Dec 15


by in Drawing & Writing

Daan from Holland

Booked or spontaneous?
Yeah, wherever the wind blows me. I mean I have some general ideas of the highlights, what I want to visit. I meet people, they offer me something, um, I say yes or I say no.

Mostly traveling or mostly working?
Traveling. Whenever I go somewhere and I like it, I stay there for a couple of weeks. Move on, you know. I’m actually going to the Cormando Sunday morning with a local in Turanga and two German girls, and we’ll see what happens. Next week I gotta be in King’s Country. A guy I met in Auckland, actually I met his whole family, offered me to stay at his place for a few weeks. He’s got a 1200 acre farm with 5,000 sheep and um, the little lambs get harassed by wild pigs. So basically my job is to be on a quad with a shotgun and take out any wild pigs that go for the sheep.

Wow. Work and travel!
That is the idea. I’ve been doing this desk job for 10 years. I’m quite out of my comfort zone by a looooong way. I used to be this guy in a suit, behind the desk. And this is, you know, there I am hunting and skinning, working the field. You know, don’t get me wrong, I don’t love to kill or whatever, but to be on the land, be outdoors, be somewhat more in touch with… it feels more honest to do that than to be in a supermarket and get something out of the fridge that has lived in a little cage for all its life.

So you had a desk job?
I actually lost my job at the end of July. And that was for me just a reality check. I have been into corporate recruitment for ten years. So I was first in temp agencies and later moved on to headhunting, outsourcing of personnel. They told me a week in advance, so yeah. New management. I was too experienced for her. She wanted to do stuff with clients that will lose us money and lose us clients, and I know that. And she was like, “Nope, we’re gonna do it my way.” And I said, “Well, I would advise not to.” And that was the only thing I said. And that was, for her, a reason not to extend it.

At what point did you know you’d travel?
Pretty much straight away. I’d been working around with the idea for a few months. I just… yeah, I needed to get out and, uh, just create some distance between my old life, and just look at it. I mean, after ten years maybe it’s also a good point just to look back at what you’re doing – are you good at it, do you like it, would you consider doing it for another ten years, or maybe until you’re a pensioner. Um, I don’t feel like that. I mean it’s changed. It used to be that companies paid you good money, but they expected a decent job, and you do that, you get credit for that, and you know, other clients come to you and say, “Listen, do you wanna do a job for us?” Nowadays it’s just – her favorite quote was, “Throw enough shit at the wall, something will stick”… in terms of sending candidates over. But you know, that’s not – there’s a saying in Holland: “A reputation comes on foot and leaves by horse.” So yeah, I haven’t been working for 10 years, you know, 70 hours a week, to create a reputation and then flush it down the toilet because she, you know, wants to make some money.

Why New Zealand?
It needed to be a country where I could use my language. Well, the only other language besides Dutch. My Spanish is bad, my French is bad, my German is, um… “nicht sehr gut.” Yeah, so I tried Canada. But Canada already had the maximum amount of people applying for a work/holiday permit. So somebody told me, like, “Why not NZ, it’s the most beautiful country in the whole world.” I mean, the whole idea… I quote the locals here, “It’s the arsehole of the world.” Just the fact to be on the exact opposite side of the world, creating some distance. You cannot get further from home except by going into space.

How long?
Uh, I have been traveling for ten weeks now. I basically – until I run out of money. But I hope that won’t be before June. But you know, I don’t know. Maybe I won’t come back, who knows.

You might stay?
Got to love the country, and I don’t feel a lot of ties with home. I do miss my friends and family, but at a certain point everyone goes their own life, and I cannot, you know, wait for everyone to choose a path… and end up doing something I don’t really like. So I end up here, it feels good, and I can always go back whenever I want to. But it feels like, you know, it’s got a good vibe to it. I feel happy here, and yeah, the world’s smaller.

What else did you leave behind?
Not a relationship, not a house – well, a house that I shared with friends. A little bit of material that I don’t actually need. Obviously my friends and family. Two brothers, parents, some really close friends.

Did they know you might not be coming back?
They know me well enough to have a hunch. Actually I only told one of my friends and my dad that I am contemplating it. But uh, I give myself until February, because it’s kind of a big step to stay here. And if in February I still feel the same way then I’m going to apply for a permanent residence permit. I’ve met some people, one owns a company, and he said, well, “You’re a decent guy. If you wanna stay, maybe I can provide you with a job that makes a permanent residence visa more easy.” So if February feels the same way, then I’ll go for it, tell everybody. Stress my mother really really bad.

No Kiwi girls?
Yeah, I met one. But, um, trying not to fall. It’s complicated. It makes life more complicated.

I was just thinking on the visa side.
I know, I know, that’s what every Kiwi says. “Ah, go find a Kiwi girl!” But I’m not the kind of guy that uses a girl for a visa. But yeah, I actually met one that, uh, you know, I really really like. But I’m just trying to keep a little bit of distance before I drive myself nuts… and her, probably.

Odds you’ll end up in Netherlands?
60/40. I mean, 60% for staying here, 40% for going.


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3 Responses to “Daan”

  1. From Brooke/Mom:

    It’s fascinating to get this glimpse into other travelers’ lives–love it.

    Posted on December 15, 2011 at 15:57 #
  2. From Roxy:

    Dan’s so erudite! He seems to have really thought out the whole experience, but is flying by the seat of his pants at the same time… I wanna defend lambs from wild pigs! Trippy.

    Posted on December 15, 2011 at 19:23 #
  3. From Lori:

    I am not going to show this to your Uncle Doug as he will fly half way around the world to relieve Dan when he decides to leave. Doug’s dream job; on a farm, with a gun and a moving target. :)

    Posted on December 16, 2011 at 18:34 #