English | Dutch
A big step forward
Bay of Bengal to The Netherlands, Oct-10-08 / Nov-05-08

Today is a historical day. Barack Obama has won the American elections and will become the 44th president of the United States of America. The world is relieved. In the last fourteen months of our travel through Asia, we didn’t meet anyone who had sympathies for senator McCain. Without exception, all Asians we met hoped for a victory for Barack Obama. With his victory, the people in Asia hope that the relationship between the different population groups in the world will be improved significantly. The world made with his election a big step forward.

We are almost for weeks back home now. That means that we are more than half way our ‘holiday‘ in The Netherlands. We enjoy every single day of it. It is great to be back with family again. However, we didn’t need a lot of days to talk about the things that happened last fourteen month. We were already quite good informed about the things that happened in The Netherlands during our absence. This has everything to do with the fact that we Skype a lot (video-phone using the Internet). Internet made it a lot easier to leave home without missing your family and friends a lot.

After 14 months of traveling, reunited for a couple of weeks
It is especially hard to adapt to the Dutch weather again. The first couple of days in The Netherlands were not that bad. We saw a watery sun once in a while and the temperatures were close to the twenty degrees Celsius. But that has changed. The sun hides him selves behind the thick grey clouds and once in a while the rain pours down in large quantities. The temperatures dropped to 8-12 degrees Celsius. Edwin adapted himself quite good to these changed weather conditions, but Ivonne still wears one or two fleece jackets over her normal clothes. Sometimes even inside the house. We stay with both the parents of Ivonne and Edwin. We distribute the weekend over them as fair as possible. Fortunately, they live only half an hour drive apart from each other, making the travel times almost negligible.

The most asked question that we get is: “Don’t you miss home a lot?”. The answer is short and simple: “Not at all!”. Of course, we miss our family once in a while, but communication through the Internet relieves the pain a lot. And there are not many other things that we miss. Once in a while we really look forward to a well-stocked supermarket, a hot shower and a healthy meal. However, these luxury goods are inferior to all the pleasures that you get from travelling around the globe. So, we absolutely do not consider staying in The Netherlands and picking up our ‘normal’ life again. That does not mean that we never have difficult days during our journey. Especially on the days that we don’t feel well or are having a long and tiring bus ride, we question ourselves: “Why are we doing this?”. But as soon as we imagine ourselves in a long traffic queue again or behind a computer in a stressful office, we realise that we are extremely lucky to travel around the world.

Playing on the trampoline with niece Sam and nephew Tuur

We did a lot of shopping last weeks. After fourteen months of extensive travelling, some travel stuff was worn out. Ivonne’s trousers were shabby, our shoes had to be replaced and our daypacks had seen the best days in their lives many months ago. Besides that, we had to buy some things that are difficult to get in Asia. Think about things like anti malaria tablets, vitamin pills and big-sized socks for Edwin. We also had to do some things that we didn’t look forward too, like filling in our tax returns and going to the doctor for additional vaccinations. So, so far we didn’t have the chance yet to take a good rest. We probably have to wait for it till we are back in Bangkok.

We spent also some time preparing ourselves for the journey through Northern Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. We expect to travel through these countries from the end of January till the beginning of March. And this part of the journey will be very special because the parents of Ivonne will join us during for this stretch. We decided to travel in the same way as we travel with the two of us. That means that we travel by public transport, eat in simple local restaurants and sleep in budget hotels. We really look forward to this period and spend already considerable time doing some research to the places and areas that we want to visit. The end of January still ‘sounds’ far away, but it isn’t. Exactly two months after the day that we leave The Netherlands again, the parents of Ivonne will arrive in Bangkok. We can’t wait for this moment!


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