I could have added this topic to the Frequently Asked Questions, as people often want to know whether we are sponsored or not. In fact, initially I did. But as I started writing, I realized that there is much more to say on the topic and that it deserves its proper place on this site.
Sponsoring Landcruising Adventure?
Sponsorship is a two-way deal: The sponsor expects something in return for whatever he/she sponsors us with. Our independence is sacred to us and I guess we are afraid this may be jeopardized by having to adjust our plans because of a sponsor and thus, so far, we haven’t actively sought sponsorship. But who knows we’re wrong, so we are open to discuss sponsorship (contact us here).
Having said that, we have worked with various companies that have contributed to our adventure. I’ll talk more about them below.
What About The Logos on the Land Cruiser?
Before we left the Netherlands in 2003, family, friends and neighbors helped us preparing the Land Cruiser: welding, carpentering, getting the engine and bodywork in proper shape, sewing the awning and cushion-covers, and getting the electricity working are some of the jobs that come to mind. (More about all preparations on this page.)
As some of these people have their own companies and Coen is a graphic designer, he designed decals and applied their logos to the dark-brown edge of the Land Cruiser to thank them.
Through the years the decals have changed; for example they currently feature four-wheel drive magazines we contribute to on a regular basis: 4WD Magazine (Netherlands), Autobild Allrad (Germany) and Toyota Trails (U.S.).
Gifts – the Generosity of People
It is incredible how generous people have been.
The inside of the Land Cruiser is partly covered with drawings, cards, logos, wishing-well cards from people we have met. In front of the windshield hangs a bundle of at least two dozen ward-off evil or lucky-charm gadgets, which have one thing in common: they were gifts.
Our parents have paid our annual flight to the Netherlands and readers have supported us through the purchase of Landcruising Adventure’s T-shirts, caps, calendars and downloadable travel stories (you can find them in our shop). Others have wanted to contribute to our car repairs, buy us some gas money or just show their appreciation for what we’re doing by donating money (here’s our donation page).
Locals have hosted us, shared their meals with us, taken us out for diner, and driven us around on grand sightseeing tours.
We have been invited to stay in hotel rooms free of charge, locals have paid our food bill or bus fare before we realized what was happening, and in Suriname I was not allowed to pay for my groceries in one particular supermarket.
Owners of workshops, most noticeable (but not limited to) those in Iran and Brazil, have refused to bill us for maintenance or on repairs of the Land Cruiser, and even for spare parts. Companies like Hella, Warn, 4×4 Service Valkenburg and Sack Wear have generously supplied us with equipment and T-shirts because they want to support us.
In fact the list of companies that has helped us out has grown to the extend that we have dedicated a separate page to them. You can read about our corporate contributors here.
We Are the Ones Who Are Giving?!
Often we feel overwhelmed and wonder why we deserve all this. We don’t just wonder, we ask people. Why? Why do you give us this? People reply that they admire what we are doing, that we live their dream and that they want to support it.
Others feel that we are the ones who are giving, with our presence and zillions of stories about adventure, a nomadic existence, unique cultures, bizarre encounters or the beauty of this planet. It supplies them with an evening – or weeks – of entertainment. (The lucky ones get an on-the-spot-prepared Bolo de Coen – Coen’s cake which once originated from a recipe but has involved into an improvised cake based on ingredients at hand.)
Many say our stories give them a different perspective, food for thought, a stimulus to be more open to strangers and be less afraid of their neighbors (whether next door, in an adjacent country or on another continent – we’re all neighbors).
The Wonder of People
We never cease to be amazed by all we receive and each time it makes us smile. Although, I have to say that in the beginning of our journey I (more than Coen) had a hard time accepting all this. I’m better at the giving than the receiving end. But I learned to see that these gifts have nothing to do with financial value but that it is the gesture, the kindness of that person, and the connection we feel that makes a gift special.
Obviously all these gestures have helped us, but they have especially strengthened our belief that there are good people everywhere on this planet. We don’t deny that there are evil people in this world, however, we do feel that their number is greatly exaggerated (problem is that you need only one evil person to cause enormous harm). But, most importantly, there is another side to the story of mankind: one that too often remains untold.
Sharing Stories With You
What started as a digital diary has grown into two websites on which we like to share these stories: LandCruising Adventure for our lives on the road in a Land Cruiser, and Notes on Slow Travel for stories on living a life in which we can truly appreciate the beauty of this planet, whether this is related to nature, wildlife, food or people.
Most of our stories have a positive perspective. A reader once asked me whether I exaggerated them, or only told the good ones, which I denied. Sharing positive stories doesn’t mean we aren’t critical or at times are fed up with what is happening or where we are. But our stories do reflect our life: beautiful and positive. It is as simple as that.