Cynthia and Alexander are a duo from the Netherlands that make up the blog, TravelYourMemories. TravelYourMemories was started out of their love for backpacking and traveling, and the want to eventually start a business that could provide more freedom.
I had a chance to chat with the pair about how they currently juggle traveling (on top of a pandemic), full-time careers, and their passion project that they hope to one day turn into a full-time business, their blog. Here’s what they had to say…
What do you do for a living? Are you traveling full-time, or working full-time?
No, we both work full-time. Cynthia is a nurse and has been working in healthcare for years. She is currently a doctor’s assistant. Alexander has a Bachelor of Economics and after his studies started as a Financial Consultant. In a couple of years, he did different assignments at many companies.
How many vacation days do you get a year?
Cynthia gets 30 vacation days and Alexander 28. The minimum in the Netherlands is 20. This means that we have been able to travel for 3 to 4 weeks every vacation period. We always use the days to travel outside of Europe. We then use the vacation days that we had left to do city trips within Europe.
In theory, we could travel a lot, but in practice, this isn’t the case, this is because Alexander’s work doesn’t allow us to take that much time away. Because of all his overtime and vacation days that he hasn’t used, he has 4 months of vacation days that he can spend. We want to use this to make a long trip after COVID-19.
What has the pandemic been like for you in your country?
Heavy in terms of welfare, looking at the impact on healthcare, but certainly also on the economy. The Netherlands was one of the most affected countries in Europe, this was because the Netherlands came relatively late with severe measures, which meant that COVID-19 had a major impact on society.
For us, COVID-19 meant that we were unable to travel for several months and mainly had to spend time around the home. However, COVID-19 also had advantages, such as working from home, and the freedom that comes with that. We were also able to spend more time on TravelYourMemories and visited places closer to home.
Have you been able to travel at all in the last year? If so, where? Or what sort of local travel are you doing?
COVID-19 started in the Netherlands approximately in March last year (2020). Looking at travel outside the Netherlands, we only had the opportunity to go to Trier in Germany for 1 week in the summer. We chose not to travel long because of the situation, and all the restrictions. As a result, we have saved up vacation days so that we can use them when things are normal again.
However, we have discovered a lot in the Netherlands. We visited cities, villages and various nature parks.
What has traveling (even just locally) been like during the pandemic?
Of course, traveling during COVID-19 is not as exciting as before, but you can still make something out of it. We bought a zoom lens during the COVID-19 period so that we could start wildlife photography, probably without COVID-19 we would never have done this.
We get up every Sunday at 5:30 am to discover places in the Netherlands. This can be a nature park nearby or a large city a little further away.
How have you been containing that travel bug during the lockdown(s) in the pandemic?
By working a lot on our travel blog and always being aware of our goal to eventually be able to work on this full-time. This is certainly not always easy when you are indoors for days.
We try to improve our photography skills by practicing locally. As mentioned, we are now also busy with very cool wildlife photography.
Many sports and exercises also ensure that we feel strong and healthy. Since COVID-19, we get up every day at 5:30 am and do some exercise, this makes us feel better and we can get more out of our day. All in all, COVID-19 has not only brought bad things, but it also allows you to reflect on your current lifestyle.
For people who want to travel to the Netherlands, tell us what you can’t miss.
With the many trips we have made, we can say that Amsterdam is, of course, is the best place to visit in the Netherlands (especially for first-time travelers to the Netherlands). Read this 3 days in Amsterdam itinerary to prepare yourself.
Besides Amsterdam, cities like The Hague (parliament city) and Utrecht (cozy city) are very nice to visit. If you want to enjoy nature, the Loons en Drunense Duinen, De Hoge Veluwe and the Kampina are super nice national parks.
What are your biggest tips for people who aren’t able to (or don’t feel comfortable) traveling internationally right now?
Do something locally, try to see what is possible, and do not give up. There are probably places close to home that you have never visited before that are worth visiting. Try to challenge yourself to 1 day a week doing something outside of the house. Also, do lots of sports and exercise. This will certainly help you.
When do you feel you’ll feel confident traveling internationally again (or outside of Europe)?
If it is allowed, in terms of rules, we will travel again. We will probably have our 1st week off in June and we will then be vaccinated, if Europe agrees to travel with a COVID-19 passport, we will choose to travel. We aren’t afraid, but the first time we travel we will stick to a destination in Europe. We don’t expect that it will be possible to travel outside Europe before the summer. In addition, you have to ask yourself whether it is fun to travel to the less developed countries when everything is still closed. We prefer to wait a little longer and travel again when everything is back to normal.
Where is the first place you want to travel to when travel internationally is more readily available/borders everywhere open back up?
We would like to travel for a couple of months, but this isn’t realistic in the short term. Therefore we expect to travel by car through Europe for the first time. We would like to go to Spain because it’s a place we often travel to and we miss the culture, the people, and the environment. We would like to see the province of Andalusia and more of the North of Spain. Picos de Europa Natural Park is one of our bucket list items that we would like to visit.
Hopefully, we can do our long trip next year. The idea is to travel to Japan, Vietnam, and eventually Indonesia to New Zealand in 6 months with multiple stops in between.
How do you think COVID will impact travel in the future?
We expect travel costs will increase. This is easy to explain because the demand is increasing. For example, if you look at the Netherlands, people still want to leave their home, so they look locally which in turn, the prices are very high. People are also willing to pay more for the long period of no travel. Ultimately, we expect that when this period is over, it will be as before, supply and demand will be in balance again.
How are you feeling about travel post-pandemic? Where will be your first destination you travel to? Share below in the comments.