#Wanderlust or #staycation?

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#Wanderlust or #staycation?

Summer vacation. That blissful, always too short period intended for something other than work or studying. The most popular holiday destinations for the Dutch have been France and Germany for years. In this portrait series we look beyond the standard plans and we asked on campus: "Do you have any special vacation plans?". #Wanderlust or rather #staycation? From Mexico to Pakistan and from dancing to catsitting: diversity is the hallmark here. Bonus: you may feel inspired to book something out of the ordinary yourself if you haven’t done so yet.

illustration Marc Weikamp

Hitchhiking to Norway

Industrial Design student Luc Hijne is going to hitchhike to Norway.

“I'm going with my friend, Lysander. I'm normally a bit of a control freak and I want to completely let go of control now. Let others guide me in what I should see. I have hitchhiked once before, with two friends through the Netherlands. We have come a long way by being a bit cheeky and just asking for a ride.”

“We have now set our sights on Norway. I think Oslo in particular is pretty cool. We want to go hiking there. I'm not afraid of hitchhiking. What I find a bit exciting though, is the wild camping and the bears and snakes that we will have to watch out for. But that should be fine if you use some common sense. For example, don't put your food in your tent, but hang it high up a tree further away.”

How do you easily score a ride? “A thumbs up doesn't work anymore nowadays, you have the best chances at gas stations. With thumbs up, someone has to decide in a few seconds whether to stop for you. At a gas station you can have an ‘introductory pitch’ instead. I often address drivers traveling alone. They have the most space left in the car and do not have a partner who might talk them out of it. I once rejected an offer for a ride. After the introduction, I noticed that two of the co-drivers were high as a kite, which I thought might not be the best idea.”

This trip is also a great exercise for September. “Then I want to go to Australia for a year, where I want to go hitchhiking as well."

A wedding in Mexico

Greta Suslavičiūtė Takens from Lithuania is group lessons coordinator at the Student Sports Centre. This summer she and her husband Wilko are going to Mexico for a wedding of good friends.

“Our friends already married in the Netherlands, but would like to repeat this in Mexico with the bride's family. Wilko was the witness for the wedding in the Netherlands. It is special to experience this again in Mexico.”

“It will be our first time in Mexico. My husband loves the country and I am also very curious, so we will make it a longer holiday. As a child I already dreamed of Mexico because in Lithuania ‘telenovelas’ (a kind of soaps from Latin America, ed.) like ‘Gata Salvaje’ were popular on TV. It’s great to be able to see that country in real life now.”

“First we will go to the wedding in Morelia and then to Cancun and Playa del Carmen. A good friend will come along, our own Joey (referring to Friends, ed.) as we jokingly call him. But his real name is Paul."

That gives a special dynamic: “Wilko wants to go out and visit sights, Paul loves the beach and the swimming pool and I like both. The proverbial ‘two’s a couple, three is a crowd’ is not the case with us if you ask me. I can now easily lie on the beach one day and go on an excursion the next: there is always someone who wants to come along. At the end of the vacation, Wilko and I will also have a week alone, in Tulum; great as well!”

On the way to the Himalayas in Pakistan

Student of Electrical Engineering Gergő Sütő will visit Pakistan this summer.

Not the first country you think of for a holiday destination. “One of my best friends in Eindhoven, Danish, is from Pakistan. I met him here in my first year, he was my classmate. He invited me to visit him and his family in Pakistan. I thought 'why not?'."

“His country touches the Himalayas in the north and we will also visit that area. He has never been to the Himalayas himself, so it will be new and exciting for both of us. I also look forward to Pakistani cuisine. I heard they have really good food there. "

With a trip to India last year, Sütő enjoys the not-so-ordinary destinations. “I really like mountains. Here in the Netherlands you don’t have any and in my home country Hungary you won't find too many either. I am interested in the atmosphere around the Himalayas. The mountains in Europe are located in areas with quite some people living relatively close. The area around the Himalayas is really deserted. I'm curious what that will feel like. The road to the Himalayas will also be interesting: it appeared in one of those TV series about the most dangerous roads in the world. But I don’t mind a bit of an adventure," Sütő smiles.

Mountain bike race from Austria to Italy

Applied Physics student Joep van den Eijnden will use the summer to take part in a special mountain bike race with a friend, Dirk van Leuken.

The BIKE Transalp starts in Austria and ends in Italy. “Every day we will cycle between 60 and 120 kilometers, enjoying the best views. In total it is about 500 kilometers of cycling, with 18,000 meters of climbing."

“Since I started mountain biking in 2013, I looked up to the people who could finish this race. Now that I have the appropriate age and level, I will go for it as well. I train five to six times a week. Here in Eindhoven I use my racing bike and at my parents’ house I train on my mountain bike. They live in the south of Limburg, where I like to go for some hills that unfortunately are missing here in Eindhoven."

“I don’t know yet how I will travel to Austria, but I do know I will take my own bicycle along with me. I’m quite attached to it.” What is so great about mountain biking? “The technical part is interesting when a path becomes difficult. But being active outside gives me a true feeling of freedom."

‘Catsitting’ for your sister

Jurrien Brondijk, student of Industrial Design, will look after cats this summer.

Catsitting’ is really a phenomenon. There are people who do this professionally and travel around the world to look after other people's cats. That is not the case for Brondijk, although he has already taken care of cats before: “I used to rent a room in someone’s house before and when they were on vacation, I took care of the cats. So it's not new for me."

“This time I will be looking after Karel and Boudewijn, my sister's cats. When she goes on vacation, I’ll stay in her house for two weeks. I feed them and change their litter and meanwhile I have a whole house to myself; not bad. And I do it out of love for my sister as well, of course," Brondijk laughs.

The two cat brothers of about one and a half years old still need some supervision. “The one always eats the other's food, so someone has to keep an eye on them. But when the cats have finished their meal, I can also do fun things."

Getting your driver's license

Romy Kedem proves that you can also use the long free summer period for other purposes.

She came from India to Eindhoven for the bachelor Chemical Engineering & Chemistry. Her two brothers are also studying in the Netherlands and to make seeing them a bit easier, she thought it would be useful to get her driver's license now that she has plenty of time.

“The summer is ideal for this. I don't have any exams and I have a lot of free time, so that's a good moment. I have done an intake and can take the driving lessons two to three times a week. Then things can go quickly,” Kedem believes.

That she doesn't speak Dutch yet doesn't stop her. "There are also driving schools with English-speaking instructors and you can take the theory exam in English as well." Driving lessons and the exam are quite expensive in the Netherlands. But Kedem also took a good look at that: “I compared all the driving schools in the area and have found the best value for money. But it’s still quite expensive. That is why I now work a lot at my side job to earn a little extra money. When I get my driver's license, I want to buy a second-hand car."

Dancing through the summer

Suslavičiūtė’s colleague Esther Smit will spend her summer vacation dancing. Together with her partner Sjaak, she trains three times a week.

“We dance ballroom; both standard and Latin. Standard is danced in a firmer position, Latin is more open and the lady wears a shorter dress. We don't dance competitions in the summer, so that's the perfect time to get to a higher level technique-wise. There is time to adjust the choreo a little and to make movements more beautiful. From September on there will be competitions again, both regional and national. We hope to dance at the top of our current level in the coming season so that we can move on to the next level.”

“Of course it is cool to eventually dance at the masterclass level, but we are mainly looking for an even better connection with each other so that we really manage to connect with the audience in our dance. This requires a certain technical level which we train hard for. Dancing is really a way to express your emotions and because we do so together, you can see a connection. I think that our relationship also has become stronger because of our intensive dancing.”

Organizing Eindhoven’s liberation festival

Industrial Engineering student Chris Swinkels is spending his summer organizing Liberation 040: an Eindhoven-based liberation festival that was first held last year.

Swinkels is on the committee and will be busy with the organization all summer. “I don't mind not going on vacation this summer. We have a super fun group with which we organize this. And I can still go on daytrips.”

75 years ago, on September 18, Eindhoven was liberated. In that week there are all kinds of activities to commemorate this. Liberation 040 will take place on the 18 Septemberplein on Saturday, September 21.

“The festival is free of charge and is meant for all ages. Not only will there be music, but also some educational activities. At 19:44 (referring to the liberation year) there will be a minute of silence. Before that time the festival is all about commemoration, including speed dates with veterans. Afterwards there is room to celebrate freedom."

Currently, Swinkels is mainly busy with applying for subsidies and approaching companies for sponsorship. But in the summer he has to arrange things for the implementation, like arranging artists, stages, bars and toilets. “I really enjoy working on this project. I have had a board position at the Eindhoven Student Corps (E.S.C), but this is a more social role: you work much broader than just for students.”

Whatever you choose to do: Cursor wishes you a nice summer!

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