We got to know Karin-Marijke Vis and Coen Wubbels about one and a half year ago. For a long time their website Landcruising Adventure had been sparking our dreams to go overlanding. It was really great to meet them in person during the Overland Reunion 2014 and 2015.
This interview was conducted in June 2015.
4-wheel-nomads "What was the deciding reason to leave your former life behind and start traveling in this manner?"
Karin-Marijke and Coen "When we were in our early thirties, we both were at a crossroad in our lives. Our lives had taken twists and turns we hadn't expected (in terms of relationships, work, health) and it was time to make a drastic change. When we knew each other about eight months, seeing each other only in the weekends as we lived 200 kms apart, Coen decided to follow a dream he had carried with him for many years: to travel around the world. He asked me if I wanted to join him. The decision was easy and I said yes. It was a relief to sell our belongings, giving up everything we had, and start a new phase in our lives."
4-wheel-nomads "Since when or whereby did you decide to go on traveling for an indefinite period of time, or was that the plan right from the beginning?"
Karin-Marijke and Coen "We never gave the matter a thought and still we wouldn't say our journey is for an indefinite period of time. Time will tell. Our initial mention of two years was just to give the people around us something to hold on to. It was based on nothing. We had no plans other than to drive to Asia. We left with a map of Europe and guidebook of Greece and we were clueless as to what would country would be next."
"When after about three years we reached Thailand we concluded that we liked this way of life and wanted to continue it. That asked for some contemplation because thus far we had lived low-budget using our savings, and in order to continue traveling, we needed a source of income. We worked hard on our writing and photography to get that financial obstacle out of the way, in which we have succeeded."
4-wheel-nomads "By now, you have traveled in Europe, Asia and South America. In South America you have been traveling for eight years now ... because of that you have become famous for being the slowest overlanders ever. Are you planning to stay in South America or do you plan to ship the Landcruiser to a different continent?"
Karin-Marijke and Coen "We'll be on this continent for another couple of months, focusing on areas in Venezuela and Colombia that we haven't seen yet. We do know that we will ship our vehicle to a new place after that, but where? We don't know yet. There are many options and we're currently looking in the pros and cons of them. We have learned that in general things work out somehow. If you're open to that kind of lifestyle, you'll find that you meet people for a reason. This may play a big part in deciding our next destination."
4-wheel-nomads "For the last 12 years, you have been living your dream ... does traveling and thus this dream become a routine like any other "job" ... how do you manage to make sure it is not becoming just a different type of "job"?"
Karin-Marijke and Coen "Yes and no. There is no doubt that during the initial stage – which may stretch a couple of years – everything is new, exciting (and/or scary). I remember lots of thrills. There are many 'firsts' in that first period of traveling. Of course, that can't continue forever and I think that's why many people either return home after a year or two, or find a balance in traveling for a couple of months and going home for a couple of months. It makes perfect sense."
"In that respect, I'm happy that we need to work. Our work helps us, or sort of forces us out of our comfort zone. Instead of skipping that umpteenth historical church or gold museum, or eating rice and beans in Colombia after we've eaten them in Peru and Ecuador as well, wanting to write about these subjects helps us reflect on where we are. "He, wait. We think we know what this is about, but do we really?" In order to write about it, we need to dig deeper. In many cases that reignites the interest, and thus the joy in traveling and exploring."
"For that same reason our writing and photography has evolved. Whereas initially we focused on writing about our journey in 4WD magazines, we now also write for travel and food magazines. Just like in 'ordinary' life we have to be alert in not falling asleep and to just go with the flow. For life to be interesting and fulfilling you regularly need to ask yourself, "do I still want to do this." When the answer is 'no', it's time to change."
4-wheel-nomads "After all the distance you have created between you and what other people might call "normal society" or "normal life" - will returning be possible at all for you? Or do you plan not to come back anyway?"
Karin-Marijke and Coen "We lived in Suriname for a year (2011-2012) because we needed a break. It was a good year in which especially having a regular social life (being part of a running group, participating in local off-road events, spending evenings with new-made friends) played an important role. After that year, we were ready to hit the road again. It could very well be we will do something like that again. I don't know where or when as for now we enjoy the road too much."
"Returning to the Netherlands for an indefinite period of time is not an issue right now. And since we find it's useless to talk about the future we leave the subject alone."
4-wheel-nomads "Did you find a "place" where you could imagine settling down again during your travels so far?"
Karin-Marijke and Coen "There have been a few places that particularly appealed to us: Hanoi in Vietnam, south Brazil, and central Argentina. When we were there we felt we could live there but weren't ready to settle down. If we will ever return, stay on the road forever, or maybe settle down somewhere else - who knows. Time will tell."