sponsors always were:
During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & Partners; Austria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western Hotels; South Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus; Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.
ReportsFriday, 22 February 2002
break home – ready to go (update) On Monday February 25 I will announce my sponsor and my departure date in March, because I am going to leave for Australia!
Let me recapitulate the last months in this report.
I fell in love with the lovely blonde-curled Irena when my friends came over to Barcelona to spend Christmas with me. They all left on December 30. The minute that year 2002 started, I told Irena on the phone that I would come home to The Netherlands to extent my break.
I mean, I was very much in love and I did not want to let her slip away.
She was so surprised with my decision and surprised me again when she unexpectedly took a plane back to Barcelona to spend the remaining week with me in Spain.
On Monday January 7, we both flew back to The Netherlands, where I enjoyed a long time together with her and with myself - in a normal life again.
Those little things that I couldn’t do myself for such a long time were such a joy, like cleaning up my own room, standing in line in the supermarket, drinking out with friends and meeting up with my family again.
I even performed a few times as deejay in a hometown pub, which is a great thing to do again (I used to be a part-time deejay before this project took off). It was like nothing had happened and that I’ve only been away for a few weeks.
But it wasn’t always that fun.
In the first week I gave an interview to a Dutch newspaper, in which I said that “I really needed this break, I am tired” and suddenly the entire Dutch media wanted to climb on my back.
The World Traveller is back!
Irena was even more surprised about all that attention (a local paper wrote “He’s back and in love”) and you can understand that we secretly had to hide out somewhere for a few days. Just to be together and not harassed.
Things are going great between Irena and me; it’s something nobody had ever expected to happen.
We can have great talks with each other and we are so much on the same level of thinking that sometimes words aren’t always necessary. We felt each other. That was pretty strange in the beginning. And I never knew I would meet somebody who is as crazy as me.
And we talked about my thing, this project, and about her thing. Because as a social worker she wanted something else than just an own practice and –sometimes- boring clients, and decided to join the Dutch Royal Army!
In the Army
This decision was made before she met me and in the first week of February she had to report herself to the Royal Military Academy for a heavy 3-months training. With her degrees in social care, she is offered a job as a Trauma Consultant Commander after that military training.
Who would have though that?
So we both have our own ambitions. I want to travel the world and she will be doing something the same. After her training it is unsure if she will stay in The Netherlands or if she will be send out to places where we Dutch have troops stationed.
On the road again
With her at the Academy, I had to get going again too! I had to take off those pink sunglasses: I was doing this travel-thing.
”But what should I do?” I thought. I started my break in Spain and I could go back, but honestly the number of invites in Spain weren’t really a great deal. And with me back home, I didn’t see myself start off in my own country again and cross the border to Germany, for example. (Remember: it’s pretty cold here right now…)
I had to move, I had to go again; there was a pressure growing when the British Sunday Times awarded me with the title Internet Personality of the Year and the number of invites from all over the world are still increasing.
After some long talks with my backup-team, the final word was out. I was going to go far away from home this time:
The country where almost any backpacker has gone before and everybody comes back with great stories.
But I never heard how it really was. Okay, the European youth down there travels and works to travel. And I always hear: “Oh yes, those Australians are great.” Probably you have heard it before too. Now it’s time for me to bite the dust.
I only don’t see myself as a backpacker, even though I travel with a huge 25kg backpack. I depend on hospitality of others and I have promised you and myself to report about that.
I don’t have any money with me, so I can’t spend anything very easy… It’s the world versus me.
The time has come to get organized again. I needed to find myself a sponsor and I thought it would never be possible. I mean, who would pay me a ticket to another continent?! It took a few weeks time, and some gracious talks with the media helped out very well, until a big company found me and wanted to give me that hitch to Down Under.
Now it’s up to those little things again. I have received a new set of clothing from sponsor Oxbow, had my shoes fully repaired at Paping Outdoor, got a medical kit from Tropicare and my cell phone and digital camera from IP Tower are fully recharged again.
And I have to do the dishes in the student apartment that I share with three ladies and pay my bill in the local pub, haha.
Several Australian media is already emailing me. I am having chats on radio shows and newspapers demand photographs.
Australian (and British!) television impatiently wants to know when I will arrive.
This Monday I will tell you.