On a tractor to the South Pole ?


As a theatre maker I created a story
of a girl traveling to the end of the World, by tractor.
But what is the ‘End of the World’?
A child could say: it’s the South Pole! Because that sounds like wanting to go to the moon by tractor, but maybe it is possible
An adult may say: a country torn by famine or war, a place where people lose hope.
Both voices said: go!

Then I realised that if I would put this story into reality, I could tell stories about real people and the real world that are inspiring! So I thought: Maybe we should just do it!
And that became the motto of my journey….

Foto-Compilatie-Reis Afrika (+post-it)-2

‘Sometimes you just have to do it!’

After nearly 4 years of traveling over 38.000km’s with my tractor, and a dog I found along the way, I arrived on the ‘Cape of Good Hope’ in South-Africa. All these years I’d been searching for good projects, initiatives and inspiring people stories that prove that the ‘End of the World’ maybe doesn’t exist, but that ‘sometimes you just have to do it!’

But of course, you first have to believe in it…

Ethiopia - Collecting Dreams - School Aikel BosniaHerzegovina - Mostar performance school 3 - collecting dreams
 So, while traveling all over the World I collected people’s dreams.
Wishes, as well of adults as of children, written on small pieces of paper.
They travel with me on the back of the tractor (digitally).
I’ll take them all the way to the geographical South Pole.
And there I want to build a big snowman
with the dreams of the world in it’s belly.

I hope that people will hear about this story, maybe even as a funny in the newspaper, and think to themselves: if this girl can drive a tractor all the way to the South Pole, then maybe this one dream that I have is also possible. Maybe I should just do it!

Currently I’m preparing myself for the final leg of my epic adventure: the South Pole expedition, by tractor. November 2014 I will start the final part of the adventure, a 5000 kilometer long South Pole expedition, by tractor. Thanks to the help of my sponsor the Massey Ferguson tractor-company! On this website you will be able to read my stories.

I’m determined to create a stage for the beautiful stories of the people I met! And I truly hope to build that snowman with the ‘dreams of the World’ in it’s belly!

Here’s the link to the official Antarctica 2 expedition website: Tractor gletsjer
The book: ‘On a tractor to the South Pole’ was published by De Geus publishers in 2007. It is part 1 of the story, and it ends in Uganda after a year of traveling by tractor……with the decision that it will probably take me an extra year to make it to the South Pole…. (or several, as I found out later; )

Nearly 10.000 copies of this book have been sold to date.
The book can be found in Bookstores (and libraries) in the Netherlands (Dutch language only). And in bookstores all over South Korea, Sigongsa; a major Korean publishing house bought and published the book in Korean too.
I’m still looking for an English publisher.
  BOEKOMSLAG 'Op de tractor naar de Zuidpool'kopie


Photo: Geert Snoeijer

Countries I travelled: The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South-Africa, and then via the Cape of Good Hope to: Antarctica.


On the tractor

The girl on the tractor is Manon Ossevoort. She’s a professional actrice , theatre maker and drama teacher. Ever since her studies Manon has worked non-stop in the theatre as an actress, a dancer, and a theatre maker. Until she started setting her idea for the ‘Tractor Girl’ story into reality and started traveling the World, telling real life adventure stories everywhere she went.

She studied Theatre, dance and Mime at the Amsterdam School for the Arts (AHK).


Summer 2005: start of the journey. The last day of the Oerol theatre-festival on Terschelling was the official departure. I literally drove out of the last performance onto the boat and started the real life adventure story…

A performance, wíth the tractor, was made especially for this journey. This performance was played in Europa, the Balkans and in Africa on international festivals, in villages, at projects..
The performance was a means of communication for the girl on the tractor, and gift to give to the great people she met. The performance helped her address the theme of dreams, and doing.

‘DO’ is a poetic and slightly slapstick performance about the realization of dreams, concurring of fears, and about a developping friendship between a girl and a tractor… It tells the story of a dream literally coming out (of the ground) looking for the courage to realize itself.
It’s a symbolical story about the process which starts in your head, from the conception of your dream, until the moment you face up and decide: let’s do it! (or at least try;)

Here’s a little video-clip of the performance back in 2004…

This performance, and the start of this whole Tractor Girl adventure, was made possible thanks to the contributions of these two funds:

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Test drive to Paris

France - Eiffeltower - testdrive to Paris (Telegraaf AFP)
Photo: AFP

Summer of 2002, by example of pre-study for her plans, Manon made a test drive on a tractor to Paris, to drink a cup of coffee under the Eiffel tower.
What started as an experiment became a project enthusiastically followed by radio, television and the writing press. The journey to Paris raised money and attention for Unicef and War Child.

On the tractor through the fields, driving round and around the Arc de Triomphe, eye-to-eye with the French gendarmerie, waltzing with a eighty-year old Frenchman and his chicken, smoking a cigarette with an Arabic sheik in his limousine on the camping in Bois du Boulogne, and bumping into a legion of about 400 children on 25 tractors..

What is Southpole

Southpole is a journey by tractor.
A journey through Europe, through the Balkans, and through Africa. And from South-Africa, the Cape of Good Hope, by boat to the South pole. And on the South pole, by tractor to the Pole itself.

Southpole, besides a journey and expedition, is also a document. Above all, Southpole wants to give attention to special projects of NGO’s. (Non Governmental Organisations like  The Hunger Project or War Child, but also small local projects..)
Initiatives which deserve attention because they show faith, courage, endurance and love.

Southpole needs media, so she can be followed, so she won’t travel alone. Southpole wants to inspire, wishes to involve.
‘Because it’s more inspiring to follow a dream to it’s realisation, than to report on a set record.’
This will also give me a chance to create a platform for the inspiring people and projects I meet or visit on my way…

Above all, Southpole hopes to generate a lot of positive energy. Bring hope to a world that is more and more being run by fear.

“As a child I’ll get on a tractor and drive all the way to the South Pole.
As an adult I’ll make sure I come home safe.”