We are Audrey and Eloy! Together for more than 13 years, sometimes nearby, sometimes far from each other. Both of us got to learn some other cultures, but most of the times we experienced it separately. Eloy ate Boboti and did a 6-month internship in South Africa, Audrey meanwhile attempted to learn Spanish in Guatemala and then did a 4-month internship in Chile. Eloy lived in Nijmegen (The Netherlands), while Audrey spent her time in Leuven (Belgium). A desire to explore and learn together remained a big dream after college. First we had to work. For four years we lived in bustling and busy Antwerp. Eloy worked as a software consultant at a company developing medical programs, Audrey was a general practitioner at Medicine for the People in Antwerp. During that period we sometimes fantasized about a trip. In what way would we travel? A car or van, then you can go anywhere, right? That option was quickly discarded. Public transport? The train? Then we could take the Trans Siberia Express! Then Audrey stumbles upon a book* in the library! She comes home already shouting that she has found a book written by the upstairs neighbor (yes really, Kathleen who lived above us) in the library. It’s about the trip Kathleen and her partner made, by bicycle, from Antwerp to Singapore. The book is going with us to Slovenia sometime in the summer of 2018 and there, in the hammock, Audrey is convinced. Eloy looks thoughtful, reads some more about it and wants to have a chat with our upstairs neighbor. We can do this too! We read, consider, reconsider. Oh yes, we have to tell Mom and Dad…
Two years were spent preparing, nothing could stop us from taking on this challenge. In March 2020, we threw a farewell party, our apartment was empty, bikes were packed, we quit our jobs and were ready to leave. Suddenly there was Covid, the borders closed and everything and everyone went into lockdown. Eloy went to volunteer in a nursing home, Audrey went back to work in the field, examining Covid patients in a church in Antwerp in Martian gear. They were bizarre times. Last year we moved back to the Netherlands, closer to family. We said goodbye to Audrey’s father, looked for new jobs and ran among the cows and chickens in the beautiful and quiet village ‘Stokhem’ in the South of Limburg.
After a turbulent period of struggle, loss, moving and rebuilding, we have finally decided. We are pushing forward with our plan and going for a second try: April 10, 2022!
In the week before our departure Audrey got Covid for the second time. April 10 is canceled, but we know the procedure already 😉 We are going for the third time lucky!
What do we have in common?
- Dutch-Limburg roots, one from Wijlre, the other from Euverem, less than 5 km apart.
- Swimming, swimming, more swimming? We met in 2001 at the local swimming club.
- We like walking, hiking, cycling, swimming, running
What Audrey wants to tell you about Eloy:
- 32 years old with white hair and (a little) gray, probably from all the stress he has already had to endure with me.
- Funny and sweet.
- He is the mastermind behind this website of course.
- Is he much better at managing finances (even the 50 cents I have to pay to go to the toilet is put on the spending list).
- Has a weakness for women with red hair (now just hope I don’t go gray early).
- Organized and practical.
- He is a little afraid of heights, but has climbed some heights (sometimes with buttocks pinched together).
- If there is something to taste, Eloy will eat and drink it. For example, he once drank my too salty Tibetan yak butter tea in India and (accidentally?) drank the goo from a Bosnian coffee. Those strong bowels will come in handy!
What Eloy wants to tell you about Audrey:
- 30 years with very beautiful hairs 🙂
- Always been curious about other cultures and looking for the unknown.
- Creative, hands-on but also a bit of a perfectionist (if you do it, do it well!)
- She is the initiator of our plan, but enthusing comes easily to her.
- As an involved family doctor she watches over me (and my weird infections) along the way so I can sleep with a peaceful (and grateful) heart.
- She is in her element among the flora and fauna, but then she has to be warm. By being active that will work itself out, as long as you can get her out of the tent. ‘Slow travel’ has a double meaning for her.
- Can be chased out of the tent by insects, but then calls in pest control specialist Eloy.
*The book ‘Getaande Huid’, written by Kathleen: PUBLICATIES – www.kathleenverhelst.be