'Is that the couple with the beard?'
So far, writing this page is the most daunting thing about this trip, yet I am quite sure this will change within the first weeks of being on the road. Jasper asked me to describe him as ‘half man/half beard’, I said ‘no’ and added that he was being silly. And there it was, the exact word used to describe us in the past, ‘silly’.
Apparently, it is also challenging to write something about others. Because, when I ran into difficulty writing this page (and was massively procrastinating) I decided to use a helpline and call a friend, or—more precisely—send a group message to a bunch of friends asking them what came to mind when they thought of us. The first and most elaborate response given was:
‘They have dogs.’
It is true, we do have dogs, and they are a huge part of our lives. The message was, however, sent by a cat-lover, so I am not sure if it was positive or negative. Without the intonation, I will just have to assume it was typed with the same level of enthusiasm as our dogs show on the first day of snow each year.
One of our bestestest friends pointed out that we ‘have made more plans —ranging from tiny to absurdly infeasible— than most people will in a lifetime’ and added that she would miss us a lot if we ‘got eaten by bears or axe-murdered in some remote forest.’ But the person who described us best (according to Jasper) is said friend’s grandmother:
“Is that the couple with the beard?”
My conclusion can be no other than that we are a silly, fun-loving, passionate, enthusiastic, absurd, dog-loving couple…with a beard.
Who we are
Jasper was born in Rotterdam, moved to Belgium at a very young age, and spent his early teens in South Africa. He moved back to the Netherlands at 16 and learned Dutch. After graduating from post-secondary college, he joined the air force and spent a short stint in Afghanistan, where he fell in love with photography.
Anne was born in Middlesbrough, UK, and moved to the Netherlands when she was four. Her parents planned to live in the Netherlands for just a couple of years but plans changed, and to this day her father still lives in the village that she grew up in. Anne adapted to Dutch culture quite quickly and was soon a muddle, sometimes even a mess, but mostly a creative mesh of two nationalities.
Chaos was born on the small island of Gran Canaria. When he was six weeks old, he was flown to the Netherlands and taken in by his foster mother who decided that playing with socks was the best way to keep him calm. He and his adoptive sister grew up together in the Netherlands. Chaos stresses very easily, and to this day still, a pair of socks are his go-to stress relief. He doesn’t speak any Spanish, Dutch or English, but understands some basic Dutch words and will even listen to them if he is in a good mood.
Little Google was also born on Gran Canaria, and even though she was young when she left, she embraced the island mentality. Google was put on a plane to the Netherlands when she was only a few weeks old. Jasper and Google bonded instantaneously. Google has kept a certain level of hesitation toward others and is always very quick to show that she means no harm, unless you’re a mouse or a rabbit, then this tiny, cute and cuddly little girl instantly changes into a warrior in search of blood.