Two guys who leave their daily lives behind to drive from China to Holland
We drive from China to Holland by car to share with you what we believe in: a brand new China.
During our 3 months journey through 11 countries we meet remarkable Chinese people in each of the countries we pass through, discovering a ‘brand new China’ along the way.
Because the proof of the pudding is in the eating, we travel using Chinese brands only. A Chinese car, laptop, phone, camera, tent and even sunglasses.
China is no longer just the factory of the world
But above all, this project is a remarkable journey to drive from East to West on the old Silk Road. Passing through some of the most beautiful landscapes, vibrant cultures, bustling towns and a whole lot of nothingness. Our itinerary covers it all.
The new/old Silk Road from China to Europe
Who are we?
Maren Striker- Dutch
- 7 years in China
- Urban Planning
- Loves cities and nature
“I travelled in 31 Chinese provinces in 7 years”
Rogier Bikker- Dutch
- 5 years in China
- Marketing Strategy
- Loves roadtrips
“I travelled in 10 Chinese provinces in 10 days”
How did this all start?
Back in the autumn of 2010 Rogier was doing a road trip through China with a long-time friend. Passing factories, crossing mountains and sleeping in the car for two weeks. This epic trip could only be surpassed by leaving the borders of China. And so the idea to one day drive back to Holland originated while driving on the dusty roads of rural Shaanxi province. But upon return, friends and family regarded the idea too crazy to happen, so the dream remained just that: a dream.
Meanwhile, Maren was contemplating extraordinary trips as well. Walking the Great Wall of China? Cycling back to the Netherlands? Following the Yangtze river from source to sea? Or take the ‘road well travelled’ into South-East Asia on a shoestring?
It wasn’t until 2 years later that Rogier and Maren met and shared their dreams with each other over food and drinks (drinks, primarily). Enthusiasm was abundant, and it wasn’t until the next day we realised it would require us to quit our jobs, leave our girlfriends for 3 months, and spend all our non-existent savings on one crazy idea.
We realised that passion is the key driver behind the success of any project.
Luckily, Maren has ‘Planning’ in his job title, and Rogier ‘Strategy’. So we cracked our brains long and hard on how to turn this dream into a plan. Spending our evenings strategizing a masterplan for world domination, or so it felt. We realised that passion is the key driver behind the success of any project. So we turned to the topic we’re both most passionate about: China.
Brand New China was born in the autumn of 2013, turning a dream that was too crazy to happen into a plan.
It all started with a day-dream while driving in rural Shaanxi province, China
How did we make it happen?
Once we had turned our dream into a plan, it was time for action! Signing sponsors, contacting media, arranging car papers, obtaining visa’s, finding Chinese people living abroad to visit… the list went on. There was so much to do, that Rogier decided to quit his job for it.
The more time we spend on the project, the more we realised the huge potential of it. So we hired great Chinese team members to help out. Working with a small and driven team to realise our dream was – and still is – an amazing experience.
We emailed (read: spammed) every Chinese car brand we knew
But the project could only really take-off by finding our main sponsor: a car brand. And so we emailed (read: spammed) every Chinese car brand we knew. We got many ‘thanks, but no thanks’ replies, and the PR Director of one major Chinese car brand – about to enter foreign markets – wrote back to us that she did not believe their car could drive that far without breaking down. She obviously did not share our ‘brand new China’ belief.
Things started rolling just before Christmas when one of our random emails got forward to the Marketing Director of a Chinese car brand with the most appropriate name: Build Your Dreams – BYD. We met them at the BYD European HQ on an industrial park on the outskirts of Rotterdam on a cold day between Christmas and New Years. During our meeting the Managing Director dropped in – one of the most senior figures in the company – and told us with a lot of enthusiasm “Let’s build this dream!”. The rest is history.
We couldn’t find a car brand with a more appropriate name: Build Your Dreams – BYD
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