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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

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 & PartnersAustria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth 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.


Reports

Monday, 4 March 2002
Zwolle, Netherlands --> Hong Kong, China

This morning at 8.30am the project had restarted again.

Yesterday I have said a long-term-goodbye to Irena and gave her a boomerang, as a symbol of me coming back after a while. I spent all day washing clothes, packing my back and preparing for take-off.


I made coffee and my good friend Munk came over with today’s newspaper. It was a typical working day for him, as he had to work at his newspaper office, to come by my place, have a coffee and read the morning paper.

The only difference: tomorrow I would not be there.

At 9.30, after I did my latest mailcheck on my laptop, Gerben rang at the door. He had arranged a small car from his brother and offered me a ride to the airport. My housemate Anne-Marie had woken up and her live-in-boyfriend Dennis was preparing us all toasted sandwiches until he broke the toaster.

I said goodbye to my housemates and Munk and got my pack loaded into the car. Mischa, another friend of mine, came to say goodbye and made some pictures.

We left hometown Zwolle and drove through the green soils of The Netherlands, passing small urban towns, before arriving at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.

Before checking in at the desk of Cathay Pacific Airways, a photographer from a Dutch illustrated weekly made a quick photoshooting with my backpack and me. At the airport I also met up with my parents, who came over to wave goodbye to me too.

I gave away my backpack and had a coffee with my parents and Gerben. It was around 13.00 when I walked through customs and the intense security control, heavily waving to them on the other side.

At 13.20 I boarded the airbus and took my seat. Actually I moved twice. The plane wasn’t really full, and I wanted to sit where I could really stretch my legs a bit more (yep, I am pretty tall).

The advantage of flying with Cathay Pacific is the personal video screen in the chair in front of you. Everybody has his own television and can select out of 37 channels; movies, laughter, audio and games.

It took me a second move to find a empty seat with space for my legs ánd a working screen, because – of course – I had to play some games for the experience.

At 1.35 the plane was airborn and turned over Amsterdam towards the northeast. There I went again. Strange.

Sometimes I take myself with me again, wherever I leave a place. Sometimes I leave a little bit of me behind. At 30,000 feet above the diluted dirt of Holland I noticed that I left a complete hump of me behind. I will be missing Irena, my family, my best friends and I know I won’t see them again for a while.

But on the other hand, every time when I leave home, my world gets bigger and someway that gives me a feeling of happiness too.

Almost three hours after departure, lunch was served, while I flew above the Baltic Sea, east of Sweden. Outside temperature: -28C, -68F. Fortunately the Fried Fish Shanghai Style with Steamed Rice and Mixed Vegetables were hot.

I had selected the premier broadcast of the movie K-Pax on my screen, a very captivating movie about this man from the planet K-Pax who is visiting earth for a while and ends up in a psychiatric institution.

At 4 o’clock in the afternoon, Dutch time, the plane was flying just south of Saint Petersburg, Russia, when the lights in the plane were dimmed. It’s the time zone procedure: at this time it’s 11pm in Hong Kong, my first destination on this trip to Sydney. In order to have some good rest and to be fully awake when I arrive in Hong Kong in the morning, they’ll make everybody get the necessary sleep in the dark.

So basically, while writing this report on my laptop at 5pm Dutch time, the first day will be over already. Do you now believe me when I say that my life as a traveller goes faster than normal? ;-)

It’s time to turn of that light above me and play with pillows and blankets.

Ramon.