When I booked my flights, there were suddenly only 3 weeks left before I would leave the Netherlands for another 3 months. Something I’m quite used to after all the travelling and studying abroad, but I always have mixed feelings about it. Especially this time, after I just got back from Sweden and I hadn’t seen my friends at home for a long time. Every time I am in the Netherlands, I really wanna go to Breda, the city where I lived during my bachelor degree. I’m always so happy to be back in there, when the train arrives at the train station and I can see the church in the city centre already, a big smile appears on my face. This place feels like home, but the ‘problem’ is that so many other places feel like home too. It sounds super cliche, but for me it’s definitely the case of home is where the heart is. It doesn't really matter where I am, I can feel home pretty much everywhere. This makes it easier to leave, but it also makes me feel like I can never really say goodbye to a place and makes me wanna go back whenever possible. That’s why I always plan a trip through the country. Luckily, the Netherlands is a very small small country, since my parents live on the countryside in the north and most of my close friends live in the south! But with a little help from NS (Dutch Railway), I can be at the other side over the country in only 3 hours.
Last week, I took the train again and tried to see as many people as possible. And it worked! In 3 days I went from Amsterdam to Breda, Den Bosch and Nijmegen and even Friesland, had lots of food and beers with friends and tried to explain why I’m leaving again and what I will do. Of course, I understand that “going to Africa to possibly start a business there” sounds a bit vague and very different than “I just graduated and now I will look for a nice job and start building my career”. But as I said before: it would make me unhappy to look for a job for 40 hours a week and to sit at an office somewhere. And yes, there are many jobs that are not like that, but I would definitely regret to stay in the Netherlands instead of going on another adventure now. This adventure is one with an open end and I have no idea where I will be next year and what I will do. I only know that I will be gone for 84 days this autumn. 84 days in which I can figure out what I want to do, answer the question whether living and working in Africa would make me happy and I hope to come back with a more concrete business plan to start a social start-up.
The one thing I like about this trip, is that my parents will come along for a while. They will travel with me to do the exact same thing: exploring new opportunities for business in Africa. We will first go to Uganda for 2 weeks, where we will meet a Dutch couple - Luuk and Marieke - who founded the NGO ‘COOP Africa’, which stands for Cycling out of Poverty. They noticed the importance of bikes for local and economic development and started different projects; Bikes4School and Bikes4Care are the biggest at the moment. Besides, they launched a social enterprise with their own ‘cycle factory’ and repair-store and now organise cycling tours for tourists as well. We will learn more about their projects and explore other possible business activities in Jinja, a small town about 2.5 hours from Kampala. I’m very excited to go to Uganda and discover this beautiful country and I’m very happy we get the chance to meet local entrepreneurs who all have the same goal in mind: creating social and positive impact for the local community through business and entrepreneurship!
Of course, there’s so much more to share about my contact with Daliso and preparations for Zambia, but I’ll tell you all about it in my next blog!