Since March 2016 I’m traveling from The Netherlands to Australia by electric car. Without any money I completely rely on the energy I receive from people around the world. During this journey I will visit inspiring people, projects, companies and events to make a documentary about sustainability. My goal is to find out what sustainability is, to create awareness around this subject and to prove that you can do really cool things with this.

Follow Wiebe on : PlugMe In Project

1. You graduated as an Event Manager and started the Plug Me In project at 29 years old. How did you first come up with this idea, what was your motivation behind it and why did you decide that the route would be from The Netherlands to Australia ?  

I always wanted to make a journey in a special way, other than going from hostel to hostel. A road trip was something that had my interested as you have freedom and go wherever you want. It was 2015 when I was organizing it and everyone was talking about electric cars so I thought why not travel to the other side of the world in an electric vehicle. I wanted to show that it is possible to travel to the other side of the world in an electric car. This project was my graduation project at the University of Arts in Utrecht and there I had the opportunity to bring this dream to life. 

2. In the start-up phase of the project did you encounter any people and companies that said that the Plug Me In project would be impossible to do? And if so, as a young entrepreneur how did you deal with this kind of feedback?
Yes I had many companies who said it was not possible. At first I felt a bit let down but now I am thankful as I managed to do it without them and have basically done everything on my own. It makes my case stronger.

3. You have been close to one year on the road for your project. What has been your favorite experience so far?

I really liked the road trip through Iran. The way people welcomed me was very special. They are so heart warming, kind and helpful. Also the country is beautiful in many aspects: culture, architecture, nature, food etc. I knew little about this country and it was really an eye-opener.

4. How did your find your sponsors for the project?  

Most of them I just called them, explained what I wanted to do and asked for help, which worked quite good. Sometimes I came in touch with them via my network or I contact them straight on LinkedIn. 

5. You recently visited the United Arab Emirates. As a country that has been dependable on fossil fuels for decades, how was their reaction to the Plug Me In project and the message behind it?
Of course the UAE has the image to be very dependent on fossil fuels but this is only in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. In Dubai there is no oil for example so they are very active in looking for alternative ways to create energy. They have for example one of the worlds biggest solar panels and were the first to produce energy through solar at a rate of 2.9 cents, which is very cheap. Also they are making more investments to a more sustainable future, for example EV infrastructure.
So they were very happy and enthusiastic about my arrival there. Literally every newspaper in the UAE featured an article about me and also the electric road trip I took part in was covered very ell.
6. Any idea where your next road trip will be after you reached Australia ? 
Don’t know if there will be a next one, I have been on the road for quite a while and want to start ‘the normal life’ too. But South America is on top of my list. 

7. What do you miss most when being on the road for such a long time?

It’s more small things like a bitterbal or kroket but than again I am too busy and enjoying this trip to much to really miss that. 

The only thing I do really miss from time to time is some privacy. I stay with locals everyday so it’s hard to retract sometimes.

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