DeWandelaar is a personal blog mostly about walking and other outdoor activities, and how they can be used to support a sustainable lifestyle.
I’ve been hiking as far back as I can remember. I like to promote walking as an environmentally friendly pastime that’s good for you and the world around you. Walking has many advantages; it’s healthy, almost all of us can do it and most walks don’t require special equipment. They can start at your front door, most are free and can be done all year round, and you can do it alone or with friends.
The great thing about walking is that you can go as slow as you wish, and spend time paying attention to the world around you. I like to take along a camera and become an observer, looking at objects from different angles or distances. You can stop and stare, detach for a moment, listen or wonder before carrying on.
Bikes are also good at this, particularly in the flat landscapes and cycle paths of The Netherlands. It is what makes the Low Lands distinctive and one of the country’s greatest pleasures. I’ll use my bicycle to get to more distant destinations near Amsterdam, and then walk from there.
Parks of Amsterdam
Walks within one of the many public parks in Amsterdam is something we regularly do as a family during the weekend. Foremost among them is the forest of the Amsterdamse Bos which I also use to take a break in nature and to maintain fitness in preparation for longer walks. These unaccompanied walks range anywhere from 5 to 20 kilometers and I’ve created them depending on how much time I have available.
Longer and Multi-day Walks
A mini-adventure, longer walks are 10 or more kilometers in length and include the NS Walks between train stations and walks in Natuurmonumenten and Staatsbosbeheer National Parks and Nature Reserves. Even longer are the multi-day Lange Afstand Wandelpaden (LAW) and Streekpaden.
I like these; they allow you to carry what you need for a few days, meaning you think about things you otherwise take for-granted. I like to stay at campgrounds like Natuurkampeerterreinen or even Paalkamperen, they let you appreciate for-granted things like hot, running water and electricity when you return home.
I love walking around and becoming lost in museums. One of the things I like most about The Netherlands is the Museumkaart. In 2019 I will be using museums that support this card in Amsterdam, the province of North Holland and others within cycling or walking range as a theme for day-walks and as triggers for philosophical discussion.
As I get older, I find myself increasingly interested in the world of philosophy. Perhaps one day I’ll take it more seriously, but for now I like to ponder the world and what’s happening in it, particularly the issues that face humanity and the eco-systems in which we co-exist. I’d like to weave philosophy into my blog somehow; seems a waste not to share all those thoughts.
The Sustainable Person
In 2019, with Climate Change and Inequality in mind, I decided to use the concept of the Sustainable Person as a guiding principle for DeWandelaar. The concept is simple; it takes how much CO2 can the world can sustain per year, and divides that by the number of people in the world. While it might not be perfect, it’s a start I’m comfortable with.
I’ve set it at 2300kg per person. I am far above this figure; however, it is a goal that I will consistently work toward in what I do personally, or how I directly or indirectly influence others and their CO2. Dropping New Zealand content from DeWandelaar and focusing solely on local content is an example of this. I’m also looking at ways that help absorb CO2 like promoting reforestation, working on my garden, or supporting organisations with similar goals.
About the Author
I am a first-generation New Zealander, born in the early seventies to German immigrants. From my earliest years I have spent long periods in native bush where I developed a strong appreciation for the flora and fauna of New Zealand and elsewhere. Later, much of my life was spent traveling around New Zealand, camping in the wilderness and ‘tramping’ many trails.
I attended Otago University in Dunedin in the early 90s where I studied Marketing (BCom). After a few years of work, I left New Zealand in 1997 for my overseas experience. My travels took me to parts of Asia, America and Africa before settling in Europe.
I worked as Global Web Marketing Manager in the United Kingdom before moving to the Netherlands in 2001 where I was involved in internet startups like SchoolBANK.nl and European Marketing Management in global companies like Canon. In 2010 I became a house-husband after the arrival of two children and determining it as a necessary balance between career and family.
Now that our children are getting older, I have more time to pursue projects like DeWandelaar, my efforts in conservation, and to rediscover The Netherlands.