New page

Who would ever thought we would write this next blog on a cough somewhere in the beautiful area of Friesland, one of the provinces of The Netherlands.  It’s a new page in our book of travel and definitely not the last. Luckily, we still feel we are in a foreign country due to the dialect in this part of the country. We still can use google translate on a daily basis so nothing changes so far 🙂 Due to some beautiful photo’s Morgan took with here own (old fashion) camera we still have prove we traveled around in some amazing countries.

Photo’s from Morgan’s camera, from Iran through Pakistan into India

When we left India, we felt pretty said of leaving without even getting to know the country. We heard so many different stories about India and after traveling for one year we knew we just need to find out ourselves. Opinions are incredibly personal but for a lot of people it unfortunately is often the truth. We always look with our own perspective but sometimes it’s hard to do so with so many prejudices. After many discussions to leave or not to leave we finally decided to leave “paradise, Dudshagar plantation” and fly home. We didn’t want to give up but with all the limitations of traveling we really couldn’t decide different. The most important part was to make sure we had an option to ship the camper back to the Netherlands. After mailing and calling for two weeks with different shipping companies we found a really good one who felt trustworthy (Thanks Alex!). Our first intention was to drive back with our camper to Mumbai and put Ella on a boat ourselves. But after the heavy lockdown we were unable to drive between the states. We decided with the owner of the farm (Ashok once again thanks a million!!) that when the car had to go back, he will drive with our camper too Mumbai after the lock down. We also had hope (still have a tiny bit) that we would be able to fly back to India before August and continue our trip.

We called the Embassy to change our city of departure from Mumbai to Goa. We put ourselves on the list for repatriation. They straight away told us there was a new mailing in regarding to a flight that night going from Goa to Brussels. We did not receive anything so they resend the mail…. The plane was leaving at 3AM that night while it was already 1 in the afternoon. It was the last plane leaving from Goa area…… After trying to book for 1,5 hours (fast WIFI is so 2019) we finally reserved both flights (Goa – Rome, Rome – Brussels). We never worked so hard to be ready. We had to clean the complete car, get all of our staff in different compartments, pack our bags and arrange a letter from the government of Goa for allowing us on the road towards the airport. What a surreal day. We were cleaning the car in our bathing suits because of the nice 38 degrees. We finished cleaning and packing at 8.30PM got our last amazing diner at the plantation and had to say goodbye to Ajit, Ashok & all the families working on the farm. With a “see you later” we left. After a 2,5-hour delay and a stopover in Rome we arrived in Brussel on the Friday 7PM Dutch time. With the help of my sister and one of our best friend Sindy we could pick up a rental car at Brussel Airport to drive to Zeeland for our 14 days of quarantine. We drove around 28000 km in 12 months to finally end up in India and flew back in 11 hours. On the one hand we always said to family and friends, we can be back in 24 hours if we have to but it’s still strange to experience it in real life. All those beautiful memories and encounters were created in the year we traveled on the road and they just passed by in an 11 hour flight.

Due to the fact we arrived at the farm before the lockdown in Goa and we did not leave the property during, we were curious how the world would look in “Corona Times”. To see the streets of India, empty with only cows and other animals on the road was already a strange sight. But to see all airline staff completely covered in suits from head to toe was really weird. It looked like a movie. When we arrived in Rome after a long delay, we had to wait for another 3 hours. We took a large coffee (Yihaaa good coffee again ;-)) and called home. During our flight Lillian’s sister arranged a place to stay for our quarantine period. We could stay in a great apartment with the best friend of Lillian sister. The apartment was situated in Eelde which is a 4 minutes drive from the Belgium border. The flight from Goa to Rome was completely fully booked, with a mixture of old Italian hippies and some Dutch and Belgium travelers. They always say Italians are temperament full but in combination with Corona and an Italian Fly company it was crazy. The flight from Rome to Brussel was very relaxed and with not more than 20 people in the plane we arrived at Brussel Airport. Everywhere we had to wear masks and all the airports were almost empty. Such a strange sight.

The 14 days of quarantine went very quickly. The first week we adopted again of being back in Holland. We got so spoiled by all of our family & friends with flowers, cards and presents. We felt incredibly lucky to have such amazing friends. Even do we left everybody to travel the world we still were in their minds and hearts. Because we were in the south part of the Netherlands were, we normally never go, it didn’t feel like being home. We explored the surrounding and enjoyed the beautiful nature in the area. The second week we did a lot of running, reading and video calling (fast internet is something special now). Because of the virus we were not allowed to help out on the farm unfortunately but with 1,5 meters apart we did do a lot of coffees together. Once again thank you Tim & Annemarie to take care of us like that. After our 14 days, Lillian’s sister Wiranda came to pick us up and drove us to Friesland. She lives on a beautiful piece of land in a “woudhuisje”, a farmer’s house with her husband Egbert and her two kids, Nynke & Yenthe. Yenthe is the same age as Morgan and Nynke is 10 years old. It still surprises us how it feels to see family again after such a long time. We skipped the 1,5 meters (sorry but he, we already did two weeks of quarantine) and we could huge everybody for ages! Because of the amount of land on Wiranda’s property they decided we could stay in a place on their property for as long as we wished or was necessary. We cannot describe how grateful we are towards Egbert and Wiranda to have us on their land. The place they had needed some (many) redecoration so we were sanding, painting and decorating a bit for the last weeks. When we left our old house, we sold everything we owned except our bed. We always slept really well in our camper but the first night of sleeping in our “old” bed was like sleeping in heaven 🙂 The complete interieur we got from neighbours, friends & family. No need for new stuff and everything we had to buy we bought second hand. There is already too much stuff in this world so re- using is so much better for this planet we feel.

We also spend a week with Lillian’s parents in the North of the Netherlands, a village called Hippolytushoef. The village lies close the The Wadden Sea and for Dutch understanding we had great weather that week. We still went from 38 degrees to 17 but there was sun so all good. We got extremely spoiled and Morgan loved the time with her grandparents. It’s so funny to see how easy a child adapts to different situations. Yesterday we were in India and today in the Netherlands. She acted like she never left. How hard it was for us to realise we were back how easy it was for Morgan. Sometimes we wished we could look more with children eyes into this world. Just living in the “now” and don’t care about the past or the present. Life would be so much easier.  The village is also close to a lot of flower field so every day we biked through all the beautiful fields. We feel so privileged to be born and raised in the Netherlands. We never “left” the country because we don’t like it. We just left because we feel the world Is too big and beautiful to stay in the Netherlands. To show Morgan the differences in this world.

Not once we felt we made the wrong decision to go “home”. There are so many uncertainties in the world wright now that we do not know what the next page will be. For now, it’s just a new page we to fill with memories. We are enjoying being home and being around family. Due to the corona we aren’t able to see friends but slowly things are getting a little bit more relaxed in The Netherlands. You can meet people again but taking the 1,5 meters into consideration… We don’t want to make a decision yet but we will wait till the end of June to see if fly bans are released. The coming land borders from India were a challenge anyway with all their regulations but with corona in place it makes it much more uncertain to be able to drive through Myanmar, Thailand etc.

We hope everybody is ok and healthy and we’ll update soon. We will not end our blog because we are in a “new” country with still a lot to explore. We just expected the flag to have different colors and some mountains instead of flat land 🙂

Big hug and kiss from the three of us.

3 Replies to “New page”

  1. Wat een verhaal zeg! Blij dat jullie ook in NL weer kunnen genieten en dat het ‘ontdekken’ nooit hoeft te stoppen.

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  2. Lieve mensen,

    Natuurlijk een teleurstelling om jullie schitterende reis zo hals-over-kop te moeten onderbreken.
    En plotseling een fikse “cultuurshock” : Frysk i.p.v. Hindi of English !!!

    We hebben genoten van al jullie verhalen. Wat een belevenissen hebben jullie tot nu toe gehad. Die zullen jullie hoe dan ook nooit meer vergeten. En voor Morgan ook een buitengewone ervaring, die zal iets niet snel meer “vreemd” vinden en dat is voor haar latere leven een enorme rijkdom.

    En wie weet….., zijn de omstandigheden over een tijdje toch weer enigszins genormaliseerd en kunnen jullie met jullie reis een herstart maken.
    Maar ondertussen ook maar genieten van de nabijheid van de familie en misschien -vrienden van vroeger, En van de mooie dingen die dit piepkleine landje toch ook te bieden heeft.

    Alle goeds en een hartelijke groet,
    Nanda en Kees.

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  3. Hello Steven, Lillian, Morgan!
    First of all, I am glad that you are safely back home. I have read your newsletter with excitement and curiosity. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I wish, later when the world resume “the new normal”, you can go back where you left your trip. I’ll be reading…
    Wish you all the best, hugs.
    Murat (from Istanbul)

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