Tag: gapyear

The Grand Final, going home

Hello everybody,

I am currently writing this from my phone while I am still on Waiheke Island in New Zealand. Tomorrow I will be flying to the United Kingdom, London. This marks the end of my world trip and man,  oh man it went fast. I hoped to update you more often but WiFi and no laptop for most of the time made it hard. I would like to go through few of the most asked questions I get and just my overall feeling at the moment and of this trip. Sorry for any spelling mistakes this is just a quick and easy witten blogpost from my phone.

Kitesurfing in Dakhla

For those of you who don’t know me just a quick explanation. When I was 25 in November 2016 me and my boyfriend Mike went on a world working-holiday trip. We started of in Zanzibar, Tanzania where we worked as managers for a kiteschool. After four months we went to Morocco to work in the desert as kitesurf instructors for four months again. After we finished our work in the desert we travelled through Morocco for a month and hit Tarifa in Spain for a week to kitesurf. After that we went home. Mike decided to stay home at the end of August & I continued travelling again in September to Australia with my cousin for a month. Me and my cousin went to Bali where she had to go after a few days, back to work. I stayed in Bali for a month and Mike came to visit me for two weeks. After Bali it was time for me to go to New Zealand for six weeks. The first four weeks I worked as a nanny and groom in Rotorua on the northern Island of New Zealand. The last two weeks I travelled around the northern island. Now it is time for the last part of the trip and that is London for a week to get used to the cold and get into the christmas sphere.

One of the questions I get asked the most is what has been your favorite place? I must say this is a hard one but I think Morocco.. It is just like going back in time and the whole country is so magical. BUT New Zealand is by far the most beautiful country I ever visited. No words can describe the beauty of this country. They are both magical!

Did I ever regret going away for so long? Not one second of it. Of course there were times that it was very hard, because of work or the circumstances we were living in but overall this year has brought me more good than bad.

How much money do you need to go away for a year? It depends, I was working quite a lot as well but mostly for accommodation and food so i could not save much. It was’t about making much money for me anyway. I wanted to experience things, I wanted to see how I cope with stuff in different environments, how the people are at the other side of the world ensofort. I went away with 5000 euro. I come back with absolutely nothing. That was also my goal, otherwise I would have stayed for longer. I must say I am a GLAMPACKER who likes going out for dinner and the more expensive hostels. So if you are really on a budget and don’t mind eating noodles or couchsurfing you can stay away for much longer. I also refuse to have a backpack, I have a perfectly fine 4×4 suitcase. If you know me don’t start laughing, I also brought my glitterdresses. You have to stay true to your inner self!

Have you met a lot of people on your trip? Yes I have, if they are friends for life? Probably not but I wasnt searching for them. I was searching for stories, learning about people and what motivates them in life. I wanted to learn how to get along with everybody and to never judge someone. A day in a hostel is the same as your first schoolday. You meet new people all the time and you are making friends, (mostly shortterm) all the time! That’s the awesome thing about travelling. If you know someone for a day you just hang out with them as if you know them for many years already.

Travelling has made me realize you dont need much in life. Some clothes, sun cream and a little make up and a glitterdress and not to forget my beloved kites are enough to make a trip awesome. Good company makes it complete. As long as I am travelling somewhere close by the sea I am at my happiest self.

What did I miss the most? No doubt, my friends and family. And cooking, I almost didn’t cook for a whole year! Can you imagine? Still I ate very healthy though. I even lost weight instead of gaining which is the normal average while travelling. But my work was always very heavy and it made me fit!

Am I done with travelling? The answer is no. I still havent seen most of Asia and Norther  or Southern America so that is the next step! Oh and Eastern Europe to keep it a little bit more closer to home. When the next time will be? No idea. But the hunger is still here.

Has the last year changed me? That is for you to see, i don’t think it has. But other people can probably judge that better. I am more relaxed, and more comfortable with myself as I spent a lot of time on my own as well. The only thing that has changed is that I don’t want to migrate anymore. I always wanted to live somewhere else but probably the Netherlands will be the place I end up. There is no place like home 😘 See you soon  everyone, thank you for the endless support & calls and visits!


Xoxo Irina

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Karibu! Life on Zanzibar

Hello everyone,

Welcome, or as we say in Swahili : Karibu to Zanzibar.
As you know from my former blogpost Mike and I went to Zanzibar on the 25th of November 2016. This feels and is, a long time ago already.
Ever since we have been here I wanted to write a blogpost. Little did I know that you will find gold easier then you will find good WiFi.
So many times have past by that I was walking on the beach and was thinking, this or that I have to tell the people at home trough my blog. But as ideas and stories in your head may come up, they will go as well. Now it is low season I have found the chance to come and tell you all about our life for the past 4 months. Take a drink and a snack and enjoy our story.

As you may not know Zanzibar is a small Island, and its actual name is Unguja and it is located in the Indian Ocean. It is one of the two islands of Tanzania, Pemba is the Island close to Zanzibar but less touristic. Zanzibars’ name comes originally from the Persians’ Zang-bar which means: black coast. Zanzibar has a history of slavery, in 1873 the slavery ended on Zanzibar under force of the British Navy. On the mainland of Tanzania the slavery ended after the first World War.

When we arrived on Zanzibar it was quit a shock for me, I had seen more of Africa than Mike (South Africa, Cape Verde, Tunisia & Egypt) but Zanzibar was more like you imagine Africa then all the others countries I’ve been combined. That said, Mike had never been tot Africa and he was really calm. We drove from the airport at around 10 o’clock in the evening together with our friends Frank & Janneke to a guesthouse named Bellevue. Frank & Janneke joined us the first two weeks on our adventure which was amazing. After two nights in the beautiful guesthouse of the owner of the Kitecenter,  it was time to go to the ‘Orange house’. The Orange house is the house Mike & I and most of the instructors live in for the season. It is directly in the center of Paje. Let me say it was quit an experience, imagine one of your worst experienced student houses you have ever been in, and then that is it. But as it is the same with everything, it just needs time to get used to it. Now it even feels like home! First thing we did was get all the old furniture out because we were sure we did not want to sit on it. We put on some white bed sheets on our bed and it looked like a hotel room. Big shout out to our friends who helped cleaning the house on their holiday. Although in three months we’ve cooked maybe 5 times in the ‘kitchen’ (the rest of the time we went out for dinner) I am going to miss the house. It learned us to be happy with everything you have in the Netherlands. It was very nice to live together with people, the more the merrier I always say.

So this was where our adventure began, then it was time to explore the village and the beach (and our workplace) of Paje. The village is how you expect Africa to be. Houses of stone, with no or little furniture and little or no electricity or running water. People mostly live their lives outside of the house on the street, cooking, washing, socializing and working. As the main religion of Zanzibar is Muslim you will see the women’s dressed up in long dresses and head scarfs, sometimes you will see the man wearing a hat as well. The first thing you will notice is that there are children playing everywhere. From sunrise (6am) until sunset (between 6 and 7 pm) the village will be lively and children are playing outside. When it is dark outside the people live there lives inside their houses, notice that there are no street lanterns on Zanzibar. Dark is dark, do not forget to look up because you will see the most beautiful sky you have ever seen. The stars are so bright, it happened many times that I was falling face forward because I spent my time walking with my head up looking to the sky.

In Zanzibar you will not even walk with your head up to gaze at the stars at night, you will look up because of the many, I state many palm trees there are. You will look up to them to watch out if you don’t get a coconut on the top of your head. Falling coconuts are more dangerous than sharks you know.. We experienced a few coconuts and palm leaves falling down, you don’t want them on top of your head. On another note you really don’t have to be ”scared” of the people on Zanzibar, they are super friendly, always saying; ”Jambo”’or ”Karibu” which means hello and welcome. In our eyes the people are very poor, but they do not see themselves that way. Most of the times there is enough food to provide for the family and water out of a put or tank close by. The difference with us is that they do not care so much about how they look, and how their house looks like. You will find little furniture in their houses, just because they live their lives outside and they do not care so much as we do. People watch television in a local cafe so they do not have to have one at home. What is important in the lives of the Zanzibaris’ is dancing, like all African people they have an amazing feeling for rhythm.

Back to the reason why we were in Zanzibar. We managed a kitesurfschool called Kitecentre Zanzibar from December until half of March. In the peak season (christmas and springbreak holidays) we where with a group of 13 instructors. For me managing a kiteschool was a whole new experience, Mike has been managing a kiteschool before in the Netherlands. It was a really good experience and I gained a lot of knowledge about how to run your own business. I also know that at this moment in my life it is not the responsibility I want to have. This is also the reason why we decided to not stay for another season (June until October) which was originally the plan. I decided that if I had a gap year I should not be working more than I did back at home. That is why we decided to go back as kitesurf instructors and make our money that way while travelling in between. Currently we are working in Morocco for KiteWorldWide.

We had a great time living on Zanzibar and learned lots of different things about life. We found it amazing that our friends Frank, Janneke, Hanneke, Robin and my parents came by to visit us on this beautiful Island. I will write up a next blogpost about the 10 best places to go and to do in Zanzibar. Keep an eye out for that!
Zanzibar is a beautiful Island which I can recommend to everyone!

With love,


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