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Why backpacks & bandages?

Monday, October 31, 2022

Hi there!

I have so many posts in drafts, so many travel pictures I want to share (both from Aruba and my latest destination after that, Italy) but I wanted to briefly pop by and also talk about something else than traveling.

On Wednesday we have our bachelor graduation ceremony, so we will not only be officially titled as bachelors of medicine but will also get to visit the stage to celebrate our merits. Only that I haven’t been feeling too festive about it at all. I’m extremely proud of myself and of all my classmates for getting this far, but I’ve also been utterly terrified about the next steps! Realising just how exhausted I’ve been for the past multiple years and knowing how much harder the work will get is not a very comforting thought, and there’s oh so much work to do and oh so much responsibility to carry on our particular career path, both of which I’d currently rather not do. I’ve been playing with these thoughts in my head and talking about it with some friends and the wisest of them all, my grandma, and even though the masters (3 years worth of internships at different hospitals at different departments) still is terrifying my excitement for it at no point disappeared. I chose this career path because I genuinely love medicine, and diving neck deep in its interesting subjects. Whether I will or will not be able to carry the increasing workload with irregular schedules, that remains to be seen but as one of my friends said, I’ll never know if I don’t try! So, the current conclusion is still the same as before, to get back to education once my turn comes at the end of March 2023 (here in the Netherlands the start date of the masters of medicine is divided over large periods). So I still have quite some months to get more comfortable with my new study language Dutch (honestly probably the main reason for my terrified state – studying medicine is hard enough, but doing it in English and then again in Dutch does add another pickle), get some rest, find a home in which I could stay for more than 12 months, and create a routine that works for me and helps me to hold on to my energy.

Siena, 2016

Siena, 2022













So, on that note, as I did not turn my ship and sail away from medicine, I figured it’s a good time to rename the blog. I’m planning to keep on traveling as much as I can (and already have all kinds of great plans to be the traveling sort of a doctor) and if you’ve ever seen me travel you know I always travel light with all my belongings in a backpack, so I figured that would be fitting. And what more fitting than something that has to be in that backpack for my clumsy adventures and also in my school environment, bandages. So there you go, backpacks & bandages!  Other than the name and the profile picture (from 2016 eh) no changes have been made – I still blog when the time’s right and about topics that I feel like blogging at the time. It is my public sort of a diary after all. I will also try and include some more medicine related things hence I usually get the most questions about those, but the rest remains to be seen.

For fellow stressed med students out there – it’s normal to doubt yourself but we’ve got this, we just have to try, and then if we really haven’t got this that’s also quite alright. I hope you’re all (med students and non-med students alike) doing well and as always, thank you for reading. x

Love, Anna


P.S. I’ve only studied medicine myself but I’m fully aware of the challenges and hard work of other careers too, so please do know that when I talk about medicine being tough I am not comparing it to anything else, just speaking about it as its own unit!


One month in Aruba

Monday, August 29, 2022

Disclaimer; I wrote this 10 days ago so now a month + 10 days have passed! I unfortunately got ill and had some of those worse days but today finally getting back to business healthwise and just got back from a long after work beach session so what a better time than to finally click post x

Hi there!

Time flies when you’re having fun right? I can not believe it has already been a month since I arrived on this tiny Caribbean island. It has been quite the experience so far. I started with a pretty drastic culture shock, went through lonely tired days when I just wanted to go home (where ever that is), spent time thinking about so many things I haven’t even had the time to acknowledge in the past few years, spent a lot of happy happy hours, and have been enjoying my local-ish living on the island so much that on most days the one thing that makes me upset is the thought about leaving (so I try not to think about it).

Apart from thinking about life, I spend my days working 7 days a week at the dog resort, and most of my free time walking around the island or chilling at the beach. Aside from the obviously lovely furry company, I also have very nice collegues. Sometimes after work we have a drink at the resort surrounded by dogs and other times we’ve gone our for a drink with an ocean view, eaten at delicious restaurants such as Eduardo’s hideaway or Poke Ono’s, gone to the VIP movies and ordered a bottle of wine there, done beach yoga at sunset, journaled on the beach in the moonlight, visited a secret beach or taken the dogs to the beach. I’ve spent quite some time journaling, playing beach tennis, floating in the Caribbean sea and also just laying in my room with the fan spinning enjoying the fact that I can be doing that. Of course it hasn’t been all sun & sandy beaches, I’ve also been feeling quite sick for most of my stay here, getting around is quite difficult as we live inland and walking or cycling is not really safe on all roads/at all times, and I have a hard time going to sleep early enough for the 6.30 alarm. I’ve cried once after coming home battling with catcalling, unsafe drivers and stray dogs, feel tired from the almost daily stomach pain, and miss my people on a daily basis. But hey, that’s life! I by no means mean to complain, as always I just prefer to share the reality instead of what people see on social media. Who wants to be posting pictures of the multiple bruises I have all around me because I run into cactuses (to be fair that is quite funny so sometimes I do post that), of the bunches of hair that keeps falling out, or the painkillers I take for my headaches? Just like on social media, I also prefer to focus on the positive. And even if not, I wouldn’t change this experience/anything about it for anything!




Because of living inland, I get much more of a local experience than I would if I lived closer to the touristy areas by the shore. Because of difficulties going around, I also sometimes just take it easy after work, cook a nice dinner and read a book in bed. Waking up early means I get started early every day and have most of the afternoon and the whole evening free. And well when it comes to my health, it is what it is but I’m also learning to pay a little more attention to how my body is doing and what it needs. And all the time for thinking? Oh it’s been amazing. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been running around like a headless chicken, aside from the few breaks in between that were always too short. This time I’m not only trying to get a break but also to actually find my way to make a change in how I dance around this planet. I finally have time to think about what is it that I actually want, what is it that I actually like, and to generally reconnect with myself. It’s a long process and I will probably again run out of time even though this is the longest break I’ve had so far, but at least I hope to create ways to be able to continue on the process once I return to the life of a med student. Having the time to think also means I have the time to overthink and question a lot of things, so it’s again not always positive, but still oh so much needed.



This break has also been very different not only due to its duration, but because of how different it is compared to my previous solo trips. I’ve stayed at other people’s houses abroad before, but I’ve been able to roam around on foot more easily on my aupair trips. Meeting people on my own is much more difficult than on the trips that I spent at hostels for example.  This is also the first time I do have work every day of the week, which is of course an adjustment even though my weekend shifts are very short and even though I enjoy the physical work. And lastly but definitely not least, I didn’t come into the great unknown this time, instead none else but my boyfriend is from here. It’s a weird situation as I’m here and he couldn’t be for now so I do am doing my solotrip as originally planned, but I obviously had heard a lot about the island before and I already had a connection to the place through him, so creating my own relationship with the place has been different this time. Not better or worse, just different! And it is quite funny that I spent time with his family sometimes while he’s not around himself. But I’m oh so grateful for their help and genuinely enjoy spending time with them (I just worry if they do too). So all in all, as said, quite the experience!

I haven’t really been practicing Dutch that much, I still have a very long list of things I want to do here and I still have to make peace with my plans for after leaving the island, but I still have over a month! Over a month of daily dog cuddles, sunshine, and being surrounded by the ocean in all directions. I’m so grateful  to be here, and so happy I put in the work to be here (more about that later, all those people thinking I just got myself here on a lottery ticket I kindly request that you go do some research on media reading skills). And I’m so looking forward to seeing what the rest of my time here still has to offer!

Sending you lots of doggolove and sunshine from this One Happy Island!




21 days & 21 pics of Aruba

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Bon dia / Bon tardi / Bon nochi, where ever you happen to be reading this! Time flies when you’re having fun they say! Time has definitely flown, I’ve already been here in Aruba for 3 weeks! To celebrate the occasion, here’s 21 snapshots of my 21 first days here. The day I arrived feels simultaneously like yesterday and like a forever ago. This is a peculiar solotrip as I already know people on and from this island, so finding my own place here and my own relationship with it has been different than on my previous workcations or trips. Not better or worse, just different! I’ll get to that surely later. For now I just wanted to share some pictures from the Caribbean actually, to replace the confusion of European views from my last post. We’re on our way to help out with rescue puppies at a puppy proposal (what a cute concept?!) so I’ll keep this short and let the pictures speak for them selves! Good food, good mood, and gosh how much sun & white sand! Also hard work (every single day of every week) so it’s not all holiday and chilling out here, but again, I’ll tell more about my workaway experience and about workaway in general later. P.S. The pup in the picture is looking for an adoptive family!

Ayo! Love, Anna





Greetings from the Caribbean

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Hi y’all!

Long time no see, as per usual. Well, here I still am! The same girl on the other side of the screen. Only now my title has changed (I’m now instead of a starting medical student finally officially Bachelor of Medicine!) and so has my location. And well, quite a few other things too but we’ll get to that!

So what’s happened since the last updates?

  • There was Christmas holiday in Finland
  • Then there was a quarantine and yet another quarantine
  • Visited Salzburg & Innsbruck in Austria
  • Graduated from the Honours Programme
  • Short easter trip to Finland
  • Celebrated King’s Day and said hi to the Dutch King himself
  • Made a day trip with friends to Rotterdam and S’ Hertogenbosch
  • Hosted friends from Finland who were finally able to visit
  • Food truck festival, birthday dinners and parties, High teas, local music festivals, combined birthday parties
  • Said bye to some housemates and hi to some new ones and then bye again
  • Graduated from Bachelor of Medicine
  • Completed my Dutch language requirements needed to start my Masters of Medicine at Maastricht University (in Dutch!)
  • Completed a rather long round of therapy, that I will still return to to make sure what I’ve learned will stay with me
  • Short summer trip (while still studying for a resit) to Finland
  • Took a gap from my studies until late March 2023
  • Packed my things and took off to Aruba to volunteer at a dog resort


And here we are! Currently laying in bed, under a mosquito net with the fan whirring to aid me to sleep in this 30C heat, with one of the resort dogs as my temporary housemates due to the resort being particularly full (not that I complain!). It’s been a very busy year, and I came here to take a break from everything while also trying to practice some Dutch before starting my masters later in that said language. Thankfully there’s still some time til that eh!

As always, I’ve really missed writing, and being on this paradise island is not only about being surrounded by dogs but getting in touch with other things that I so enjoy, so this time I will promise (mostly to myself) to write more often. I can’t wait to tell you about my experience in Aruba so far! Right now though I shall get some sleep, as we have a early morning before cleaning the kennels. Ayo!