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.
ReportsTuesday, 15 July 2003
-> Calgary, Alberta, Canada (4th day) (continuing from previous report:)
I found that Ramon had trouble meeting me as someone who has no interest in his project or his wild adventures; after all I had my share myself over the past two years. Instead I was interested in reconnecting with the Ramon that I had met on the beach those many months before. This proved to be harder than anticipated.
When Ramon arrived at my home I was on my way out to work at the CBC and didn't get the chance to really have a solid chat until later that evening. When I returned home I decided to take my FRIEND out for a pint or two and catch up the way friends do after a long time apart. But instead I felt like I was at a job interview and Ramon was simply handing me his resume over and over. I've been here, I saw this, I rode this, I met this person etc. etc. etc.
This was not the Ramon that I had encountered so many months before and I found it difficult to scrape away the layers to get to that person I call a friend. But luckily our mutual friend alcohol intervened and by the middle of the night I was loudly proclaiming that I didn't care where Ramon had been and what he had done I just wanted to hang out and relax.
And from that moment on ... that's exactly what we did. We laughed and joked and poked fun at one another the way two mates with a bit too much honey brown lager in their systems are supposed to.
I watched as 24 months of defence mechanisms melted away from and I caught a glimpse of the dude that Ramon likely is when he is at home in the Netherlands.
Without getting into too many details we had a rip-roaring time that ended up in the TV studio of the CBC ... but I can't get into that (I do want to keep my job).
Anyways, this transformation got me thinking about what had changed in Ramon since I first met him.
I began to think about what it would mean to change your home every day of the week, every month of the year. I think it's pretty obvious what that result would be ... every day would include the same conversations, the same media interviews and the same feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Now don't get me wrong this is only one side of the coin and the other side is pretty darn amazing.
But it became abundantly clear that this kind of a life would make being real, I mean truly being yourself difficult to the extreme.
Please don't misread this as a call to feel sorry for Ramon, he has chosen this path and for the most part it is a pretty amazing path to be on.
But try to remember that that path is made up of 365 steps a year and that it is the kind people who put him up that make up that path. So all I am saying is let's all try to make that path a little more comfortable. Let's try to recognize that Ramon has been asked thousands of times why he is doing what he is doing and where he has been. These are questions that can be answered by checking out his website and doing a little research. Try to remember that as exciting as it is for many of us to have a world traveller in our home, for Ramon it could very well be just another Tuesday night.
So (whoever still gets Ramon over to stay for a day) let's all make a promise ... We will all try to keep these things in mind and Ramon will try to remember that without sharing how he feels we can't know that ... no matter how many times he has told everyone else. Thanks for listening everyone and thanks for stopping by Ramon. Happy travels and enjoy your vacation in The Netherlands...