Travel picture New Zealand
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Picture taken in New Zealand

In the six pack series I will discuss six topics with a person, divided over six articles. The first six pack will be about a friend of mine: Martijn. From the moment I met this guy, he was so much into travelling; I often wondered what was so fantastic about it. In the end, I would find out myself – which eventually lead to this blog.

Enough food for thought to discuss with him the following six topics related to travelling. This six pack will include:

  1. Intro
  2. Beauty
  3. Change*
  4. Home*
  5. Loneliness*
  6. Happiness*

*coming soon

 

Six pack: Martijn – Beauty

 

‘The most beautiful places for me, are the places I ended up have been staying the longest

and I have the most amazing memories.’

 

What makes you travel to a certain country?

(This question took another turn than expected. Nonetheless, an interesting story about looking for the right ticket came up)

 

Nowadays, it is mainly nature and wildlife.

However, when I was starting with traveling I just visited the countries which were cheap to fly to. Once I travelled to China, because I could get a very cheap ticket. The same for New York; I went to New York because I found a return ticket for 200 euro. My choice for the destination was for a large part dependent on the price of the tickets I could find.

 

Nowadays you have Skyscanner, Momondo and many others. When I started traveling, these kind of companies didn’t exist, or at least not like they are now. By searching the internet thoroughly I was able to find tickets nobody knew about. I would find them on the websites of airplane companies, or via marketing websites. Sometimes the tickets would have complicated constructions or in certain periods of the year, the prices of the tickets just drop.

For example, when I visited China, I flew to Beijing. For the return ticket I had to depart from Hong Kong, but it was incredibly cheap this way. I had to find my way from Beijing to Hong Kong somehow within this period of time, but this was actually a fun thing to do. I didn’t have any obligations anyway. Eventually I went from West China to East China, back to West, back to East, and then to Hong Kong.

Skyscanner is nice, but if you search through the websites of airline companies, you will find prices that are even better. I have flown with a variety of airlines, even blacklist companies (red: airline companies with a certain amount of crashes per flight taking off). I like blacklisted Air Cuba; they give you a mojito or Cuba Libre after take-off. Normally I would start my search for a flight from Amsterdam. But also the airports of Brussels and Dusseldorf: every airport I reach by car or train from my home.

And this is how I found my ticket to Iceland as well: a 100 euro return ticket, to Iceland. I will fly there in two weeks. It will be the third time I will be searching for the Northern lights, plus I have the chance to do some ice-diving there. The last two times I visited Iceland, it was too clouded to see anything of the Northern lights.

 

Ice diving in Iceland

 

I am very lucky I like ice diving as well, haha.

Normally I dive in more tropical places, but with ice-diving you go underneath the ice. This makes it more dangerous, obviously. However, when the sun shines, the rays of the sun break into through ice, into the water. In clear water that will create a light show; like standing in a cathedral with the sun on stained glass.

So beautiful.

 

 

What are the three places that are still in your heart?

I find it hard to give an answer to this. There are so many beautiful places, I cannot categorize them in a definitive top three.

When it comes to landscapes, I have a dozen replies for you. One of them is New Zealand, the other one is Iceland, but even the Netherlands (red: home country) is beautiful in it’s own way.

When you talk about tropical places, it definitely would be Aitutaki. When you let a random person draw a tropical island, they will draw Aitutaki. They do not do it consciously, but they do.

Martijn at Aitutaki

Aitutaki

 

The most beautiful places to me however, are the places I stayed the longest and have the most beautiful memories. When you have no plans, a place must be very good/beautiful/amazing if you are staying for a longer time. You have no obligations, so whenever you don’t like it, you just leave. But beware of the risk; when returning to such a place. It will not be the same; the people, the momentum, make the place. If you really loved it; don’t go back for the same experience; it will be different.

 

Campfire at Holbox

 

If I really have to mention the most beautiful places, I come to the amazing countries Australia and New Zealand. Australia with its vast land; driving for hundreds of kilometres without civilization or even without a person passing by.

But if I really have to choose, it would be the South of New Zealand for me. Basically everything south of Queenstown. You have beautiful wilderness in this area. You can easily camp in the wild, but also the hostels in New Zealand (at least the South Island) are the best in the world, it really feels like coming home. I found it really hard to leave that place; it felt like home. I absolutely loved the wilderness. Just outside the borders of the villages, you can hike through the mountains. It is incredibly beautiful.

 

Hiking in New Zealand

Hiking in New Zealand

 

A second place that I would mention, is Mexico. Mexico is so diverse.

I especially loved Holbox. Holbox is a peninsula where I stayed for a longer period of time. The people I met; the life there. When I finally left; a few weeks later I was feeling down on my travels. I just went back to this amazing place, and it was still amazing. Maybe because the great people I left there were still there…

Holbox is a small fishermen’s village. In the summer it gets quite touristic, because of the whale sharks you will be able to spot there. Not many people know, it is actually the most beautiful when you visit it outside the whale shark season. Out of season, you are able to just walk up to a fisherman, to buy a fish caught with his small net or fishing rod.

 

Kite-surfing at Holbox, Mexico

Kiting in Holbox

Sunset Holbox

Sunset Holbox

 

No part of the catch is wasted or out of proportion. Just for the fisherman and a few for sale. If you are not early enough in the morning to buy the fish, he will be out. Still; he won’t catch more to sustain the ecosystem. During the day you buy some fresh vegetables. I would put it all in the fridge of the hostel, and make a wonderful meal during the evening. In the time between you would kite-surf, or just walk the beaches, nature at its best.

 

There are a lot of beautiful places in this world, but these two (South New Zealand and Holbox) are at the top of my mind.

 

 

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