As a true Dutchie, I am an avid cyclist: I have been using the bicycle as my main way of transportation for as long as I can remember. Snow, rain, wind, heat, there is no excuse for not getting on the bike. In the last few years I have started to do sports cycling as a way to get exercise, explore the area and get to know other people. I like to make distance rather than racing, so a typical ride for me is 60-100 km. So far I have done cycling trips in the Netherlands (Holland, Veluwe, Zuid-Limburg),the French Alps (les Vosges, Chamonix valley), South Turkey (Alanya), San Francisco, Tucson (Arizona), Vancouver and numerous trips in Hawaii, riding Tantalus, Kailua, Pearl Harbor, a round trip of Oahu, the road to Hana on Maui, and official rides such as Sharon's ride and Honolulu Century ride.


Traveling around the world and seeing new places is my absolute passion. No matter where I have to go for my work in astronomy, I add a few days to take a look around, get to know the country, the cities, the nature, the people, the history, the culture. I cannot get enough of the views no matter where I am, and each trip is a new experience. I am currently at 32 countries and (within the US) 12 states, and counting! I do not like setting goals or bucket lists, but I appreciate it any time I can add another place to my list!


Related to my passion for traveling is my passion to capture the moments during those trips. I am far from being a professional, I do not own expensive equipment and apart from minor cropping I spend very little time on the polishing of pictures afterwards. I also rather enjoy the moment with my eyes rather than looking at it through a lens. Still, sometimes I manage to take shots that blow me away when I see them afterwards. I am currently working on an Instagram page to gather these special moments.


Outreach is an indispensable part of doing research. I have quoted Einstein on this in my PhD thesis: "If you cannot explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." Over the years I have given many public talks for a large range of audiences: amateur astronomy groups, high school students, girl scouts, the Dutch Royal Academy, Science cafe, etc. I love it when I can deliver the message of science, how we understand the Universe, why we are passionate about it, why we work in a specific way. Looking at the faces of an audience and answering their questions is extremely rewarding, and I hope to continue contributing to outreach activities throughout my career.