There are 2 significant memories from my childhood and I believe they’ve been crucial for the rest of my life.

I grew up in The Netherlands. For Dutch people, France is a favourite holiday destination. Just like thousands of other Dutch people, my parents would pack the car, my brother and me and we would drive down south to a more sunny place in France and spend 2 or 3 weeks there, camping. My Dad loves sightseeing and didn’t want to spend too much time in one place so each 2nd day we would pack up our tent again and move to the next river, lake, city or village and explore. You can imagine the amount of road trips we did. This was during the time that the European Community had not been established yet .We would have to cross borders into Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and sometimes we went to Italy or cross into Spain. It was the good old times of needing your passport, exchanging, Deutsche marks, Dutch Guilders, French Francs and Italian Lire. Thinking about it now, gosh, travel has become so uncomplicated.

Anyway.. What I was mostly fascinated with during those trips were the truck drivers. I remember that we would stop for lunch at places along the German highways called ‘Raststatte’  (= rest spot) and I would look at the trucks and wonder: Wow, where have they all been? How excited to be a truck driver and drive all the time to all these different places all over Europe. I decided there and then that I wanted to become a truck driver. I must have been 5  years old.

When I was about 7 years old I used to go to my grandma’s place on Saturday afternoons. Grandma had a secret recipe for making the most delicious apple pie, or actually it was apple mouse pie. Very thin base, creamy apple sauce, very unlike the apple pie everyone knows. Grandma was a very devout catholic woman and we would often joke a bit that she really should have become a Nun. She went on pilgrimages to Rome and Lourdes and Santiago the Compostela all by herself. Grandpa was not an explorer at all. So I know already where my travel genes are from..

The next thing I’m going to tell you, I only remembered this when I already lived a few years in South Africa. On one of those Saturday afternoons my grandma told me that she thought that I would go to Africa to help the little black children.

Well, and here I am. Since 9 years I live in South Africa, I’ve established my own travel company and I’m in the process of adopting a child. I didn’t exactly become a truck driver but definitely an explorer like I thought the truck drivers are. When I was still working as a tourist guide, I supported the Malealea School Trust and when I was back in Cape Town I would volunteer at The Shine Centre, teaching children English whose first language is Xhosa or Afrikaans.

Living in purpose happened to me without even realizing it but once I realized it, I take on everyday with both arms stretched out and looking for ways to live even more within my purpose. There’s still so much more I’d like to do and every single little step will take me towards my end goal which is establishing a connection between my passion for travel and the adoption of a little girl.

I’d like to be an ambassador for adoption, locally, internationally, cross-culturally which ever way is possible. Adoption should be on top of mind awareness of people and not just a last resort in case they can’t have their own kids.  There’s a task for families. We need to look after orphans, the most vulnerable members of our society. I’d also like to be an ambassador for single adoptive parents. In a world where there’s so much loneliness and depression, single people should be able to have families too but most don’t realize that they can.