Hi, my name is Henk. In the last five years I’ve walked from England to Rome, biked from Holland to Istanbul, spent several months leading pack horses across the wilderness of Canada, and paddled the entire Mississippi river in a kayak in one hundred ten days.

I’ve also slept in graveyards, ate raw eggs, posed naked for a group of gay men, was chased by a pack of feral dogs in Romania, and managed to fall off a horse twice in a single week.

I’d say I’m part Alexander Supertramp, part Bart Simpson, and perhaps a hint of Sheldon Cooper’s dorkiness mixed in.

For years I walked, hitchhiked, and adventured around the world believing it to be my true calling. Yet I could never find the happiness that I was looking for.

I realised part of the problem is the concept of “life purpose” itself. The idea that we’re all born for some higher purpose and it’s now our divine mission to discover it.

The truth is that we don’t necessarily need one underlying purpose for our whole lives. Instead our purpose changes over time, as we grow and evolve over time.

So instead of asking, “What’s my life purpose?” I now ask myself: “What can I do with my time that is important?” and I keep asking myself this every single day.

For now I’ve found my purpose in what I consider the greatest adventure of them all: My ongoing pursuit to be the best version of myself.

On my website you can follow my continuing adventures in the real world, read about my pursuits in self development, and enjoy some of my close up magic performances, which has been a great passion for many years.

II’m sharing my inward journey of self improvement with the world for my own clarity, but also so others can benefit from the lessons I learn along the way.

I hope you enjoy your stay.

Weirdest food on the road?
I think my range of weird foods isn’t that extreme, but I’ll give it a go.

I’ve had duck & kangaroo, ate a raw egg (including shell), managed to drink fermented goats milk without puking, and stood my ground drinking with Bulgarians. I also drank water from the Mississippi for 110 days straight (Using a water filter of course).

In times where I was nearly broke, I would eat noodles, noodles, noodles. Sometimes for a week at a time. And in remote Mongolia, where it’s notoriously hard to find food, I once found myself crashing into a private dinner party, and when nobody was looking ate the scraps from people’s plates.

However, mostly I’ve managed to find normal food in almost all corners of the world. Sometimes it’s tricky to eat healthy. But western food is pretty much everywhere nowadays.
Favourite place in the world?
My favourite place in the world stretches throughout the hills of Northern Spain. In 2011 I walked the 800 kilometer pilgrimage: El Camino de Santiago, and passed through dozens of old villages, and created many wonderful memories.

A few years later I walked the same pilgrimage again, because I wanted to relive those happy moments. But I found the same places to now be dull and lifeless because the other pilgrims that made the experience what it was, weren’t there anymore.

That day I learnt that it’s not the places that matter, but the people.

That pilgrimage was my first true adventure. I was a newbie still, and had only been traveling a few weeks. Every experience seemed more intense than anything I’d ever felt before.

During these four weeks of walking I connected deeply with many people, and even fell in love with an Australian woman.

I didn’t realise it then, but when the long walk ended it was incredibly painful to go back to solo travel. I think this was the moment where I unknowingly adopted a coping strategy that most long term travellers regrettably embrace.

I stopped investing in people, and didn’t really connect anymore because I subconsciously knew I’d have to say farewell again soon.

Eventually I discarded this hindering strategy, and learnt to live in the present, to savour those precious connections, and accept the pain of saying goodbye as proof of being truly alive.
Where do you sleep?
After spending over 400 nights sleeping outdoors, it has become part of my comfort zone. At first every small sound set me off, and I wouldn’t get much sleep. But over time the strange sounds of nature became familiar, and I stopped freezing up every time a small critter passed through my camp.

I’ve slept on park benches, Straw bales, abandoned sheds; in cornfields, airport corners, churches, monasteries and nunneries.

In the early days the thought of being robbed, raped, or killed kept me from getting a good night’s rest. But more often then not random passerby’s, whose dogs discovered me sleeping in the bush, would run off scared. I realised that I had become the creepy person under the bridge that I used to fear.

Now, whenever I see someone sleeping in an awkward place, I give them a friendly nod of understanding.

One of the most common replies to my outdoor sleeping adventures is: “Isn’t wild camping is illegal?”

Yes, in most countries it is. But I’ve never ever been found by the police. In fact, most nights where completely uneventful. And even if they do catch you, they’ll just ask you to move, or better yet, give you a free bed & breakfast at the local jail-house.

I’ve slept in countless forests, one particular incident in France springs to mind when I woke up to a man with a rifle running towards me. Luckily he was just a hunter looking for his hunting buddy.

I also spent a night on a graveyard which I now consider the safest place of all, cause nobody in their right mind would go there at night, though my imaginative mind still made it scary as hell.

I’ve sneaked onto peoples backyards and pitched a tent, I’ve slept in the Sahara desert, and on a remote island in a self made hut.

I slept on beaches, Mongolian yurts, and one night I found myself surrounded by coyotes.

Another night I hung my hammock between two trees in the middle of town. And on one particular morning, while sleeping in a bush next to a sidewalk, I woke up to a drunk guy peeing on my camouflaged bivvy bag, he had no idea I was there, and I was so in shock that I just watched him empty his bladder, and waddle off.

Probably the most embarrassing sleeping adventure was when I dozed off while posing as a naked model for a group of gay artists, and we all know what happens when men fall a sleep. Luckily I realised what was happening in time, and immediately started conjuring up images of the most unsightly people I’ve ever seen.

I slept on the banks of the Mississippi, and woke to find myself in water, as the river levels had risen over night. I’ve also slept in an underground city in the heart of the Australian outback, and spent a week sleeping on a train while taking the Transsiberia express across Mongolia and Russia.

I was offered many beds at random peoples houses, on their yachts, boathouses, and couches. I slept on an old steamboat that functioned as a museum, and slept in a muddy bamboo field.

And lastly, my favourite night was when I found a cave suspended five meters above ground. Not long after moving into the cave, I was visited by a homeless man and white terrier, who asked how long I would be staying. It turned out I had invaded his home. I told him I’d be happy to share the cave, but he seemed quite confused, and strolled off.
Where have you been so far?
Smiley face
Worst experience?
You can’t change the past, right? Well, I believe you can, because the past is nothing but a construct of the mind. Often the worst experiences of our lives teach us the most important lessons. It might take years for those insights to emerge, but when they do you start to see your past experiences in a different light, and by doing so you change the past.

I once found myself locking eyes with a grizzly bear in the Canadian wilderness. Another day I was almost robbed in one of the alleys of Marrakesh. I also experienced an episode of food poisoning that kept me helpless and bedridden for almost forty-eight hours while wild camping on the isolated banks of the Mississippi, and in another instance I had to fend off an attack by a pack of feral dogs in Romania.

In the first year of my travels I had the most terrifying night of my life, when I slept on a secluded graveyard in the Spanish hills, and could swear the local spirits were haunting me. In that same year I found myself without shoes as my boots got stolen while building a hut on a small island off the coast of Bali, and more recently I fled from a Muay Thai fighting camp in the mountains of northern Thailand after the instructor became violent, and threatened to have my friends chopped into little pieces by the local cut-throat.

I’ve had several travel depressions, survived a few broken hearts, and wondered many times what the hell I was doing with my life.

At the time all of these experiences where hair-raising, dangerous, and downright depressive. But in hindsight these struggles taught me valuable things, and made me streetwise. Not to mention it makes my life feel more memorable.

Now I consider myself extremely lucky for having experienced these hardships, and consider them some of the best experiences of my life.