Ahoy friends of “Eco Bus America”,
The big crossing is about to start! A year ago I decided that if I wanted to continue my project in South America, I didn’t want to fly to South America. That is why I started looking for a boat that could take me that way so that I could cross the ocean in an environmentally friendly way. Now, a year later, that boat or rather that ship has been found and I am about to board the ‘Regina Maris’ for 7 weeks, a wonderful ship on which we and a special group of people will start thinking about solutions about how we can make traveling more sustainable.
A few weeks ago we had a training weekend where I met a large number of participants. You can imagine that it was quite an organization because there are also quite a number of participants from abroad and since we are all not flying, some people had to leave two days in advance to arrive at the weekend on time.
It was a special weekend with a busy schedule. We learned from Lucy Gilliam from “Transport & environment” about the ins and outs of aviation. From a few of the participants who know everything about climate conferences, we were given a detailed explanation of how climate conferences work and how we can exert our influence there. We have also shared our fears & expectations with each other and two of the organizers have told us their “ocean crossing experience”.
In addition, we have discussed all organizational matters with each other, this time in real live! We were already working together before the weekend, but then online and via video calls. It is so nice to finally see everyone in real life! I could hardly realize that I had become part of this great initiative! It was also a special feeling to suddenly be surrounded by people who are all very active in the field of climate. It is suddenly like you’re in a soap bubble. I look forward to learning a lot from this bubble and then stepping out of the bubble again to bring this knowledge to the people outside of that bubble!
Today, a few weeks, a lot of cooperation, and further preparation, it’s almost time to leave. We finally leave with 36 participants, a captain, a cook and 5 crew members who can actually sail! We held the farewell party at ‘De Ceuvel’ in Amsterdam last Saturday! It was a great evening and also a funny feeling! You know that you will get to know the participants very well, but that you actually now know so little about each other.
Tomorrow on October 2, 2019 I will really leave! We leave from Amsterdam. This departure place changed yesterday due to weather conditions. We will all go on board tonight to prepare the ship for sailing! The ship only arrived this night at the port! We will all be sleeping on it tonight and tomorrow will be a big goodbye! There is a whole program and everyone is welcome to come, so you too! You can even take a look on board! The program starts at 11 am and we sail away at 2 pm! Keep an eye on the “NOS news” because there is a chance that you will see us pass by!
How does that feel?
I get that question quite often and I don’t know how to answer it that well. The stress that I sometimes feel is mainly because I find it difficult to fill one backpack for a period of a few years! But the excitement prevails over the feeling of stress because how can you not feel excitement if you step on a ship tomorrow for 7 weeks to cross the ocean!
Training day in Amsterdam
We also had a training day in Amsterdam yesterday where we saw a large part of the group again and that was very nice just before leaving! We have met all partners of the “Sail to the COP” project including “University of Wageningen”, “Prorail”, “Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management”, “better places”, “EIT Climate KIC” & “Environmental Defense”. During the day we received presentations from these partners and they gave us a number of questions that we will start thinking about during the think tank. In addition, we have had media training to get our message out as well as possible.
During those 7 weeks we also have some (very short) stops. The first 10 days we sail along the coast of Europe and Morocco, to make our first stop in Casablanca around October 12. From Casablanca it is 6 days sailing to Tenerife, where we arrive around October 18. Then on to Cape Verde. We will arrive in Cape Verde around October 26. We then sail west to cross the Atlantic! We are planning to arrive in Recife (Brazil) around 7 November. We then travel south to our final sailing destination Rio de Janeiro, with the aim of being there by November 20! We leave Rio de Janeiro on November 23 by bus and will probably drive a route through Curitiba, Santa Fe, Mendoza and Valparaiso, our final destination. We are planning to arrive there on November 27. We are of course continuously dependent on the weather so it is not a definite schedule because it can always vary a few days.
With this link you can follow the ship.
If you want to view the ship you can click on this link.
Youth conference – Valparaiso. https://www.coy15.org/ Between November 28 and 30 we will attend the Conference of Youth in Valparaiso. From the 27th to the 30th we stay with the whole group in a hostel in Valparaiso. From Valparaiso we travel to Santiago by public transport.
In Santiago, from December 2 to 13, we will be present at COP25 https://www.cop25.cl/en/ and at many events related to COP. Our entire group will be staying in an accommodation in Santiago from December 30 to at least December 13. After the COP, the “Sail to the COP project” ended. All participants will then find their own way to travel back to Europe or further into South America. Nobody will fly back. A number stay in South America for a while and then sail back, some go back with a container ship.
Eco Bus America
I will first start my project in Santiago. I stay with a friend for a while to arrange a van from there and make it electric (I write that as if it is nothing but actually that is still quite a challenge) I have some contacts in Santiago that can help me with that and I intend that if I believe in it, it will work just like finding the boat! Fortunately there are enough schools in Santiago to be able to move forward a while and thanks to a beautiful bicycle sponsored by Roetz (a bicycle brand that makes bikes from old discarded bicycles) that will go on board, I can easily move around in Santiago! As a thank you for their sponsorship, I visited the Roetz Factory in Amsterdam with “Eco Bus America”!
I hope to see you in Amsterdam tomorrow at the “Sail out”! The address where this will take place is the NDSM wharf. You can’t really ignore it because you can see the ship from far away! If you can’t find it or you want some more information, keep an eye on the @sailtothecop social media!
Lots of love to you all!