Our story – and our relationship – started back in 2014 when we got to know each other on a rock climbing trip in Mallorca. It wasn’t long after we had met that we discovered we shared a common dream: see the world and get to know as much different cultures as possible along the way. For a while life as it is kept us from chasing that dream. Annelies was still in her early career as a researcher after getting her PhD and I had my own retail business. Both things that weren’t easy to just give up. We figured by the time we would have the time and resources to travel in the way we like – backpacking overland that is – we would probably have kids, poor health and an expensive mortgage to pay off. So for now we kept going, with our main source of adventure and relaxation being short climbing trips across Europe and a three week trip to Iceland.
But then two things happened. First off we both decided we wanted to make a career change around the same time. Annelies was 30 and I was 29 and we both wanted something different. The thought of taking some time off before starting a new job did cross our minds, but lack of budget and the general insecurity of facing the unknown kept us back. As those thoughts and dreams still lingered in our head and heart, the second event that set everything off happened.
We met Tomislav Perlov during one of his talks in Lille, France. Tomislav is a Croatian backpacker and world traveler who was giving lectures about his journey and book “Thousand days of spring” . Tomislav had been a successful stockbroker up till the financial crises of 2007. In the event he lost his job, but he also discovered a passion for travelling and exploring. We loved the way Tomislav traveled: chasing summer on a small budget of €10 a day. Hitchhiking being his main transportation and a small tent but mostly couch surfing providing a roof above his head.
Thanks to his inspirational talk the realization slowly dawned that we could do this without spending all our savings. And we had to do it now: the timing was perfect.
And so our journey began.