Who am I
Hi welcome to my blog!
My name is Marian van Leeuwen, I like to travel solo and my bucketlist actually consists of all the countries.
I want to see the entire world!
I love being on the road, walking, photography, interesting conversations and the writings of short stories. During my travels I learn a lot about other cultures, views and mainly myself.
Especially the hardships I endure during these travels feels like a path of discovery and a treasure of new experiences.
The last few years I’ve been travelling for longer periods and I’ve came to realise that travelling makes me happy.
Through sharing of my photos and stories I hope to take you along and let you enjoy my travels as well.
Where it all started
From a young age a holiday couldn’t last long enough, I never had an urge to return home and fantasized about staying away indefinitely.
When my mother passed away in 1998, I realised for the first time, being 26 years old, that life is actually really finite. So I made the decision, I’m going to change my ways. In 2001 I quit my permanent job in financial services and started working as an interim. While still doing the same work, I was now able to more easily take days off to go on my ‘discovery trip’. At the beginning of 2002 I started my first sabbatical!
Sabbatical 1 Skiing in Tirol
2002 (3 months)
During my first sabbatical my boyfriend and I rented out our house to live the following 3 months together with our two cats in a winter-caravan in Austria. It’s quite exciting but also a bit scary to be away from home for such a long time and living together on just 12 square meter.
On the 2nd of Januari we leave for Austria and we ski 3 months in and around the little town Westendorf in Tirol. Based on altitude it isn’t the best choice to ski because as soon as sunny weather arises, the snow is instantly transformed to slush. The cats are roaming around freely on the camping grounds and they really seem to enjoy it. In the meanwhile we entertain ourselves with skiing and après-skiing. After 3 months I’m able to ski like Lindsey Vonn!
Sabbatical 2 : 2nd mate on a sail ship on the IJsselmeer & Wadden area & backpacking in Vietnam
Three years later I’m going to start work as a 2nd mate on the sailing ship Amore Vici in the historic town Enkhuizen. We sail with groups of people on the IJsselmeer and the Waddenzee.
A beautiful time where I improve the way I sail, enjoy being outside and meeting all new people. After years of working from an office, I really like the physical aspect of the work!
After 5 months of sailing, I start my first trip as a backpacker in the sixth month of my sabbatical.
Together with a friend I only booked a ticket to Ho Chi Minh City and that’s it, we were on our way to Vietnam! We take one month to travel from all the way from the south to the north. Vietnam is an amazing country which you should visit at least once in a lifetime.
Walking in the northern area of Sapa is unforgettable, as well as the delicious food all over Vietnam.
Sabbatical on hold
2007 – 2012
In 2007 my sister and best friend dies totally unexpected, she was only 39 years old.
More and more I’m convinced of the idea that NOW all wishes and dreams should be fulfilled, because you just don’t know if later is an option.
I start my own company in 2008 providing interim-management and in 2011 I start an education in business administration & development. From 2008 till 2012 I enjoy, together with my boyfriend, lots of different holiday trips to Iceland, Lapland Finland, Bonaire, Peru, Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore, Canada, diving in Egypt, New Zealand and Surinam.
Sabbatical 3 Finishing study and first time travelling alone
2013 (9 months)
These 9 months I use finish my education and to graduate in business administration. Together with my study buddy, we deliver a paper to be proud of in December 2013. During this sabbatical I practice sports daily and enjoy the free time I can spend with my friends. How’s that for wealth….
I also travel alone for the first time in this sabbatical. Scary but super exciting. In 4 weeks I travel through beautiful Nepal. If you want to read about my adventures in Nepal please read the blog post.
Sabbatical 4 Walking to Paris and dancing in Ibiza
2015 (2 months)
All of a sudden, I’m able to take 2 months off work and I decide to go walking for 4 weeks. Reasonably unprepared I start walking from my home in Kijkduin The Hague in the direction to Antwerp and Brussels towards the center of Paris.
This is the first part of the famous pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. I’m doing this walk alone.
Because of my less than ideal preparation and wrong shoes, I endure many blisters, painful feet and inflamed toes. Still it is one of the most beautiful experiences of my live.
You can read more about it in the my blogs about these trips.
After a few days of rest, I’ve gained new energy and leave for a week of dancing in Ibiza.
Do you also like to dance?
Sabbatical 5 Travel the world
2016/2017 (8 months)
My dream comes true! For a period of 8 months I’m going to travel the world on my own. On this trip I’m visiting my top 5 destinations. During 6 months I travel through the countries Thailand, Australia, Dubai, Antarctica, Argentina and Chili. What an exceptional voyage! When I’m done I’ve still got two months left and I decide to walk the 2nd part of the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.
From Santiago de Chili I fly to the Netherlands, grab my walking gear and take the train to Paris. I walk through Orleans, cross the border at St. Jean Pied de Port, walk to Santiago de Compostela in Spain and 80 km towards the end of the world; Finisterre. Once there, I’ve walked over 2000 kilometer and I’m intensly happy!
Sabbatical 6 Asia
2018/2019 (6 months)
My urge to travel only gets bigger and after only a year of work I decide to leave once again. My number one location on my list at that time is Tibet. I decide to delve into Buddhism and alongside Tibet visit a few other Buddhist countries. I start in Nepal and visit Tibet, Bhutan, Thailand Bangkok, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodja, Hong Kong and Taiwan thereafter.
Travelling has changed me and after travelling Asia for 3 months, I take time to shape new ideas and plans. Mindmapping, being in complete silence, moodboards, meditation and reflection help me to get a clearer image. It’s obvious to me, that if possible, I like to see the entire world, meet interesting people, write stories and feel happy with less.
I take the decision to work during sabbaticals and live during my travels.
The start of my blog.