In Self-Quarantine (Where are We – NL 1)


“Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” ~Allen Saunders

One day we were hiking in the Negev Desert, in Israel, and 48 hours later we were home in the Netherlands.

In self-quarantine.

A quick flashback for those who don’t follow us on Facebook:

March 23 – Off the Trail

(as shared on Facebook)

So it’s final, we are off the trail.

With 910 kms hiked and just another 140 to go, that hurts.

But let’s face it…
It is just a walk.

In March, Israelis start hiking the Israel National Trail from the south, and for a couple of days we encountered many coming our way. Then, suddenly, the desert was empty. No more hikers. This was so weird. The energy was different, the silence was different.

Hiking in the Negev Desert, Israel National Trail.

“Unheimish,” I said to Coen. It had some apocalypse kind of feel. (We were without WiFi connection).

Two days later we walked out of the desert to resupply and found the country in lockdown. All Israelis hikers had gone home.

That changed everything.

But we were still in that ‘we have almost finished the trail’ state (only 5 days left). It was a battle between the heart (wanting to finish) and the head (this is no longer right).

The answer (or push) came in an unexpected way.

We met a couple, Yoav and Jaana, who had been in the desert for some time and are in no hurry to leave. They had come individually and one of their cars needed to be returned to Tel Aviv…

Read More: Hiking the Israel National Trail

Hiking the Karbolet Mountain, Israel National Trail.

With public transport shutting down here, I was getting worried about not being able to get back to Tel Aviv. And now we could return by driving somebody else’s car?!

We believe in signs and ‘things’ crossing your path when needed. Opportunities… Do you pick them up (in this case follow our head) or ignore them (in this case follow the heart).

To be honest, we initially followed our heart, but on the next walk of 25 kilometers amidst stunning desert I just couldn’t deny my head saying, ‘This is no longer right…we shouldn’t be here.’

Fortunately the offer still stood and yesterday afternoon we drove to Tel Aviv.

So, here we are, camped in Yoav and Jaana’s garden in Tel Aviv (while they are still in the desert) and are now trying to get home (Netherlands).

Recommended Books on Hiking

(click on the images to look inside)

The Salt Path – Raynor Winn

The Pants Of Perspective: A 3,000 kilometre running adventure through the wilds of New Zealand – Anna McNuff

My Israel Trail: Finding Peace in the Promised Land – Aryeh Green

Products from Amazon

Camped in Tel Aviv.

Return to the Netherlands

Contrary to many fellow overlanders who have found themselves stranded, we were on a flight and back in the Netherlands only 48 hours after we left the trail. The journey couldn’t have gone more smoothly than it did.

With Israel having taken much more strict measures from the beginning, we were much more into the “Israel-style” of dealing with the situation than the Dutch way. As such it felt to make perfect sense to self-quarantine for 14 days. It’s a requirement that the Netherlands doesn’t have. In fact, we just walked out of Schiphol into the Netherlands without any questions asked.

March 26, in Self-Quarantine

(as shared on Facebook)

Why stop camping if you can do it indoors?!

So how did and do we organize our quarantine?

Coen’s mother, Monique, happens to have a place for sale that we can use. It was empty but we said, ‘No worries, we can camp some more – we have all we need in our backpacks. No need to move beds, fridge and other stuff for just two weeks!’

But leave it to Coen’s family to take care of us. We now have a table, chairs, lamps. Monique filled shopping bags with groceries and even thought of the pressure cooker (which is at her house and only used by us during our annual visit).

Lots of vegetables, enough for more moments of nostalgia with hummus, tahini, and olives, and back to the Dutch spirit with stroopwafels and drop. Super.

And, the magic Dutch touch of welcome, tulips!

Our home for two weeks.

Fred picked us up and brought us to the apartment. How weird not to have seen each other for a year and not being to hug a big hello… But those are luxury problems these days.

Coen’s sister Judith came by with her daughter by bike when going for a bit of fresh air. We opened the windows (we are on the second floor) and we talked to them while they stood in the street.

Ben dropped by with another bag of goodies including a bottle of homemade wine…

Once more, we are incredibly privileged in so many ways.

Our Lives in Quarantine

As it goes after a long-distance hike and not having touched our laptops in 8 weeks, we have a shitload of work to do – emails, writing articles, processing photos.

And, all the time in the world for some creativity! A separate blog post will follow on a great collaboration project, but for now, let me share the latest design of our fabulous Land Cruiser:

The 12ender Design

New in the Landcruising Adventure series is the Button!

The 12ender design is also available on T-shirts, hoodies, stickers, laptop sleeves, cotton bags and everything else.

What Else Are We Doing

The streets of downtown Oldenzaal are empty. Even if there were a social-distancing rule of 5 meters you could easily walk the streets without touching anyone. So, we go for a run late afternoon.

After all, we’ve become so fit after hiking all those kilometers that this is a perfect opportunity trying to pick up regular exercising again. With the weather still debating to hang in winterish kind of temperatures or to explode in spring mode, this is perfect running weather.

Playing Catan with the players in 2 homes.

Making the best of nephew Daan’s 13-year birthday, the family played the boardgame Catan using Skype, which was great fun.

Meanwhile, we are being spoiled by Coen’s family who does our groceries, brings homemade tomato soup, apple pie, wine, and lots of other good stuff.

We appreciate it so much. Thanks, Monique, Ben, Judith & Fred!

What’s Next

It’s hard to believe, but we have been here over a week already. Even in quarantine, time is flying. In a few days, we will leave this temporary home and stay with our families – as we do every year.

Of course, many of our annual activities such as visiting friends, going on short trips or camping won’t be happening. This includes the Overland Reunion, scheduled for May (for those on the Overland Reunion newsletter and those who signed up, an email will follow). Optimists as we are, we hope to be able to reschedule the Overland Reunion for a later date. 🙂 Time will tell.

The bummer is big, just like for everybody else.

Let’s hope we get to beat this coronavirus soon and that there will be a quick recovery for everybody in every sense.


Karin-Marijke & Coen

(Apologies for the low-quality snapshots taken on our phones – the camera drowned when Coen fell in the river during the hike.)

Edited to Add – May 15, here’s where we are now.

A magnolica are at its most beautiful.

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6 thoughts on “In Self-Quarantine (Where are We – NL 1)”

  1. Happy to hear you are off the trail and with family.
    Colorado is beginning to be affected. Most businesses are closed.
    People are being asked to shelter-in-place.
    Stay safe
    I sent an extra Smile photo this month.


  2. Hi there
    Good to hear that you “escaped” so smoothly from being locked-down in a foreign country. We are locked at home in Switzerland. Our traveling plans to Uk and Ireland later in spring seem to be impossible so is our stop at your overlander meet in the NL on the way north.
    If you get bored have a look at the Overlander game I have created just weeks ago (before all this drama started), maybe also a sign from above 😉
    You can download it on our website for free. You only need some paper, a printer, glue and a dice…. AND SOME TIME
    Hope to finally meet you anyway, sometime, somewhere.
    Keep safe and healthy

    • Heya Ueli,
      Sorry to hear that you guys will not make it to the Overland Reunion. At this point we are not sure if this year the meeting will take place at all, or if it will be delayed. We will have to make a decision soon. Thank you for making the Overlander Game. It looks fabulous. Over the years we had all kinds of discussions about making a game. We still have some notes from back in 2006! Your game reminds me a lot of a game I used to play when I was a kid, where you had to travel all over the world to collect animals for zoo’s. Hope our paths will cross in the future!

      • Hi Coen
        If the borders are open again by mid May and you can have the meeting, we will be there I hope.
        Lets hope the situation gets a little bit back to normal soon….


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