Thank you

So many of you have helped us prepare for this trip in so many ways. Without you, we would not have been standing where we are standing right now. We feel very grateful and very proud for having you as our friends and our family. You have helped us get the confidence we needed to embark on this great hike.

And then there is those of you we met on our journey. You have opened your cars, your lawns, your doors, your kitchens, your showers, your homes to offer us some comfort on the long way to Bluff. You have made the trail into much more than we had anticipated. You have shown us true selfless generosity and hospitality, a treat we will always remember of the great kiwi’s inhabiting this wonderful country.

Some of you have done so much that we would like to thank you in person.

The people who helped us get on the road:

Thank you to Connie and Per Einar, PJ’s parents, for talking to us, for listening to us, for being so encouraging and not the least for supporting us so generously.

Thank you to Annemie and Ludo, Eef’s parents, for supporting us with deeds and advice, even though we know you are not a fan of us being on the other side of the planet!

Thank you to Jan Erik Strand for sponsoring our vital solar cell and for helping to fix PJ’s arm. For everyone with physical injuries, check out what this refleksolog can do for you.

Thank you Annette Strand for supporting on this solar cell too!

Thank you Laurens De Boeck for providing us with some cooking gear, even on your tight student budget. We will think about you on many occasions when eating instant food.

Thank you to Gerd Aase Strand and Toril Hval for the pocket money for fun times and for all the discussions we’ve had about the trip. You helped us shape our plan into its mature version.

Thank you to Yvonne De Raedemaeker and Piet Meert for your generous support, even though you are not that big a fan of the idea.

Thank you to Matthias Göller for coming up with the idea in the first place and for contributing to our Indiegogo campaign. And not the least, for being such a great friend.

Thank you to Stig-Thomas Flydal Bjørklund for the first aid course. We hope nothing happens, or if it happens, that it happens to Eef so PJ can put his knowledge into practice!

Thank you to all of our amazing colleagues in Flåm for being so enthusiastic and encouraging this summer. Without all of you, it would have been much harder so deal with the stress and the nerves. You have been great and we are so happy that we met you.

Thank you Alec Forss for getting Eef out of the straight line and for sponsoring our last good meal before we start walking. We will cheer for you that night. We hope you find what you are looking for.

Thank you Marc Vergeylen and Danny Leemans for supporting our Indiegogo campaign.Thank you to Suy Van Langenhove, Bart Souffriau and Mick Dhaenens for your support outside of the campaign. We really, really appreciate this.

Thank you Banafshe Hejazi for being such an encouraging friend. Whenever Eef’s been doubting what she is doing now your advices have made this road much easier.

Thank you to Anna and Sim, just because you are there.

Thank you to Meert Bea, better known as Tante Be, for the encouraging words and the generous support. Also a very special thank you to Hilde De Rijck, Hilde Neukermans, Hilde Ebrard and Fernand Moerenhout, Linda De Paepe and Jos De Raedemaeker for your support. Again, we really, really appreciate this! We will cheer for all of you on the long road.

Thank you to Karolien Reyntens and Jo De Graeve for having us in your bar and making it such a fantastic evening. We hope you enjoyed it too!

Thank you to everyone who has contributed in our support glass to collect an astonishing 8 kilos of “rostjes”, especially to Karolien Reyntens for setting the trend. I am sure the local banker will be pleased with them! I don’t know all who have been adding in the jar, but for those I know: thank you Thomas Reyntens, Tieneke Vandevelde, Hilde Neukermans, Arlette and Werner Vanderhaeghen, Reina De Vos and Geert Vaeremans. If your name is not here but your contribution is somewhere in there: you are all the very best friends and family that one could ever imagine. And to everyone who came by: thank you too, you have made it a wonderful evening.

Thank you Jef and Nicky Brouwers for your generous support. We’ve only met shortly in Lapland, still it seems like we have left each other a deep impression. We hope to see you when you are back.

Thank you to all of our friends and family for the great last days and for all your support! We will miss you.

The people who helped us along the road:

Sam from Whangarei for picking us up while hitching to our last meal and showing us all the gastronomical options in Whangarei.

Steffi from Germany for taking us from Kaitaia to the Cape, waving us off and giving us an extra boost of enthusiasm when our nerves were getting the upper hand.

Jen from Whangarei for taking us all the way to Kaitaia, helping us to get prepped and welcoming us into your home after the first rough few weeks on the trail.

Ngara at the Hukatere Lodge for taking such good care of us. We hope to see you in Europe!

Pappy from Paihia for picking us up on our way to the post office, dropping us back off on the campsite with our heavy boxes and for proposing to take us on a dolphin cruise, even though it didn’t work out.

Hilton and Melva from the Riverbank Homestay in Ngunguru for taking such good care of TA hikers and for the wonderful evening we spent there, not the least for the rhubarb crumble.

Waimarie from Pataua for preventing an angry Scotsman from chasing us off his land, for giving us a roof over our heads and food to keep us going. Your spontaneous hospitality warmed our hearts.

The man from the 4$ pizza place in Mangawhai heads for coming out with the delicious bread sticks.

Marie-Louise, her son and all of her family for picking us off the street in the evening when we were lost, letting us camp in their garden and having us in for some cosy family hot chocolate time.

Dave and Caroll at the Huntly Holiday Park for all they do for the walkers. That cabin was more than wonderful and we remembered it for a long time.

Chris and Dee from Waitomo for picking us off that farming road, soaked and cold, and driving us into Waitomo being the only car that passed.

Ray and Josie at Kelly’s Motel in Taumarunui for their hospitality and their kindness to the hikers. It was great staying with you, and coming back felt like coming home.

Sam who picked us up in the rain in National Park and drove us back to Taumarunui, even though he never picked up hitchikers before.

Mike, Mike and Aaron at the Mangatepopo campsite on the Tongariro crossing for making it possible for us to stay. Thanks to you we were able to have a spectacular sunrise walk up to Mount Ngarauhoe, one of the best days of our journey.

The Kiwi-Australian couple outside of Bulls for a lovely break chatting on the porch of their funky house.

The family on the outskirts of Palmerston North for the lemonade and the nice chat we had at their house. We’ve lost the note with your names and addresses but if you read this, do give us a shout.

The DOC rangers at Hurunui n°3 hut who offered us the leftovers of their beef nachos which we attacked like wolves and devoured in a mere two minutes. There was no time for a picture. It will forever be one of the highlights of the trail!

The foothill social climbers: Jo, Shirley, Lesley, Marian, Judith, Janet, Suzanne and Elspeth. You were the most amazing people we met on the south island. We feasted the whole evening on your goodies, thank you! And keep hiking.

Brian and Penny from Palmerston who picked us up outside of Queenstown and drove so far out of their way to get us right to the start of the Routeburn Track. You north islanders never seize to amaze us.

Monkey from the Riverton Backpackers for the venison meat that was the absolute finishing touch to our victory picknick in Bluff.

Linda from the Grand Hotel in Invercargill for making us feel at home after over five months of wandering across the country. This was amazing and we couldn’t have wished for anything else at the end.

Jude and Martin Knowler for safeguarding one of our bounce boxes and having us over for the night. We really enjoyed the evening we spent at your place!


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