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Going Dutch: Making the leap

September 30th, 2009 9 comments


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Welcome to our new newsletter. We hope to put it out weekly, as a glimpse into our lives as we make the transition from cycling around the world to a somewhat more stable life, with luxuries like furniture and constant hot water, in Holland. As we write this, we’re at Halifax Airport in Nova Scotia, just waiting for our plane to take off. We’ll spend the next 3 weeks driving with Friedel’s uncle around Germany and Poland before we arrive at our new home in The Hague. It’s exciting and nervewracking all at the same time but we’re jumping into our new role, sans bicycles, with a big smile and an optimistic outlook. Anyone out there want to hire an IT expert or a journalist??

Arthur, Andrew and Penny

This is one of the hardest parts of constantly moving to a new place… saying goodbye to family and friends. Here’s Andrew with his cousins Arthur and Penny. They’re such lovely people and we’ll miss them a lot so we were glad they came to the airport to see us off on our big Dutch adventure.

Since we’ve jumped off our bikes, we’ve had to make a few adjustments. Here’s what we’ve noticed:

  • Our appetites are still raging! There’s lots of wrist-slapping as we try to avoid ice cream (which we used to eat by the gallon), second helpings of anything and, saddest of all, beer….
  • Our backs are aching and they only feel better when we lean forward into a riding position. Really.
  • We are spending a stupid amount of money. It’s cheaper to travel than stay at home.
  • Fresh Air, oh how we miss you! When we’re driving in the car, we want to stick our heads out the window.
  • Having a bed every night is very nice indeed. This is one adjustment we’re happy to make.



Since we’ve announced our idea to move to Holland, many people have asked us a lot of questions. Here are some of the answers:

  1. Why Holland? Why not? Life’s too short to be boring and we crave new surroundings. We don’t know a lot about the Netherlands so this seems like a great learning opportunity.
  2. Do you have jobs? Nope. But we’re not too worried. After all, we didn’t have jobs when we went to London in 2000 and we had never bike toured when we decided to go around the world. It’ll work out.
  3. Are you taking your bikes? Unfortunately not. We’re too afraid they’ll get stolen in the big city. Instead, we’ll buy Dutch bikes when we get there and learn to ride down the canal paths while holding hands, like the locals!


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Here’s the list of things we want to do in the Netherlands, whether or not we succeed in getting jobs there. If we do all this, we’ll consider it a successful trip!

  • Travel to the country’s highest and lowest points. Are there more than 5 meters between them?
  • Understand all the provinces and their characteristics.
  • Learn to speak at least a little Dutch.
  • Become experts in Dutch chocolate, cheese and beer!
  • Successfully ride our bikes down a canal towpath, while holding hands.
  • Skate on the frozen canals (if this winter is cold enough).
  • Do a bike tour of the whole country.


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9 Responses to “Going Dutch: Making the leap”

  1. Cameron Ferguson says:

    Hi Freidel and Andrew,
    May the wind be at your back in Holland.
    We met very quickly on the road overlooking the beautiful town of Baie St Paul a couple of weeks ago.I wished we had had more time as I had so many more questions to ask you about your trip. I listened to your CBC interview today and you have now put a seed in my mind now about my own “world” trip :-)
    I look forward to your postings and if I ever get to Holland it woukld be great to get together. All the best – Cam Ferguson

  2. Alan Shea says:

    No they don’t have those world travelled bikes with them, they are stored in my basement with all their other stuff, sooooo make me an offer—-From Andrew’s big brother Alan
    PS; we miss you guys already, had a great but short visit with both of you, enjoy Holland and walking in the wooden shoes

  3. Susan says:

    How exciting! My husband and I have so enjoyed reading about your adventures over the past three years. During that time he was on dialysis and life was pretty boring. Reading about your trip was quite a fun diversion! It’s so funny how you can enjoy getting to know people over the internet that you don’t know in real life and will probably never meet. Anyway, about a year ago, he received a kidney transplant and is doing great! While we won’t be embarking on a world wide bike tour, we do plan to be much more mobile! We can’t wait to hear all about The Hague and your new life there! Friedel, you must return to the Zaar (let us know what forum) and share recipes from your new country. Best wishes as you embark on a new chapter in your lives!

  4. Louis & Lysanne says:

    Hi Alan,

    Ok our offer is 2 SUPER lasagna for the bikes… Friedel may say yes ;o)

    Have a good time in Holland and we wish you all the best

    Louis & Lysanne

  5. James H says:

    Yay! Now I’ve got an excuse to visit Holland! (besides curling that is!)

  6. Kelly says:

    so happy to read about the new adventure. keep up the great inspiring you two!

    kelly

  7. Ann Wilson says:

    So glad you are carrying on with the website. I’ve reached Istanbul now and would miss your company if you stopped writing.

    You are quite right about leaving your ‘best’ bikes behind – my very expensive Roberts Roughstuff was stolen in Sofia. I love my new Drag but it was a fraction of the price and is less of a worry.

    Ann Wilson

  8. Roald says:

    Hi there,

    Was a nice weekend on the huttentocht.

    About thhe highest point of the Netherlands, Here in de province of Noord-Brabant is a local highest point of 43,7 meters in Luijksgestel, very close to the Belgium border. It is SW of Eindhoven. Near Eindhoven between Nuenen en Geldrop there is an MTB track up to the top of an previously garbage belt it is 60 m high.

    So check it out in Noord Brabant!! :) :)

    Take care
    Roald

  9. arie says:

    Welcome in NL

    •Travel to the country’s highest and lowest points. Are there more than 5 meters between them? —>Hoogste punt Vaalserberg, 322 meter, bij Aachen; laagste punt: Alexanderpolder bij Rotterdam.
    •Understand all the provinces and their characteristics.—-> onmogelijk;-)
    •Learn to speak at least a little Dutch. —->Succes!
    •Become experts in Dutch chocolate, cheese and beer!—veel oefenen!
    •Successfully ride our bikes down a canal towpath, while holding hands. —>Moet geen probleem zijn.
    •Skate on the frozen canals (if this winter is cold enough).
    •Do a bike tour of the whole country.—> Daar heb je wel twee weken voor nodig.

    PS. Verkorte cursus NL, les 1.

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