Our first adventure as a family of 3. So exciting! We went to Porto in Portugal for a nice city trip for a couple of days. We were living in the South of the Netherlands (Breda) at that moment, but (we didn’t know yet at that time) not for long anymore!
Curious to find out where we've been living and travelling since we turned our family life into a nomadic & location independent one? Well, here's a summary of our adventures!
The months where our location independent lifestyle officially started! We went to Bali and lived in Canggu for 4,5 months (and also travelled around a bit to discover more of this beautiful island). In the meantime we sold our house in the Netherlands, flew back for 2 weeks after 2 months (for the turnover of our sold house), invested in real estate in Canggu and trained our local team when we were back at the end of June.
We spent 2 months in the North of Belgium to spend some time with family & friends (most of them living in the South of the Netherlands and the North of Belgium) AND to sell or give away our belongings which we had stored in June.
Right after Sophía’s first birthday (October 6) we left to the United States of America for an amazing road trip. We travelled through the western part of the USA side with a camper. The plan was to spend 6 weeks road tripping with the camper and then live in Los Angeles for a month. Unfortunately with all the devastating fires in and around LA we had to cancel our plans (and arrangements made for this) and come up with a plan B…
And the change of plans was: Mexico! We lived 2 weeks in Guadalajara and 2 weeks in Puerto Vallarta. We would love to explore this country more!
We flew back to Europe to spend Christmas holidays and New Years Eve in the Netherlands & Belgium with family & friends.
After a short road trip from the Netherlands, we started 2019 living in south of Spain, close to Marbella in Mijas. Big Bob (our Toyota Landcruiser) almost got stolen the second day in Mijas….. Luckily they didn’t succeed but the electrics where all broken and it took over 3 weeks to get him driving again!
Time for new travel plans! We took our Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (aka “Big Bob”) from Spain to Morocco and almost spend a month exploring this amazing country!
We drove our way back to Europe to spend 2 fun weeks in south of France (Provence & Côte d’Azur) together with Ilse’s parents (who drove their way down there with their own motorhome).
Back to Bali! We just love to spend time in Asian countries and Canggu is an amazing destination for a location independent family like us. End of June we had friends over and also went to Lombok with them for a week. In July we had to do a “visa run” (otherwise our visa for Indonesia would expire, so you have to leave the country) and went to Kuala Lumpur for a weekend.
After 4,5 months living on 1 destination, the travel bug inside of us couldn’t wait any longer to come out and explore again. We booked plane tickets from Denpasar to Perth to go road tripping for 5 weeks (with a rental car & caravan) in the southern part of Western Australia.
During our travels in Australia Ilse’s parents shared the exciting news with us they wanted to come to New Zealand. We never expected this to happen so we were over the moon and didn’t have to think one second if this was something we wanted to do as well. Instead of taking our return flight to Bali again we decided to stay in Australia a bit longer, fly to Melbourne and live there for a month in an apartment in the city centre.
Together with Ilse’s parents we travelled around in New-Zealand for 6 weeks. They miss Sophía very much so it was great to see them enjoy being around her so much! We travelled the country in a rental 4×4 and a caravan and Ilse’s parents rented a mobile home for the trip :).
Third year in a row to spend some time on Bali! It was only a ‘quick stop’ of 2,5 weeks this time. Always a pleasure to be on Bali!
Mid February we went to Vietnam to live in Hoi An for one month. Unfortunately because of the corona virus at that moment just happening in China and some other Asian countries, we decided after only 6 days in Vietnam to ‘cancel’ (not really, because our stay was already booked and paid for the whole month) to leave Asia as soon as possible and also cancel our plans to visit Sri Lanka.
After leaving Asia because of the virus, we decided to go live in Barcelona in Spain for almost 6 weeks. We had this amount of weeks left before we would be going to the Netherlands in April, which was already planned to visit family & friends.
When we decided to go to Spain while still in Vietnam, there were no cases of COVID-19 known in Europe at that time. You remember that time where it was just ‘the virus in China’? Well… after only a week or so there were cases in Europe (and the rest of the world) as well, the whole circus turned into a pandemic and the situation really got out of control with lockdowns everywhere and that’s why we decided to go to the Netherlands, our country of origin, before we would have been stuck in lockdown in a city centre apartment with a 3 year old.
Mid March, after another huge change of plans we arrived in the Netherlands and fortunately a friend of Ilse’s mom offered us to stay in her (because of you know what!) empty B&B until we could find a house to live in. Only two days after our arrival (we just got our Land Cruiser out of the storage it was in for 6 months), all borders closed. With Ilse’s family living in the north of Belgium and us being in the south of the Netherlands (10 minutes away from each other!), we couldn’t see them. Even the smaller roads where literally blocked (with big containers). That was intense since, because, for example it was 11 months since Ilse saw her sister & her family, and now being 10 minutes away and being so close, it’s was heartbreaking and frustrating.
After a hectic week of searching for a short term furnished rental house that was reasonably priced, we found a nice house to be in lockdown in a place near to the city we used to live (Breda)! Thankfully we had nice neighbours on both sides of the house and a forest to have a lot of walks in closeby. But, oh boy… What a time… Being so close to loved ones but not being able to see them. Thankfully that changed in June when the rules allowed to visit family across the border. (And yeah, we might played with the rules a bit earlier as well…. ;-)).
The travel bug inside of us was getting so bored 😉 and borders sort of opened again. So we ended our stay in the Netherlands and with some paperwork done for border crossing we packed our stuff in our Toyota Land Cruiser and drove to Spain to explore! We travelled down along all the costa’s (Costa Blanca, Costa Tropical, Costa del Sol) and after Airbnb hopping along these travels we ended up living in a wonderful house in Vejer de la Frontera and later on in a beautiful villa in Roche in the Costa de la Luz area that we rented for a couple of months until January. Well,… at least that was the plan.
Things changed again (what a surprise!) and the situation for our investment property on Bali was so bad, that we decided to go back to Bali. So we left our booked Airbnb 2 months earlier (thankfully, at least we could get 1 month rental back) and went to Bali on a business visa (that you could apply for back then, although there was a stop on the tourist visa). Because of the very bad rental market and the upcoming end of the long term stay that was booked at our villa, we decided it would be better to stay in our own Airbnb just to be sure in case it wouldn’t get booked at all. After all, as a nomadic family we rent Airbnb’s all the time anyway so better use the one of ourselves.
During these 6 months we lived in Bali! First, like mentioned before, in our own Airbnb while sometimes having a short term guest in one of the bungalow rooms, but when we got a request for a long term rental for the entire property, we saw this as an opportunity to earn money on our villa again, so we lived somewhere else cheaper for a couple of months until the end of our Bali stay.
Time to visit the Netherlands and Belgium again to spend time with family & friends! The plan was to stay for a month or 2 but when we decided to buy a van (and sell our beloved ‘Big Bob’ (our Toyota Land Cruiser) and convert this van into a beautiful campervan to have more freedom travelling around in Europe, we stayed the whole summer for the van conversion while house- and pet sitting. After 2,5 months of full time van conversion (oh boy!), our new ride, was finally finished! We gave her the name ‘Jovanna’ called which is a Slavic name that means ‘the free spirited and adventurous’. Well, isn’t that wonderful, and even better because the word van is in the name! Perfect! We didn’t build the van to live in fulltime and only when we’re in Europe of course + we’ll still combine it with living in Airbnb’s. But we love the idea of having a vehicle that we can also sleep in where and whenever we want. Off to new adventures!
After Sophía’s 4th birthday celebration, we packed Jovanna and we were off to explore and enjoy new adventures! It’s an understatement to say that we were very excited about this! 😉 After 2 weeks in France, we drove through Northern Spain for a week or so to be on our way to Portugal. Then we spent around 6 weeks in Portugal road tripping and also stayed in Airbnb’s during our road trip.
Back in Spain! During the month December we stayed in a beautiful Airbnb that was fully off grid in the mountains between the Costa Tropical and the Sierra Nevada. That was something new to experience, like satellite wifi connection because there was no reception to be found there. We have met beautiful people there and it was a special time! In January we moved to the costa again and booked a seaside apartment with spacious terrace where we viewed a lot of sunrises and sunsets. Also, we had a nice visit from Ilse’s parents which we all enjoyed very much.
Back to road tripping with our van Jovanna! We had a lovely time in Southern Spain at several places like this amazing beach with views on Morocco and Gibraltar (which you see on the picture).
We made a beautiful trip in some Balkan countries! Half of the time in the van, half of the time in several Airbnb’s. We went to Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro. Unfortunately because of restrictions we couldn’t go to other countries we wanted like Bosnia for example. Next time!
We surprised our little niece to celebrate her 8th birthday! Before we went to her birthday, we also went to Ilse’s parents to surprise them with our ‘early arrival’! What a blast! For 2 months we stayed in the Netherlands and enjoyed being with family & friends.
Time for new adventures in… Kenya, Africa!! We lived & travelled here for 2 months. We mainly lived in the small coastal town called Watamu, and did a 2 week safari trip by ourselves which was definitely the highlight of our stay in Kenya! We rented a big jeep (for like 8 people normally, there wasn’t another option haha!) with a pop up roof and off we went with the 3 of us! Adventure time!! Many tour guides looked surprised to see a foreigner aka a “Mzungu” driving the jeep which resulted with funny looks and conversations on the road. Hilarious. We visited several National parks and other nice places like: Tsavo West, Lake Naivasha, Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru and Tsavo East. We spotted the big five in the first park already, saw cheetahs hunting for some wildebeast just meters in front of us, our car broke down in the middle of Masai Mara (with elephant view and the locals helping us out), and took a million pictures (also Sophía with her own camera!)… yeah, it was a great adventure.
Back in the Netherlands to enjoy summer there and of course our family & friends again! During this time Auke went to Portugal for a week for a life changing men’s retreat of Sacred Sons!
Off we went again, this time to go and live in Spain for 6 months. In this month we visited 6 nice nature based, unschooling projects for Sophía. Although the last project we visited (an hour from Cadiz, South Western Spain) was amazing (in a little yurt and in between olive trees and an amazing nature set up with a little clay house and everything), the pieces of the entire puzzle didn’t match (housing & further environment). Therefore we decided to drive to Portugal because we know people that have a lovely project, a creative, nature-based hub in the Algarve region.
Well, guess what. We got to Portugal on a Monday, visited this lovely project on Tuesday morning and got a GO from Sophía. That same afternoon we went to look for a house to rent for 6 months and just like that, we got settled in the Algarve in Portugal for 6 months.
We have met amazing people and had great adventures from our homebase there! In February we flew to the Netherlands to be with family & friends for 10 days!
Time to move on after 6 months of Portugal, and before we head to the Netherlands for the month June, we booked ourselves a beautiful ‘nature home’ Airbnb in South West France. We are loving it here, surrounded by nature and by forests and a super nice lake closeby. Good vibes, great energy!