a tech-related field. So what did I and the other 17 people have in common? We were all, very, very crazy, out of the box thinkers. Every single one of them, including me, that was something that made me feel very comfortable in a very short time.

So let’s go back, before I was in the Permanent Beta Festival. How did it get started? I was working at home on a freelance project, when the phone rang, and I picked it up. It was a good friend of mine asking me if I could arrive earlier. Sure, I thought, because I expected the festival to start at Sept 27 for some reason. But then he asked, “Ok, can you come soon?”.


Alright. You know where this is going. I forgot I got my tickets for Saturday and Sunday at Sept 10.
I didn’t want to skip this event as I heard many great stories myself as well. So I moved my appointments, arranged a lift and left home nearly immediately, on the same day. It’s not a fun thing to do, but you should try it, it makes your brain strong to adapt to quick changes.

And away I went! Riding in a camper with a girl I just met at that moment. Around 3 hours later we were at the spot. At that time it was around 22:00 I think.
I immediately was astonished by the lights and the environment. It didn’t take me a long time to start my first conversation. It was about how to imitate a bagpipe. That’s all you need to know 🙂

What’s next

Tomorrow I will continue on the second part of the series. I hope you enjoy the read. Don’t be afraid to leave any comments that help me improve my writing. See you next day!


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