Words cannot describe the feeling...

Posted on Januari 22nd, 2010 by Nico

leavingbut I will give it a try anyway. The second of January we drove out of The Hague, to start our eighteen-month World Heritage Cruise. As I sit here, writing in the shade of a palm tree in the oasis-village of Tozeur, Tunisia, I recollect the days leading up to our departure.

Anticipation, stress and mood swings are the first things that come to mind. Check, double-check and triple-check the packing lists, last minute modifications, pack and repack the car (‘...do we really need 6 jars of pasta sauce honey?’). Add to that the paperwork concerning banks, insurances and travel documents, the website, interviews and photo shoots, our last working days, and packing and moving our household goods. We made it through, without hurling dishes at each other, mostly because we were not alone in our efforts. Let me take this opportunity to thank all our family and friends for their support, help, patience and understanding in those final days before departure. Specifically I would like to thank Fred and Mark for their help with the car, Annemarie for her relentless enthusiasm and incredible help with the website, and my parents and Jom for their advice, experience, love and help the coming years. To all the other friends and family, thank you for the farewell lunches and dinners and all the hours listening to our plans at home and in the Momfer (we must have been pretty boring sometimes, sorry). Thank you all for the gifts at our wedding that have gone such a long way to make this trip happen, and thanks for all the incredible love we felt, those last weeks before departure.

There we were the first of January at seven PM, ready to leave. We had made our deadline (admittedly only by several hours) but the feeling that we would actually leave the next morning just would not sink in. Overtaken by exhaustion all we could do was crash and dream of... nothing.leaving

The next morning all our friends and family gathered to wave us goodbye. Some gave us last-minute pieces of advice (‘don’t go with strange men’ and other such wonderful pieces of insight), most were emotional and all of them were supportive in that last hour. Nothing better to bring you back to reality than 30 people running around your (empty) house, asking for coffee or just trying to tell you how much they will miss you! We loved every minute of it, and tried to hug, kiss and spend as much time on every-one as we could. We also revealed Nienke to be the winner of our car-naming contest: her idea of Fiona, Shrek’s girlfriend and wife, was spot-on! Our Land Cruiser being green, decidedly female and a bit of an ogre, made Nienke’s choice simply the best. Also, Fiona is not shy of going on adventures and won’t back down when the going gets tough. Nienke, a souvenir from a country of choice is coming your way!

leavingThe time for departure had arrived. With tears in our eyes we said our goodbyes, to most of our friends and family for the next year-and-a-half. The image of everyone gathering, clapping and cheering while we drove off is one that will stay with us forever. Thank you all for making us feel so loved, supported and encouraged!

As the sun sets here, it is quickly getting colder. Tonight will be around eight degrees Celsius, pretty cold in a roof-tent I can tell you. Thankfully, we have our fond memories to keep us warm, and the expectation of a hot day tomorrow as we head into the desert. Tonight we dream of sand dunes...


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