My name is Ine. I am a 40 year young Belgian living in Chicago. And I seize the day. That’s also my profession; a Seize The Day – Expert. I’ll help you seize the day through Travel, Tea and Happiness. Cause The Point of Life is Happiness.

With pleasure, Ine

Travel: Aloha Hawai’i

A little story about our 1 week vacation in Hawai’i:

I really wanted to see active lava and that’s possible on two spots in Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. The easy spot is to park at the Jaggar Museum and watch the lava at sunset in the Halema’uma’u crater. For the other spot a bigger effort is required, and a bigger reward received… On our first attempt the trail was closed due to the toxic smoke. The next afternoon we were more lucky, and it even stopped raining the minute we started our hike.

Here’s our lava flow story:
To see an active lava tube ending in the ocean we have to hike 4,5 mile/7k one way through a lava field erupted in 1983. It’s black everywhere…


People claim their land back and build ocean-view cabins…


And they invite visitors to enjoy the energy on a lava field…


You see a curtain of smoke at sunset getting bigger towards the ocean where the active lava leaves its tube…


After the 90 minute intense hike we’re rewarded with a wonder of nature…


Yeah, I was really there…
And then I discover a dragon in the smoke, a symbol of happINEss and my Chinese zodiac…

Mahola Pele, sacred goddess of fire, we’ve received enough energy to hike the 7k back in the dark!



Travel: Het toeristische seizoen in Chicago ging weer van start

Chicago ontwaakt geleidelijkaan uit haar winterslaap. In april ervaren we zowel winterse dagen als zomerse dagen. In mei zal plots de zomer definitief voor onze deur staan. Joepie!

Mijn collega gids Leentje en ik tonen onze bezoekers uit België en Nederland (en bij uitbreiding de hele wereld) heel erg graag de verborgen pareltjes van ons thuisstad, te voet of op de fiets. En met plezier beantwoorden we ook aan speciale verzoeken zoals bijvoorbeeld het bijwonen van een gospel-viering!

Kom je ook naar Chicago en zin in wat anders?
Contacteer me voor vrijblijvende tips en toer-mogelijkheden.

Kijk ook eens bij Via Americana waar de toers van Chicago collega Leentje worden aangeboden samen en van de Belgische stadsgidsen in NY, LA en Washington D.C.

_ _ _

(None of the above businesses have invited me to write for them, nor have I received any compensation from them.)


Travel: A trip down memory lane

Last-minute we decide to hit the road from Chicago to St. Louis, Missouri and visit Springfield, Illinois on our way back.

Why St. Louis?
As a trip down memory lane…
although I don’t recall anything from my first trip, 39 years ago when we used to live in St. Louis for 10 months.

St. Louis touristy stuff:

  • Gateway Arch
  • Old Courthouse
  • City Garden with public sculptures
  • Laclede Landing’s neighborhood
  • Anheuser-Busch beer experience
  • Broadway Oyster Bar
  • Light show in Union Station’s Grand Hall
  • 4Hand Brewery
  • LaFayette Square with Victorian Houses
  • Soulard’s Farmers Market

St. Louis Route 66 stuff:

  • lunch at Crown Candy Kitchen
  • Walk over the old Chain of Rock Bridge with a famous 20° bend

St. Louis memory lane:

  • Near and under Gateway Arch
  • Tasting Budweiser, bwwhh
  • In front of our apartment building

Why Springfield?
It’s the capitol of Illinois…
although Chicago is wayyyy bigger and it’s the place where president Lincoln spent his entire career before becoming a president and allegedly it could be the hometown of the Simpsons….

  • Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana-Thomas House
  • The Capitol of the State Illinois
  • Lincoln’s museum: a must!

Last -minute getaways are the best!

_ _ _

(None of the above businesses have invited me to write for them, nor have I received any compensation from them.)

Travel: Washington and Beervania

I planned a surprise trip to Portland, the Beervania of the States, for my partner’s 40th birthday. But because I am not a beer drinker I added a pre-trip to 2 of Washington’s National Parks. Both of us happy!

Mt. Rainier National Park:

Snowshoeing on Crystal Mountain – cute birdies – our happINEss bluebird enjoyed it as well.


Olympic National Park:

Walking in a fairytale – rainforest of the North – Bluebird loves Oregon logs


Bart’s beer happiness – his favorite: Great Notion Brewery – flights, flights, more flights at Fat Head, Deschutes, Hopworks, Great Notion, Ex Novo, Cascade, Commons, Ground Breaker, Gigantic & Baerlic

Ine’s tea happINEss – flight & flight at Smith Tea and Tao of Tea – gaiwan love

Super Trip!

_ _ _

(None of the above businesses have invited me to write for them, nor have I received any compensation from them.)

Tea: a big little pleasure

Sometimes the biggest pleasures in life are the little ones.

For me, my daily cup of tea is one of these big little pleasures in life.
It’s not just tea. It’s the whole story around it. It makes me travel back to the country I bought it. It makes me feel very grateful for having friends who please me with cute tea-cups and surprise me with high quality tea they found in remote tea-shops. It makes me proud to drink my own fermented kombucha. As you can read, drinking tea is a very mindful moment for me. And therefore a big little pleasure.

What’s your big little pleasure?