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Everything about Teije (what he wants to share)


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Everything about Teije (what he wants to share)

Note: this page was last updated in 2005, so quite old. When we have more time I will update it!
Treptower park, BerlinOk, Elisabeth has finished her story, so now it is my turn. Not that I have any problems with that, the biggest problem is to limit my stories.
When I was 17 I made my first big trip alone, to Egypt. Since I was twelve I knew I wanted to be an egyptologist and I even studied it for one year. But travelling was more fun and I had too many interests to limit myself to only one study or goal. Only a short time ago I found out what I really want (although I have always known it): I want to do lots of different things, explore, much alternation and not stick too long on one subject, but not superficially.
Back at LuxorDuring my studies I traveled a lot, hitchhiking with a backpack filled with textbooks. When I was a tour guide, I lived in Cairo for more than 3 years and Egypt and its history still are great passions of me. I was very happy with our trip to Egypt in 2004, after an absence of almost 15 years.
Teije at Barcelona airportMy travels brought me throughout Europe (especially former East-Europe), Africa and North America. But then I started my own company in computers in 1990 and didn't have much time left for holidays. Even in the summer holidays I rarely left Holland, only sometimes for short trips to Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Germany.
Within 2 weeks after Elisabeth and I started our relation (beginning of 1998), we left for a few days to Belgium. Elisabeth didn't have much travel experience although she had always wanted to travel. She enjoyed our first few trips so much that the joy of travelling returned to me as well and more and more often we would leave Holland for short periods. But since the summer of 2000 we live mostly for the holidays and we spend almost all our money on leaving Holland as much as we can. Well, one big thing changed in 2004: since July 2004 we are grandparents of our dear little Elise Esmée, and we are totally fond of her (she even has her own website with pictures, but it is only in Dutch: esmeewijkstra.nl). We really miss her when we are away but from 2006 we are allowed to take her on holiday now and then for a week!
The bay of PlocktonSay for yourself, what can be nicer than sitting near the sea in the sun in a mountaineous area (well, except for having a beautiful grandchild)? I had never been to Scotland before, but I fell immediately in love with the country, the first time in 2000!
Teije at Strathconnon At the Plodda FallsOr at a desolate loch in the Scottish Highlands? I can pretty easily relax, but when I am on a journey I feel even better, more relaxed and happier than in Holland. There are also a lot of places where I feel much more at home than in the Netherlands.
Scotland and Egypt are my favourites, but I want also see new places where I haven't been before. Therefore I try to arrange our destinations in such a way that we both see as much new places as possible. Exploring countries like Albania and Bosnia (as we did in 2007) I feel always glad when I can talk to local people and learn something from their culture and lives.
A bit dirty Our jeepI prefer to travel by car: I love driving. When we fly somewhere we often rent a car, so we can go where we want without being dependent on the local transportation. It gives a sense of freedom. Here pictures of our cars (the first broke down) on Cyprus.
Rest area in Hungary Teije at the barIn the summer we always take our own car, so we can take anything we want and have all possible freedom. We still have a lot to discover within Europe, although the distances become greater to find new places. But within a second I can name 10 countries we still have to visit in Europe: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Greece, Serbia, Kosovo, Malta, Liechtenstein... that's 14 already and probably I forget one or two (yes, Iceland for one).
Freezing outdoorBut when we make a trip to a city (like Barcelona, London or Berlin) local transportation is a better way to explore it and reach all the interesting places; but on Christmas day in an open bus through London can be very cold!
Having my own company gives me the freedom to gear my spare time to the time Elisabeth can take a holiday. And with some Dutch economy we can afford it to leave Holland a few times a year.
We spend most of our money on holidays and just now that seems the best investment to help the world economy. I have seen for myself how much money is wasted on socalled charity for the third world, so I rather stimulate local economies by spending money there. Something a lot of people object to since we have this hype about leaving your co-print over the world. My simple and clear opinion is that most problems on this earth are caused by a few (often rich) influential people (politicians, financial and industrial oligarchs) who easily could make the world a better place when they really wanted to. That doesn't mean we have no personal responsabilty, but the last decades it seems to be normal to ask individuals to take their responsability while the socalled leaders of the world make a mess of it!
Sorry for this suddenly erupting opinion which I had to express...
I do have a lot of hobbies, just too little time. And one can call taking a delicious cold beer during the warm times in the holiday a hobby too, don't you think (in moderation, of course)? Better than the terrible coffee I try to drink here, somewhere in the Czech Republic.
Gate Lodge Eilean Donan castleI was always appealed to history, castles, antiquities and excavations. But something must be at least 500 years or older, otherwise my enthousiasm drops. Sometimes my enthousiasm is a bit too much for Elisabeth, especially when we walk through a museum and I go on and on, reading all the signs and stories, so a visit can take very long.
My sister told me I was terrible on this point when I was young, also. She still hates museums... Luckily for me, our granddaughter Esmée shares my interest, she wants to read every note (even when she can't read yet) and tell us what it says.
By starting this website I got a new passion: writing websites. When I started this website in October 2001, I didn't know anything about html, javascript or anything. Thanks to my former experience as a software-programmer (Basic, Pascal and C+) I learned very quickly and the site has grown into what it is now. Designing websites is now even a main activity in my one-man company! Photography is another new hobby, also started by writing this website and the want for sharp and nice pictures. At the moment we have two digital camera's so Elisabeth and I can both take pictures when we want.
Camping Chave Grande, SatãoSometimes it takes a lot to leave the website as it is for a while, but during the holidays I forget it completely. Then I have other hobbies to practise, like swimming.
But I always take notes, so it won't be too much trouble to write a travel account later.
Hotel CookstownAnd reading. We always carry a lot of books with us, not all of them travel guides. I am fascinated mostly with historical novels and science fiction. Travelling to Switzerland I discovered after two hundred kilometers that I had forgotten to take books with me and just before the German border we stopped at a bookshop to buy some. I can't travel without a few good books...
The London Dungeon Teije and captain PicardTalking about SF, I was a bit disappointed when captain Picard (Star Trek, The next generation) wasn't dressed in his uniform at Madame Tussaud in London. But in the London Dungeon I could travel back in time to the dark medieval period...
On the edge The Otta valleyNext to culture and arts I am also a big fan of nature. Especially unspoiled nature appeals to me and I really enjoy myself when we are making long trips through desolate and vast areas.
A nice pint Teije before Casa VicensI also love to visit a city like Barcelona for a few days, in this case especially because of the creations of Antoni Gaudi. The fact that we have been there 4 times now, tells enough. But after a few days I need to see mountains and forests.
Teije in Parc GüellFortunately, Parc Güell at Barcelona also offers enough quiet places, combined with the beautiful creations of Antoni Gaudi. But the temperature in November (2001) is just a bit too low, in September (2004) it felt much better.
Coast at SagresOk, the sea is fine, too. Elisabeth and I are not real beach-tourists, but in the summerheat in Spain and Portugal it was quite nice to take a dive into the sea and lie on the beach for a few hours. The last few years we have come to appreciate it more and more, having a few relaxing days at the beach after long drives and walking for days through a city.
Dalsnibba mountain Teije in the funicularAnd we both love mountains. We feel delightful when we drive through the mountains, or take a funicular up the slopes. It doesn't matter where, in Norway (left) or Austria, mountains fills us with awe, for nature and also for humans being a part of that wonderful nature.
On the North CapeThe trip through Scandinavia (2002) was very impressive in itself, especially Norway, which we entered in the north, coming from Finland. We had already been to the southern point of Europe at Gibraltar and here I am on the northern point of the European mainland.
On the boat The boat to the VesterålenNorway is one of the most impressive and beautiful countries I have ever seen, as fas as nature is concerned. Although I liked Canada and some parts of the US also very much, but we haven't been there together, yet.
Teije with snakeI have a special connection with the Arabic world, probably because I lived there for some years. But still I was surprised by an obtrusive snakecharmer who unexpectedly put a dazed snake around our necks. I know this is going to cost us. But when you make it very clear to people that you don't want to buy something they often let you alone.
The jardin Majorelle Our regular table at Charly CabanaWell, in every country there are enough people who try to profit from the presence of tourists, even in Amsterdam. And some of them can be quite aggressive. When people really get annoying just tell them that they can come with you... to the police! Most will quickly walk away. Never let these people spoil your fun.
Visiting IsmaelBut people in Holland are seeming to become more suspicious about foreigners, which is not a good development. We think it is mainly fear. People should learn more about other cultures and habits. It is possible to adapt to another culture and also keep your own identity. But always respect the habits of the country and culture you visit.
The three of us in the harbour Teije & Paul behind the barOn our trips we have made a lot of new friends, like Joshko in Croatia (to the right) and Paul in Scotland. One of them is poor, the other rich, but that is all the same for our friendship.
Bernkastel-Kues Christie and BobbyAnd we have got to known nice people through this website, as well. We had been emailing with Christie and Bobby from California for almost a year before we met them in Rotterdam. After that we even traveled two days together through the Mosel Valley in Germany.
On air BNN radio Teije at work on the websiteAnd the website brings us more fun, like an interview on Dutch national radio. Because of all enthousiastic feedback we now often take a notebook with us, so we can put some photographs and travelogues online while we are still on holiday.
And so we enjoy every holiday three times: first the preparation, then the trip itself and after that writing the travelogues and choosing pictures for the website. We started the site just to share some travel pictures with some friends abroad and we could never have imagined that it would be such a success, never.
Well, what more can I tell? It is time I finish this page, so I can continue with all the other things I still have to do on this website.
After we had written this page the first time, something very important happened in our lives: On July 21, 2004, we got a granddaughter, Esmée, as I metioned before. Since she was 1 month old we often took care of her and since she is 3 years old, we take her on holidays for a week now and then. She already has her own passport and in time we will show you those travelogues and pictures as well. Travelling through life is even more important than travelling through the world, we realise now. A journey together from which we learn a lot!
Teije in Fort AugustusBut we will keep fleeing from the Netherlands now and then, to discover new countries and cultures. I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to travel so much and I am very happy about the way travelling has shaped and changed my personality.
We are all citizens of the world. There is only one humanity, no matter what race, religion or country we are part of. My deepest wish is that all people will share that feeling one day. Travelling helps in that and it should be an obligation for everybody... Travelling is not only fun, but it brings people together.

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