As a girl from a small town in the Netherlands, I always dreamed of traveling. Now traveling the world is my life! Read my story now.
Dreaming about traveling as a small-town girl
Hi! I am Jacoba and my friends call me Co. I grew up in a small village called Lutjegast in the north of The Netherlands. Did you know that Abel Tasman, Holland’s most famous explorer was born there? In elementary school, I regularly hear stories about his travels; his discovery of Tasmania and New Zealand. As a little girl, I also dream of big trips, but I always thought that was something that a small-town girl could never do.
When I’m 10 or 11 years old, I’m obsessed with this children’s show of a clown and an acrobat that travel to the United States. They have great adventures in a stunning landscape that’s so different from my country. It makes me want to go to the US so badly!
A trip to the USA remains my biggest dream for years, but I never travel too far from The Netherlands. Most of the time, I go on trips to nearby countries like Belgium and France and I occasionally visit a Greek island for a sunny week on the beach. Visiting any country outside of Europe just seems complicated to me.
Sixteen years after my obsession with that children’s tv show, I still dream of that amazing USA trip. My best friend feels like going on a big trip, so we decide to plan a five-week vacation together. First two weeks in Florida and then three more weeks in Cuba.
I remember having tears in my eyes when I’m looking out of the window and seeing the coastline of Florida and the skyscrapers of Miami, my dream is coming true! The trip is amazing and all I want is more. After that trip, I travel as much (and as far) as I can. I travel solo most of the time.
Why do I like to travel so much? I think it’s a great way to broaden my horizons and learn about other cultures. I also enjoy nature, beautiful views, and interesting historic buildings. You learn so much from traveling!
Read more: 8 lessons I’ve learned by traveling solo
By now I have traveled to the US seven times, and to Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Australia, and the Philippines. In recent years I have been discovering more and more beautiful places in Europe. I absolutely love Portugal, I even “live” there for a few months every year. And I also love traveling in Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Croatia.
“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in an office or mowing your lawn. Climb that damn mountain.” – Jack Kerouac
A new chapter: long-distance hiking
At some point, Peru is one of my bucket list destinations because I would love to hike the Inca Trail. I do this in 2018 and I like it so much, that I want to do more multi-day hikes. The following year I hike over 700 kilometers (444 miles) of the Pacific Crest Trail, and that’s when my great love for long-distance hiking is born.
Hiking is not only healthy but also a great way to get to know a country or a region better. In addition, it is also very good for your mental health, it can be a very calming experience. It’s something that suits me very well as an introverted world traveler.
I try to do one or more long-distance hikes every year, the longest so far being the Arizona Trail (800 miles, 1300 kilometers) which I completed in the spring of 2022.
Start of this website
During my first trip to the USA, I launched my website Op reis met Co, which translates to Travel with Co in English. Writing is my passion and I wanted to keep my friends and family informed about my trip to Florida & Cuba. So I decided to write an online travel journal on this website.
After this, I publish travel diaries after each trip and I love writing them. At some point, I start to miss writing about traveling when I am not on a trip. I also get many questions from friends and colleagues about practical travel tips and the destinations I have visited.
In December 2015, I decided to start writing articles with travel tips in addition to my travel diaries. By now, I’ve written hundreds of those! My focus is mainly on hiking, the US, Portugal, and other beautiful places in (southwestern) Europe.
In the summer of 2019, I launched the English version of my website which you are visiting now. And in the fall of 2022, I launched the Op reis met Co Shop, where you can create your own personal travel guide. It’s currently only available in Dutch, but I have plans to make an English version as well.
Digital Nomad life
When I started this website, I had a full-time job in marketing. At some point, it all gets a little too much. Working full time and then also working on this website in my spare time, it’s a lot. My website is getting more and more visitors and I don’t feel like giving my website up. In 2020, decide to quit my job. Now, I no longer have a permanent job or place of residence and I work remotely. I travel six to eight months a year, and when I am in the Netherlands, I stay with my parents or at a house of friends or family.
How can I afford this lifestyle? I occasionally do freelance jobs in marketing and communications, but my biggest source of income is this website. You can read more about it on my support page. A dream job!
Want to stay up to date on my travel adventures and my life as a digital nomad? Sign up for the newsletter.
Would you like to follow me and my blog? You can do so through the following social media:
- Instagram: the best photos from my travels for a fresh dose of travel inspiration. This is also where I share stories when I’m traveling. It’s my new travel diary!
- Facebook: travel pics and notification of every new article.
- Twitter: notifications of new and old blogs.
- Pinterest: A great collection of bucket lists, tips for beautiful destinations, and practical travel tips.
- TikTok: short diary videos of my travels.
Have questions or just want to leave a message? Then you can email me at info [at] opreismetco.nl.
Affiliate links & advertorials
Occasionally I write articles in collaboration with a company. If this is the case, I will add a disclaimer. In these paid collaborations, I always share my honest opinion, I will never write anything that I personally disagree with.
Some of the links I place in my articles are so-called affiliate links. If you order or book something through these links, it won’t cost you anything extra, but I will receive a small commission. This allows me to pay the costs that it takes to run this website.
Would you like to connect or collaborate with Op reis met Co? Then get in touch via info [at] opreismetco.nl or check out this page for more information.