california

My top 11 travel experiences

People often ask me 'What's the most beautiful country you've been?', 'Best place you've visited?' or 'you all time must go?'. It's a tricky question. It's as hard as naming your favorite movie or song. There's so much to choose! But here we are, back at it again with the lists. A countdown of my top travel experiences. There we go:

Bushwalking in Tasmania
I went to Australia for 3 months and ended up in Tasmania for most of the time. I fell in love with the landscape, the people, the food culture. All of it. Hobart quickly became one of my fav cities in the world. One of the best things to do in Tassie is doing the Overland Track. This short trek takes you through all different possible landscapes. Muddy forest, snowy peaks and fields full wavy leafs. This might be one of my all time favorite treks I've ever done. 

Sandy dunes in Namibia
I came to Namibia with zero expectations. And left the country with a bunch of inspiration and huge love for Africa. Especially Namibia. The red dunes, the welcoming people the animals. I felt instantly at home. Like I've been there before. 

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Eye to eye with gletsjers
We drove around Iceland and ended up at Jökulsárlón. I've never seen anything like this before. Gletsjers in the colour white to all shades of blue. Magnificent. We spent quite some time watching them float by. Some parts ended up the black beach on the other side of the lake. No words.   

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Enjoying unknown cultures in China
Somehow I ended up at Lugu Lake. Which was the best place I visited in China. At the time it wasn't a popular or well known place. So we were in for a treat. To get there took us what felt like forever. But then.. Double rainbows, biking around the lake, meeting the local people and learning about their customs. What really struck me was the Mosuo women. Seriously, read about this feminine driven culture some day. 

Walking on the foot of the top of the world
I've told you about the Everest Base Camp Trek before. It was such a great adventure to walk in the footsteps of the most badass mountaineers out there. Of course, we only did make it to base camp (5365 m) but I felt like I was on top of the world. 

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Ticking stuff of the bucket list in southern Africa
I had a long bucket list. With all different things to do and see. In Africa I got 'rid' of a few of the must do's. I jumped out of an airplane above the Namib desert and jumped off the Zambezi bridge with a rope on my cowboy boots. Check. Never doing that again. 

Driving around with strangers in California
Some of the best travel experiences come from the annoyance of things like a canceled flight. That's how I drove from LA to Mammoth Lakes with the most eclectic bunch of people I could imagine. Age 22-82 we drove and discussed international affairs, green living, traveling and everything we saw on the road. 

Diving into the interesting food culture
Me and Sophia went to the Faroe Islands to make a story about the food culture. Whale hunting, fermentation, wind huts, salmon nurseries and no veggies or fruit in sight. Read all about it in ELLE Food. 

Motor crossing over the old Ho Chi Minh Trail
I went to Vietnam. Which was great. And then I decided to follow the old Ho Chi Minh road. I came across small tribes, communist souvenirs, the best noodle soup I've ever had and piece and quiet. 

Glamping in a stone desert
It doesn't sound cool, but it is. Glamping. Well only if you do it right, let's settle for that. My first trip to Marrakech brought me to Scarabeo camp in the Agafay desert. Well, pure magical. 

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Spotting Geisha's
Japan offers so much. It's nature, food, culture, people, fashion. Everything really. I was in Japan for only two weeks and went to Tokyo (Oh mennnn, sooo super cool) and Kyoto. And when in Kyoto... With a little group of people we went geisha spotting. And we managed! Such a wonderful experience to hear them coming from afar. Their wooden slippers ticking on the streets, their jewelry making magical sounds, their voices careful and polite. Such a beautiful tradition to see in real life. Nothing like it. 

How to train for the John Muir Trail

It doesn't matter if you take 1 or 3 weeks to hike the John Muir Trail. What does matter is the level of fitness. Why? The fitter you are, the more fun you'll have! I have a few tips for you on how to train for the John Muir Trail, so you can make the most of it. 

Begin sooner than later
Yes I know. Going to the gym sucks. But believe me when I say that you get used to everything. Or even better: you'll miss it when you skip a training. The trick? Start 6-9 months training in advance and increase the amount of training days as you go. You don't sport at all? Start with 2 days a week. Already very sportive? Pick it up at 3-4 days. The last month you want to be active 5-6 days a week. With a week of rest just before your trip.   

Mix it up
Spending 10 hours a week on a treadmill is one way to give yourself a burnout. It's repetitive, boring and doesn't do much. Therefore: mix it up! In the weeks before I was getting fit for my EBC and JMT trek I was doing a combination of kickboxing, crossfit and running (EBC) and weight training, swimming, cardio (JMT). I'll do a complete workout guide in another blog soon!

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JMT

SOBO or NOBO?
#TeamNOBO

There's no such thing as being too fit
"My training is going so well I can skip tonight." Nope. There's no such thing as being too fit. You won't, I REPEAT, you won't get bored because the JMT is too easy. If the JMT is not a physical challenge, in case you are a super human, there are many side trek options to make the most of it. Mountains everywhere! 

Don't focus on how you look, but how you feel
You can't always tell how strong someone is by looking at their physique. You can be a badass MF under a thin layer of winter fat. You might be a petit fighter with professional wrestling muscle strength. You really can't tell. I've seen people doing 20 pull ups without breaking a sweat who couldn't finish a day of walking. Don't focus too much on how you look or what Instagram labels as "fit". Do you feel good? Like you can walk for days with a big pack? Feeling confident? Then you're ready! 

Make it fun!
You have taken on the JMT adventure because you love to hike. The best way to train for your hike is... to hike. Well, living in the Netherlands well under sea level didn't really give me many options for hike training. So I combined the necessary with the pleasant: slaying on the stairmaster for 30-60 minutes with a 75% pack watching the latest episode of my favourite series. Before you know it you're done! 

Want to know my exact workout regime before my John Muir Trail and/or Everest Base Camp trek? Stay tuned!