Reflection is a strong human function and can be used to improve our lives and if possible the lives of others. The year of 2013 was a year where we really decided to go for our dream journey. So as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi says “Be the change you want to see in the world” we can now look back and see the change evolving in our lives.
When looking back at 2013 it feels as the year flew away and we didn’t get a chance to do all the things we wanted to do. Now looking in to detail we see that we did do most of the ideas we had for 2013. To give you an insight of our 2013 we will break it down in quarters and also give an insight of what we are expecting from the year 2014.
The first quarter of 2013 we made the decision to plan our journey. Yet we were not preparing full on, we found it important to stay physically in shape so we both signed up for a running club. For Susanne this was to train more regularly and for Martin to see if he could change running style and get some more technical knowledge of running. The running club was good fun, although very scheduled which was not the best fit for us. We still enjoyed the times we were able to join and both gained from the running practice. Martin was very busy at work in this period as he was closely involved in the launch of a new product from the company he was working for. The product was a new machine for ophthalmic surgery. For Martin an intense period and meant a great deal of travelling, also a moment of realizing that the corporate working life is not the best fit. First quarter was intense for Susanne as well due to badly managed work environment, this was a big concern to Susanne and also a great energy drain. Due to some good connections with in the company Susanne was able to hold out and was looking for new opportunities. A hard start of 2013 was what we needed and kept us focused on the coming of our TwistingSpokes which was still young at this point.
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We entered April and the 2nd quarter of 2013. We went on a 3nights cycling weekend in the Ardennes of Belgium in the weekend of Easter. This was a good trip where temperatures were mostly just below zero and we had to learn how to adapt to the cold. In May Martin had a 10day get away to Egypt, a land of great history and current affairs, which was a great experience for Martin and he met some nice people through Couchsurfing.org. We had researched our new bikes for the journey and had found the right shop for buying them and accessories. Our bikes were the first BIG step in the direction of TwistingSpokes growing up and becoming reality. Before we got our bikes we had a trip to the German Eiffel which is a great area to go for bicycling, see our photos of the Eiffel trip. Our idea of the journey was at this point mainly shared with family and friends. Our work places were not yet involved which created some limits of sharing our idea and project. Why we did not yet involve our workplaces was due to the young state of the project and not yet 100% when and how we would do this. Susanne had ended her job and had some time in between jobs which was used for preparations and being active. We got our bicycles and went off to the Pyrenees end of June. This was a great trip: 23days of biking and enjoying and reflecting on this lifestyle. We had a great trip and we both returned and were sure of the choice of changing our lifestyle and quitting our jobs and getting rid of stuff we will not be needing.
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Quarter 3 and things were now moving fast. Martin informed everybody at DORC and was also informed that DORC was now in a period of acquisition. An interesting period for Martin and a relief to be able to share the future with his colleagues. Susanne had started a new temporary job in July at Nyenrode and most colleagues were informed about the travel plans from the start. We could share and talk about our project with everyone and this really is nice when people engage and ask about the project. Website was now a top priority as we would like to share our experiences and insights with you and the people we will meet along the way. We had some ideas what we would like to be able to do with the website such as showing our GPS track and sharing our photos in an easy and nice way. Martin initiated the website and Susanne did a great job of filling in and coming with good input. We got the site to 90% and needed some special features for this we used freelancer.com and found a programmer who could help us. Now TwistingSpokes.com was running. Also Susanne went on her first ever solo bicycle trip for 5 days which was a good experience to feel the freedom and also being dependent on yourself. To make sure we will be able to fix our bikes ourselves we decided to go to Groningen for a two-day bicycle repair workshop to learn the ins and outs of our bikes and how to fix these. In these months we had to make sure that we will be well protected during our trip so we were vaccinated multiple times against multiple diseases.
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In the last quarter of 2013, during the last 3 months, we realized departure was coming close: only 4 more months left. By then Martin was already building down work slowly and Susanne was just getting comfortable and familiar with everything at work and definitely still building up. Focus was on saving money, attaining the right gear, getting everything done, covering the last points etc. There was of course time for one more cycling trip, this time to the misty Netherlands in the south. We made a trip to Denmark twice, one in October and one in December for Christmas and saying goodbye to Danish friends and family. We visited the dentist, found new renters for our apartment (who luckily will takeover some of our furniture) and finished running contracts on the house, internet, energy and water. Now we sit here before having friends over for a New years drink and reflect on the last year which means a lot to us and feels right to make this journey come true. When we are reflecting on 2013 we can only dream of 2014 and what it will bring, we will use the next weeks to set some goals for what we would love to do during our journey, for sure you will hear more about this later.