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:
Six pack: Martijn – Intro
Let’s start with a small introduction. Where have you been?
When it comes to continents, the only one left for me to visit is Antarctica. Although in South-America I only travelled a small part, but for the rest: I have been places. However, the places that really got a hold of me were Central America, Oceania and South-East Asia. This has probably something to do with the fact that I am a diver.
A half year ago, I actually tried to count the number of countries I had visited and I came to a total of 65. This means, 65 countries I actually travelled, not just passing through. Yet, the more you travel, the larger your list becomes where you want to go. You truly learn countries when you are there, and your list of things where you want to go; also in that particular country; grows.
As a student I travelled quite a lot; not only because I had time, but also due to the fact of cheap tickets. I would get my backpack and I would just go for it. As a student, I spend a lot of my free time working various jobs. Not only to fund my studies, but also so I could travel. Where fellow students had new laptops and fancy clothes I had no laptop and worn clothes. But I have memories; where fancy clothes and laptops grew old my memories are still amazing. I would either skip a semester/trimester and go travelling, or I would go during a semester/trimester and on return would study really hard for my exams.
My study was divided in three trimesters. Two of those trimesters I would study and work, one of the trimesters I would travel. This way I was able to finish my three year study in four years.
When did travelling really got to you?
That must have been in 2006 and the destination was Malaysia. I was studying Business and this one day a presentation was held in class, about a study trip to Malaysia.
Now at that time I was a very narrow-minded person when it came to holidays. My parents taught me the concept of a summer holiday was to visit Austria, go by car, hiking in the mountains, or go to a camping in France. A real special occasion was when we took the plane to visit an all-in resort in Turkey. Those were the holidays that were known to me.
Then this promotion of a study trip to Malaysia came along. It would have been a business trip: two weeks of visiting multiple companies, and there was a possibility to add one week to enjoy the beach. They showed us the pictures of the beaches in a slideshow, which seemed like paradise to me. I was actually surprised these kind of beaches even existed and were ‘in reach’.
Wow. This is a place I want to go to.
I went through the application procedure, together with one of my friends from a study association. We both didn’t get through, so I decided to do a search on the internet. The tickets were actually cheaper than I expected, and the plan was created to go with each other. Just the beaches; we left the companies to the study trip.
This would be my first time traveling; no pre-arranged resort in Turkey or a booked hotel for two weeks in the Alps.
The tickets were a lot cheaper if we would fly via Bangkok. So why not include a few days of Bangkok.
Can you imagine? Someone traveling for the first time, landing in Bangkok? You have been there yourself: you either love it or hate it.
I absolutely loved it. The world opened up to me. For the first time seeing a totally different culture. After Bangkok, we flew to Kuala Lumpur. From there we visited Melakka and Taman Negara. During that time, everything was pre-booked. We booked the hotels from home. Real hotels; fancy ones even.
And then we took a flight to Borneo, where we hadn’t booked a thing…
We arrived at the airport and told the taxi driver to bring us to a place to stay in Kota Kinabalu. He brought us to a hostel, which was something I had never heard of before.
A hostel? What the fuck is that?
Dormitories? I didn’t even know they existed.
Shared rooms, that’s new.
That’s how I got to know about hostels.
From Kota Kinabalu we travelled onwards to central Borneo; Mulu. That’s where I got sick. I had never been to such a remote in my whole life, and I got really, really sick. Locals brought me to their doctor, a very local (witch) doctor. That was cool, and it makes a great travel story, but unfortunately I had to fly out of Mulu before I ever saw it. But I learned that even when you get sick in a remote place, most of the times everything will turn out fine. After three and a half weeks hopping through Malaysia we returned to Bangkok, and we stayed there a few more days. Afterwards I went back to the Netherlands – and I was hooked.
It’s easy to travel. It’s fun. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
I was hooked completely.