Knucklehead part 3: deciding where to go

Knucklehead part 3: deciding where to go

When reading of this article you’d might think: what are they talking about? You’re on a world trip! You can go wherever you like. That doesn’t really sound like an issue, does it? Well…. it’s easier said than done. Don’t get us wrong, we find ourselves privileged being able to travel the world. Even though it meant selling our house and quitting our jobs. But deciding where to go next is quit a big deal. This isn’t something you’d usually be worrying about. Let us tell you why!

Old colored, wooden doors, Gdansk

The whole world at your feet

When we first started thinking about going on a world trip a few months ago, one of the exciting things for us was dreaming about all the places we’d go to. To go wherever we want to. This gave us such an amazing feeling. Can you imagine it, trying to check off all those countries of your bucket list one after the other? No more waiting on your 2-week or 3-week holiday once a year.

It would only be the world, us and our own time frame to work with. It sounded like a good plan, as we could make the most of our world trip and truly have all the freedom we’re looking for. So quitting our jobs seemed like the best way to accomplish this way of living and gain the freedom to explore as we want.

Blue kayaks on the shore, Netherland

Preparing our first trips

After all the decisions to take this leap of faith and go for it, it was time to decide where to go first on our trip. Because we wanted to go to Canada last year, we’d figure that this might be a good starting point for our trip. May is a good month to explore Canada, as summer is coming, and it would be just before high season, meaning prices wouldn’t be at it’s highest. But going to Canada would also mean that we’d use a huge amount of our budget. So finding out that you can apply for a working holiday visa, was a big plus for us. Finding out that we could fly to Iceland for free when booking flights to Canada, made it even more interesting to go, as Iceland was also on our bucket list for quite a while. So bit by bit everything fell into place and we decided to start our world trip in Iceland and Canada. South Africa got on the list as we got in touch with our family regarding setting up a safari business. And it always has a special place in my heart as it’s my (Paula) birth country.

Deciding where to go next

So after Iceland, Canada and South Africa everything was open. There is also just so much you can plan beforehand. Two months fixed and planned was more than enough, considering all the other things we had to arrange before taking off.

And now we’re in South Africa, deciding where to go next. Asia sounds quite good, because after some expensive months, cheaper countries are more than welcome. But Asia is huge and has so many countries to choose from! Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, China, Nepal, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Fiji and what more is on our bucket list! There is so much to see and you can’t do it all in once. Where should we go? How long do we want to stay there and where would we go after? Do we need to arrange things in advance or can we decide last minute? All luxury problems, we know, but it doesn’t make it less real. All these questions can really make your head spin. And this doesn’t even include choosing your destinations and sights within a country!

To give you an example: it looks convenient and ideal to combine and travel Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam first. Then we could take a flight to explore Malaysia and Indonesia before we go to New-Zealand. There’s only a big but; we don’t want to be flushed away because of the raining seasons in several parts of Asia. The best time to travel in this particular region is February till May. And on the other hand, if we do go to all these Asian countries now, when will we go to New Zealand? We need to work at some point to fund the rest of our travels. After some research we figured out that parts of Indonesia have a beautiful climate right now. So that’s a winner for now as we’re looking for some warmer climates. But when are we going to see the rest of Asia?

Where to go pole, Hermanus

Learning as we go

All these thoughts and questions can be really daunting sometimes. Especially because we want to take into account things as money, weather and efficiency. So during this process of deciding where to go we keep on learning, about ourselves, each other and about how we handle things.

After reflecting on some of the decision making moments we found out that we kept asking ourselves the same kind of questions. All these questions come back to 6 factors: weather, budget, time(management), visa, transport and our bucket list. Apparently these things are most important to us and need to fit together to make a final decisions. These factors also show us that we prefer to be organised and prepared, even though we’re trying to just go with the flow. Maybe this will change along our trip, you never know. Maybe it doesn’t.

Chain of locks, Gdansk bridge

So, where are we going next?

So going on this word trip is more than just travelling and seeing the world. The things you encounter everyday and the choices you’ve to make are different from what you’re used to. A simple question as ‘where do we want to go next?’ can haunt you for days or even weeks, just because you have the option to go wherever. It’s definitely something else than worrying about what to wear to your annual Christmas party. 😉

So after this ‘heavy’ talk, we can announce that we’ll heading to Indonesia after South Africa and when our visa goes through, we’ll be heading through to New Zealand.

Final update before the adventure begins!

Final update before the adventure begins!

It’s already been 3 weeks ago that we sold our house. So here’s a short update. Time was going so fast, crazy! Especially the last few weeks before stepping into the plane to Iceland when by in a blast. There was still so much stuff to do, like: changing our address, getting a good travel insurance, selling some of our stuff, selling our car, arranging the last accommodations for Canada and don’t forget packing our backpacks. And the most important things of all; spending and enjoying time with our family and friends!

Before the actual moving day it was Kingsday. A special day here in the Netherlands, celebrating our King, and for us as it’s also the birthday of a dear friend of us. As we like to celebrate this special day big time, we went to Kingsland Festival, a special Kingsday party in our (previous) hometown Groningen. Who knows where will be celebrating Kingsday next year!

Kingsland Festival 2018 - Roadly

29th of April, moving day!

Sunday the 29th of April, moving day is here! With the help of some lovely friends we cleaned out our entire apartment. This day felt very good, as our adventure was about to start, but it also felt very weird. This apartment had been our home for over 5 years, so leaving it feels very sad. The last night we actually slept in the empty apartment, just having to mattresses on the ground. The funny thing is that we also spend our very first nights in the apartment like this. So, it ended as it all began….

Moving day - Roadly

The final round

Wednesday the 2nd of May was the transfer of the house. Together with the new owner and estate agent we checked the apartment before heading towards the notary. After signing the papers and handing over the keys, the apartment officially wasn’t ours anymore. Goodbye apartment, goodbye Groningen, hello worldtrip!

Átta Maí (8th of may in Icelandic)

The 8th of May, the day of departure has come! We’ve packed all our bags (probably way to much, but we’ll find out on our way) and are ready to go! After saying goodbye for the last time we’re headed to Schiphol Airport to make our way to our first destination for the first 8 days, Iceland! When in the plane it finally hit us that we’re actually doing this, but still it feels like we’re just going on a holiday.

Roadly off to Iceland!

3 weeks later

We’re just only a few weeks on our world trip and we’re enjoying every minute of it. We’ve already seen so much beautiful things in Iceland and Canada. Sometimes we still think that we’re going to be home soon, enjoying the comfort of own our house with our own couch and shower. But then we realize, we’re not going home as we don’t have a home and that the whole world it at our feet! Old habits really do die hard!

Blogging

As we’re on the road for the last few weeks, we still finding our way in blogging regularly and sharing our thoughts, tips and adventures. So please don’t blame us if you haven’t heard that much from us. We trying to find a flow that works for us. In the upcoming weeks we’ll share more about our trip through Iceland, so stay tuned! Along the way we’ll keep sharing pictures of our current travels through Canada.

If there are any things you like us to write about, please let us know! We’re very keen on making content that you really like!

 

 

Knucklehead part 2: what to do with our job?

Knucklehead part 2: what to do with our job?

Warning! This blog is a bit longer than we had intended. Because many people asked us about what we’d do with our jobs, we thought it would be interesting to write about this subject.

As you could read in our previous blog post, it took us a lot of time to make the right decision about what to do with our apartment. Regarding our jobs, this was slightly different. At the time of ”the big decision” to go on this world trip, we both had a job that we really enjoyed. But this hasn’t always been the case.

From being unemployed to money conscious

Paula has been looking for ‘the right job’ ever since she graduated in 2009. This started during the financial crises when the job market changed dramatically, especially in the north of the Netherlands. The job market in Groningen isn’t as big as the Randstad, so finding a job was less likely and quite hard as the competition was killing. In that time having a job was almost a privilege. So it wasn’t about having a cool job, but more about having a job at all to pay your bills.

Due to temporary contracts and the unstable market, Paula has been unemployed 4 times between 2010 and now. This has made quite a big impact on her as a person and our lives. There’s always a certain tension as for how to get by and how to pay your bills. Particulary when I (Tjeerd-Paul) was still studying. I can ensure you; this puts a lot of tension on our relationship. Especially for Paula, writing multiple application letters a day for months and being rejected so many times despite all positive responses. This is not something you can shake of easily.

This period of uncertainty taught us more about what is really important in life. We started to really think about our consumption and needs. It is really necessary to buy a fancy, new, smart TV when you have a good, working one but isn’t that fancy? And how about all the clothes in our closet? Do I really need a new pair of jeans or shoes, even though I want to trick myself into telling me I do? Having less money has given us great insights into what we really need, what really makes us happy and how to make more of the money we did have. We also started to appreciate all the things we did have, like normal Dutch black (filter) coffee. (Which I’m really going to miss BTW) We started to become less carrier-oriented and more life-oriented.

From having a permanent job to working everywhere

Paula has been a job hopper in comparison to me in recent years. Ever since 2006 I already had a part-time job with a permanent contract at IKEA. When I was studying I worked during the evenings and weekends. And when I could, also during the week from time to time. This was very helpful during the time when we’re short on money. When I finished studying I started making more hours.

Where Paula has gained a lot of experience in different companies over the years, I only knew one company from inside-out. This has given me the opportunity to grow and change into different disciplines within the same company. Our carrier-paths were exact opposite from each other.

Permanent employment has been the only secure income for us at that time and kept us from drowning. Even though this was our lifeline (together with unemployment benefits), we started to notice that permanent employment, or assurance of a job, is not always the best thing for everyone. The value of having a permanent job started to decrease for us. This may sound contradictory, but when you’re unemployed for so many times, you learn how to deal with uncertainty. Paula has always found a way to get a new job and actually started to appreciate all the opportunities of working in all kinds of different companies and meeting so many new people. With this in mind, you realize that everything will be alright in the end. Going ‘off track’ isn’t always a bad thing.

So strangely enough, we weren’t as tense anymore when another period of unemployment occurred. We’re confided that everything will work out just fine. In fact, the ideas of moving for work or traveling more started to manifest in our heads. Nowadays it doesn’t matter if you are looking for a job in the Netherlands, or in Australia for example. The whole world can be your playground and you can work everywhere if you really want to.

Stepping away from the expected life plan

Everyone knows the obvious plan; when you finish high school, you go to college or university. After that, you find a good job and buy a lovely house, which you decorate with all the stuff you collected over the years and everything else you’d like to buy. If you’re lucky you’ll drive a cool car and go on a holiday twice a year. Everything is already worked out for you and this is the way of life that’s expected in society. But more and more I see people struggling to keep up with this life plan. They feel stuck in this rat race and can’t seem to get out. This was us during the years of uncertainty, finding our way to keep on track. And when finally everything seemed on track, it wasn’t what we expected it to be. It didn’t satisfy us as we thought, even though we worked so hard to get it. Don’t get us wrong. We don’t want to discourage you to follow the obvious path if this is what you really want. We only want you to be happy and do the things you love!

So we noticed that we were happier and felt more freely when we’re on holiday, seeing the world, instead of working the traditional 9-5 life. We experienced everything more intense and had this feeling we really could make our own choices. So why not combine the best of both?

Getting back to what to do with your job when going on a word trip

So to answer the question: it wasn’t that hard for us to make a decision about our jobs. After deciding to really go for this world trip we’re also decided to take our time to make this happen. Leaving for about 2 years isn’t something an employer encourages. So after finding out going on a sabbatical or working for our employer abroad wasn’t an option, we didn’t think twice and decided that we would resign from our jobs! The experiences of the last couple of years gave us the courage to do this.

Thanks to all employers we’ve gained a lot of knowledge and experience to take with us on this adventure! With this said, we’re almost ready for take-off!

PS: We know a lot of people struggle with finding a job or deciding to change their carriers. So if you feel the need to know more about our experiences and struggles regarding this please let us know. We’re happy to answer all your questions and are willing to help you in any way!

Knucklehead part 1: What to do with our house

Knucklehead part 1: What to do with our house

During our brainstorming evenings, with obviously a good glass of wine, we regularly talked about our apartment. We live in a beautiful, accessible apartment in a quiet neighborhood near the city center of Groningen. We only miss a garden now and then, but we don’t have to maintain what we don’t have.

Becoming a landlord

I (Tjeerd-Paul) always lived the same place until my 21st. This was mostly in Sappemeer. So when we were thinking about renting out or selling our house, I thought it would be a massive step to sell our apartment. Especially the idea of not having a place to come back to after our trip felt very destructive and anxious.

When I was studying a few years back I often thought about being a landlord. And now suddenly this opportunity came very close. The Dutch housing market is crazy nowadays, also in Groningen. So this sounds like a huge opportunity!

Doing the research: renting out versus selling our house

After some research on the internet and comparing rental prices, we made an accumulation of all our costs. This includes mortgage, service costs, WOZ tax, municipal taxes, insurances, tv and internet subscription and what not else. We figured that if we’d ask about €1000,- for rent, we would have a little bit of profit. But would this be enough? What if something breaks down in the house or the tenant doesn’t pay his rent on time? What if the bank doesn’t approve and how about insurances? And how would everything work out financially when we’re out there, in the world?

How do other people do this anyway? It seems like everyone is doing it, but what about all the consequences? You hear all these stories, both good and bad. We had so many questions and when we had answered one question, another one popped up. At one point we even thought we’re becoming a little paranoid. So, to help us make a decision, we had to make a plan. We started to talk to some rental agents and decided to contact our mortgage lender. The rental agents gave us good impressions of the possibilities and were very excited to help us renting out our house. But our mortgage lender wasn’t that enthusiastic. They gave us very little information and had many demands to approve our request for renting out our house. The strange this was that they needed us to have a tenant and a signed contract already, without having the certainty of approving our request.

In the same week we spoke to our neighbors, they sold their apartment very well at the end of last year. This triggered us. Even though the thought of having no home when coming home frightened us, selling our house didn’t felt like a very bad thing to do. So after gathering all this information, we realized that we were in a unique position. We could sell our house with profit without the hassle of finding a new one.

We want to travel, to experience the world. It’s not just a long vacation, but an opportunity to live without borders and work wherever our journey goes.  We want to break free from The Netherlands for a little while. Accountability as a landlord probably requires a lot of energy along the way and would probably hold us back.

Making the decision

So after having all this information and different feelings, we decided that it would be the best for us to sell our lovely home. We immediately invited 3 different real estate agents. (because time is ticking!) This was quite an experience! Every real estate agent was very enthusiastic about our home and told us it would sell within a week. So after comparing the offers, we made a deal with one of the selected real estate agents. Within the following week, photos were taken, a map was made and all details of the house were collected. Now everything was ready for promotion! After having more than 35 viewings and 15 offers, the house was sold within a week. A sad but proud moment for us as a new chapter will begin!

The photos below show our beloved home which we’ll leave in May. These photos are made by Kim van Giessen van Stijlzinnig.

We’re going on a world trip!

We’re going on a world trip!

Some of you might already know this, but we can finally say it out loud: We’re going on a world trip! This idea of travelling the world for a longer period of time has been been in my mind for a very long time and has been growing ever since I did an internship in London when I was studying. But somehow I decided working and starting ‘the normal life’ was a better plan instead.

Deciding to go on a world trip

After years of struggling with jobs (always getting temporary contracts), I realized two years ago that this working life might not be the right thing for me. Even though I learned so much, did so many cool things, had the opportunity to see to many companies and meeting so many sweet and nice people along the way, it just felt I couldn’t fit in. The idea of travelling the world and maybe even working remotely seemed more interesting than ever. About 1,5 years ago I discussed this with my boyfriend. He wasn’t very excited about the idea in the beginning, but definitely saw potential in this new lifestyle. Of course there would be many things to think about and obstacles to overcome.

So when he told me he is in all the way last November and wants to do this more than ever I was sooo excited! But scared as hell at the same time. Would this mean my/our dream would (finally) come true?! We decided to give ourselves some extra time until the end of 2017 to think everything over and finally make our decision. In the end this was a no-brainer; we’re gonna do this! Tickets are already booked and we’re leaving 8th of May!

The preparations

Every since making this decision we’ve been busy preparing for this huge trip. What to do with our house, what to do with our jobs? When and where do we want to start? Do we need vaccinations, is our passport valid long enough? All kinds of questions popped up.

Our job: to keep or not to keep

Like I said before, what are we going to do with our jobs? Of course we need money to keep travelling, so how are we going to make this happen. We quickly realized that keeping our jobs in The Netherlands wouldn’t be realistic. So we’ve both resigned from our corporate jobs and are going to work on the go. But then I realized I also had the change to make another dream come true: starting my own business. With years of experience and knowledge in Marketing, Project management and Customer happiness I’ve decided to become a freelancer.

Follow us

With this big trip coming up, we want to share all our thoughts, ideas, experiences and struggles with you. This is why we starting this blog: Roadly. In the next couple of weeks we will tell you all more about our preparations and travel plans.

So if you’d like to stay updated about our world trip, please check our website regularly and follow us on Facebook and Instagram where we’ll share beautiful photos. In the future we’ll also want to use Pinterest and Youtube to share videos and other beautiful content with you. Please keep in mind that we’re still at the beginning of starting this blog. This means that everything isn’t perfect yet. So if you have any ideas, suggestions or recommendations regarding our trip, website or things you like to read, please let us know by sending us an e-mail.

Thanks for reading and we’re looking forward to taking you along with us on our big adventure!

My 2017 Travelplans

My 2017 Travelplans

In 2016 my boyfriend and I made a promise to each other. Our goal was to travel each month, to a new place, far away or close by. Of course taking into account money and taking off days from work. Unfortunately we couldn’t stick to the plan because we bought a house in April of 2016 (which is also pretty awesome if you ask me!) But a new year means new resolutions, so we decided to try again in 2017. And we already have quite a few trips planned, which I’d like to share with you! These are our travelplans for the upcoming months:

  • January > Hellendoorn, Netherlands
  • February > Ameland, Netherlands
  • March > Gdansk, Poland
  • April > London and surroundings, UK
  • May/ April > Indonesia

In my opinion everyone should take a break more often to reflect, take a breath and explore. Nowadays everyone is so busy with work and other obligations, we are likely to forget to enjoy, stay positive and re-energize.

Travelling each month, even if it’s just close to home and only for one day, can broaden your horizon and tickle your senses differently than you’re used to. This is why our goal is to travel each month. Now let see if we can stick to it this year!

What do you think about the frequency of travelling each month and what are your travelplans for 2017?