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Aren’t we actually preferring traveling?
Antigua (Guatemala) to The Netherlands, July-October 2017

Less than a month after our 10th travel anniversary celebration, we are by plane on our way to the Netherlands. Initially, we wanted to go home again at the end of the year, but because of the rainy season in Central America and the nice summer months in Western Europe, we decided to go earlier. Besides that, we are still having the idea that it's maybe the time to buy a house again in the Netherlands. We are still enjoying travelling very much, but sometimes we also dream about having our own house again. A real home, with our own stuff and a kitchen to cook our own meals again. Ideally, this would be a place where we can live for a part of the year near family and friends. The other time of the year we would like to continue travelling. A kind of part time travelling! With that thought in mind, we fly back to the Netherlands to see if this is a desirable and achievable future option for us.

More than a year ago we already decided that if we buy a house, it would be in The Netherlands. That's the place where we grew up, where the people live who are close to us and where we really feel ourselves at home. A house in a sunnier part of Europe is, after much deliberation, no option for us. If we want to be home for a part of the year, we really want to be home. And for the rest of the year, we are delighted to visit other countries and get in touch with other cultures. We also did a lot of thinking about the type of house that suits us best. We love a quiet place, space around us and nature, so an apartment or a house is a suburb not suitable for us. We are not used to luxury, so our future house does not need to meet the modern requirements of today's houses. What we are looking for is a small characterful house with some land, and most preferably outside a residential area. And oh yes, it would also be very nice if the location is secure, so that we can leave the house empty while we are traveling.

Romantic dinner together
 

With that image in mind, we started our search in the Netherlands. Of course, only with the idea that the house should be quite perfect for us, because otherwise, we will continue travelling for the moment. We started our search in the northern part of the Netherlands. After all, that's the green and quiet part of our country, where the air is still clean and houses with some acres of land are still affordable. We visited some houses in the provinces Gelderland, Overijssel, Drenthe and Friesland, but after a couple of weeks we concluded that we prefer a house in the south-eastern of the Netherlands. That area is less beautiful and the landscape is increasingly dominated by large intensive livestock farms and greenhouses, but it is the place where we come from. However, the houses in this area are also more expensive because the economic prosperity of Eindhoven, the fifth largest town in the country. But for this southern area, we are somewhat worried about the fact that leaving a house unoccupied in the south of the Netherlands is more complicated. The rural areas of the southern provinces of the Netherlands are plagued by criminal activities. On the one hand, Eastern European thief gangs regularly rip out the barns of houses in search of lawn mowers and tools, while on the other vacant barns are often ‘claimed’ by organized crime groups for large-scale weed farming.

Eventually we find a house we fall in love with. It is located near a medium sized town in the south of the country, but still in the green and at bicycle distance from the town centre. However, the house is very outdated, and since the year of construction in 1948, not much happened to improve it. But it's a beautiful place! This house fits us well and this could be a place to grow old. We must, however, live in the real world. This is a house with a lot of work to do. Nothing is insulated, the kitchen and bathroom are heavily outdated and the roof needs to be replaced. This is a long term project with considerable financial risks. Before we can seriously consider the house and, if necessary, want to pay for a structural inspection, we first discuss with the sellers if they are open to talk about the price. Because it is far too high in our opinion. And since the house is already for sale for a long time, they ask us to make the necessary next steps.

Camping in the province of Drenthe
 

Before considering an offer, we do some necessary homework. We have conversations with window suppliers, roofers, insulation companies and a building contractor, to get an estimation of the investment we have to make in the house to make it comfortable enough for us. We also hire a building engineer to investigate if there are hidden defects. And he concludes that the house is fine; 'What you see is what you get' is what he tells us. In addition, we are still thinking at the same time whether it is the right decision to buy a house with all the related responsibilities. Are we really ready to go back to the Netherlands and be part of the rat race again? Are we really willing to say goodbye to this great traveling life we had and settle again for at least 6 months per year? Yes, we think we are. So we call the real estate agent and tell him the amount of money we want to pay for the house as a 'take it or leave it' bid. We do not want to start a negotiation process so we immediately put our cards on the table. This is what we offer and nothing more.

The sellers do not respond immediately with a yes or no. In fact, a couple of weeks pass by without a substantive response. It seems that they cannot really get used to the idea that their parental home comes into the hands of other people. During the waiting period we visit a vacation fair in Utrecht. While wandering over the fair with all those advertisement of beautiful travel destinations that the world has to offer, we start having serious doubts. Are we really willing to limit our traveling? Is it not too early to settle again? Aren’t we actually preferring traveling? We look at each other and know the answer immediately; in case of any doubt …. don’t do it! At this moment, our hearts are still somewhere else. We packed our backpacks and are ready to go again. Our next destination will be the Dominican Republic!

Ivonne and Hugo
The little house we were really interested in
A fairytale house in the woods

Ivonne is taking notes

A huge egg speciality at 'In den Bockereyder' in the village of Esbeek

 
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