It was love at first sight for Marlous Van Der Veen and Steven Groothuismink when they met during a volunteering stint at a children’s summer camp in their native Netherlands. Six years later, they found themselves setting out on a world tour together, taking it one continent at a time. Mode of transportation- mountain bikes. Surprisingly, neither has an actual background in the sport; Marlous teaches primary school and Steven is a social worker. But it was their love for adventure and their mutual curiosity about different countries that put them on this particular trail. “It came together when we were vacationing in Vietnam,” says Marlous, “we realized there were so many sights and experiences we were missing out on by staying put at home.
The self-sponsored trip had taken them through most countries in Europe and Asia, even parts of the Middle-east before they arrived in Nepal. “We had been saving up for the tour for almost three years,” Steven recalls, “traveling in Europe proved to be expensive, but its been easier in Asia.” One year and 14,000 kilometers later, they arrived in Kathmandu via India, at the request of the founders of Noble House, an organization that aims to provide a home to street children. While in Nepal, they’ve been extensively involved in Noble house and the children there, and are hoping to raise funds for them through website donations.
“It’s the only way,” answers Marlous when we ask her why they’d chosen cycling over other forms of travel. “You get to see it all at your own pace- the people, the places, everything. It makes all the hassles seem worth it,” she adds. Having explored numerous places within the country during their time here, including Pokhara and Butwal, the couple is off to Australia, where they plan to look for work so as to further the tour. “But we’re definitely coming back to Nepal again,” says Steven.
For details: www.wereldtrappers.nl
Photo: Pramod Neupane-WWF Nepal From red pandas swaying on branches in the eastern Himalayas...