Overlanding Couple: Tim and Jitske

Overlanding Couple: Tim and Jitske

Hello, and welcome to the my first interview! Today I will be Interviewing a couple from the Netherlands. They have been traveling for 4 months from Colombia down to Argentina, in a Toyota4Runner 98 with a CVT roof top tent!

This was a very fun interview to do, I hope you enjoy

The Interview

Wyatt: And where are you guys from?
Tim: We are from Amsterdam
Jitske: Amsterdam
Tim and Jitske: yeah
Tim: we live there together
Jitske: yeah, we have a house in the city
Tim: the worst part of the city
Jitske: yeah, very nice, cozy home
Tim: yeah, with 2 cats
Wyatt: nice
Tim: who we miss dearly at the moment

Wyatt: ok, so where did you guys get the idea or inspiration for your trip?
Tim: We were actually planning a trip to north America , for awhile. Basically ever since we first met.
Jitske: yeah
Tim: we had the idea of traveling through the US, and see what’s that about. We were always interested in national parks, and stuff. And then we went to Suriname, on vacation
Wyatt: ok
Tim: This year. And there we met a Dutch couple, who we told about the idea. And they were like, “no man you should do South America, friends of ours are selling a car.”And we were like “oh shit” [laughs]
Jitske: I was super enthusiastic right from the start, and Tim was like “no we want to go North America”. He has been to South America , 3 years ago I think?
Tim: yep
Jitske: yeah
Wyatt: oh ya? What part?
Tim: I basically did a reverse version of what we’re doing now. So Argentina, Chile, Bolivia , Peru, and Colombia, but I did it all with bus and backpack and flights. So, and it was alot shorter, but then we were thinking about this trip about the car that was for sale it was a similar car to this one, with a roof tent we were like “oh woah that’s cool” because renting a car in the United States is super expensive. And especially for three months. So all the money we would spend in three months  we could go for 8 months.
Jitske: or longer
Tim: or longer even
Jitske: in south America
Tim: yeah
Wyatt: it’s much cheaper now
Jitske and Tim: yeah

Wyatt: so why did you choose this vehicle in particular?
Tim: well first we saw the other one
Jitske: yeah a Prado
Tim: it was a Toyota Prado land cruiser. It was a bit more expensive, and Jitske wanted it right away
Jitske: yeah I wanted it right away, but it had a little tiny thing that was wrong with the car. So my dad said yeah don’t do it, because  even though it’s a small problem  it will cost alot of money
Tim: her dad is a mechanic, so that helps. And it was a right hand drive, so that was a bit strange if we wanted to, we are not used to it. And then we found this one , quite fast actually.
Jitske: Tim found it I think
Jitske and Tim: yeah
Tim: on a Facebook group called Panamerican Travelers Association, lots of people there.
Jitske: and the car was owned by a Belgium couple. so the comunications were very easy for us, because we both were Dutch speaking. So we just contacted them and we talked alot, and a week later we had a video call with them to see the car and check it out. And we were like “yeah it feels good with them, they’re honest people so yeah let’s do it” so withen a week we decided
Tim: yeah it was like super quick
Jitske: were going to go, and we bought a car
Tim: I think we went to Suriname for 2 weeks
Jitske: yeah
Tim: and half way through we got the idea a week later we were at home video calling them and we bought the car
Jitske: yeah
Tim: so we didn’t do alot of research
Jitske: no
Tim: we just said yeah this is awesome we want one of those 4 by 4s with a tent on top that’s amazing. And yeah we found it so we were like “ok this is it”
Jitske: it’s a amazing car
Jitske and Tim: yeah
Jitske: we are happy

Wyatt: do you guys have a favorite or least favorite part of the setup right now?
Jitske: the original setup was different, and when we were in Lima we actually  decided to change it, because it was way to chaotic. And to cramped
Tim: and we had one big drawer with cooking gear, you have to pop it open. Then put a hook somewhere so it would hang on the door . So sometimes the door would go down so it wasn’t really handy. Plus for clothes and stuff we would totally have to dive into the car, find stuff and let’s say you need a pair of socks. You’d basically have to pull everything out , so it was messy all the time. And then with some people we met on the road, we redesigned and rebuilt the interior. So a nice drawer setup.and
Jitske: more space
Tim: way more space. And it just feels like we are not, pulling everything out again if we wanted one thing. So it’s alot more useful. So we changed that, that was really nice”
Jitske: that setup was the worst thing, of the car I think, yeah. And the best thing. I really like the way the car is driving
Tim: yeah, doing 4 by 4, in mountain ranges and stuff. So our first 4 by 4 drive, where Jitske went up in Colombia
Jitske: oh yeah [laughs]
Tim: that was really cool
Jitske: it was very cool, because we’ve had never done it before, because the Netherlands are flat. You don’t need a 4 by 4 in the Netherlands
Tim: no
Jitske: like the highest hill is like, this high (2 meters) around Amsterdam [laughs]
Tim: so it’s more like a bridge
Jitske: yeah a bridge probably. So yeah that was fun to do, for the first time

Overland Interview with Tim and Jitske 

Wyatt: and there hasn’t been any mechanical issues?
Jitske: At first, when we wanted to cross the border from Colombia to Ecuador. Our clutch broke, so yeah that was 3 days of repairs
Tim: and it was in Ipiales,Colombia, which isn’t a lovely town or anything, it’s just dusty
Jitske: it’s awful [laughs]
Tim: so we were there in a hotel for a bit, but otherwise.
Jitske: we just brought the car to a mechanic in Salta, Argentina. They discovered that actually our shock
Tim: yeah it was one of our shock breakers? I guess.
Jitske: was broken, the left tire
Tim: the ball bearing
Jitske and Tim: yeah
Tim: the bearing was not working correctly, so they fixed it, but now it’s all good
Jitske: yeah its been fixed now
Tim: and we want to sell the car so
Jitske: so we need to have it fixed yeah [laughs]
Tim: but it’s all fixed now
Jitske: yeah

Wyatt: so what are your thoughts on this form of travel?
Tim: ah we love it
Jitske: I really like it, it’s yeah. We are less bound by bus times and schedules. We talked about when your traveling by bus, and your taking a bus from one city to another you basically just see. And while driving you see alot of the scenery , and landscape and everything that’s around. Which makes it very nice, and very relaxing also
Tim: yeah. And also for me because I was here 3 years ago, it actually feels alot safer, because we’re not at bus stations. We’re not with backpacks trying to find some bus being all touristy. We just drive somewhere, and our stuff is here. Yeah we sometimes have to lock the door and hide some stuff, but I’ve never really felt unsafe. As much as three years ago I was more stressful, so this is nicer. And as Jitske said the scenery is amazing aswell. The freedom to just stay somewhere  for longer. Or decide “ok this is it let’s go”
Jitske: we don’t like that
Tim: this drive is taking to long let’s camp here
Jitske: there is alot more freedom driving this way, traveling this way
Jitske and Tim: yeah

Wyatt: do you guys have a best or worst experience?
Tim: best experience, well there’s alot. It’s just all been really nice. I really like the drive in Huaraz,Peru, it’s a beautiful mountains
Jitske: you mean the part where theres all the tunnels and
Tim: yeah when we left
Jitske: oh that one, not when we drove up there [laughs]
Tim: no no, that was not for you [laughs] that was the worst for you
Jitske: that was not fun, that was worse for me
Jitske and Tim: yeah
Tim: driving in a pitch black tunnels
Jitske: oh yeah
Tim: with only your lights, and then a truck coming your way
Jitske: one way
Tim: we were in the longest tunnel, and Jitske  had to back up, in the dark
Jitske: with three cars behind me and two trucks infront of me. And there was this cliff, when you got out of the tunnel. Immediately there was this cliff, so we are quite big, and a truck that wanted to pass did not leave us room. So I was like “nooo”
Tim: and also these moments when you’ve driven for like eight hours maybe, and then we were in big cities, like Cusco, Peru or Medellín,Colombia, where there alot of very small narrow streets, and steep hills. After eight hours of driving ,  we were really tired and we have to suddenly do stuff, and we were both super stressed out.
Jitske: and the car doesn’t work
Tim: but in the end that’s a good story I guess
Jitske: yeah, it’s a good story. For me the most amazing part of our trip is , I think when we went to the Galopagas. When we swam with sea turtles
All: yeah
Jitske: that was amazing and very beautiful to watch them
Tim: yeah i swam with hammers. Hammerhead sharks, like thirty of them around me, so that was awesome. Jitske didn’t join me [laughs]
Jitske: yeah I didn’t join Tim

Wyatt: so has there been any unexpected expenses?
Jitske: yeah Tim lost his passport
Tim: yeah
Jitske: so that will cost some money [laughs]
Tim: and there is another big unexpected expense
Jitske: well it wasn’t really unexpected, but it was unexpectedly early in our travels [Laughter]. So yeah the pregnancy ,  yeah, costs alot of money
Tim: nah its not to much money
Jitske: no
Tim: we just have to visit hospitals now and then. Do some tests
Jitske: Ultrasounds
Tim: but we’re all insured..I think, well see
Wyatt: always a challenge
Jitske and Tim: yeah

Wyatt: so if you don’t mind me asking do you have a daily, weekly, or monthly budget?
Tim: yeah, we basically just started, like really budgeting
Jitske: yeah
Tim: we put it at 50 euros a day, so that should include all travel, camping, food
Jitske: but we’re really really bad at budgeting
Tim: yup
Jitske: yeah its a struggle
Tim: but yeah, now I think we’ve evened out a bit, if we don’t count baby expenses
Jitske: or new clothes, or new shopping
Jitske and Tim: yeah
Wyatt: there’s always those things
Jitske: that we’re just spending [laughs] Tim: yeah I think the unexpected stuff, which you asked earlier. Is also clothes and stuff, buying new shirts somewhere
Jitske: yeah also because of the pregnancy I have to buy alot of new clothes. So I brought alot of clothes with me for summer, winter , everything. And it’s basically like I need to send everything back and I need to buy everything new..bigger
Tim: bigger stuff
Jitske: because I won’t fit , which is ugh, but it’s ok

Wyatt: so to your friends back home, would you recommend Overlanding?
Tim: yeah absolutely
Jitske: absolutely
Tim: we really love it. It’s super free, and really safe. Sometimes people have the feeling, like my parents mainly, like ‘oh your going to South America, that’s a super scary, bad place. It’s where you get kidnapped, murdered. And it’s not true at all. I mean like I guess some people get kidnapped or murdered, but it doesn’t feel like that, it’s not scary at all. It’s really amazing  the scenery is beautiful, the people are really nice, it’s just a great experience
Jitske: you meet alot of people
Tim: yeah we’re doing the same thing so other overlanders you meet them on the road super easily. I was a bit scared that it would also be more lonely then backpacking . Because you don’t go into the party hostals, and all the stuff like that. I kind of thought we would be alone in campsites alot or somewhere in nature. But if you see a car with a roof tent you can walk up and say “hi”, make a little talk, so it’s not lonely at all
Jitske: but even here in Argentina the locals talk to you alot, so I don’t feel lonely
Tim: no, [laughs] and your with me
Jitske: and I’m with you, aww
Tim: so yeah we really recommend  it to everybody, you can buy a car for whatever, even if it is a cheap car, i think you can easily sell it after, like either get a really cheap car and completely run it down. Or get a nice one with a resale value. Like a Toyota 4 Runner
Jitske: which were selling
Tim: which were selling in a few months
Tim: but yeah its totally doable, it’s really nice,  and an amazing experience

Wyatt: cool, thank you for letting me do this interview
Jitske: yeah no problem
Tim: cool, no problem

Overland Interview with Tim and Jitske 

Unfortunately with a baby on the way they are selling their vehicle, if you are interested please refer to this post https://m.facebook.com/groups/panamtravelers/permalink/2857547834284030/

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