Menno and Janneke
Menno and Janneke van Mechelen were not the typical backpackers you would expect. To start off with, we were both in our late 40’s.
We were just an average South African couple. Myself, Menno and Janneke, my wife, had spent way too much time being responsible and trying to build up the resources that we hoped would one day be sufficient to carry us through our retirement years.
In the meantime, we neglected seeing the world and having a decent holiday. We had always been guilty of putting this off for the future.
In fact, I had only been overseas once to visit my brother in Auckland, and Janneke had never been overseas at all. This all changed when we embarked on our first backpacking trip to Thailand.
When one embarks on traveling to a strange country, with a different culture & language, obviously there are many fears to overcome. This is what makes it a challenge & worth doing. It would be so much easier just to book a travel package, but we had no interest in traveling like that. It would take away half the fun and memories we could make by slogging it out on our own.
Unlike many young backpackers, who have traveled the world, we were new to this, but unlike the saying about “old dogs & new tricks”, we still think we ould learn a lot from simply going ahead & booking a flight to Thailand, making sure we knew where we are sleeping on the 1st night & then taking it all in our stride from there onwards.
So, it was quite obvious to see that Menno and Janneke were not your typical, travel smart globetrotters.
So, let’s see how we did with this, our first of many such excursions. This trip was beyond our comfort zone and beyond the shores of our beautiful country. We looked forward to exploring another beautiful country, in this case Thailand.
Tragically, Janneke van Mechelen, my partner, wife, travel companion and the love of my life, passed away after a vicious fight against cancer, on 13 June 2019. Only months after her last epic trip to Thailand, in which she realized her dream of giving her 81 year old mother, a glimpse of her dream to travel, by taking her along.
It’s never to late. It’s never to early to ŕealize your dream. I will carry Janneke, and her dreams with me, forever in my heart when I continue this journey called life.
Follow me, join me, comment and enjoy with me and see how I cope at 54 years young, with what myself and Janneke started as a 47 & 48 year young couple, as “Midlifebackpackers”.
Our video clips on You-Tube: