From far away to here, a personal story of an 8 year journey

Despite the fact that we didn’t travel much further than the big city of Amsterdam, the past week has been very exciting. Continue reading why but first here’s a bit of history:

2004 – 2011: we12travel version 1.0
Back in 2004 we started we12travel as a photo gallery to make our pictures available for viewing to our friends. We just uploaded our low res pictures and kept it simple, you can still see this gallery here. We kept on traveling and making (sometimes really poor) pictures.

2011 – 2012: we12travel 1.1
Now let’s move forward about 7 years to early 2011 when we started blogging. We had a 6 week adventure trip to New Zealand coming up and felt motivated to keep our friends and family posted about what we would do so we posted stories and pictures every now and then. We even made a movie!

2012 – 2013: we12travel version 2.0
After our New Zealand trip and due to personal reasons, our blog went silent for about 9 months until about a year ago, when some of my friends started their own travel blogs. While reading that, I thought “hey, I can do that too” and while asking for advice, one of my best friends said I should go for it as I’ve always got so many stories to tell. So I started writing about trips to the Eifel, Iceland and Chile. I just posted something every other week or less and had no real idea how to continue.  It seemed like not many people read our posts and by the beginning of the summer I had completely lost my motivation.

2013 – now: we12travel version 3.0
By the end of this summer I decided to either make a big step forward or quit. This or that, nothing in the middle. But really, how to move forward? I started by reading lots of other travel blogs and asking myself all kinds of questions. How did others do it? How did they get thousands of readers and followers? How would we12travel become interesting to read? I became active on Twitter and connected with tons of other travel bloggers. Then I disappeared for a week (read about my week without social media) and when back home I had a plan in my head. We12travel version 3.0 was born.

Last week I attended the Travel Writers Manifest launch in Amsterdam on behalf of we12travel. I had read about it on Twitter and decided to sign up as a travel writer. What did I have to lose? Sure, I couldn’t measure up to successful other Dutch travel writers but at least I could learn from them a lot.

The event was hosted in the WestCord Fashion Hotel in Amsterdam, a place I wouldn’t have gone myself because it’s for hip and trendy and let’s be honest, I’m not quite hip and trendy. But suprisingly enough I did feel quite at ease there so my prejudices against hip and trendy were wrong. We got a tour through the hotel and we also got to see some of the very nice rooms. The suite was recently rented out to “one of the stars” during the EVMA’s and fashion is just all over the place.


IMG_5396Luckily I was gifted with a passion for talking (thanks dad!) and while chatting away and drinking bubbles I got in touch with many other travel bloggers, such as Linda from TravelLinBlog. The event was opened with a warm welcome and… the promise that by the end of the night, two bloggers would leave with nice a trip to write about. When networking (gosh, I hate that word) some more, the organizers announced that the lucky winners of the trips would be make public by 7pm.

So by 7pm I was still chatting away and then… drumrolls, Bettina of the Curaçao Tourist Board announced that they had picked a blog to go on a press trip to Curacao.

“We chose a blog that is all about nature and has great photo’s, the one we chose is We12Travel.”

And then it was silent. I think the silence lasted about 3 seconds because I couldn’t believe she just said that. And also I couldn’t help but think there would probably be another we12travel (or something similar) as I’d already had my portion of luck this year, twice in fact.  But no one else moved forward so I made my way over to the front and I think I went crazy. For those of you who heard me rambling into the mic, it was not the alcohol, believe me. It was the pure excitement of the fact that our blog was chosen amongst all these other great ones to make a trip to Curaçao and write about it.

TWM Travel Writers Manifest AllPatrick of TWM / Stefanie and Bettina from Curaçao Tourist Board / Cruise to nowhere winner Explorista / me / Lars of TWM and Linda of Cruise Travel
photo credit: Lars Boom

The next thing I did was call Martijn. When he (finally) picked up the conversation went something like this:
A: we did it!
M: what?
A: we12travel is going to Curacao!
M: yeah right…
A: no really!
M: hmmm
A: what do I have to do to make you believe this?
(at that point I was screaming)
M: silent
A: you there?
M: yes. Cool!

Needless to say my night was crazy from that moment on. I talked to more inspiring people, I took a luxury style taxi back to the trainstation (thanks for the great service Uber!) and kept smiling from ear to ear during the whole journey home. The people in the train must have thought I was on drugs. Or something.

It’s a couple of days later now and the views on our site have increased and we’ve received so many compliments. We’ve been mentioned in TravMagazine (which I luckily get to read at work) and on Facebook/Twitter a lot. People say they like our site, that they enjoy seeing our pictures and reading about our adventures. I can’t stop but feeling proud that the Curaçao Tourist Board chose our blog and that the hard work of the past months paid off. And that we managed to fix our site quickly enough after the dissapearance of it less than 10 days ago.

We’ve already started reading about Curaçao (and are very excited esp. about the mountainbiking and hiking opportunities!) and I’ve unpacked my goodie bags. Let’s be honest, I’m a complete sucker for goodie bags … The notebook is just perfect and will from now on accompany me all around the world while on the road and blogging.


I may have been unmotivated for a while but when people tell you that they like your site and that they enjoy reading it, that’s basically what I do it for. Thank you my friends!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *