I'm not an adventurer by choice but by fate...Vincent van Gogh
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I'm not an adventurer by choice but by fate... Vincent van Gogh
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Hans van der Valk
During childhood, my three brothers and I spent practically all our spring-summer-fall holidays with our parents on cruising yachts. We sailed mainly in the southern parts of The Netherlands, Belgium, southern England and the French Mediterranean. A world voyage dream developed early. After I served a few times as crew member during one of my brothers’ voyages, I was inspired by my father to purchase my first own sailboat in 2012. A second-hand Hallberg-Rassy 31. Within two years another second-hand sailboat replaced the first one, with long-distance adventures in mind. My partner-in-crime at the time and I enjoyed inviting relatives and friends for short sailing trips and sailed over 10,000 nautical miles. Our last joint sailing trip was to Antwerp in November 2020.
Regretfully, the over-ten-years relationship with my partner-in-crime at the time ended in March 2021, after jointly preparing for a worldwide journey during six years. Probably the saddest reality in my entire life. Despite the breakup with her, I decided to still sail the seas – but with crew instead of a partner for life. Liesbeth is my first crew member.
I have three children who enjoy being on sailboats as well. With their loved ones, they intend to be onboard from time to time.
I enjoy the following sports: running, hiking, scuba diving, long-distance ice skating, downhill & touring skiing, cycling and swimming. I also have a number of cultural interests. I’m predominantly vegetarian.
I was born in 1959, and although Dutch, lived most of my life in Belgium. Professionally, I pursued an international career in Finance, IT, HR, marketing, R&D, as well as general management.
How far should you go back in time to indicate the start of an adventure? It was my lifelong desire to discover the world, of which I got my first big taste when I travelled to French Polynesia in 2015 to learn everything about the magic process of pearl farming. I felt like a fish in the water and coming back to Belgium didn’t go without issues. The idea of being a citizen in a borderless world and finding alternative ways of living, working and giving something valuable to the world was always very appealing to me. I’m vegetarian since I was ten years old, but do enjoy traditionally caught fish.
After finishing my Product Development studies in Antwerp in 1999, I started my career as an IT analyst and project leader. Thereafter I mainly worked in education but also created concepts, costumes and sets for theater projects. Later on I obtained an MBA degree in business innovation where I discovered my passion for complex systems thinking regarding organizational development and social innovation. I developed a series of workshops on this topic. For almost a year I also applied these innovation insights in the exciting environment of BeCode, a non-profit scaleup, dear to my heart.
Although I liked working at BeCode, it made perfect sense to me to go for an adventurous life on a boat. During previous years, concepts related to water such as seasteading and ocean farming, deeply intrigued me and made me actively search for ways to enter this watery world. The timing of coincidentally meeting Hans in March 2021, in search of someone who could join him as crew, couldn’t be better.
Apart from the thrill of fulfilling a lifelong dream, leaving behind everything which was part of my ‘normal’ life also caused a mixture of distinct feelings. With onboarding DanceMe, I left behind my tiny house that I have been building for one year. More importantly, I also left many people I care about and who I miss deeply. Still, I feel very lucky about my decision and I also hope to bring joy by sharing my stories, adventures, inspiration and insights.
Although we never actively search for additional crew, we are always open to evaluate convincing requests to adventurize together with us.
So far we welcomed, apart from relatives: Lucas from Ostends (BE) to Portosin (SP), Maia from El Hierro (ES) to Mindelo (CV), Adelheid & Stanislas from Mindelo (CV) to Waterland (SU), Bertie & Mart in Bonaire, Carin & Sjaak through Panama Channel, Lucas & Walter in French Polynesia.
About fifteen other people, apart from relatives, have expressed an interest to visit us or to sail with us.