Time to say goodbye

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”

© Winnie the Pooh

 

The last few weeks were quite hard.

First, we had to finish all our school stuff, which was quite a bit of work, especially for Tamara. Besides, finishing the year with the students is mostly fun, but also kind of hectic. At the end of the week we both had our goodbye parties at work. That truly was the weirdest day of happiness and sadness all at once!

The next week was full of goodbyes. We had both scheduled many coffee-breaks, lunches and diners with friends and family, to spend one last moment with them. At least, for the time being… Meanwhile, there were many things that had to be arranged, like insurance, our postal address and some shopping. All in all, we rarely had one moment to rest or to talk to each other properly.

We spent our last weekend in The Netherlands with our (grand)parents. Those days were calm and full of food and hugs. Oh, by the way, there was some shopping too, since finding some essential things had proven to be hard.

On Monday morning we had only one person left to say goodbye to: Tamara’s sister Sharon. We had breakfast together, but we soon had to go to run some last errands. Sharon walked with us to the van, made some nice photos and waved us goodbye.

Although saying goodbye had been really hard, we were also happy that we could finally drive off. Like Winnie says, we are lucky to know all these amazing and loving people that we had to say goodbye to. It’s not a goodbye to last forever; we are convinced that it’s only a goodbye until we meet again.

Thanks to everyone who has been a great friend, either very close or further away. We will miss you.

Until we meet again.

Counting down the days

In less than a month we will have left the Netherlands.

We have been asked a thousand times if we’re getting nervous for our trip and yes, we are. The date of departure is getting really close now, so we’re literally counting down the days. There even have been moments in which we already had to say goodbye to people. That’s quite scary, to be honest.

Since we’ve still got so many things to do before we leave, there’s a lot on our schedule. We’re getting a bit tired of all the preparations, which means we’ll probably be relieved when we actually drive off. The last weeks we’ve been working on Tiny: he got his check-ups, new back tires, a 12 to 240 Volt inverter and some spare parts to bring with us. Last week we gave Tiny a bath and yesterday we sold his sunscreen. The next thing on the list is to add a roof rack for more storage options and to add our logo and website on the outside of the van.

In the meantime, we got new passports, we got our vaccinations, we ordered business cards and we bought goodbye-presents. A big task that’s left is to get rid of the last things we don’t need anymore. A lot of stuff needs to be tossed away, but there’s also the car, a bicycle, a coffee machine and a table with two chairs. Hopefully someone will be happy to adopt them. In addition, because we have to leave the municipality we’re currently living in, we need to arrange an official post address to be able to receive mail from the authorities. Let’s hope they won’t make a fuss about it (last time they made it quite hard).

All in all, time is moving quickly and we’ve already completed a lot of the things on our list. However, the hardest part has yet to come. Saying goodbye to our friends and family will definitely bring up many tears.

Time to plan

Spring break has arrived, so we have been using these last two weeks to arrange a lot of things for our journey. From April 19th, we have been living in the (huge!) house of a friend and there’s plenty of room to organise all our paperwork. Let’s tell you about what we’ve done so far.

Beforehand, we had made a list of things that needed attention. We started with what we thought was the simplest task: buying new mountainbikes! We already knew which types we wanted, since we had been searching the internet for a while. Unfortunately, the gears of the bicycle that Tamara chose weren’t functioning correctly, so we had to wait two days before another bike came in. The day after, we made a test ride and so far the mountainbikes have proven to be great!

The next thing on the list was to visit the mechanic to make an appointment for next month. Tiny, our home, hasn’t moved for over 9 months now. Therefore he has to be checked thoroughly before he hits the road again. Besides, we want to make some adjustments to the van, like putting on a roof rack and getting him some new tires.

Next, we ordered a new mattress. The one we’ve been sleeping on is still the original from 2002; it’s old and it’s full of mould from last winter. Since the slatted bed base is of the same age and has also been affected by the mould, we’ve had to find a solution for that too. Because the size of the bed is unusual, we thought that would be quite a challenge. Fortunately, we were able to pick up a second hand bed base and cut the slats in the right size. And putting them in the frame is definitely not the hardest part!

During the days, we took care of some administrative things too. We’ve made copies of our most important documents, we’ve cancelled or adjusted insurances and memberships, we’ve found out about visa and border crossings and we’ve made an appointment with the doctor for our vaccines. But most importantly, we had to write our resignation letters! They had to be turned in before May 1, to be in time for our three months notice.

All in all, these weeks have been busy. We have also been sleeping a lot though, so getting back to work shouldn’t be that bad. Only nine more weeks to go!

Home sweet campground

The summer holiday has ended, so from now on we permanently live on a campground and have to go to work from there. Some co-workers even asked us why we were still at school: “didn’t you go to Asia?!”

Well, not yet. We will stay on the campground till at least the end of May and we told our bosses that we’ll most likely finish this year at school. During these months Tiny can prove its worth: will he keep us warm in winter, won’t we need more space to move around and importantly, will he start running again when we’ll begin our journey? Besides trying out our tiny house, we can save a lot of money by living on the campground. The place is quite cheap, we don’t need to pay road taxes for Tiny and there are no other costs we need to pay while living here.

In the two weeks we’ve been here so far, we set up our tent and moved ‘all’ our stuff. The tent in front of Tiny is about 10 square meters and we made it feel like our living room: it has a couch, a chair, a side table and a rug on the floor. We put candles on the table and lights on the roof, so we’re able to sit there at night too. We even had a little fish! Its name was Big and it had really pretty orange fins and a grey body, but unfortunately he died after 12 days…

Outside, we’ve put a hammock between the trees and set up a table and some chairs. Also, our bicycles are standing against a tree, we have a fire bowl for campfires and there’s a bird house that looks like an old VW van.

To go to work, Tamara has to ride her bike for about 10 minutes. At Tuesdays and Thursdays she puts on her running shoes and runs to school. It’s only 3 kilometers. Nienke can either go to work by car or by train. Both take about 40 minutes to get there. It’s really convenient to have a train station (Gilze-Rijen) nearby! One day we went to Tilburg to have diner and Nienke has already been to friends in Amsterdam and Barendrecht.

We feel truly happy to be here. It’s small, we don’t own a dishwasher, we have to walk 100 meters to go to the restroom and when it’s cold we need to put on an extra sweater, but it definitely feels like home. It’s really great to be outside all the time and to be able to smell the fresh air.