There we were, crossing the border to the Netherlands. It was exactly 45 minutes to the front door of “camping de Bengeltjes”. We turned on the last podcast for that ride, in exactly 45 minutes, Florine and Thijs chatted us home with their VanVerhalen podcast. The original plan was to make the first stop at Jap’s parents, but we had driven so fast that we arrived a day before, so we decided to surprise Lon’s parents. Lon enjoyed surprising them, but also said to Jap: “you will always see, we are standing at the door to surprise them and they are in the bath and do not open the door.” And yes, we were standing at the door, had rang the bell three times, but it remained silent. So I just give them a call: “You must be in the bath? Yes why? Now we are at the door.” haha. And from that moment on, the rollercoaster started full of fun and pleasant visits. We had already been very busy in Spain with a full and tight schedule. We knew it would be quite overwhelming to be back after living in our van for such a long time, but on top of that, we only had a short time and wanted to see and do a lot and also had a lot to arrange in-between. So good planning was important. Well here we have an overview of what the schedule was:
|13/2||Arrival Parents Jap and Lon|
|14/2 – 16/2||Booster vaccin and, Jap his parents|
|17/2||With parents of Lon|
|18/2||A drink with Anne and Ozzy|
|19/2||To Jasper and Danique|
|20/2||Jap recording a cookingworkshop and Lon to Amsterdam |
to see Machteld
|21/2||Appointment at KVK, meeting Eva, lazer appointment Lon, |
Dentist and Dental hygienist appointment Jap and Lon and
Diner at Martijn in the evening
|22/2||To Florine and Thijs|
|23/2 – 24/2||Working on Bob at parents Lon|
|25/2||Check up Bob at the mechanic|
|26/2||Lunch with Daniel and Sleep-over at Mike, Anne, Bram and Mees|
|27/2||During the day have lots of fun with Mike, Anne, Bram, and Mees |
and in the afternoon to Danique
|28/2||To Kas for a solar upgrade of Bob|
|1/3 – 3/3||To Parents of Jap|
|4/3||To Parents of Lon, Lon to the hairdresser and a visit to |
Peter, Esther, Job and Floor
|5/3 – 7/3||Getting Bob ready for shipping|
|8/3||Delivering Bob at the harbor of Antwerp and PCR test|
|9/3||Last bit of organizing before flying and meet Nienke|
|10/3||Flying to Canada|
So… And that was the list of visits… The rest of the to-do list felt endlessly long and it felt impossible to do all this in between, and be a pleasant company at all the visits we would have. And last but not least not only mentally but practically prepare for the big thing to come. But I think we can say that we got through it well. And not only that, but we also really enjoyed it. It was great to see everyone again and to be home again. And although we loved to be home and found it hard to leave again, leaving was all we wanted. FINALLY starting our big adventure.
And that adventure started for us the moment we delivered Bob to the port of Antwerp. Bob has undergone many updates, he has been given a facelift, a leopard print facelift to be exact. Moreover, together with Kas, we have ensured that we can tilt the solar panel and we have made it shipping-proof. We’ve heard many horror stories about shipping, except for one from our friends Coen and Saskia. They just shipped their Camper to Mexico and their bus arrived undamaged. But many other campers are robbed, and more or less empty. And we wanted to try to prevent that. We cannot avoid leaving things behind in the bus. Of course, we take valuable items with us as much as possible, but when you add up everything that is in Bob and they possible can take with them… That doesn’t make you happy. So we had a plan: we had already made the extra locks on the doors and the extra lock on the tow bar that prevents the rear doors from opening. Furthermore, we made a wall between the driver’s cabin and the living space. The sliding door and the back door cannot be opened, but if they somehow enter the living space, there are no loose items there either. Everything is under the bed. And if they want to get to that, they will first come across an extra wooden partition under the mattress and the slatted bottom before they can get to the stuff… In other words, hopefully, we made it too difficult for them… Anyway, we delivered it to Antwerp, this all went very smoothly. We filled in a form with the help of the lady behind the counter, got a pass to drive through the barrier, and parked Bob, unlocked and left the keys tied to a string in the van… Bah, that feels obnoxious but also oh so nice at the same time. We’ve waited so long for this and we never really dared to feel that it would happen because of Corona, we’ve kept ourselves back all the time and now it was finally happening. And man that felt good. We had driven there with two cars so that after leaving Bob we could drive back in Lon’s parents’ car.
Everything for Bob was now arranged. He was standing in the harbor and there was nothing we could do about it. Which especially for Jap caused a sleepless night. I also kept having those crazy thoughts like: “oh dear, did I enter the correct license plate on the form?” “Are the side doors locked properly?”. haha. But the next and the only thing there was to do was the PCR test. Because in true Jap and Lon style we could also have left a few days earlier. Our bags had been packed in the corner for several days, ready to leave. But that PCR test was still a thing because corona was going around like wildfire. And it was also Carnival when we were in the Netherlands and the number of infections was very high. It was impossible that we would not come into contact with people who would be infected. And also twice we received a message that people got symptoms just after we had been there and were going to test positive… That’s why the last 1.5 weeks before we left we went into “quarantine” as far as that was possible, from then on we would, in any case, try to minimize our appointments, and if we would see people we had to do it socially distanced. And luckily, the results of the PCR test were negative. What a relief. Now we were sure, we were allowed to fly. After spending all this time with other people, we went out for dinner together in Utrecht as a pre-birthday surprise. After constantly being together with other people, it was very nice to be together for a while. We ate in a vegan restaurant Waku Waku and had a delicious three-course dinner. Just a couple more days and then our adventure would begin.
My mom and dad took us to Schiphol. They had both very sweetly taken a day off, not realizing that our flight left at 7:00 in the morning and we wanted to be at Schiphol around 3:30. And it was more wanting to be than we had to be because we hadn’t thought about the fact that we were not flying internationally right away. The first flight was still close by in Europe, namely to Lisbon, so being at the airport 3.5 hours before departure was a bit much. The luggage drop-off would not open until half an hour later after we got there. Just how we roll. But that way we could postpone saying goodbye to my parents for a while. But that moment came soon enough. We hugged them again very hard and then walked away from them with a violently trembling lower lip. And as we walked to where we thought we had to go we kept waving to them, still walking in the same direction as them but on the other side of the room with all the check-in counters between us. After which we eventually got back together because we had to go through the gates on their side of the room, hahaha. It was such a very dramatic goodbye moment but with a kind of anticlimax because we got back together and got to do it again. haha. But now we really couldn’t postpone it any longer. We were now on our way, just like Bob.
See you in Canada,
Jap and Lon