The best view comes after the hardest climb

Norway, land of the vikings, fords, millions of hikes and waterfalls. We are driving around in Norway for about a month now and only saw a tiny bit of the Northern part of the country. The Artic. We didn’t saw nothing yet but we loved every minuted of it. It was a big wish to see Norway some day but we also knew it would be expensive. Ah, and don’t forget the weather. For the county and it’s people it’s good that it not always (understatement) sunny. If so Norway would be too packed with tourism, because it is unbelievable beautiful. If you love nature and hiking it’s paradise. The crystal clear and blue water reminds us of the Maldives with only a small difference of temperature of assumably around 25 degrees. 😦  

If we felt that the Swedish people were “ reserved”,  we didn’t met the Norwegian people yet. But it’s not that they don’t want to talk, they just want to give you privacy. For Stephen this is sometimes difficult to understand because he is the opposite of  being reserved….Good for getting out of our comfort zone. After travelling through so many countries we are amazed by the difference in culture we see and feel. Even in Europe the difference in massive. The hospitality we felt in some countries, the importance of fe. food and the openness against others is so different that we sometimes find ourselves wondering how those big difference were created and what the past had to do with it. Culture is strange phenomenon but we also keep reminding ourselves that assumption is the mother of all fuckups. 

We decided to do the Artic part first and afterwards drive down to the south. If we wanted to find a good weather for the Northern part it would be in July and August. This was in our case a little bit true. The first impression was as expected. Incredible views of mountains, clear blue water and small roads. We drove to Bodø, were we took the boat to the Lofoten. The wind was quite strong and the waves big. Luckily we didn’t mind the waves and we did not felt any seasickness. Unfortunately 80% of the other travellers on board did not felt the same….. The boat ride took 4,5 hours but for a lot of people I think it felt like a lifetime. 

The first sight of the Lofoten was a massive mountain covered in mist. Mystical and beautiful. The next morning we woke up with a blue sky which is something special we found out later. So we did our first hikes of many and the first test for Morgan if she felt like climbing all the muddy and wet routes. In Sweden the hikes are ( like everything) perfectly marked, well organised and the wet parts are covered with planks or other attributes. In Norway it’s not the case. Wet, muddy and slippery parts are following each other and hiking is not something easy going. A lot of real climbing is included but we love it and it’s all so worth it!! The views but also the hikes itself are all really incredible. We did so many now and every day we are looking for new one to be added to the list. 

We are very fortunate that Morgan is enjoying the hiking as much as we do. If it’s too easy she complains about the fact that it’s too boring….During our hikes we are also creating some “ entertainment “.  Every one of us has to create a story to tell. I think we can write a book about all our imaginary friends and the stories we are creating. It is a lot of fun and “Timmy the goldfish” is our favourite. Stephen created Timmy but he is here to stay. Every day Timmy has new adventures with his friends against the bad guys, two sharks named Peppy and Cooky. 

We drove the scenic route through the Lofoten and went from the tip towards inland. We were surprised about the amount of campers there were and how busy it was. It’s one small road through the Lofoten but its packed. Five years ago the Lofoten were not something special yet but after the pandemic and all the newly bought campers it turned out to be very crowded. We also had to have a little patience once in a while. Norway is super green but it only can be like that due to enough rain. Norway’s weather is something unpredictable so you have to life by the day. Luckily we have the time and are not in a rush. The rainy days were used for studying (Stephen is doing a study about sustainability) and finding a job somewhere in the snow.  We also visited a couple of small villages along the route. After Lofoten we drove to Langøya and Andøya were we visited Nyksund and met Andes and Renate. The are bar owners of a beautiful bar in Nyksund. We spend two days with them and met them a couple of days later for camping. Thank you for nice time! We took the boat to Senja after saying goodbye to Andes and Renate. Taking ferries in Norway is like taking a turn on the high way. Easy and very normal. We drove around and did another great hike were we had to climb two tops (both 680 meters) in one walk. We thought we pushed it too far with Morgan and climbing, but she felt totally fine. We had more issues coming down than she ever had. Through Tromsø we drove back to Sweden. We wanted to visit Abisko National Park but because we crossed the border to Norway much earlier than expected we decided to go back for a two day hike and some (a lot!) of groceries. Funny how prospective is changing along the way. We are getting spoiled by all the beauty so that we found the hike of Abisko along the Kings Trail “ just another hike”, while the scenery was great and we camped in the middle of the national park. 

Our first intention was to go the North Cap but after receiving a message of a good friend who is joining us in the beginning of September we decided differently. We don’t want to drive to just see a sign with North Cap. We want to have the time to explore and feel and see the surroundings. No rushing need to be involved. We did not feel we had enough time to drive up and be in the South on time so we skipped the North Cape for now. After coming back from Sweden, packed with food we drove to Narvik to celebrate Morgan’s 7th birthday. As a surprise for Morgan our French friends, “ The Bears “ , Quentin and Marie joined the party. Even do it rained the whole day, Morgan had a great time. One day per year she is allowed to decide everything. What to do, to eat, when to sleep and that’s on her birthday. So we ate pancakes for breakfast, hotdogs and cake for dinner and did games the entire day. She went to bed at the same time  as us so the next day we took it very slow 🙂

After the 2 days of hiking in Sweden we also hiked Rago National Park. It’s not “ famous” but we were extremely impressed. The scenery changed constantly and we had two days of beautiful weather. Morgan was able to sleep in one of the huts and we slept next to the hut in our tent. What a hike! Slowly we are driving towards the South along the beautiful coastal road. It’s still raining a lot but we make use of the sunny periods to hike and enjoying the scenery. We park everywhere and anywhere and we still have the best back garden of all. 

We also have some other good news. We found a job in the snow!!! We are super happy and exited. We are going to be a chalet host for a beautiful chalet in France. We will work in the area of Les Arcs. One of the biggest ski area in France. We will host a chalet, for up to 14 guests. Our jobs includes cleaning, hosting and of course cooking breakfast and diner for the guests in the Chalet. So…… if you would like to be treated as royalty for a week, book our chalet and we will be the entertainment. 🙂  https://yourmountain.life/chalets/la-grange-dalice/ 

Picture Perfect

After 3 wonderful weeks @ home we said good-bye again to family and friends. After spending our last days in our second house on the property of Lillian’s sister, we drove to Travemunde to take the boat towards Malmo. Just before we left the Netherlands we were lucky to get our vaccination. Due to the fact we had corona we just needed one shot. At first we didn’t want to get vaccinated but due to all the travel restrictions and our urge to go to Norway we decided to take the shot. For example we also had to take a vaccination before entering India, the yellow fever. Without this vaccine you are not allowed to enter. Period. The big difference between the two is that the Yellow Fever is tested for more than a decade where the corona vaccine is not. 

We had a smooth ride on the boat with almost no wind and a lot of sun. We arrived in the evening in Malmo. The weather was great and there was no darkness. Such a weird thing to experience. We were never early sleepers but now we are completely lost in time. We keep on forgetting that the sun doesn’t go down. We can imagine why everybody is living outside right now. In wintertime the sun is almost never out and the darkness will have a lot of influence on peoples state of mind. Our first impression of Sweden was “ picture perfect”. For us a little bit too perfect in a way. People are friendly but with distance, gardens are beautiful but very tidy, houses are massive and colourful and travelling is super easy. It feels like everybody does some kind of sport and is very active till late. We are sleeping in beautiful free spots. Toilets and water are always available and almost every day we can take a “bath” in one of the clean drinkable lakes of Sweden. It sounds incredible and it really is but after Portugal and even the Netherlands it felt as a little bit too perfect sometimes. Don’t worry we are not complaining at all, but it’s just a weird experience after all the countries we have seen so far on our trip. 

The Swedish people are very proud of their national products. Wood is the main export product but there are more than enough trees to cut. The Swedish government takes good care of the population of the forest. Only 1% of the forest will be cut and the total amount of the forest is more than 24 million hectares. Half of the country really drives a Volvo, of course IKEA is everywhere and you can find huge outdoor shopping malls around the country. 

The first 1,5 weeks we spent along the coast of Goteborg and upwards. We went to Smogen and stood in great little villages along the coast. After the coast we drove to the other side of Sweden towards Stockholm. We visited some villages around Stockholm and went to Sigtuna, a beautiful tiny village with great running tracks. Daily we are doing some kind of sport. There are not a lot of hills, marked tracks and everywhere bootcamp attributes. We shower in the lake. Again perfectly arranged 🙂 One of our friends had to work in Stockholm and so we were very lucky she could rent a house with enough space for us and our camper. What an amazing gift. We almost did not want to go into the city because the house was unbelievable. It was situated 6 km from the centre at a lake, with a slide to enter! We all had our own bedroom and Morgan couldn’t be more happier. After 2,5 years finally having an own bedroom was something huge for her. She didn’t want to get out of the room. The bedroom was decorated for a child so, picture perfect, hahaha. For a couple of days we had a large kitchen, bedroom, fitness room and washing machine! How happy you can be with the “ normal “ things. We biked through the centre of Stockholm and all the islands. 

We spend midsummer night, the most important festival of the year for Sweden in Leksand. Normally there are 20.000 people watching the event. Unfortunately due to Covid the government cancelled all big events so we sat down at the pool and had a nice campfire night with some other travellers at our camp spot. A big part of the Swedish people are in love with old American cars.  At first we did not realise it but especially around Siljan lake they make a “ thing” out of it. You will find old American cars driving around the city square on Friday and Saturday with a lot of people in the car. Loud music is mandatory and it’s a funny parade. 

After midsummer we drove to National Park Höga Kusten. We wanted to do a hike in Skuleskogen National Park which is part of Höga Kusten. After getting some insider tips (thank you once again Lena) we decided to walk from the North to the South entrance of the park. We slept for two days in the park in our tent. The third day we took a boat from Docksta (just below the South Entrance) to Ullvon and then up to Trysunda. An Island which only is reachable by boat and no cars are allowed. What a magical place! We spent 1 night and day on the island and in the evening we took the boat back to our beloved Ella.

We met friends from the Netherlands, Jan Dick and Nicolette at the beginning of the wilderness road. One of the most beautiful roads in Sweden. It’s a 500 km road which takes a loop along the Norwegian border. We drove along forests and lakes and slept on a plateau 900 meters without any trees. The next morning Stephen & Jan Dick decided they wanted to see Norway and so they did a run till and over the border. We visited Fatmomakke, one of the oldest Sami villages of Sweden. The Sami’s are the oldest inhabitants of Sweden and are also covering the Northern part of Norway and Finland. After saying goodbye to Jan Dick and Nicolette we drove back to the coast of Sweden. We wanted to go to a Free festival in Skelleftea, drive further up North along the coast and go back inland to the National parks in the North. But………yesterday we decided differently. We met some other travellers in Umea and they told us it’s much easier going to Norway from this region than from the North. The region we are in right now is still green on the Covid map and so we just have to show our QR code and we can enter. Where, if we would enter from the North part (orange) we have to go in Quarantine for at least 3 days. Tomorrow we will do massive shopping (food is very expensive in Norway) and we will drive to the border. The same 450 km we already did but hey, the drive is beautiful. 😉

After a month of traveling in Sweden we are seeing and feeling more the differences between the different parts of the country. The more you drive towards the North the more the houses are getting smaller, roads are getting emptier and forests are getting thicker. The “ picture perfect” is dissolving and nature is insane. There is one “little” minus point: the bloody mosquitos. We bought a fantastic device which creates a bubble of 20m2 without mosquitos. Fantastic and a real Swedish invention. We used it a lot during our hike. Unfortunately we learned the hard way it doesn’t work on the little midges, the other kind they have in Sweden. After a night around the campfire we got covered by bites and these ones are itching even more. 

If everything goes well our next blog will be from Norway. We hope so. We like Sweden a lot but are also very curious towards Norway. It would be great if we could have a little bit of both!!

Big kiss from us

See you later, Alligator

Another two months have passed since our last blog. The last period in Portugal we spend in the Northern part of the country. We enjoyed every minute of it! We went to two National parks and visit the city of Porto. Porto is a cool city. A bit rough on the edges but incredibly beautiful from the inside. We visit some great parts of the city and biked to much 😉 uphill and along the Douro. There is a “small” competition between the cities of Porto and Lisbon and in both of the cities the people think, their city is the best.…. We were unable to choose and we felt both cities deserve a visit for sure.

The North is very beautiful and is completely different than the South part of the country. Our first national park was Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela. We drove to the highest mountain (2000 meters) which is in the middle of the park. Ella (our beloved camper) did an amazing job by going up and down the small roads of the park. Piece of cake. Even do Ella isn’t “fancy” and no 4×4, we are so happy with her. She does her job well. After an extreme windy night without a lot of sleep we enjoyed waterfalls along the road back down to the valley. We did a lot of walks and enjoyed the surroundings.

Right at the border between Portugal and Spain there is a city called Viana do Castelo. For some a good spot to surf for us a nice spot for the weekend. We spend the weekend at the farm of Hugo. For the first time since ages, we had a little living room of our own (part of the hostel, but no guests) and we enjoyed the weekend with other travelers who we met through social media but never met in person. Nice and relaxed! Our Second national park was Parque Nacional Peneda-Geres. THE park of Portugal for almost all of the Portuguese we met during our travel and what an incredibly park it is. We spend 1,5 weeks in and around the park. Did two long walks around 15 km each in two different areas of the park and spend nights in the middle of nowhere. Luckily the borders between Spain and Portugal reopened a couple of days before we entered, so were able to drive along and through the borders of the park without any issues. The last days in Portugal we spend enjoying massive waterfalls and very cold dips.

After 8 months, it was time to say goodbye. Portugal gave us so much. More than we could ever imagined. It gave us a home away from home. It gave us a home in strange times. It gave us friends for life. It gave us new insights for our future. It gave us a new path to travel. It gave us amazing views and wonderful walks. It gave us music. It gave us Covid (unfortunately) but most of all it gave us exactly what we needed, lots of love and happiness. We almost decided to go and live in Portugal for the next couple of years but we also realized due to travel, that our family and friends are very valuable to us. We will come back, that’s a promise! And for us, a promise is a promise.

We left Portugal with mixed feelings and drove easily through Spain toward France. We took a risk of not doing any PCR test but we had no issues at all at the borders. We only got stopped once in France by a toll station controller. No request of test, just our route. We spend two days with an old colleague of Stephen, and his wife on their farm. Before we drove to the Netherlands, we made one other stop at friends we met at the Fabriça in Lisbon. We had a great evening with the whole family playing domino and getting way too much spoiled by delicious food.  

Coming home to see family and friend is always awesome. Even do we really wanted to see all of our friends; due to the short period of time we mainly focused on our family. Both of our dads needed a lot of love and it felt really good to be with our families.  This was the second time we came back “home” during our 2,5 years of travel but this time it felt different. The first time the difference between India and the Netherlands was massive and due to the way we came home (urgently,) it wasn’t measurable. Now, after arriving from Portugal we found the difference much bigger. We noticed much more the neatness of our country and the materialistic approach on life. We realise that our minds are changed and we are more and more adapting to a less materialistic and rushed life. We know money is a necessary but how much depends totally on your own state of mind.

We arrived in Sweden yesterday and are excited about our trip through Scandinavia. We had butterflies in our stomach. We will start off our trip in Götenborg and Stockholm and after the cities we will go into the beautiful national parks of Sweden. For now, we will go up all the way to the border of Norway and Finland. Hopefully we can cross into Norway. For now, the border of Norway remains closed till further notice. If the border stays closed, we will go down through Finland.

We are still in a search for a winter job. We prefer Switzerland but also Austria, Italy, France or Norway (when it opens up) will be an option. Dates are flexible. So, if any of you know a nice job for 3 incredibly lovely nomads……. Let us know 😉

De kyss från oss tre!

Are we there yet?

Topic number one, always and everywhere…. Corona. Every conversation we have with whoever, within 5 minutes we talk about Corona. Logic because we are still in the middle of it.

The world is still fighting back. We believe this virus is touching us in a good and a bad way. We have more quality time with family and friends, we are more helping each other and we are slowing down to realise which values are really important in life. In the beginning there was a positive curve for the environment and the world was finally taking action on climate change.  Unfortunately, the environment and climate change were the elephant in the room during the elections in The Netherlands. There was not a lot written about this topic on the political agenda of our biggest winning parties during the election. For us it should be on the top of the agenda of any political party. 

We never took Corona for granted but we did not fear it. After posting our last blog Stephen got sick again from the corona virus which was still in his body. After 3 weeks of being better it made Stephen sick again. The first time all signs where “clear”.  Heavy headache, tired, loss of taste. No doubts. The second time parts of the virus went to the nerves of his brain. This had a huge impact on his behavior and character. After a couple of bad nights without a lot of sleep Stephen was telling Lillian he had a new personality. He was a completely different person and this was his new him. After a massive talk and a lot of googling Lillian found out the virus was still in his body. Stephen couldn’t believe the impact, he thought he was in psychosis. It felt like a very bad LSD trip without controlling it. His had an accelerated heartrate and could not control his body. Bing watching Netflix was the best remedy. No influences from outside and without thinking. After 2 weeks Stephen thought he felt much better but it came back after a too busy day. This time it took over his body, he was shaking and Lillian had to carry him to the toilet. Other people from Fabrica Braco de Prata had the same signs. Panic attacks, hallucinations and physical complaints. Surprisingly this are signs you don’t hear much. We never underestimated the virus but certainly Stephen was skeptical about some of the government’s choices. It was a mind-blowing couple of weeks. We maybe don’t agree on everything but we certainly understand more about all the precautions of the government. After already 4 healthy weeks we are happy the virus is hopefully really gone. What a strange time…

After all of this we finally did the things, we love to do the must. Hiking and being in nature. People told us the most impressive and rough coastline was along the province Alentejo between Villa Nova Milfontes and Odeceixe. The trail called the Fisherman’s trail which we walked a small part of. We walked two times, one walk of three days walk and one two days walk. At the first walk we did 44 kilometers and the second walk we did 32 kilometers. We are still not good in calculating and planning. Poor Morgan….. We calculated through a walking app it supposed to be around 44 km. Oops. Morgan is our hero! With her six year of age, she walked all without complaining. We are so proud! We slept on the most amazing cliffs and on the beach with our little tent. The tracks are incredible. After the two walks we decided we wanted to do much more of this and so we will visit Scandinavia after Portugal. There are still many places in this world which are like heaven. We hitchhiked back to the camper. Super funny.

We keep on meeting great people. Wild camping in Portugal is very hard at the moment. The government adjusted the rules because there where to many campers standing everywhere. We still wild camp but with a risk of a ticket of 200 Euro. In Zambujeira we met Jason, Isabelle and their two children. Stephen did a morning run and came across the property of Jason and Isabelle. He just went up to them and ask if we could sleep on a little spot on their land. They offered us a place where we could stay as long as we wanted. They live in small paradise, Inspiring people! After Zambujeira we visit Patricia, Camille and Enzo in Aljezur. We met Guy and Patrica on a beach in Goa last year. Us with our van and they with a house in the area. We kept contact and after we found out that we both were in Portugal we came together. Unfortunately, Guy was in Swiss but we had a great time with Patricia, Camille and Enzo. They took us into their little community. We enjoyed amazing food and were accompanied by many beautiful people.

We made up our minds for the rest of the year (for now). Like we said before after our walks we decided to spend the summer in Scandinavia. We love hiking and after the hike with Morgan we felt that Scandinavia is the area to go. Luckily for us and our family and friends, our small little country is on the way to Scandinavia and so we are able to say hello to everybody we love. After crossing Denmark, we start off with Sweden, do some volunteering and hopefully after that we can enter Norway. For now, the border of Norway is still closed but they are talking about reopening in July. After the summer we will find some work in the snow (now we are able to do so). We will of course collect our snowboards and hope we can combine business with pleasure. 🙂  Our first intention will be Swiss but we will see.

The last couple of months we spend a large part of our time in the Alentejo region and mostly around Villa Nova Milfontes. We slowly fel in love on this beautiful little village. The people and surroundings are incredible. The next couple of weeks we will explore the northern part of Portugal but not before we saying hello to our second home and family at Fabrica.

Big kisses and lots of hugs from the three of us.

Fábrica Braço de Prata

4 months since our last post, unbelievable. We were a bit busy, hahaha, so time went fast.

After enjoying the northern part of Portugal, we wanted to visit Lisbon. Many people told us it’s a great city with a nice cultural vibe. We planned one week to explore. The city is quite due to Covid-19. No mass tourism. Shop, restaurants and event centers were open but did close on the 15th of January (we arrived 22/10/20) for a complete lockdown. To find our spot to stay, we make use of an app called Park4night. An App with places for wild camping, campgrounds and parking spots in Europe. A massive number of spots to stay entered by other travelers all around the world. In big cities we never do “wild camping”. We feel the camper is not secured and it doesn’t feel relaxed. We always go for campground or secured parking lots. During our last 2 years of traveling, more than 70% of our spots to sleep were in the “wild”. Sometimes a beautiful green surrounding and sometimes a horrible grey one (parking lot with a lot of concrete). The non-wild spots were always in cities.

Fábrica Braço de Prata

We found Fábrica Braço de Prata through Park4Night. A cultural hub with a big parking lot as a garden for around 25 campers. We instant fell in love. We did a lot of exploring in the city and saw some great live musical performances in Fábrica. For us Fabrica looked from the outside a little bit like Berghain in Berlin (yes, we know we have a lot of imagination, so let say a far cousin perhaps). The vibe in the building is incredible and is hard to explain – but you can feel positive energy flowing. Before Covid-19 there where at least 3 to 5 concerts going on every night – 4 nights a week. Some of the best musicians in Portugal are playing here. There is a music school in the building which brings musicians & bands together. There are art exhibitions, which are rotating. Everywhere you look you will find the best art, instruments, books. It felt like coming home! The people who are working here and the owners of this place are amazing and incredible inspiring persons. Yes, it sounded like a dream.. but it was all and even more. We went to the owners to ask if we could do volunteering work. Work 4 to 5 hours a day (5 days a week) and get food/drinks and accommodation for free. We saw opportunities to help out. A lot of cleaning needed to be done around the campground / garden and they needed a hand with the day-to-day business with the campers who would arrive and stay.

We had to convince them to agree on our proposal at first but after a couple of days we were not allowed to leave. They were very happy with us. We really did our best to help out and to make things better. In these hard times extra help and revenue is more than welcome at culture places. The family adopted us directly. Morgan played the whole day with Violeta and Gabriel, the children of Nuno and Sylvia (founders of Fábrica) and Fábrica was in our opinion the best spot for home schooling to Morgan. We saw almost every night live music and learn about the way of living from the people who work and played at the Fabrica. They offered us an apartment in the building where we could stay, 2 rooms and a private bathroom. We rejected because we love to stay in our “little house” Ella. We also met very nice people on the campground – travelers from all over Europe. With some of them we build up great friendships. It kept us busy for almost 3 months!

We spend Christmas and New Year together with our new friends and the people of Fábrica. We almost forgot about Covid-19 because we were living in our own Fabrica bubble… We were already philosophize on how we could stay and earn some money. But we also found out that we were not ready to stop traveling yet. Unfortunately, Covid-19 for the second time hit hard in Portugal and Lisbon. During Christmas the government gave “carte blanche”. Everybody was allowed to visite family and friends without any restrictions. After Christmas the virus did spread heavily.  Due to this decision Portugal is again in a total lock-down as of the 15th of January and borders are closed to other countries.

After 2 weeks lockdown, we were unluckily and got Covid-19 ourselves.  Stephen started and his first 2 days were accompanied by heavy headache, loss of taste, tiredness and some bad hallucinations. Because the apartment was still vacant, he went to the apartment to be in quarantine. After 4 days he could go outside again, off course being very careful. Luckily, he felt much better after 3 days but tired until the 9th day. With advice of friends, we took a diversity of vitamins. With us others on the campground also got infected. Everybody had a completely different experience in regards of what Covid-19 did to them but we all could say that we had the feeling of less symptoms and faster recovery due to the vitamins. Lillian got sick after a couple of days after Stephen his first signs. She lost her taste and smell completely and had strong muscle pain. But not really ill. Women are stronger, we know now for sure. Haha…..Morgan wasn’t infected at all. We thought we ticked the box but the last couple of days Stephen got a second “attack” by his Covid. The tiredness came back with some mental issues. Slowly he is recovering again but we were surprised by the impact.

We decided in January that we would leave Fábrica to continuing traveling. There is much more to see in Portugal. What will be next after Portugal doing summer time, for now we don’t know yet. Will it be Scandinavia, Italy, Balkans, Greece or Iceland? To many options and possibilities. What a wealth we live in. Living in a camper, being with your loved ones and see the best places in the world. For us it can’t be better.

We left Fábrica with so much more life experience. All the marvelous conversations, incredible lunches and dinners and all the love– we will never forget. A big thanks towards the musicians and artists, we loved being a part of their life and adventures. We hope to see the other travelers we met at Fabrica again on the road somewhere in our shared big garden, the world.  

Fashion models

Due to Fabrica , Morgan and Stephen took Piano lessons. We bought an electronic piano (which fits in the camper) and started online lessons. Thank you, Victor, Nuno & Duarte – we got so inspired by you. Sorry Maarten, Stephen switched…

We hope everybody is doing well. Of course we are thinking a lot about the situation in the Netherlands and in this strange world. We really hope we can go back to our normal lives as soon as possible, giving each other big hugs and enjoy the good things in life.

Love towards all of you – Morgan, Lillian and Stephen

Back on track.

Time goes fast, our last blog was already from June.

During summer we enjoyed being in the North of the Netherlands. It was really great to be with Lillian sister, Wiranda and Egbert, Nynke & Yenthe. We realised how special it was to be part of their family live. Even do Lillian and Wiranda are sisters, normally we would not be able to see each other’s life this closely. It made our time with them incredible valuable. Morgan played every day with Nynke & Yenthe and it was big fun for them and for us. When Morgan woke up, she went straight outside to play with them on the farm. The last 2 weeks before the summer holiday she was even able to join Yenthe to school and see how life was at school.  After these week’s Morgan told us she realises that she has a very relaxed “school” period with us:-) During the summer months Morgan joined swimming lessons and after a couple of weeks she passed her ” exam” and received an official swim certificate from the Dutch swim association.

In the meantime, we were busy catching up with family and friends, helping out on the farm and making plans for the next coming year. We were still hoping that the world would become a bit more “normal” again in regards of Covid-19. Unfortunately, that did not happen, borders around India are still closed today and the virus is spreading fast. We spoke with people in India and they told us that even do the media is telling different, life is quite normal. But our feeling is and was still that we didn’t wanted to be stuck in India.  We have no regrets we came back home. At the end of June, we shipped Ella (our camper) back towards the Netherlands. It was a hard decision because we knew that the dream we had (Australia) ended right there and then. We will not know what the further will bring but for now it’s not an option. We can’t get into the country and we need to take care of our cash flow as well ;-(

In August we stayed for 2 weeks in Amsterdam, taking care of a cat from our friends Sander & Iris while they were on holiday. It felt great to be in the city! Exploring beautiful Amsterdam and also being surrounded with a diversity of people, shops and cafes. We love Amsterdam, it has such a good vibe even in Corona times. At the end of the 2 weeks we could pick up Ella from the port in Rotterdam. After 2 months being on the ocean, we were so happy to see here again – our house and transportation was back! She has seen a bit more of the world than us. She went from India towards South Korea, stopped in Hong Kong, Djibouti, Egypt and finally arrived in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She looked ok, but was very mouldy. After cleaning her (which took as a week) we found out we had a leak on the roof. It caused a part of the mould and gave us major electricity problems. We had to replace 2 essential control panels and because the camper is 17 years old it was not an easy fix. We (the garage) could fix one part of the issue. The other part of the issue had to be sent to Italia and we do not know when it’s repaired. Luckily, we still could go and we hope that DHL will bring our fixed panel somewhere in Portugal.

So, we are back on track! Last week we left The Netherlands and drove directly towards Portugal. It’s great to be back in Ella! To have all the freedom to go where and whenever. Our first plan was to take it slow, see a bit of France and Spain. But because of all the negative developments around Covid-19 we just drove directly to Portugal. We were afraid that borders where closing and we would not be able to move around anymore. Portugal will be our hibernate spot. Relax, sport, learn to surf but also to do volunteering work. Our first impression is that people are very nice and a lot of nice places to visit. We are surprised how many other travellers we meet on the road in a van or camper. It’s incredible to see. After being in countries like Iran, Pakistan and India where we were almost alone as campers, here it’s the complete opposite. Every spot we found till now is occupied with other campers. Probably it will be for a reason everybody is in Portugal during winter so we are looking forward to find out why! The only real shame is that with all this massive camper life here there is a lot more rubbish and waste on the grounds. We try to take as much rubbish with us when we leave a spot but it will never be enough. The source needs to change as well.

During the next couple of months, we will keep you posted again about our life in Ella. We hope that everybody stays safe and looks out for each other. What a world we’re living in. Sometimes we just cannot believe what is happening to world. Big changes in health, freedom, happiness and the economy. When we post photos, we try to show our impression of this beautiful world. Because there is still a lot of beauty to share. It distresses us that EVERY day there are 200.000 people more joining this planet… How will it look in 50 years? We are treating this planet as waste. We have to changed our way of living to give this planet the respect it deserves. We, our family of 3, are trying to do our utmost during our travels but we are far from perfect. Properly no human is but we can always try to do better.

Big hug and love from the 3 nomads.

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.

365

One year ago we moved out of our beloved house in Utrecht and moved into our new house on wheels.

When we got in our camper and drove off we were speculating “ were would we be next year same time?? “ Would we be already in India, did we got stock somewhere in Europe…. What would we write on our blog. Lists of number of km, number of illnesses, number of beers, number of countries……. All these nitty facts were nobody gives a damn about but so fun for us to put on paper.

Exactly after one year we write this with many tears in our eyes. We are at the airport of Goa waiting to board a plane to Brussel. Our believed Ella ( our camper) is still at the farm waiting on our return or to be shipped to wherever is possible. Prob. The Netherlands 😦 We can not believe for now our travel had to stop, we did not reach Australia but were stopt by a virus in India. We know deep in our hearts it’s is the best thing to do but for now we only can be super sad. We try to stay safe. Big kiss from us.

Dearest friends & family

We are ok. We are still at the farm in Goa – India were we do volunteering work and it’s the best place to be, in this strange situation. 

Every morning we start of with “ we have to go home” but were is home. Our “ house” is here and in the Netherlands there is of course family and friends waiting ( which were are not allowed to see) but nothing else. We are so not finished with traveling yet but we have the feeling the world is finished with all the traveling people for now.  In the afternoon we try to find different solutions for not going back….We really don’t know 😞 

We are closely monitoring everything what is happening in the world but for now with all the lock downs we have to wait till beginning of April to see what to do next. We wished we could predict the future but I think the whole world would like to do that right now.

We keep you posted. Please stay safe 

Big kiss from us

Back to reality

After traveling for almost 11 months (and enjoying every minute of it) last week for the first time we wished we were back home. 

We started off with Morgan who got the famous “Delhi Belly” and within 4 hours she was hospitalized for sincere dehydration. We were shocked how quick it happened. In the morning all was fine but after lunch she got really ill very quickly. At one moment we were not able to reach her for at least two minutes. Unbelievable scary! Later we found out it was a fever convulsion (which we never saw before and hope never to see again) We looked up the best hospital in Jodhpur and went straight away to the emergency. Within an hour we were submitted. The doctors were great and after an “ok” from our insurance company everything was possible 😉 To make sure the fall out was no epileptic seizure they also took an MRI and EEG. Luckily all was good and after 4 days of hospital Morgan was strong enough to go home.  Finally, at home, we got very sad news that a dear friend of us, Leon passed away very suddenly. He died much to young with many “unfinished” wishes. 4 days later Lillian parents called also with the news of losing a very close and dear friend suddenly. Life can be really unfair sometimes. 

Morgan getting better in the hospital

When you are travelling it feels horrible to be on the other side of the world in said times. We realize that you have to follow your dreams…….. but for now, we wished we were home. Being with family and friends, giving them lots of hugs, love and just being there when it matters. Our thoughts are with all of you right now and you are in our minds and hearts. We are unable to be there for you and it that feels very tough.

India was the country where we did not know what to expect. Some countries were high on our” list to see” but with India we always had a bit of mixed feelings. We heard so many negative stories about the country we got a bit scared…. scared about the noise, busyness, no camping spots and all other stuff.  It really depends which route you take but for now India is beautiful and nothing to be scared about. In India it’s all about the money again. We had to get used to that again. In Iran – Pakistan, is was opposite so the first days in India we had quite some discussions. Tuk – Tuk drivers are the worst! We decided after Amritsar, Kapurthala and Jodhpur to directly go to Goa. Just slowing down the travelling and finding a spot to work for a while. We will (unfortunately) skip the bottom of the country and go up again via Rajasthan to Himachal Pradesh. The weather will be very hot in April till June and the monsoon will hit the south first. After receiving negative news about our extension for the carnet (we tried to extent our carnet till October for India) we have to be out of India the beginning of August. In July we will visit Nepal but we have to reenter India again to go to Myanmar for our next destination. 

After watching the boarder closing from the Pakistani side we drove through the same border (which was the coolest border crossing we ever did) and saw the India side. What a difference! For the first time in 1,5 months we saw ladies on the streets again, without any cover, dancing!! We realized what kind of impact it had during the last 1,5 months of our travel. We were so surprised to see women again, driving on scooters, in cars, on the streets and not completely covered. The closing of the Indian side was much more color full and less authoritarian. We also saw tourist again. In the last months there weren’t many tourist but as soon as we crossed into India, we were not the tourist attraction ourselves. 

When we arrived in Amritsar, we had to see the golden temple. The most religious place for the Sikh. A beautiful believe we really felt connected with. Every day 100.000 people will get food in the temple and everybody will help to get the food ready. It so beautiful to see the connection of people in this place. Amritsar was a nice place to get all our stuff arranged. Every time we cross a border, we have to fix a couple of things. SIM cards, insurance for the car, routes and we also always have to adjust to the country. 

After Amritsar we drove to Kapurthala. In this city the family Singh lives. They are the relatives of our friend and tailor Harjit from Utrecht. He was not around but his family welcomed us like we were family. They showed us the beautiful Kapurthala and overwhelmed us with their love. What an amazing couple of days. After two days getting spoiled, we drove to Jodhpur and visit an amazing fort. Despite the fact that Morgan got ill in this city we still enjoyed it very much. The area of Rajasthan has enormous forts and castles. Beautiful buildings with a great architecture. When we go back up north after our volunteering, we will visit this area fur sure. After Jodhpur we went in 2,5 days down to Goa. 1500 km to go to the beach. For us it means driving 2,5 days from 6AM till 7PM. Morgan is getting used to sitting. It sounds silly but after all the cold of Pakistan and the north of India it was so nice to feel the warmth again. We went from 15 to 35 degrees. Maybe a bit too much but he, who’s complaining 🙂

Goa feels like every bounty beach in Asia except for the cows. They are also chilling at the beach which is very weird to see. We first arrived in Arambol in the North of Goa. After one night in this party place (we are getting so old) and meeting our swiss biker friend Matthias again we moved to the south and the more relaxed beaches. We stayed for 5 days in Galgibaga and enjoyed the silence. The last view days we were in Agonda. Not as quite as Galgibaga but a nice little village with some shops and restaurants. It’s still strange to see so many tourists again. In Goa, tourists are very common (off course) and so it gives us also a break of all the selfies. We now get asked by all the western tourists how in the **** we got all the way down to India with our own car J

Yesterday we arrived at Dudhsagar Farmstay & Plantation, Karmane. It’s a beautiful place in the middle of the jungle in Goa. There are 5 beautiful huts which guest can rent and there is a big plantation of 50 hectares of Jungle. Full with all kind of fruits and spices. We will help out with the farm and the guests. Lillian will do a little bit of revenue management and e-commerce and Stephen will help with some Sales structures (back to our roots!!) We are looking forward to stay on one spot for a while and hopefully we can learn Morgan to swim properly. It’s already going well but with a beautiful nature pool it has to work out great. 

Live your dream, don’t dream your life.

Big kiss from us