As a theatre maker I came up
with a plan for a journey.
A journey of a little girl on a
tractor. A journey to the end of
the world, and back. But what
is the end of the world?
If I was a child, I would say: the South Pole! As an adult
I said: the worst war-country
I can imagine. Both voices,
The one of the child and the one
of the adult, said: We want to go!
Then I thought: All right,
we'll just dó that.
Many people talk about it,
but few actually do.
Fear holds people back,
Held-back people have regrets.
Fear and regret are damaging
to people's lives, are damaging
this world. Governed by fear
and regret, there's no room for
Southpole challenges those fears.
It tries to encourage.
Southpole is about the will to face
the world with an open-minded
attitude. The will to face world's
Southpole does not want to be
afraid. Southpole asks:
What is it you fear?
What is it that makes you happy?
What gives you courage?
As a child I mount a tractor
and head for the South Pole.
As an adult I'll make sure I
make it home safely.
So, let’s send a nice summer song from South-Africa in your direction, ‘The Arrows’ from Durban. I think it could also be a good coldweather European hit! So, let’s send this ray of sunlight in your direction, catch….
Got it from Marc Bakker who’s now trying to help me get this project/workingtogether thing going. It’s quit nervwrecking I tell you, like with all starting of things! Good taste in music in any case…Cool!
(If I would also finally learn how to post movies on You Tube, then this site would start Tractor Rocking soon!)
Arrival in Cape Town…
When you drive down Table mountain, you get a beautiful view over the city….
Of these animals I don?t know the name. But to find nature and wildlife so close to the city of Cape Town is unbelievable!
Above right you see the ?Cape of Good Hope? lying. I?m driving straight towards it.
We?re here, on the Cape of Good Hope.
That gives Hope for the future!
Not only for the sea travellers from the past, but also for me, the girl that already made so many miles, but that still wants to pull through to the South Pole?
On the Cape of Good Hope there are many Dassies, they come to check out the tractor?
What is that for a weird vehicle?!?
That?s true love!
And the prince on the white horse can also be found here I believe?
The Castle of Good Hope, and a Capetonian head with pigeons on it?
History is everywhere in this city. And what beautiful names (street names, buildings, radio stations).
But to discover so much DUTCH history is new for me, and it surprises a bit, even though I did listen to my teachers in primary school breathlessly?. Al the same I find it a bit weird to find Dutch history so far away from home..
My first Kite-lesson on the beach
Learning to kite while lying on my back. To check how well I?m in control.
And then afterwards make sure the kite pulls me back onto my feet. Train to do so, so I can get myself back on my feet when on ski?s in the Antarctic?s after a fall?.
?Matty, will you take the dog for walk??
?Wow, this wind is blowing!?
It?s going well! Wowie, my first kite-lesson on the Blaubergstrand, with a view on Table mountain. I never thought I?d manage to fly a kite in one go. That sure gives me courage!
Yes definitely, we?ll keep practising!
These are only normal wind conditions?.
Matty is cool! She?s already walked a three times all the way to the South Pole, and’s been many times in the Antarctic?s. In 2005 she walked with her two children, they made it all the way to the South Pole unsupported!
To the North Pole she went as a guide with an amateur woman?s team. The woman changed roles and each walked only a leg of the long journey, as an estafette. But Matty and her colleague walked the whole way to the North Pole!
And last year Matty raced with her dogsled team against the men of BBC ?Top Gear? tv-programme in their 4×4 cars, in a race to the North Pole.
Let?s do a photo shoot….
Where would I have been on this journey without my dog?
Sleep well doggy, Biba?s tired of playing on the beach.
‘South Pole, that way!’
I?m so happy with my guide. I think we form a great team!
Kajsa is filming during the first 10 days in Cape Town.
And I didn?t even know her!
The day she arrived from Sweden for a 10 day visit to Cape Town, was the first day I saw her!
My intuition said, while reading the emails she send me; Yes!
(She asked if she could come around to meet me, travle with for a bit. The time she wanted to come fell together with my arrival in Cape Town and meeting Matty. And a group of three seemed perfect to me! She also wanted to help with capturing my first days in Cape Town, and my contact with Matty, on photo?s and film, and that seemed like a wonderful idea! From Sweden she plans to warm up the media for girls on tractors and dreams that need to be realized. Do!)
(Thanks to Kajsa I can show you these beach photo?s!!!!)
Intuition that was 100% right! It also felt as if I had one of my best friends around during my first days in Cape Town. And that was a pleasure! Fun!
And with Matty there we were a perfect couple of three. There was a balance between the serious talks (very serious about Polar expeditions by tractor) and being on a happy adventure with the three of us, discovering a city.
It was wonderful to celebrate my first days of Cape Town like that. Still travelling around, but differently. Camping on different campsites all in and around Cape Town. And, sharing a lovely evening in the house of Ad Keukelaar!
An evening at camp?. Ten days hitting the road. All around Cape Town, to the beach, Table Mountain, the Botanical Gardens of ?Kirstenbosch? and the ?World of Birds?, all things you?d do all by yourself with much less pleasure. But which are things that should be part of getting to know a city where I?ll spend almost a whole year!
Visiting Ad Keukelaar of the Harley Davidson shop of Cape Town.
He is the man who arranged a beautiful reception the day I arrived in Cape Town on the tractor!
AD SPEECHLESSLY AND INCREDIBLY THANKS FOR THAT!!!!!
(flashback to the day of arrival:)
Driving along the seaside towards the city.
Seeing Blaubergstrand with it?s view on Table Mountain for the first time.
Accidentally driving into a film set on the beach and ruining a whole shot/take.
The director running towards me, hands above his head. Shouting the opposite of what I expected.
?Wonderful, marvellous!!? he said. ?Come sit down, do you want a coffee??
Hehe, normally I can?t say no. But now I knew people were waiting for me, a police escort, my ?own’ film crew?
Did I already sell my film rights, the director asked before I left, giving me his card. ?No, not yet. But I did film a lot myself!?
En yes, it was Biba who truly stole the show. Jumping to the hood of the tractor, sitting down and listening to all the commotion with her head held to the side, and then the other. ?Look at that dog. Look at her, she?s stunning.? Biba answering with a lifting of the paw and howling: ?whooo-ooh?. She?s made to become a film dog, I?m telling you!
Thus, travelling into town. As I said, that very first time. With a television crew and Ad Keukelaar on a Harley. From the harbour and the industrial area with a police-escort straight into the bussy centre! All enormous hustle and bustle and me gliding round roundabouts. Whoooo-e, I wouldn?t mind going to town like that everyday!
In front of the Harley shop (on a top location in the middle of town) a whole group of people. Many leather jackets filled with pins, with these jackets super friendly people with big grins on their faces en champagne in their hands. Also a group of excited Dutch people, and even some from the region I come from (a small small rural area)! A homeless man and woman, the parking officer, shop personnel, even the waiters of the café next-door. And I had to stand on the hood of the tractor and tell my story.
But suddenly somebody put a phone in my hands. On the line: Mom, dad, and Grandma!!!
Well, they thought the connection was bad because they couldn?t hear me speak. But it was just the enormous lump in the back of my throat that prevented me from speaking. I wanted to speak but then found myself sobbing to hard. ?I am here. It is so beautiful.?
After the phone call I talked to the crowd from the hood of the tractor. And then I also saw rain falling on faces of the people around me.
Tears of being touched, that was my arrival. And the sun shone brightly that day!
As if a fairytale had come true.
It was as magically perfect as the day I set of from the Island of Terschelling in Holland (June 2005)??
As if a beautiful circle was made round.
But this gives courage!
Matty is tired after 10 days of driving with the tractor. And that also had something to do with the people. People everywhere, every moment of the day, also when you think your just setting up camp or taking a break. People that interrupt you, stop you at the side of the road and ask questions. All the time questions. I eventually got quit used to it. I see it as a sport to make people laugh. But that took some training, to be able to always be open for contact, or at least say in a friendly manner that it?s not very convenient at the moment. But for Matty, somebody who?s used to the rough and deserted nature, who lives close to the North Pole circle with her sledge dogs and in a small community of Inuit a.o. that know one another since years, it was quit an ordeal!
A toast: ?To an accomplished 10 very adventurous and happy days shared!? It was fun!
Kajsa?s also tired. Matty?s packing her things? the last day together.
The day after, when Kajsa has also left and I finally have time to land on the place where I?m about to spend a year (quit weird to try and realise it), the blisters start breaking through on my lips, my left eye starts swelling, en I go down. Nicely down is the word.
One day of rest I give myself. I stay in my tent, watch movies on my laptop. Walk outside in the night to go to the toilet and smile. It is true, it is really real, I am HERE!
It?s itching inside. Arriving on the Cape of Good Hope is not an arrival on my final destination. Now I know I can make it. Now I can finally focus on the place I?m headed for. I have never found myself so determined!
From the campsite in Fishoek (where I gave a speech to the caravanclub this weekend) I move with tractor and dog to a place called Kommetjie.
There I?m invited to stay at Jan and Corrie Mentings place.
In their house ?Paredon Alto?. Actually ?Paredon Alto? is a self catering Guesthouse. This means you could come and become my house-mate. Bookings can be done by email to: !
The first night at Corrie and Jan?s the spectacle starts . I have to make a Skype-connection with Vienna?.
On the photo: (left) Kirsten van Loon (my twinsister) and (right) Marleen Noordergraaf ?live? in the livingroom, but actually ?live? from Vienna.
I can see them, but hthey can?t see me. Since I don?t have a webcam. Maybe that?ll come soon. It?s such a pitty I didn?t buy that rather expensive cam-thingy today. Because now I?m talking a three hour marathon-session with lot?s of people together. But interaction while you?re actually able to see each other face to face is much easier than by voice only.
Oh well, this is my first time skype-ing with a webcam (the connections while travelling were always to bad for ?live? contact?)
A hundred thousand stories I tell, I sing songs at the bar (thy can here me over large speaker in the main bar- area;) to seduce people to come to my computer.
At the end of the evening I suddenly shut down. It?s half past twelve and for a traveller trough Africa this means it?s the middle of the night. Suddenly I realise my mouth slowing down, my tong falls to my lower jaw heavily. And I realise my brains feel like aple-jelly.
It was so much fun! I don?t want to hang up now! It feels as if I?m there in Vienna.
The evening was so cosy, it cannot stop. I feel like a nice long night at the bar.
(Yes, finally back in civilisation. And I can?t wait no more. Social contacts I seek, I want to build up my live again, with people, not always on the move! Eventhough I?m in Cape Town now (not Amsterdam). I?ll be here for a year! I?m looking forward to what?s coming to cross my path. Huh-huh, deadly state of mind!)
I was in sitting in the living room of Jan and Corrie. The Dutch couple with whom I?m invited to set up my camp this year. In their house I build a real office this week, and now I?m working on the ground floor in my ?own apartment?. Chique eh!
The evening of ?Skype-ing with Vienna? was my first night at their place. Corrie had placed a glass of wine in front of me, so I could pretend to be in the bar in Vienna. Sometimes Jan and Corrie laughed or listened along with the stories I told. What a funny start!
We are already get along very well, and that?s special.
In my head were (or are) inevitably the words of my grandmother: ?a guest and a fish only stay fresh for three days?. So if it doesn?t work out, or whatever happens, I?ll pack up my things and fly. That was what was in my head that first week. Now I believe I should stop thinking that way. That it is going along fine, and that that?s very special.
Now I?m also living and working seperatly from them, downstairs.
Jajsa their dog, and Biba can get along fine. And Biba is finally learning what it?s like to be living in a real house.
Because a garden is not nature where you can play around and dig around the way you feel like. And jumping up to people is also not done anymore. Biba already became quit a lady-dog the past couple of weeks. And she seems to thoroughly enjoy it. And I see she really doesn?t mind being in a house. The walks we take around the village or to the beach she still finds wonderfull. And me, I?m also becoming more of a ?lady?.
My long African skirts moved to the floor of my closet, the long sleeved shirts (against the sun) as well. But on the inside nothing changed. Or maybe so. Since my arrival in this Paradise (because that is what Cape Town is, a paradise) I feel as if the fairytale of the ugly little duckling became true. It feels like I?ve woken up and suddenly realise I?ve become a beautiful swan.
Realising dreams, or walking towards this big dream has awoken the swan inside me. Proud that makes me feel. It?s something to thoroughly enjoy. Realising that?.
As in true to city camouflage I walk around in clean modern clothes. Feel comfortable in walking the streets with bare arms. On the tractor in jeans, a bright red leather jacket (thanks for pointing it out Kajsa!). Cool!
But a bit unpractical still, when your driving the tractor and you really need to pee?.than I?m back to wishing for my long skirts that hide the white bum?.;)
Although, the first time this happened I literally came across a Dixie-toilet at the side of the cliffs bordering the Capetonian coastline. And that was a good this to happen, because I was in the company of a journalist and a photographer that day?. Hehe, the wonders haven?t left the world yet!