90 days and counting

Only 90 days ago, we were preparing for our big trip. Only 90 days ago, we were ready to change our lives forever. Now, 90 days later, we are looking back at the first part of our journey, even though we’re actually – still – just beginning.

The things we’ve seen and done
So far, we have travelled through 9 countries: Germany, Austria, Italy (even though it was short), Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece. If you count our home country, it would be 10. Our first great experience was in Slovenia, where we’ve met amazing people who we’ll never forget. Afterwards, we were surprised by the pretty sights and great people in Bosnia. We were really pleased by this country. Then, we spent some days in the beautiful mountains of Montenegro and at some interesting sites in Albania. We loved travelling through both of them and we enjoyed our time together. Finally, we arrived in Greece to cherish the last moments of summer and to help out on a small permaculture farm in the hills. Right now, we’re leaving the lovely family that we’ve met here to continue our way to Asia. However, we will pay a visit to Athens and Thessaloniki first!

 What we love about our way of living
If we think about it now, after almost three months, the greatest change that we’ve noticed in ourselves is to live in the moment. We don’t worry about what happened yesterday or last week, because it happened then and not today. We also don’t worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow or next week, as our plans change from day to day. We never know what the next day will bring, so why would we think about it now? We’re living in the moment and because of that, we don’t feel any stress. Besides, when we lived in The Netherlands, we always had to check our schedule if we felt like doing something. Now, we can do whatever we want and whenever we want, without checking if we have to work tomorrow or if we have to go to the gym tonight. It just feels amazing to wake up and think about what you want to do that day.

Other than experiencing no stress, we also really enjoy being outside all the time. The last year in The Netherlands, living on the campground, we noticed it too; breathing in fresh air every day makes us feel more energetic and cheerful. Of course, the weather has been terrific up to now, which makes living outside even more wonderful. We really hope to have a mild winter, so we can stay out as long as possible!

Only a few things…
All in all, we still don’t regret quitting our jobs and leaving our home country. We learn new things every day, we meet a lot of nice people and it still feels like vacation. However, we have to admit that we miss a few things… although sometimes it’s hard to understand what these things are. Most of all, we really miss our family and our friends. It’s not that we miss one person in particular, but we mainly miss talking to someone familiar, someone that we trust. Especially when we experience big cultural differences with our hosts or when we had an argument. We can of course always call someone to talk about it, but that’s really not the same as having a coffee together. And other than talking to someone, we miss being part of a group and doing fun things with them. For example, when we see pictures of our friends or family having a great time together, it can feel pretty lonely to be on the other side of Europe.

Another thing we miss, is our Dutch way of having a meal. We’ve noticed that when we’re staying with hosts, we have a hard time adjusting to their schedule. At all our Workaway’s so far, lunch has been the main meal of the day. Sometimes pasta, sometimes potatoes, sometimes soup… but it’s always been a hot lunch around two or three o’clock. Because we are used to having breakfast between seven and eight o’clock, we always get really hungry at noon! But then we have to wait two more hours before we have lunch…
Another downside for us, is that we have dinner when the sun goes down. Sometimes we aren’t even really hungry anymore, because we had a very late lunch. Other times, we want to go to bed early (we get pretty tired from working!) and having dinner right before going to bed doesn’t feel good. That means we sometimes just have a snack instead of dinner! Fortunately, the food has been outstanding in all the places we’ve been, so we cannot complain about that at all. Besides, the first box from Holland has just arrived, so we can finally have some ‘borrelnootjes’ and ‘pindasaus’ again!

Right now, we are ready for new adventures. Although we love the farm where we’ve lived for the last three weeks, we’re looking forward to seeing new places. Let’s move on!



There’s gotta be something more

Only 8 months to go before we will leave The Netherlands. I definitely cannot wait! It’s not that I hate my work as a teacher and that I don’t enjoy things like sports and meeting up with friends, but I just feel exhausted. On Wednesday afternoons I feel like I want to cuddle up under a blanket and stay there for at least 24 hours. Unfortunately, the train races on; there’s too much I have to do. So last week, when I ran along the road and I turned my music up to exceed the sound of cars, I listened to this song:

Monday, hard to wake up
Fill my coffee cup, I’m out the door
Yeah the freeway, standing still today
Is gonna make me late, and that’s for sure
I’m running out of gas and out of time
Never gonna make it there by nine


There’s gotta be something more
Gotta be more than this
I need a little less hard time
I need a little more bliss
I’m gonna take my chances
Taking a chance I might
Find what I’m looking for
There’s gotta be something more


Five years and there’s no doubt
That I’m burnt out, I’ve had enough
So now boss man, here’s my two weeks
I’ll make it short and sweet, so listen up
I could work my life away, but why?
I got things to do before I die


There’s gotta be something more
Gotta be more than this
I need a little less hard time
I need a little more bliss
I’m gonna take my chances
Taking a chance I might
Find what I’m looking for
There’s gotta be something more


Some believe in destiny, and some believe in fate
I believe that happiness is something we create
You best believe that I’m not gonna wait
‘Cause there’s gotta be something more


I get home 7:30, the house is dirty, but it can wait
Yeah, cause right now I need some downtime
To drink some red wine and celebrate
Armageddon could be knocking at my door
But I ain’t gonna answer that’s for sure
There’s gotta be something more!


© Sugarland, 2004

It’s all starting to take shape

In the last couple of weeks we’ve been turning our house upside down to sort out all our stuff. There’s one pile that goes directly into the waste bin. The next pile is crammed into boxes for upcoming flea markets. And the last pile, the most important but smaller pile, is to keep. Only the most essential and valuable belongings will remain.

In nine weeks from now, we’ll move out of our house. Tiny is patiently waiting for us to move in. However, a lot has to happen until that moment and I’m convinced that the time will fly by.

While reading a fabulous book from two Argentineans who travelled all the way to Alaska in an 1928 car, I came across a part that totally blew my mind.

“The education of your parents and their treatment of you is very important, as is your own schooling and the society in which you grow up. That aside, you can’t blame them for your way of life and your failures. You have the intelligence to change what is necessary, to be what you want to be. If you are a person who doesn’t fit in the world that surrounds you, if you feel uncomfortable doing what you like, and everyone looks at you like a frog from another pond, that’s how it is: that’s not your place. Nevertheless, don’t change, look for another pond, find your place, where the world that surrounds you is your world. Only you are responsible for yourself, don’t look for excuses among others.”

So, that’s what we’ll do. We’ll find our place, our pond.