Personal update: six months back in The Netherlands

Today is the 25th of August. Exactly six months ago, we boarded a plane in Los Angeles. We had literally flown around the world in four months and now it was time to go back to the Netherlands. Back to our family and friends, our house in Amsterdam and of course our ‘normal’ jobs. Full-time travel life was over.

During the trip, I shared almost daily what we experienced, however, this was very different in the past six months. I wrote blogs about the trips we made after our trip around the world, and I wrote a bunch of blogs with tips about the destinations of our world trip. But I didn’t share much of what else happened in our lives. So, therefore, this blog, with all updates over the last six months!

Charlotte Plans a Trip Amsterdam


Brr March was such a freezing cold month! We went from 25 degrees in LA to -10 degrees in Amsterdam. In March we both started working again and spent a lot of time with family and friends. Especially in the first few weeks, I ate almost every night with friends at home or in a cosy Amsterdam restaurant. I love that kind of evenings, a glass of red wine, candles and good conversations. While travelling we have made many nice new friends, but it’s really nice to see our old friends again, whom we see almost every week. We also picked up working out again: with a new gym subscription (OneFit, I am a big fan!) and Ries convinced me to go kickboxing.

Off to Tel Aviv

Furthermore, we arranged a new bed (finally we sleep in a bed of 160 x 160), our Texel friends came to Amsterdam, and by the end of the month, we were ready to go abroad again. We spent Easter with friends Susie and Gal in Tel Aviv, and it was great! Evenings in a row we played card games in restaurants and bars, so much fun and so nerdy!


When we returned from Tel Aviv, it felt like the spring had started, wonderful! In April we already spent the first afternoons on the Dutch beaches!

My brothers and their girlfriends also both came to Amsterdam for a couple of nights. I am the oldest at home and have two younger brothers; Maarten who is 23 years old and Maurits, the youngest from 17. They still live in Limburg, in Weert, the city where I grew up. I left home at the age of 17 and have not lived with them in a house for almost 10 years. Therefore it’s extra special if they occasionally stay overnight. Ries also has a brother who is two years older and lives nearby in Amsterdam.

Redesigning the website

In April we started working with Hans Wassink from Wavelabs. Hans is an old friend of Ries, and he has helped us tremendously with the redesign of this website (and he still does that, shout out to Hans!). We have changed our entire template together, just like the name, and the logo. Designing a new website was a lot for work. That meant, for us, every night and every free moment rock hard to get everything done on time. We wanted to go live on June 2nd.


Besides very hard work (our normal jobs + a new website = little sleep), there were also nice trips with friends scheduled in May! At Ascension Day I flew with my girlfriends Susie and Nicole to Madrid, where we mostly ate amazing food and went out shopping. Five years ago we lived together in Madrid, so this was kind of a  reunion to the city where our friendship started! We came to Madrid for study at the time. During my bachelor in Maastricht I could choose an exchange place and because I worked as a photo model, and especially in Madrid I there was a lot of work, the choice was simple. Through mutual friends, we got to know each other and we became very good friends. In fact, we can be grateful to Madrid!


The weekend after, at Pentecost, we drove with friends Thomas and Christine, to the Champagne region. We were invited by several champagne houses and this ended up being an amazing weekend with lots of fun and champagne!  Are you planning to visit the Champagne region?  On the way back we drove via the Belgian Ardennes where we visited the wedding location of Thomas and Christine. Very nice, because Ries is asked as a witness so it’s extra special to see the location already. It is beautiful and we look forward to the wedding next year!

At work, it was very busy in May. I work as a marketer for ABN AMRO, and in May I was working on a big project with my colleague (and friend) Jessica. For this, we were in a ‘pressure cook’ session every day in Utrecht. Challenging, but very valuable. In March when I started working again, I changed jobs. I worked before as a marketer with a focus on events and campaigns, nowadays I am involved in customer experience and customer research. Something completely different and therefore I learn a lot.

Registering at the Chamber of Commerce

In addition on the 9th of May, I registered ‘Charlotte Plans a Trip’ at the Chamber of Commerce. It was quite an exciting moment because yes, now we have our own business and it suddenly starts to become serious. Over the past few months, the number of visitors on our website has grown rapidly. By registering with the Chamber of Commerce, with a new website and because we now also write in English (we are no native English speakers, so please cut us some slack in case we make dumb mistakes ;-)), we want to make even more growth possible. So we approach it all a bit more professional. Exciting but also very nice!


In June the new website went live, finally after all that hard work! We received a lot of sweet and nice comments from you, thank you for that! A frequently asked question was whether the new name (Charlotte Plans a Trip), Ries no longer cooperated with the blog. No worries, Ries is still photographing and making videos, so the blog is still ours together!

On June 2, Jeremy and Lester, friends from Paris, came to visit us for a weekend in Amsterdam. Ries got to know Lester when he worked for four months in Sao Paolo for ABN AMRO. We celebrated the go-live of the website with a boat trip through the canals and popping champagne. When there are friends from abroad, we often show some highlights from Amsterdam. I notice how nice my own city really is.


In addition, in June we celebrated the registered partnership of Thomas and Christine, where Ries was the witness. The next day we flew to Morocco, to do a road trip through the country in a week and a half. I published already some blogs on our time in Morocco. But soon I will also describe our visit to Taghazout (a tiny surfing village), where, among other things, I bruised my thumb with surfing.


On July 1, Ries and I had our nine-year anniversary. We got to know each other when I was only 15 years old, via Hyves, a Dutch social media channel. After having been each other’s best friends for over a year, I won Ries over with a picnic in Maastricht one day. Funny, when we were seeing each other for less than three months, we already lived together for 2 months in Madrid. Ries was here for his studies, and I did modelling here. It is pretty intense to live together so quickly and so young. We spend our anniversary a bit hangover on the couch this day, the day before we had a wedding of friends. As a gift, Ries got a drone from me, with which he practised a lot the following weeks! Soon hopefully the first videos with drone shots will follow!

Baby Ries en baby Charlotte in 2009

I had a nice appointment with Sabine from the blog Oh My Foodness. She has a lot of experience with blogging and it was fun and interesting to have a chat with her.

July basically meant the hottest Amsterdam you can imagine! I loved it! Every day it was above 30 degrees, and in our apartment in Amsterdam at some point, it was 34.5 degrees celsius. In the evening after work, we often went to Zandvoort to enjoy the beach. When it really got too hot at home, we even camped in the garden of my in-laws.


The first weeks of August were also hot, it seemed like we were in Spain instead of in the Netherlands! From me, I would love it to be always 25 degrees or even more. I hate cold weather and don’t look forward to the upcoming autumn…

Off to Texel

We went to Texel for a weekend to meet friends Jorinde and Tim (whom we got to know in the Philippines). We visited them already once in May and both times were so much fun! We ate fresh fish, went jet skiing and joined a shrimpfishing expedition.

At the beginning of August, I was interviewed by ABN AMRO, my employer, about our website. I will post the interview soon on the blog. It’s about how we have our own company in addition to our normal jobs

This summer in Amsterdam was the best. We had so many dinners, barbecues, and bottles of rosé in the park with friends. The last days it starts to get colder and I notice that autumn is coming. I do not feel like it at all, I am a real summer person and I hate cold. As a result, the hunger for travel starts to grow again. The freedom to do every day what you feel like, to meet new people and to discover beautiful places, I really miss that! Time to leave again!

What’s next?

What’s next? What do the next months look like? Well, we have a lot of nice things planned. Ries is going to Malaga with his father and brother in a week, and he will definitely write a blog about it (I normally write so this will be a first time for Ries). In two weeks we will go to Switzerland and the following week we will go camping in The Netherlands. Ries also has a weekend planned to an unknown destination with his fraternity from Maastricht, where he studied.

Meanwhile, I’m going to get my diving license (try), because …. in mid-October, we are in Belize and there I want to dive in the Great Blue Hole! We will also visit Guatemala in the same trip.

For the first time in three years, we will be home with our family for Christmas. I’m really looking forward to that! Another thing I have missed over the past three years is to have a Christmas tree and decorate it in our apartment in Amsterdam! Oh and we will be both celebrating our birthday in December: I will turn 27 and Ries 30.

For 2019 we already have some nice prospects. Finnish Lapland, a wedding in Paris, another wedding, this time in the Ardennes, and then, who knows another world trip?

One thing is certain, ‘Charlotte Plans a Trip’ will continue! I think blogging is way too much fun, and Ries is going to make more videos with his new drone!

Keep you posted!

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