Hi, I’m John Weaver, a.k.a. The Travelled Monkey.

I was born in the Year of the Monkey, 1980, in Alliance, Ohio, USA. It’s not a place everyone knows but I mention it because – if there’s one thing that years of travel has taught me – you never know what little fact is going to trigger the next random encounter.

I’ve been traveling and living abroad for over 15 years, first in Mexico as a high school exchange student and since 2001 in Belgium, and in that time I’ve had my share of random encounters. Enough to write a book about, or at least a blog... 

So who am I?

After I introduce myself, and tell people where I’m from, the first question I usually get is, "Why would you want to live in Belgium?" This is the typical reaction of a Belgian when you tell them you’ve chosen to live in their country. I’ve been living here for more than ten years, and my answer has gradually evolved:

2001 – “I’m just here studying for four months, but you’ve got great beer, great food, and great parties. I think I might need to stay a bit longer.”

2002 – “Wait, you’ve got great beer and college tuition is only 500 euros a year. Yeah, I’m staying.”

2003 – “Met a girl, fell in love, and here I still am.”

2004 - 2005 – “Why does everybody keep asking me that? What’s wrong with Belgium? I actually like the fact that it’s tiny. It’s got character!”

2006 – “I just got married to a Belgian, which makes me part Belgian now, right?”

2007 – “I’ve benefitted from the Belgian social system for years now. Maybe it’s time I get a job and give something back. Sure, taxes are high, but 30 vacation days a year...”

2008 - 2009 – “I’m getting used to these vacation days! And I’m not sure they’re hiring philosophy graduates in America right now, so…”

2010 – “I’ve been here almost a third of my life and I still haven’t tried all the beers.”

2011 - today – “I’m married and have two kids and a house and a job. It’s an odd little country, but, hey, it’s home, and I like it.”

What's this blog about anyway?

It started in November 2013. I was back in Ohio for Thanksgiving and I met up with a good friend in a bar. Under the flickering images of multiple flat-screen TVs simultaneously showing basketball, football, hockey, and golf I confessed, “I sometimes feel like I’m living in two worlds.” There was the one I grew up in, in Ohio, where my family has lived for generations and where my accent comes from; and the one I live in now, in Belgium, where I’m raising a new generation of family and where my accent in Dutch and French is still best described as a work in progress. 

How, I wondered, could I bring these worlds together? “Start a blog,” my friend said. “A what?” I replied, leaning in so I could hear her better over the play-by-play commentary beaming down from above us...

Two months later The Travelled Monkey was born. It’s a snapshot of daily life seen through my eyes (Pics of the week). It’s a look at what makes Belgium such a weird and wonderful place to live (Quirky Belgium). And it’s a collection of thoughts and memories that have come to me along the way (Wanderings).

One last thing

Thanks for getting to the bottom of the page!

I hope you'll have a look around the rest of the blog and please feel free to comment on any of the posts.

And finally, wherever you are, I'd love to hear from you. If you want to really make my day, send me a postcard and I’ll gladly write you back!