20 years in love

July 30, 2011

Can you believe it? I am in love for more than 20 years! Tonia and I are officially together for 20 years!

I know that very few people meet their soulmate or even a significant other during their lifetime. I guess I am just lucky (although I don’t believe in luck) 😉

Many people often ask us what the secrets are of our long-lasting relationship?

It is rather difficult to come up with an exhaustive list that will make any relationship work. Remember that we are not experts in this matter, we are only experienced 🙂

But if I have to come up with some elements, then here they are:

  • Acceptance : accept who you are and especially who the other person is. Accept his/her beauty and his/her “faults”. Don’t try to fix him/her!
  • Trust : if there is no trust, there is no relationship! Give each other enough freedom too. It’s OK to do things apart from each other.
  • Openness : be open-minded and listen to what the other person is telling you. No kidding, really listen. You can always answer (or judge) later on.
  • Being there : if you are not there, you miss the most beautiful moments together. You might grow apart!
  • Grow together : inspire each other to grow. Create space to develop yourself and the other person too. Learn from each other.
  • Honesty : be honest to each other and talk, communicate as much as possible. And please listen! Didn’t I tell you that already 😉
  • Magic : create some magic in your relationship. Keep the romance going. We have one evening during the week that we call “date night”.  We take turns to discover new places together, doing something new, eating out, walking or just talking. Where is the magic in your relationship?
  • Fun : create time to do fun things together! Tonia is my best friend. We laugh a lot, no we are laughing every day! If you can’t have fun together, why are you still together?

Like I said, these are only some points that are making a difference to our lives. And we are glad to share them with you!

Enjoy and have a great life (together)!

Bert & Tonia

P.S.: It might also help to say : I ♥ YOU  to each other (regularly)!


September 30, 2009

Tonia has arrived in Santiago de Compostela! After 2,500km hiking through Belgium, France and Spain she did it! I told you already how proud I am. Having walked the last 800km myself, I know this is a very impressive journey. Tonia grew tremendously during this trip. I walked a merely 300km with her on this trip and saw her growing every day. Tonia, my Superwoman

She got rid of a number of fears. She met these special people along the way. New friendships were born and she enjoyed several miracles. Tonia received these incredible insights and also found her life’s purpose, her legacy. This is all so exciting!

When I return home this weekend, I will have a brand new woman. Not just any woman, but a Superwoman. I need to warn you that the picture you see here is my “old” Tonia, the day she started her walk on the 12th of June. She’ll never be the same again… So, next time you meet her, you’ll see this wonderful glow and energy burst around her 🙂

Tonia, again, congratulations! It is official now: I am the happiest person on this planet, especially monday when we’ll finally be reunited again!

Oh, by the way, she is completely in shape, so she decided to go to the end of the world, Finisterre. This is the place where the zero-marker is placed. 0km to go, the edge of the world, the vast ocean in front of you. There she will burn her last remaining fears and some clothing as a final ritual and completion of her journey.Finisterre, Spain, 0km Camino marker She is ready for a brand new start! Watch her…

Here is a detailed map of her journey. I invite you to congratulate her on her blog.

Extremely Proud

August 21, 2009

My wife ToniaAs many of you know, my wife Tonia is on the Camino to Santiago de Compostela (Spain) with her backpack. It’s been an exceptional adventure for her so far. And you know what? She passed the 1.500 km earlier this week! Can you believe that? 1.500 km on foot? Needless to say that I am extremely proud about her!

Here are a couple of reasons why she’s going on this trip :

  • Contemplating about a new direction in her professional life
  • Facing the fear of solitude
  • Facing the fear of asking something to people she doesn’t know (introvert!)
  • Becoming more independent and self-reliant
  • Reflect on who she really is. She wants to become an even better person.

To me, she’s almost the perfect woman. Wow! I love her!

So, if you are loosing track of who you really are or you have burn out/bore out or just want to start over, then taking a hike is probably a great way to get you started. I am not saying you must go on a 2.500 km hike as well. At least 1 month would be an excellent start. Oh stop it! Those are just excuses. Anyone can do it! So, can you!

I’ve met several people on my own (rather modest) trip (yes, only 800 km) two years ago, who also had children, a mortgage,  no preparation and a lot of physical challenges… If people who can’t even see well (lost her glasses), who are over 85 years old or who are terminally ill (with only 3 months to live) can walk this trip, then probably all of your reasons are just excuses. Well, if you would like to settle for mediocraty and the life you are having right now, then please do. If, however, you are longing for a magical, unforgettable, one-of-a-kind life, then it is time to step up and break your pattern! Just get up, out of your chair and start planning. Action is the keyword here… There is so much you can do! And if not for yourself, do it for your loved ones.

I know, I might sound rude. This might just be what you have been waiting for…someone to tell you that you can achieve anything! And it’s not falling from the sky onto your lap. You have to do something to reach it. So, once more, I invite you to reflect on your current life and dream about the life you could have. Setup an action plan and put it to work. A few weeks from now, major changes might have occured. And remember : today is the first day of the rest of your life! Spend it well!

PS : if you need some inspiration of what can happen to you, just read Tonia’s blog (in Dutch) or search for other people who went on the Camino to Compostela…

Tonia’s Journey!

February 22, 2009

A new beginning, a new journey!

“Every walk is a kind of crusade, a move to “the West”, a journey into the wilderness, a trip to selfconsciousness, transformation and the future.” These are Henry David Thoreau‘s words, a 19th Century writer who wandered for days in the forests and in the human mind. These are also Tonia’s first words to announce her newest journey! She has decided to take on a new challenge…She’s going to walk 2,500 km with her backpack this summer!

Yes, you’ve read it right : 2,500 km! This means at a rate of 25 km / day on average, she ‘ll be walking at least 100 days!

It is time to take some time off, to step out of her daily patterns of stress and finally create time and space for herself to reflect, to explore in depth who she really is and to contribute to her own legacy, which is yet to be defined. This journey will start at our home in June and will take her through Belgium, France and Spain. Yes, she is walking to Santiago de Compostela and finally to Finisterre, the end of the world 🙂Tonia : Op weg naar mezelf

I congratulate Tonia and am proud of my superwoman that she stepped up to take control of her own life and am looking forward to an even happier life together!

You can follow Tonia on her own blog (in Dutch mainly) and she will add pictures too!

Have fun, always,


Vandaag start 100km!

August 8, 2008

Vandaag starten Tonia en ik aan onze uitdaging om 100km in 24u te wandelen. We nemen deel aan de Dodentocht in Bornem. Tegelijkertijd zamelen we geld in voor het goede doel : Go Bananas! Sponsoren kan nog steeds hier!

Weersverwachting is redelijk veel regen, maar morgen beter, afwisselend bewolkt en zon, locale buien…We zien wel!

We zijn goed voorbereid. Ons team staat klaar om ons te ondersteunen, maar tegelijkertijd ook Bananenbier, Go Bananas pennen, Banana Guards en het boek van Kevin “Banana Man” Allen te verkopen aan supporters en voorbijgangers. Online bestellen kan uiteraard ook!

Volg ons online via de website van de Dodentocht. Bert is nummer 4379 en Tonia is nummer 4378.Je kan ook bellen naar het nummer 03 889 35 45. Liefhebbers van SMS kunnen zich inschrijven door een bericht te sturen naar 3507 met de boodschap NL4379 om Bert te volgen of NL4378 voor Tonia.

We gaan ervoor…see you at the finish 🙂

Let’s Go Bananas,

Bert & Tonia

Go Bananas!

July 19, 2008

Today I updated the Go Bananas website. Our contribution to a wonderful initiative by Kevin “Banana Man” Allen. He’s an extraordinary man who was touched by a documentary about AIDS orphans in Zululand, South Africa. He took all his savings, bought a ticket and just went there.

He bought all the fruits from local merchants and started to feed the children, who nicknamed him the Banana Man. Once back in the UK he took on a second job to continue his contribution to save as much children he could. He started a charity and I felt like stepping up and give Kevin a hand with his big yellow mission 🙂

Lets Go Bananas and save a life!

Let's Go Bananas and save a life!

So, Tonia and I will participate at the Dodentocht (“March of Death”) on the 8th-9th of August in order to raise money for Banana Appeal, Kevin’s charity. Many people think we are nuts taking on a challenge of walking 100km in 24 hours, so that’s why we created a special website called Go Bananas! Let’s go bananas and save a life!

Our goal with Go Bananas is to raise money for 100,000 meals! Impressive, but if you know that Banana Appeal needs a mere 0.07 Euro to feed a child for 1 day, what’s keeping YOU from stepping up as well? Donate money today to this charity and also buy Kevin’s book, a unique Go Bananas ballpoint pen, a Banana Guard or taste our Award winning, genuine Banana Beer!

With just € 0,07 Banana Appeal can

1. Feed a hungry child fresh fruit for a day at school.
2. Help them gain an important education, as they attend school to receive the food.
3. This provides the children with a more stable environment at school.
4. Being fed regularly brings the children away from begging or prostitution.
5. This helps stop the children from contracting AIDS from infected adults.
6. This has a positive impact on the children’s mental and physical health.
7. Combined this gives the children hope of a better future.
8. It also provides many of the parents dying of AIDS a little comfort that their children won’t be left alone to fall into a cycle of poverty and abuse – but be fed, educated and looked after, once they have passed away.
9. The project also provides much needed trade to the local fruit sellers.
10. All whilst uplifting the spirits of an entire community.

Check out the website and start contributing NOW! For as little as 0.07 Euro (also £ and $ will work just fine!) you can help one child for at least 1 day. So, start giving and contribute to a really great cause…

Thanks for helping out the forgotten children in Zululand! For them it really makes a big difference…

Thanks for your support,

Bert Verdonck
Create, Connect & Contribute


June 21, 2008

BertoniaToday we are lauching a new website!

Yes, Tonia and I have created a new website about our passion for travel, photography and life!

It is called BERTONIA 🙂


Of course, it is full of pictures (check out the galleries!) and enjoy our extended galleries on Picasa as well! We’ve included pictures from Bali, Goa, Normandy, Zeeland and the Camino to Santiago.

Tonia wants to create more inspiring pictures and contribute to share her view on the world. By being a passionate photographer, you can already sense her ability to make you part of it. It feels sometimes like you are with her at that right moment the picture is taken. Excellent!

Now, dream away with BERTONIA and tell us your first impression…

Enjoy every day,
Loving Life