domingo, 13 de abril de 2014

Mi primera entrevista; el embajador de CS Victor Eekhof

Haz tus sueños realidad, la vida es muy corta para procrastinar, empieza a vivir AHORA.

Hace un par de fines de semana tuve la suerte de que mi gran amigo Pepe (el mejor Couchsurfer de Madrid y organizador de despedidas de solteras) me presentara a su Couchsurfer Victor, un holandés que es capaz de trabajar para un banco y comprarse una casa enorme, o dejarlo todo y meter su vida en una mochila para irse al Ártico a ser adoptado por pingüinos, conducir 14.000 km tanto en Australia como en Estados Unidos o irse en bicicleta desde Amsterdam hasta Hamburgo, o a Poznan, o de New York a Miami, o….cualquier idea que se le pase por la cabeza, con el único afán, de dejar de procrastinar y empezar a vivir sus sueños.

En tan sólo unas horas juntos hemos soñado, inventado y viajado. Nos hemos hecho ricos para volver después a ser pobres y una vez más ricos con nuestras ideas, hemos hablado del café que quiere montar en Amsterdam o hemos salido a correr en un casi continuo sprint de 7 km, hemos cenado en un buen mexicano y hemos hablado de vernos en algún lugar del mundo. De todas las conversaciones que tuvimos, una trató sobre hacerle una entrevista para mi blog, y, ¿sabes qué? Que he dejado de procrastinar para empezar a vivir mis sueños. La entrevista está en inglés porque, aunque Victor habla varios idiomas y entre ellos toca un poco el español, creo que se expresará mejor en su lengua materna. Espera, ¿lengua materna? ¡Pero si es holandés!

I would like you to introduce yourself here in a few words.
I would describe myself as a location-independent entrepreneurial Epicurean (

What is your favorite word?
Vagabond, apart from the nice ring to it I recently found out what it really meant, which made the word stick

And your favorite sentence?
Excitement is the more practical term for happiness. Ok, it's a quote, but one I strongly believe in.

You told me that you want to visit all the continents before you are 30, what would you like to do before you are 40?
Good question. As with all good things, they can become boring after a while. I sincerely hope traveling will never become a boring thing for me (there is so much out there!), but I would honestly not know at this point what I would like to do between my 30th and 40th age. I just set one goal at a time and let life do its magic :)

Tell me a country to live in.
If you can work online, and therefore earn strong currency: Malaysia or Colombia
If you have to find a job locally: Australia or New Zealand

A city to live.
Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia). There are a lot of cool things happening in the Mongolian art/hipster scene, so there are lots of opportunities if that's your thing.

Or: Rio de Janeiro. I thought that this would be the Miami Beach of the south, but I found that the people are much cooler and down-to-earth, while keeping an open mind culturally speaking.

You've had your "memorable experiences”, could you share some of your very best?
It will have to be setting foot on Antarctica. It's otherworldly and scarily remote, the animals rule the continent and the weather is your greatest enemy.

I've done some memorable roadtrips as well, such as driving from Perth to Sydney (4000km) in 5 days by myself, and non-stop driving from Boston to Los Angeles in 2 days, almost ending up in a tornado on the way.

When the penguin family adopted you, did you get to pet a penguin?
I was very close, but the tour guide was keeping a close eye on me. You're not allowed to touch the animals or even be within 5 meters of any of them, unless they come to you. So, I sat down and had a couple of penguins marching close by me, but unfortunately none of them felt the need for a hug.

What would you say to those people who don't travel?
Try it, you have literally nothing to lose. Take your wife and kids with you, hop on a boat or plane and disappear into the horizon. If you have completed a long-term (min. 2 continuous months) trip and you think it was a life-changing experience, then traveling is probably not for you.

What would you say to those people who used to travel, but it seems like they forgot what it felt like?
i would asked them why they stopped traveling in the first place. Did something happened on the road? Did they meet someone and settled? Did they go bankrupt? If the answer is "I don't know, I just stopped", I would encourage them to incorporate at least some travel (in the form of a mini-retirement) in their lives to keep them from going insane :)

What is your worst traveling experience?
Apart from being robbed a couple of times, it must have been somewhere during my trip in China. I have had days in which I felt quite lonely and frustrated, since nobody that day even spoke anything close to English and didn't understand what I was trying to signal using body language. This way, even the most simple actions took lots of time and effort. Combine this with the (sometimes hard to understand) habits in the Chinese culture and you end up with a poor travel experience.

Would you care to reveal some of your latest projects?
I'm planning to walk 285km around Holland to raise money for the Dutch Cancer Research Fund in early August of 2014. I will use the route I created 2 years ago (but haven't walked myself yet) called the "Meaning of life walk", you can find it on
Also, I'm attending the TBEX travel bloggers conference in Athens in October, and will hitchhike there from Amsterdam in a suit holding a Martini glass.

What do you have to / like to take with you on your travels?
I am trying to travel lighter every time I head out for a long trip. On my first trip I carried 23kg on my back and 10kg on the front, and had plenty of unnecessary gadgets and just-in-case items. On my last trip I carried 12 kg on my back and 5kg on the front and didn't feel like I missed anything. It's better to carry some "emergency cash" with you for extra clothes or other things and only take the bare minimum with you. I'm also experimenting with light synthetic quick-dry (t-)shirts, underwear and socks. So far, I would definitely recommend investing in these.

Do you have any kind of ritual for traveling?
Nothing unusual. Since I travel alone I always have enough music on my iPod to listen to on a 24h+ bus trip. During those trips I usually get in my own zone and it's hard to interrupt this (earplugs + reading a book or watching a movie = no social contact).

What's your favorite mode of transportation?
Local transport, using as little flights a possible. I love to travel great distances without missing the parts in the middle, which usually reflect the "real" life in a country more than anything else.

What is something you crave for while traveling?
Coffee and Chocolate. The latter is the first thing I look for in a local supermarket and the former is usually quickly found at a local cafe the first day I arrive in a new city or village.

Tell us of a place that you can't forget and a place that you don't want to remember.
I can't seem to forget New Zealand, since I had only been there for a short while (2 weeks) but feel like I should return there as soon as possible. It has all the elements I love: good coffee (Wellington), amazing nature and wildlife (anywhere in NZ), interesting culture (Maori) a laid-back city (Auckland) and an island mentality.
I don't really want to remember the Trans-siberian-express stage between Irkutsk and Moscow which took 4 days passing by identical train stations, landscapes (tundra) and train micro-culture. It wasn't a bad experience, but it was quite boring to be honest.

Did you ever find yourself in a difficult situation and how did you get out of it?
I once got stopped by a group of corrupt army officials in the jungle of Guyana. When they saw the mini-van I was in contained two "gringos" (Caucasians) they ordered for everyone to get out and hand in their passports. After a round of trash-talking ("what are you doing in my country?" and "you have a beard in your picture, you look like osama bin laden") the head offer "explained" that the police force in Guyana is working very hard and asked us what we can "offer" him. A 1000 Guyanian dollar (3.5 EUR) note in my wallet satisfied his needs, and he let us pass.

What is your traveling style? Do you like to travel with or without people?
I like to travel solo, since I'm always couchsurfing on my travels and therefore meet a lot of new people every day. On several occasions I decided to travel with another person that was also staying at the same place I was. The big benefit of traveling solo is that you are more receptive to the outside (social) world, and you are 100% free in (and responsible for) making your own decision.

I know you are Couchsurfing Ambassador and you have surfed hundreds of places and met hundreds of people. Tell me please your top 3 people and why they have a special place in your memories
Oomph, hard question. There are many, many amazing people I have met through couchsurfing. To me, it looks like couchsurfing hold either weirdos or super-awesome people. I'll mention a couple of experiences but won't mention any names to protect the innocent:

- A person that had a bag of 500 ecstacy pills and was giving them out to surfers to try.
- A person who has visited more than 140 countries, including several that I have not even remotely heard of
- A person that introduced me to a couple of books that changed my life
- A person that I've met up with in 7 different countries on different occasions
- A person that built a house to accommodate couchsurfers
- A person that I was making raunchy jokes with before we even met.
- Several people I felt an instant click with
- I have traveled with couchsurfers I just met from 1 hour up to 2 month

Why do you like CS?
People I meet through CS always surprise me. Since I have hosted and surfed quite a lot I tend to "know" what kind of person to expect, but I love to be (positively) surprised by someone's character. I get a lot of joy from interacting with people I feel comfortable with, and it's a great feeling to meet people you have an instant "click" with. 

Victor es una de las personas con más carisma que he conocido, he aprendido un montón de cosas y me ha hecho sentir que yo le enseñaba otro gran montón. Ojalá tengas la suerte de encontrártelo alguna vez en alguna parte. Si quieres seguir sus pasos, aquí puedes hacerlo:

4 comentarios :

  1. Quiero un hijo tuyo!!!!

    1. Mio o de Victor? Bueno, ante la duda, de los dos!

  2. Que bueno!!!
    Me ha encantado la entrevista, cadía estoy animandome más con el tema CS, mira que me da un poco de respeto porque supongo que siempre te quedas con el cante de la gente a la que le ha ido mal pero verdad que tiene que ser una experiencia genial <3

    Ojalá algún día disponga de espacio para poder acoger gente mientras me conformaré con conocer a los de mis vecinos! jejejeje

    Un besazo enorme!!


    1. Caroooo!! si un día vienes a Madrid y me dejas que te presente a algunos Couchsurferos o couchhosteros, seguro que te cambian un montón esos cantes de la gente. Muchísimas gracias por comentar, ERES LA MEJOR CIBERSEGUIDORA DE TODOS LOS TIEMPOS!


Me encantaría que comentaras aunque sólo fuera el estado del tiempo :)