6.30am: beep beep beep. Time to wake up, a long day driving ahead of us! Firstly, I hop into the shower, figuring out if there is hot water or if it’s going to be a ‘refreshing shower’. Often breakfast is included so we can enjoy a boiled egg, tasteless or delicious bread (depending on where we are) and a tea. Neither Rogier nor I are coffee drinkers so thankfully we don’t need to worry about a caffeine injection that has a huge influence on the mood of the day. We pack up our battle station – our own extension court, Lenovo laptops, hard disks, Huawei phones, and chargers – and on the way we are!
7.30am: I always arrive first at the car, while Rogier is lodging a suitcase the size of himself behind him. When I start the engine, Rogier always writes down the total kilometers we have driven and the total amount of fuel our BYD car consumed. This information will be shared with BYD once we have internet connection again. In theory this works but many times we are already 40 km on the road when we realize we have forgotten one of our daily tasks…
8.00am: at 8 o’clock it’s time for our daily vitamin C boost. We bought loads of vitamin C pills that can dissolve in water. Quite a refreshing start of the day and despite my horrible sickness in the third week of the trip, this precaution measure has resulted in two healthy boys on the road. We also carry a suitcase full of medicine with us, whereby Rogier’s mom has enthusiastically packed up enough medicine for us to survive for two years. Luckily the medicine, besides the anti-diarrhea pills, have not been touched.
10am: time for a change of driver. Every 2 hours we change driver as driving is not as a relaxing exercise as it can be in the western world. Constant concentration is required as potholes, road diversions, sudden vehicle movements in front (or next!) to the car are common. After a day of driving you can really put us straight to bed. The constant concentrations and impressions we take in are quite exhausting.
Luckily the medicine, besides the anti-diarrhea pills, have not been touched.
10.30am: what do we talk about every day? Frankly speaking, I have no clue. After 3 months on the road we still have conversations with each other, intertwined with moments of long silence. Let me give a couple of examples: top of our list is travelling. We can talk about a never exhausting list related to the country and observations we make. Politics and people are also our favorites. Also city planning observations are high on my list, although Rogier just pretends to be interested in how sidewalks are planned across the world. Similar, Rogier can observe brands until I really don’t know the difference anymore between which marketing strategy has been used for what. Last but not least, we can talk endlessly about girls and girlfriends.
12.30pm: Lunch time! But wait, where to eat? In the desolateness of many countries we travel through, really nothing. So a decision at 12.30 to have lunch can result in a belated lunch at 2pm… thankfully we are well equipped and have a ‘coolbox’ with food and beverages. The coolbox is rather sizeable and works mostly well to keep the food and beverages together, rather than cooling the products. Due to the size we often forget what’s inside so every other day we have a surprise of what we find. ‘Wow, we still have a snickers!’ or ‘when are we going to finish those cup-noodles that we bought in Shanghai?’
01.30pm: we found a place to fill up our tank with petrol and have a bite to eat next to the highway. It’s always a surprise what we get but in China we were happily surprised about the quality of the food. In Central Asia and Iran we often enjoyed chicken kebab with rice. But after eating this twice a day, 7 days a week, we really needed to diversify… The local interaction we get at these random lunch places is always amusing: ‘Where are you from? What is your name? What do you think of Iran? I love Holland, flower country! Gullit, Robben and Van Persie!’
‘When are we going to finish those cup-noodles that we bought in Shanghai?’
02.00pm: after our daily doses of ‘celebrity-ness’ we hit the road again. Maren is always driving after lunch because Rogier cannot keep his eyes open on a full stomach. Which he says has something to do with the blood draining from his head to his stomach. I better believe him to avoid dangerous traffic situations.
04.00pm: another switch of driver and the perfect moment to get my favorite book of the journey: the Lonely Planet. Rogier can’t believe I haven’t touched any other book the entire journey. I just think there is so much to read and learn about countries, the history and its people. Every other minute I look at the map to dot the route for the day, or just stare at the map. Rogier still doesn’t know what turns me on about maps.
06.00pm: destination reached! It doesn’t happen often that by sunset we are not in the place that we intended to be. This is also the time we want to check-in or set up camp as it is getting dark soon and driving at night doesn’t have our preference. We check-in at the hotel, and drop down dead tired on our beds. What did we really do today? We ate kilometers, many kilometers… but that’s all we did actually. How come we are so exhausted then? With wifi in the room we check our phones. It’s always an enjoyable moment in the day as we read the comments on our website and blogs. It keeps us motivated to keep sharing our experiences.
Together we cheer, with an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beer, on the day and new place we have just arrived.
07.30pm: time to head out again for some food and a drink (country and politics permitting). Just when we ordered from the menu, Rogier will usually receive a phone call, his girlfriend for the daily check-in! One hour later Rogier returns when I have just finished my food and Rogier can enjoy a cold or heated-up dinner. Together we cheer, with an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beer, on the day and new place we have just arrived. The Netherlands is again closer and we are proud of the road that is behind us.
09.30pm: back in the hotel room we prefer to go straight to bed, but duty is calling: updating our websites and blog with photos and videos. This really became part of our daily routine and while sometimes falling asleep behind the laptop, we keep pushing ourselves to have everything up-to-date. At midnight the light goes out and we are looking forward to what’s about to come the next day. Another day, another adventure.