Departure time!

Beep, beep, beep… It’s 8 o’clock in the morning when our alarm goes off. Way too early to get up but today is the big day. The day we are going to leave to China. After only a couple of hours sleep we wander through the house trying to organise our minds and the equipment we have to bring. At nine o’clock sharp the TV crew of SBS6 Hart van Nederland arrived. It’s still a great mess in the house when we have to pack our gear and put it in the car while being filmed. Its hard to keep focussed and we are hoping not to forget anything. At 10:45 we make a last tour through our house and are not very pleased with the mess we leave. Luckily our parents had offered to clean the house before the new people arrive.

With a sad feeling, a knot in our stomach and a smile for the camera we lock the door and head to Amersfoort to the restaurant ‘tot 2007’ where a party has been organised for our departure. We are both excited and a bit nervous as this is the real thing we have been working for.

On the highway to Amersfoort we are already greeted by a friend and this breaks the ice a bit. The restaurant ‘ tot 2007’ is situated in a former car showroom. This makes it the perfect place to leave as they offered us to put the camper inside the restaurant. Its already very busy and we are greeted by friends and the crew of SOS-Childrens villages. From that point it was a rollercoaster ride of meeting friends, welcoming our sponsors, interviews for the press, foto-shoots for the sponsors in front of the car and having fun. At 12:30 we had to make a speech. Standing in front of all the friends, family, sponsors, people we worked with and the tv camera, we blocked. Tears were creeping up behind our eyes. All we wanted to say is … we bloody did it! Michel managed to say a few words and then we toasted. A big applause followed and then the time had come to say goodbye, pack all the presents and head to China. A policeman was organised to escort us out of the city. It was great. Everybody was taking pictures and waving at us.

We only drove a few hundred meters when the tears came. With clouded eyes Michel had to focuss on the policman in front of him trying not hit him. Luckily he didn’t as that would be a very bad start of the expedition. At the city border we thanked the policeman and headed towards Arkel where we would meet the VW club, VCT2. We were silent, felt weird as it was the real thing. We could not believe how cool the departure had been. In Arkel a lot of oldtimer volkswagen busses waited. We were greeted friendly, showed the car and did our first bit of filming. At 15:00 we left for the second time that day and were escorted out of the country by the oldtimer busses. The expedition has started… how great…