In december 2015 Belgian journalist, Lien Lammar, asked us for an interview. Together with a picture taken by photographer Debbie Termonia it was published in the Weekend Knack – a popular Belgian magazine – in February 2016.
Click here to the discover the original Dutch interview.
English translation of the interview
Nicole (31) and Elmer (40)
- Make their dream come true and drive through Europe in their converted overland-truck
- leave in 2016 without a scheduled return date
- report about their expedition on www.terratrotter.eu
One and half year ago they met: the easy-going Dutchman and the cheerful “Kempense”* (*referring to the region where I grew up in Belgium: Kempen). He was a flight attendant on an airplane to Chicago that she almost missed due to strikes and delays. Not long after they sat together in a Jeep Wrangler, for a five-week trip through rugged terrain of Georgia.
Nicole: “It was our first trip together, but an immediate hit. After those five weeks we did not want to return. We wanted to continue traveling, more and slower.”
The Jeep was replaced by a small furnished truck, which they traveled with through Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. The truck is equipped with everything: solar panels on the roof, a sitting area, a fixed toilet and a fridge with freezer.
Elmer: (laughing) “We enjoy drinking cocktails. In the evening we expand the platform on the outside and watch the sunset on our terrace. We live on our own pace. I would no longer want to give up that freedom.”
Nicole: “We don’t miss a permanent place. We feel more at home when we are on the go. For us, traveling is not a vacation, but our daily life. Elmer has a suit in the truck, I my high heels. We live very normal and homey, but then on 8 square meter.”
Elmer still works as a flight attendant. While Nicole stays with the truck, he flies for ten days around the world, and then travels for a few weeks with Nicole again. For her – doctor in the Psychology at VUB, specialized in neuropsychology – working and traveling was less self-evident. “I gave up my career so we could do this. That wasn’t easy, but those whom choose for this lifestyle have to make sacrifices. It requires thought and preparation, but that is all worth it. Many people dream of house next to the water, or a house in the mountains. We just take our house there.”
Elmer: “Most people live for the next vacation. They work hard to momentarily get a break from it all. We no longer have that feeling. We don’t have to escape anything. We are not in any hurry.”
Last year they bought a small apartment in Germany as an investment for later – and for the peace of mind of Elmer’s mom. Kids are not on the agenda, but if this happen, they will just come along.
Elmer: “Next year we want to continue traveling through Europe. After that America, Canada, Alaska are on the bucket list. We can’t wait to move back into the truck.”
The truck is temporarily parked in Germany – Elmer’s base – where it’s being prepared for the next departure. In the meanwhile, Nicole makes use of the time to redirect her career into working as a freelance writer and marketeer.
Nicole: “Coincidence or not, but I conducted more than 10 years of research into the phenomena of regret – how people can imagine how their lives could have turned out differently, and which emotions this evokes. Will you later regret giving up everything to travel the world, or regret never daring to make that choice? Do you have a dream, then believe in it. It is possible.”
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