While the boys discover the purple heathlands of Drenthe, I am chewing on the first few weeks of this journey. And on a beet leave from the children's farm, wondering how to preprare it tonight (the beet leaves).

We've had quite a colorful start with a lot of encounters. Trying to share everything would be like trying to write a book within an afternoon. So we rather tell about "our funnel" that is getting well-stuffed.


The first evening, after we found a sleeping spot between vegetable gardens and the IJssel river, we were talking with two garden owners. One of them, a 50-something year old man, took us along in the story of his long depression that he beated after he chose to listen to his creative passion. Now his first children's book is about to be printed. What an example!
He got us some parsnip and cycled home, leaving us in the warmth of his honesty and encouraged to stay focused on authenticity.

Meanwhile the other man was enjoying the last rays of sunshine in his heart garden, like he named it. He lives small and cheap with a yurt in his yard as an extention to his home.
"I prefer to work less and with more pleasure than to be away from home all the time because of sky high costs," he said. We recognize that feeling.
He was full of peace and it was not hard to associate his contagious calmth with his choices of living.


The encounters may sound small and insignificant. But to us they mean plenty. Enough to welcome them every day.

One of the things we notice is that it is openness that brings us right there where we need to be. On and off people like the garden men cross our paths with a piece of wisdom from their own lives.
I guess these opportunities must have been there all the time, but maybe we found it easier to see them abroad. And now that we're into explore mode inside our own country, maybe we're also learning to look and listen differently here.


The unplanned encounters seem like the glue between the planned visits. We've visited several projects in the beautiful provinces of Overijssel en Drenthe:


Aardehuizen Olst (Earth houses):
Beautiful pioneers project; neighborhood of 23 earth ships + common center house, built by the inhabitants; www.aardehuis.nl

Erfdelen (Sharing farm land):
Pieter Parmentier, creator of an idea that allows splitting up a farm lot for communal living; Social, sustainable, small scale and serving the country side; www.erfdelen.nl

Ecotribe Teuge:
Previously a military territory, squatted since 2001 by a group of free spirits; fully off grid

Het levende dorp (The living village):
Pioneers with a dream: to create the first village on earth with houses made from living trees; fully off grid; makers of The living village festival; www.hetlevendedorp.nl

De tuinen van toermalijn (The gardens of tourmaline):
Community in a farm house with amazing gardens; rebuilt into 8 units in which 10 adults and 7 children live according to peaceful vision.

De Hobbitstee (The Hobbit lodge):
One of the oldest communities in the Netherlands (1969); 11 adults and 7 children, a bakery, mushroom plantation; yoga, cob building and biological products; www.dehobbitstee.org


What we learn at each project is that it's the people who give a place its soul. No matter how well designed or spontaneously it started; it's a deep longing, a vision and the dedication of the inhabitants that determines the atmosphere and the future of a place.

Sleeping between tree houses, squatters and anti-squatters, communities, earth ships and with sweet friends, we get closer and closer to our own wishes. And slowly we dare to believe in the feasibility of it.


Meanwhile, it's evening time. The beet leaves turned into a stew and the heath is asking for an evening stroll. Tijn is swinging in between us and upon his request we're running from mushroom to mushroom. It seems like we're walking in nobody's land. All at once I feel a tremendous gratitude. I absorb the moment and try to let go of thoughts.

A bit later, I understand. Here we are again, together on the road.

That feeling was a bit gone this Summer, when we were put on hold during the repair of the van. It was a restless time and we had been hard for ourselves and each other. Apparently, all of it was needed to waken up, get our longings back in the field and determine our direction.
And, step by step, continue our road.

Bas has a fine habit of collecting the sayings of our tea bags. Today he read one that summarizes it all:

Paths are made by walking.


Twillight time. On our way back Bas is carrying Tijn. All the mushrooms are counted and the day seems satisfied. The dusk comes with a thick gray blanket of clouds.

"We're going home," Tijn says, "Van is home."

He's right.


Autumn love from our little house on a Dutch prairie