Good day everybody , my name is Niels Thomas and I welcome you to my first blog post of the Road Trip Guy. I was born and raised in the province of Utrecht in the beautiful and sunny country of the Netherlands. Just in case you never visited the Netherlands before.. it is a joke.. there is no sun.. like ever!
During my childhood years I realised that I had a real love for not only the amazing world of nature & wildlife, but I also had a deep-rooted need for adventure too. Boats, planes, cars and motorcycles.. it did not matter to me. My childhood was about hitting the road and not caring where you would end up or when we would be back. I guess this uncontrolled sense of adventure is something that any 18-year old inspires. Especially when getting that amazing little paper called a drivers license!
This ambitious feeling resulted in me and my mate ending up in France (1 day after getting my drivers license) with my mom’s car after we decided to play “Rock, paper & scissors” on the highway.
If he won we would stay on the highway and if I won we would take the exit. Needless the say I was on a 10-time losing streak, but what an amazing first road trip it was!
You never know, lightning could strike!
This passion carried on during my later years and I spent my college and university years studying Wildlife and Conservation management. It led me to work (in my early 20’s) in different parts of the world including Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean and plenty of other places. Although it was a great travel experience it was always work-related with having little time to fully explore the countries and culture.
I perhaps worked far too hard during these years and after clocking up plenty of overtime and hitting the magical number 30, I decided that maybe it was time to tackle a whole new adventure. It was always a funny to me that people become all dramatic when that age is getting closer and closer, but one month before my birthday my thirst for a new adventure and change was at an all time high as well! Whilst I knew that I needed to find something interesting, I wasn’t quite prepared for how inspiration for my next trip found me. However, lightning strikes when you least expect it so I never thought it would happen whilst being 30,000 feet in the air! Now don’t worry, I wasn’t the one flying the plane..
The Trip 2017
Thanks to the WiFi available on an Etihad flight from the back home to the Netherlands, I found myself reading a pretty interesting article about Dr. Randal Olson. What really caught my eye is the map that showed a rather impressive road trip through Europe. This simple map alone was enough to reignite the fire within me to experience some adventure. Not to mention travel around Europe in a real road trip car!
It was right there, sat on the plane that I knew.. This was it! My brand new plan to start the trip of a lifetime..
But surely this was something that lots of other people had been inspired to do? After reading through hundreds of comments from Facebook members about how much they loved the idea of undertaking this trip themselves, I realised something. Despite their enthusiasm for the idea. No one else had actually got up and done it. That wasn’t going to be true for me!
Purpose of the Trip
One thing was important to me, that whilst I was inspired with the article and map, my road trip would be entirely my own. I came up with a list of countries that I wanted to cross during my trip and with that The Road Trip Guy project was born. The trip was going to take me through 41 countries and was over 25,000 Km long all whilst supporting 12 charities and tell their stories. I planned would take me more or less 3 months, but I promised myself that it wouldn’t be a race and there would be no strict deadlines for me to match.
After all, who wants to worry about time when you are having the time of your life? What I wanted it to be about was a story of a guy on the road, driving his favorite road trip car. He would meet new people, taste delicious food and explore a real variety of different cultures before bringing them together by sharing a collection of inspiring stories. Therefore, I created 7 goals that I want to achieve for this trip.
Start date from Amsterdam : 15th of May 2017.
Let’s do this!