Making a living as an adventurer; what does that mean?

The most awesome job you can have is to be an adventurer; roaming the corners of the earth, being a dirtbag with your bike in Russia or walking a dried up river in Morocco. Have a look on my Facebook page, it’s full with pictures of me traveling in great places or even just next door. This is what I decide to show you. These are just fragments of what my life as an Creative Adventurer is. It’s around 5%. In this piece I’ll show the other 95%. This piece is just an interpretation of my job as an adventurer and suits to me, other adventurers may have way different experiences.

Lets start at the beginning, in 2013 I bought a bicycle and cycled 900 kilometers through Sweden and loved it. A year later I rode from Budapest to Scheemda (NL) for a school project. I never heard of adventurers and didn’t know it was a thing. I just wanted to do a cool schoolproject. The film I made about it was received quite well and before I knew it I wrote a guest blog for Tom Allen and got myself a night where I could show the film. People I didn’t knew showed up and I felt the flow was good on this project. It was part of my education studying popculture and during the education I felt like a struggling artist, but then without being the artist. Then suddenly there was this flow of an adventurous project and I could see how I could combine being an artist with traveling. The concept of a “Creative Adventurer” was born.

When I decided to spend all of my time on adventurous travel I started many projects. The Leeuwarder Adventure Night where other people gave lectures about their journeys; I joined (and now am captain of) Zwerflust, a travel collective where we give lectures on schools (and sometimes festivals) teaching youngsters the art of travel. Also filmfestivals came on my way. After sending my first film to the International Cycling Film Festival I got invited to the event in Germany and the year after I hosted a screening of the ICFF in my hometown. Soon I was asked to program a night before the ICFF in Germany and the Rough Conditions Adventure Film Festival saw the light. In between I kept on making little and bigger journeys, writing about them on my blog and sometimes for magazines (mostly for free).

It was a lot of work, and hardly any money came in. A hundred here and there, enough to get a tent. Or maybe a new lens for my camera. Definitely not enough to pay the rent or let alone food for a month. Although it sounds really awesome to go on a (mini)tour with my own adventure film festival, truth is I’ve been sending emails for weeks and weeks to cinema’s to be mostly rejected. The tour I’m doing currently is in three cinema’s. The cinema I work in myself in Groningen, the cinema in the WORM in Rotterdam where I did my internship and another cinema in Enschede where I actually have to pay to rent a room and get money back from the tickets. The same goes for magazines. After a journey I write to 10 magazines from witch 7 reply. From these 7 two are interested. One can’t pay, the other one does. I do them both, because even while I think my work deserves money, I love it as well. I do it because of the love for writing.

I loved writing so much I made a little booklet of one of my journeys. In the end I made 100 copies and tried to sell them for 5 Euro’s a piece. About 20 were sold and I gave away 40 by now. In my head 100 copies would be too less of course, because everybody would buy them! Sadly this was not the case, but they are great gifts. Most of the work for contacting magazines, cinema’s, organizing adventure nights and writing is behind my laptop. It’s home is an office with 3 other designers mostly drawing or working on a laptop as well. We all get our “screen-tan” on when the sun is shining outside.

But maybe then I could work harder? I could work Saturdays and Sundays as well. Start at 8 in the morning and finish at 10 in the evening. Sometimes I do this but most of the times I need to get away. Socialize with my friends, sport, go to concerts, check out some art, cook, or do absolutely nothing and just sit in the sun. I don’t want to get a burn-out as many other 30-somethings got.

It all sounds quite negative and you might ask yourself: What’s the whole point of doing this? I think the pro’s are outlaying the con’s for this one. All the journeys I’ve made are challenging. Mentally and physical so from every journey I learn about myself and therefore grow as a person. It also allows me to see other cultures in a special way; being invited for cuban cigars in Russia, or meeting an old farmer lady telling about a ghosthorse she has seen in Scotland. These journeys are my creative outlet and because of this I look at the world with a childlike eye. I see the world as a huge playground for awesome adventurous projects. And I am the one making these projects; everything I do myself. When I mess up it is my fault, when I do well it’s all because how I do and the choices I make. This gives me a huge feeling of accomplishment even when I fail. Because I work for myself I notice it when I work harder and do my best. Another thing is the sportive aspect, when I travel I hardly drink. Not that I’m a raging alcoholic but still I’d like to get my beers on. I’m outside most of the time with fresh air filling my lungs and sun or rain on my skin. I feel more alive when I travel and feel a long forgotten fire burn up inside me. I leave everything behind for a little while and focus on the here and the now. It feels like I push a reset button from my life and society. I can look back at what I did so far and come back with new ideas, visions and projects.

The adventure flow is still there, I feel it. Sometimes it’s a little hidden but every project it comes up. I don’t know if I’ll still be doing this in 10 years but I really hope so. The most important is keep on going, keep following the flow, making journeys, inspiring people and take time off now and then. Because life is way to short not to try, right?

Check out my Facebook page as well for these events!

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