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A bizarre month

A lot has happened in March. In the first 2 weeks we made the final preparations for our departure, Ben's youngest daughter Eva moved with her belongings to our apartment a few days before her holiday to Mexico, a delicious exclusive lunch with Ben's 3 daughters, the last dental check-up, taking passport photos, applying for and collecting new passports and the latest vaccines. We didn’t have a clue what awaited us.

On March 14 we gave a presentation at De Ruimte of the SNS Bank in Maastricht. Many friends had signed up to listen to our story. However, the first cancellations arrived two days before our presentation. We also received quite some cancellations for our benefit safe travels party.

On March 12, everyone in the Netherlands was advised to stay at home with a cold, cough, sore throat or fever. Meetings with more than 100 people were canceled. Our benefit safe travels party included. Vulnerable people were advised to avoid large groups and public transport.

However, the big news was announced on Sunday March 15. All restaurants, cafes and so on were forced to close their doors till Monday April 6 and the 1.5 meter social distancing was introduced. Our safe travels party at AINSI could not be reorganized either.

Abroad lockdowns were declared and some borders were closed. We realized that even our departure on April 4 was off the track. We could not cross the border. Isn’t this bizarre?

During all those 2 years of preparation we have taken into account many scenarios, but who could have predicted this?

So there you are 3 weeks before departure. All our stuff was already stored in our garage. We rented out our apartment. Now what? We thought about cycling the Netherlands. However, our whole world tour is all about meeting other people. After a day of cycling, we knock on people's door to ask if we can pitch our tent in their garden, shed or garage. Who is still open to that? In addition, the world looks strange and unreal when everyone is confined to their home. Even though we love nature and peace, this gives you the shivers.

On March 18, we posted an emergency message through Facebook because of our housing problem. We were forced to put our world bicycle tour on hold. At short notice we were looking for a temporary place to stay (low-budget). As soon as the measures around Covid 19 have been lifted, we get on our bikes to start our adventure.

Fortunately our stress situation was resolved very soon. Within one day a friend of Ben’s connected us to the accommodation B&B Le Rêve located in the outskirts of Maastricht. We can stay there for the time being.

The measures were tightened on Sunday March 24. Everyone was advised to stay at home as much as possible. You can go outside for work (when you cannot work at home), groceries or for taking care of others. You can go outside to catch a breath of fresh air, but not in a group and you have to take social distancing into account. All meetings are prohibited with immediate effect until June 1, even small ones with less than 100 people. Any other date for our benefit safe travels party is therefore somewhere after June 1. The how, who, what and where aren’t known.

On March 24, Eva returned early from her vacation in Mexico.

We then moved in with all our world travel gear at B&B Le Rêve. We took our mountain bikes and city bikes with us to keep fit and to support Ben's parents.

We surprised Frank and Karin with some chocolates and XPLORid give aways. We had a lovely chat before we had our first night at B&B le Rêve.

The matras is very comfortable and the rain shower is amazing. At night we can watch the stars through the window above our bed. We are very happy Karin and Frank offered us this place. We like it very much over here.

On Tuesday March 31 the Corona measures were extended to April 28.

April 4 was our big day. The weather forecast was great. We couldn't have planned it any better. But the Vrijthof was completely empty and we weren't there either.

Life totally turned upside down. Everything came to a stop...

A time for reflection. The silver lining is nature keeps on going. Less consumption, less waste and less CO2 emissions are good for her health.

At the end of April we will look at the situation again. No one knows how the Corona crisis will turn out. We hope for the best and that we can start our world tour soon.

We don't know when we can leave. We don't know which way we go. It all depends on our possible departure date. In winter it is too cold in some countries and some trails are impassable. We will see how the path reveals itself to us.

Let's look at a brighter future together. A world without lockdowns and social distancing. A world with a vaccine against Corona and open borders. And a world with more green colours and less poverty.

Above all we hope the world is getting out of this stronger than ever before.

In better times we hope to be on the road: to start our world tour by bicycle. During this tour we want to give direct help to people living in poverty. We are still looking for donations to achieve this. Please, take a look at our website on the page "donation".


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