My journey to become an airline pilot

Why did I become a pilot? – Well, I couldn’t think of anything better to do.

This is not your classic love story, but it is a story of love. It just wasn’t love at first sight.

Mees & I playing with airplane toys. You would think otherwise when you see this picture, but I did not always knew I wanted to be a pilot someday (Mees did though).

When you ask a pilot why he or she became a pilot, most will tell you a version of the classic story. How they always knew, from a young age, I’ll be a pilot someday! Well, my story is a little bit different.

As a kid I’ve thought of many things that I could do when I would be a grown up. However, when the moment arrived to decide, I had no clue. I was 18, just finished high school, had many interests, but not really a passion for anything. I just liked, like many teens I guess, to travel and have beers with friends.

As I thought studying something that I might quit later would be a waste of time, I decided to take a gap year. And one gap year became three gap years.. And they were amazing! I travelled around Europe, Caribbean, US, Asia & Africa. Explored at lot, learned a lot & ticked off some bucketlist items.

By the time I started my 3rd gap year, people started to worry a little bit. It was actually my younger brother Mees who came up to me and said “we need to find you something to study, it’s been long enough now”, the conversation went something like this:

Mees: “Ok, what would you like to do?”
Me: “I don’t know”
Mees: “Ok, what wouldn’t you like to do?”
Me: “Work 9 to 5, be stuck in an office, be stuck in the Netherlands”
Mees: “Would being a pilot work then?”

Mees & I, it’s his fault that I am a pilot today.

And so it started. Mees, who always knew he wanted to be a pilot, and I started our research. We visited a neighbour who was a retired pilot and asked him tons of questions. Fun fact; we actually didn’t even know the man before, our mom knew he was a pilot (we come from a tiny village). So we just went over to his house, told him about our plans to maybe become pilots and asked if we could ask him questions someday. This I can recommend to everyone. As working as a pilot is not at all as glamorous as some make it seem. We asked him to be honest with us, of course hearing all the perks of this amazing job was very enjoyable, but we wanted to know what to expect, so that included the downsides of the job as well (and probably like any other job, there are quite a few).

Excited about finally knowing what to do with my life, I borrowed one of Mees’ his aviation magazines that did a special about flight schools in the Netherlands. After reading the magazine I decided to send in my application to the KLM flight academy.

Everyone who has been following me for a while knows that that wasn’t the flight school I’ve actually been to. In my next blog I’ll explain about that further. I’ve always wanted to keep it real with you guys, talking openly about setbacks and failures will be part of that, as it is part of my story and therefore it is part of me.

– Yours truly  

Cambodia, one of the many countries I’ve visited during those 3 gap years.

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