I am Heleen Rittershaus and I was born travelling!
Not really, but I was born and raised abroad, and moving from one continent to another made airplanes a pretty big part of my life at a very early age.
Despite all these flights, it was never on my bucket list to become a flight attendant myself. However, when I decided to quit my photography studies at art school, I spontaneously applied for the job after all.
Flying around the world brought me many wonderful experiences and encounters.
For starters, reconnecting with my love for photography and roaming the streets of the world was incredibly nourishing.
Not to mention the opportunities I had to go back to the places I used to live during my childhood abroad. Meeting up with friends and schoolmates from all over the globe was magical and healing.
Jetlag and other disturbances..
After having two wonderful children, the continuous jetlag and a probable postnatal depression or burn out, resulted in me neither enjoying my job any longer nor experiencing motherhood as particularly magical..
It was very clear that I wasn’t doing myself or my family a favour by staying in the same situation.
Not an easy choice but after 17 years I left the Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) and took a chance to reinvent myself all over again.
While flying I was often inspired by fun products, ideas and insights that got my creative juices flowing again. One of them was as close at hand as the seat pocket in front of me!
I had noticed how flight safety instructions and other airline expressions that are used to ensure passenger safety in emergency or other situations, gave the same sense of direction and clarity of mind when used in daily life!
With that insight flight-safety became life-safety and the 'Chicken or Pasta?' concept was (air) born.
Looking back at what I have been photographing all these years, I have come to understand that photography has always been a way to get a grip on things within the dynamics of my life.
I put it to use as an external memory to keep track of the many experiences, changing surroundings and people and capture certain cultural aspects. And it also helpt me to get as grounded as possible in what I think I must have experienced as a feeling rootless. As unbelonging, being from everywhere and nowhere.
Connecting the dots.
Connecting the dots looking back, I can say that finding my life-compass, choosing a direction and finding my life-purpose has been an ongoing process. Everything in life is the cause of choices that have been made for you or that you have consciously or subconsciously made for yourself.
It's the choices you make, that create the path you take.
The Chicken or Pasta mission is to inspire you to playfully dis-cover the path you want to take and choose accordingly.
Sometimes you'll have to look back at your journey to understand the past and sometimes you'll have to take action to decide on the future.
Loosely translated from a quote by Charles Eisenstein:
'Every choice you make is a declaration of who you want to be'.