‘Not home yet’

Sjoerd Vernooij (33) and Rea Bex (32) have traveled through the beautiful landscapes of South America for six months. “Before we got into a relationship, we saved separately for our dream trip. Nine months after we met, very romantically on Valentine’s Day, we traveled to Argentina together.”

“Sjoerd has traveled long before, for me it is the first time.” Rea tells.


“We’ve mapped out our trip globally, but we don’t have a very firm plan.” Tells the couple. “It quickly became clear that we wanted to discover South America, after which we chose Argentina as a starting point. Here we volunteered for a month at Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, living on a farm for room and board in exchange for working five hours a day, six days a week. Then we traveled via Bolivia to Peru, where we have been traveling for six weeks now. Tomorrow we leave again and travel to Ecuador.”

Nature lovers

“We are real nature lovers and like to look for the most remote places.” Rea says enthusiastically. “We like active activities. Hiking, cycling or rafting are activities that we love to do. The environment is of course perfect for this. We often stay in the same place for a few days before continuing our journey, but we like to stay a little longer in places where there is a lot of nature.”

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Ultimate sense of freedom

The couple are mostly staying in hostels during their trip, but recently ventured out for the first time with a tent. “This was the ultimate feeling of freedom for us. You can sleep wherever you want, in the most beautiful places in the middle of the mountains. We saw beautiful places there and experienced funny things that normally would never happen to you. For example, while we were making food on the back burner, suddenly a cow came to see us, and when we unzipped the tent, suddenly there was a herd of curious donkeys in front of us. It’s amazing!”

Dutch evening

In addition to staying in a hostel and in the middle of nature, Sjoerd and Rea sometimes also end up with a host family. “The hospitality of the families where we live is very great. One family even gave us their car because we wanted to go to a place that is difficult to reach. When they came home, they had organized a barbecue evening, which we warmly invited to. As a thank you for their hospitality, we organized a Dutch evening. What was on the menu? Carrot stew, licorice and Dutch hits!”

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Insert stickers

Sjoerd and Rea love to immerse themselves in other cultures, and they also like to share that with the home front. They keep their friends and family informed of their adventures via their blog and YouTube channel. In addition, they also devised a way to immortalize their visit to the South American countries. “At home we had stickers made with our own logo on them. We put these, provided it is not harmful to the environment, in special places where we have been. We also give these stickers to people we meet along the way and ask if they want to put them in a special place too. For example, our sticker is now hanging in a junkyard in America, and backpackers we met in Argentina came across our sticker in Bolivia.”

Evenings with friends

Although the two are completely in their element in the nature of South America, they miss something about ‘their’ Arnhem. “Life goes on as usual at home. We miss our family and friends, and when we get pictures of a good night at Juicy Lucy, we’re a little sad that we’re not there. But now there are so many nice things in return that come again.”

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Not home yet

“We don’t have a ‘never going home’ mentality, but we have a ‘not going home yet’ mentality. We had initially agreed to stay away for about a year, but I think it will longer.” Says Sjoerd. “In any case, we really want to go to another continent when we’re done in South America. Asia and Africa are high on the list. Who knows, maybe we’ll even book something with a stopover in Amsterdam. That would will be great to see our friends and family again, but after that we really want to discover more of the world!”

Arnhemmers abroad

In order to be able to produce more articles in the section ‘Arnhemmers abroad’, indebuurt is looking for more fellow citizens living in other countries. So are you or do you know someone who travels for a long time or who left Arnhem to live in another country? Let us know, because we are curious about the story! Send an email to [email protected] And who knows, maybe you’ll be on the site soon.

More Arnhem people abroad:

  • Renée and Joris travel full-time with their motorhome: ‘Leave from Arnhem with a smile and a tear’

    Kibbeling from the fishmonger in Arnhem, frikandelle special, gingerbread and apple syrup. “It’s the simple things we most…

  • Charis left Arnhem and went on tour: ‘I really wanted to do this before I was thirty’

  • Alek traveled alone through Central America for over 3 months fishing: ‘I share my adventure on YouTube’

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