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Our Asian adventure | 2016

The moment is finally there, tomorrow morning we will leave the Netherlands to travel through Asia for the upcoming 6 months! The start of our trip will be at the Maldives and after that we will continue to discover this continent via India. We are going to traveling to get inspired by all the wonderful things we will see, taste and smell, but also to get some work done. Working in a new and unknown environment often leads to new insights and we could both use some of that. I would love to take you on our adventure and show you all the beautiful things we will experience. So once a month I will post a report on my website, with pictures, sketches and illustrations. Also I’ll try to upload a photo on Instagram as often as possible, so if you are curious for our adventures and like to see how we are doing, keep an eye on my website and Instagram. See you soon from Asia!

Our Asian adventure, part 1

Hi there! My plan was when we left the Netherlands 45 days ago, to keep you updated about our trip and the places we have visited. But while I was writing that blogpost, it sounded more like a travelblog. So instead of sharing every step of our journey, I would love to share my sketchbook with you, some wonderful views we’ve seen and inspirational things we’ve experienced. Our adventure began in the Maldives, Dave was asked to help and share his thoughts for a recycling project at the island Laamu. Plastic is a huge problem everywhere and in the Maldives it’s such a big contrast with the wonderful beaches. We found plastic bottles in the sea (do we really need them?), but also tiny microplastics that looked like colorful confetti on the beach. We even found microplastic in a fish. You can watch the short movie Dave made *here*. After 11 days of snorkeling, teaching kids, giving presentations and enjoying the Maldives, we traveled to Mumbai India. Beside all the chaos, dirt and smells, I loved the markets and was impressed how much vegetarian options there were available everywhere. I made sketches of a marketman where we bought sweet mango’s from, a temple we crossed by while riding on a scooter and some people we met in Goa. Three weeks ago we stayed at Chinnies cozy house in Hampi. Every morning and night she cooked real Indian food for us and learned me how to make chapati and eggplant curry. Hampi itself was incredibly beautiful and hot (43º). We visited the 500 year old temples and swam in the river with waterfalls, surrounded by so many monkeys. I think the most inspiring place we stayed this last month was at Karuna farm. It’s a community one hour drive from Kodaikanal, in the mountains of south India. We slept in a little mudhouse between the bananatrees, monkeys and buffaloes, did yoga every morning and we saw a earthship for the first time. Everything is so colorful and decorated with lost of details in India, and I love details. Our next stop is Nepal, tomorrow morning we will arrive in Kathmandu.

Our Asian adventure, part 2

Hi again! We’re already 10 weeks traveling and this is my second blogpost. Last month we left wonderful India and arrived in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Before we went on this trip we didn’t figure out where we wanted to go, except to Asia. And when our good friend Luc said he was going to Nepal, we also booked a ticket and met him there. After a couple of days in the big city, we rented a motorbike and drove to Pokhara, into the mountains. Later we went further up to see the real big ones, the Himalayas. While driving for 5 hours and halfway up a mountain, we realised there was no gasoline station in the whole area, and we also had an empty tank. We hiked the rest of the trip up and before dark we arrived in a little village on top of the mountain, with a view over the Himalayas. It was incredible. The only two people who had some space left to sleep where the oldest from the village. We slept in their hut, with no electricity and in the dark she cooked Nepalees dal bhat for us. We met the nicest people and this experience was probably the most uncomfortable we had so far, but also the best. In the morning we woke up with a real beautiful view. You can watch Dave his little video about Nepal *here*. After 2 weeks in Nepal we went to Kuala Lumpur and Penang, which they call the foodwahala of Malaysia. They where right, I think the only thing we did for 9 days was eating. When we arrived in Malaysia everyone told us how difficult it would be to eat vegetarian. Especially compared to India and Nepal. But it was quite easy, they just left away the meat and fish and the food was delicious! We had so many little meals a day, and since we arrived in Thailand 5 days ago I already miss their food. Although Thailand has some real good food as well, like the mango salad and the fruitjuices. I made a little sketch from all the food we eat this last 10 weeks, so I won’t forget. These last few days in Thailand were good, swimming in the beautiful sea (though I got bitten by a cubejellyfish) and we slept in a little wooden hut surrounded by cats. Next stop is Bangkok tomorrow morning and then up to the north of Thailand, where the nature is even more beautiful I heard.

Our Asian adventure, part 3

Before we left to the other side of the world, I was certain I was going to work while traveling. Making sketches underneath a mango tree, doing projects in commission and keeping my Instagram account alive. We are on the road for almost 4 months now and as you maybe can see in this blogpost, it’s pretty difficult to work. In the beginning I was forcing myself to make a lot of sketches, because well, that was the main reason why I left. New adventures and new inspiration for new work. In the first blogpost I uploaded many sketches, now there is only one and a half sketch. While traveling I figured out that it’s difficult to look for busses, trains, airplanes, finding healthy vegetarian food, visiting inspiring places, but also try to see the local things. Living in nature with animals, but also have access to electricity and internet, and then trying to get some work done. I’ve probably thought to easy about that part. But that’s ok, all the beautiful things we’ve seen these last 4 months I will take with me home, to my illustration-table. They will come to fruition later. Back to the adventure. I had an amazing yoga-retreat while Dave was meditated for 10 days with monks (see his video about this experience here). While traveling I’m often on the limit or outside of my comfort-zone and in this retreat I learned these are the best moments in life, it’s where the magic happens. Making the unknown me a little bit more known. Next stop was Seoul Korea, where Dave opened a recycling center and after a week we went to Vietnam. Such an amazing country, friendly people and beautiful nature. After every bus ride the landscape changes, city, dessert, forrest, mountains and rice fields. While I write this post I’m in Cambodia, in a little eco village where I had my first swim in a natural swimmingpool and loved it, make you wonder why these aren’t more common. Two more months of inspiration to go!

Our Asian adventure, part 4
The adventure Dave and I started 6 months ago has come to an end. We’ve visited little parts of the Maldives, India, Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates. Little parts, because I think we’ve only seen a glimpse from the countries we travelled through. I have an idea about the country, their food and it’s nature, but I definitely need the come back. My third blogpost was written in a little village in Cambodia, this last blogpost I write at the kitchen table back in the Netherlands. From Cambodia we took the plane to Java Indonesia, where we did a climb up the volcanos Bromo and Ijen. I never saw a volcano before in my life, looking over the little border of this impressive big mountain with smoke coming out of the earth. There was a constant sound of a train passing by and I might felt a little bit scared. From Java we traveled to the islands Bali, Lombok, Gili Air and back to Bali, where we spent our last 3 weeks of this trip. While Dave was diving and planting baby coral (it’s a living animal, not a plant, thought this was very interesting) I made sketches in the sun. In the third blogpost I was telling you about how I was forcing myself to get inspired, and that it wasn’t working that well. I don’t know how or why, but in these last weeks I got inspired. We did some beach-clean-ups with Trash Hero and stayed at a beautiful bamboo resort in the middle of Bali. After a few days in Dubai we flew back home. It was a beautiful trip and I’ve learned so many things, I can not wait to get back to my drawing-table.