We are Feike, Fenna en Willem

Met z'n drieën voor een kano, getroffen door een golfA year ago none of us would have guessed we were going to kayak to Italy. But that is exactly what we – Feike, Fenna and Willem – are going to do. At the end of August we will start our trip of roughly 5500 kilometers to Pesaro. Next summer each of us will be finished with our studies and all of us will have quit our jobs. We are really looking forward to ‘let it go’ and to make time for this unique experience. With our journey we want to raise money for the ‘Batten Research Fonds’.

Our story started in November 2014. One night in a café we decided to kickbike the Elfstedentocht: a trip, of 230 kilometer in one go, passing the eleven Frisian cities. Feike joked that an Elfstedentocht is not a real challenge. Next thing we know, Feike and Willem promised that they would kickbike to Italy that summer. A promise is a promise, so in May Feike en Willem kickbiked the Elfstedentocht and in July Willem and Feike kickbiked to Italy.

Plans to go on a kayak adventure started to take shape that summer. After arriving in Italy and enjoying a few days of rest, we agreed to make a journey by kayak in the summer of 2016. Initially, we had the idea to make a trip of about a month. In December, it seemed like a great idea to visit Genova for a weekend to plan our trip some more. At one point we asked each other: “Why aren’t we going to Italy again?” We shook hands and the plan was fixed. After doing the math we realized that the trip would last for more than a half year and it would be a few thousand kilometers. Our training had to start soon. Once we were back in Amsterdam we started doing research for our trip. We bought neoprene suits and anoraks and on the 9 December we paddled through the canals of Amsterdam for the first time.

Feike

Feike

With only 24 years of age, I am the youngest of the three of us. In 2011 I signed up for a job in the kitchen at the camping site Podere Sei Poorte (P6P; the final destination of our journey). That is where I met Willem and Fenna. Back then my athletic career basically consisted of sitting on barstools, playing chess and the occasional trips to the gym. These days, this is a completely different story. Once in a while I set goals for myself varying from kickbiking the Elfstedentocht to running a marathon.

I am planning to get my degree in physical therapy in July. Apart from studying in Amsterdam, I have always worked as a cook in various restaurants. It will not come as a surprise that I will be the one who takes care of everything that has to do with food and health. I am looking forward to fishing and preparing different kinds of fish on the beach, especially because I enjoy cooking outside. As a future physical therapist I will also try to help prevent injuries and provide first aid, if needed.

Fenna

Fenna

I was born in Reduzum, a village surrounded by the eleven Frisian cities, almost 25 years ago. After living in Groningen, I am now a happy citizen of the big city of Amsterdam. In both cities I have developed myself as a linguist. Unfortunately, this does not mean that I speak a lot of languages, which might have been useful during our trip. During my college years, I spent every summer in Italy at the camping site P6P. I felt most comfortable as the receptionist: arranging things, talking to people and keeping order. I assisted in creating virtual teaching materials during the other three seasons. Currently I have a job at that same company, which I am going to quit after having worked there for less than a year.

I will contribute mostly in the fields of planning and organization and the communication to the outside world. Furthermore, I am trying to restrain the levels of testosterone in the group a little. I have said about our trip a few times: ‘If I am able to do this, I can do anything’. The guys reminded me that I also said this before I kickbiked the Elfstedentocht. I am curious to find out whether I have lived up to my own expectations after this challenge.

Willem

Willem

Born and raised on a farm in Kampen, I have always lived in a green environment. When I was young, I liked to build treehouses, I liked to play tennis and to spend a lot of time playing my guitar. I studied History in Utrecht and, after a short diversion to Leuven, I ultimately ended up in Amsterdam doing a Master in History.

In the summer of 2011, I worked at the camping site P6P for the first time. I have enjoyed working there for a few summers. Almost every summer I worked as a waiter of the restaurant, making sure that the guests had a pleasant and enjoyable evening. It was often very busy and stressful, but it was a fun challenge. Last summer I occasionally worked in the kitchen which made me realize how much fun cooking really is.

While I was practicing for the kickbike journey, I recognized how nice it is to be outside for a long period of time. This is something that I hadn’t done in a while. So besides the fact that this seems like a wonderful challenge, I am looking forward to being outdoors and enjoying nature for seven months.