November 5, 2019

November Host of the Month - Hans Van Dam

Hans Van Dam is an inspiration to us here at Hovos. We marvel at his project to cycle from Denmark to Greece and we get out of breath just reading his itinerary!!!

One of you lucky volunteers are welcome to join him on his journey. In return he would like to be taught videomaking and editing.

If you think you’ve got what it takes, then read on. Hans has answered some questions for us that you will find interesting!

Tell us a little about your location...

I’m living on my sailboat in Pylos, Peloponnese, Greece

It’s a small fishing town on the west coast, now mainly living off tourism. I arrived there in July 2017 with the plan to sail around in Greece and in the meantime renovate my 40yo boat.

I’m slowly making progress in this rebuilding and enjoying my life and meeting lots of nice people. Many of the people are of course other sailors that pass by, some are Greek people.

What is the inspiration behind your project?

Every now and then I visit my friends and family in Holland (I’m Dutch) and in Denmark where I have lived for 17y. I used to do that by flying from either Kalamata or Athens.

This year I vowed to not fly anymore (unless there is an emergency in the family).

In the winter 19-20 I want to be in Denmark and do that by local bus to Patras, ferry to Venice and Flixbus to Copenhagen, a trip that all together takes 3 days and 10hr.

When I go back to Greece, in spring 2020, I decided to use my bicycle.

And that is what I made my project: finding somebody to ‘educate’ me to be a video maker to record the 4000 km trip and finding somebody who wants to accompany me for the bicycle trip.

What is the main highlight of your project?

Difficult to say. Of course the whole trip on bicycle is a highlight in my life, a total new experience and specifically the crossing of the Alps. But I must say that meeting people which I hope to do in the video teaching process and the bike ride also is of high interest. I always enjoy being together with foreign people and talking and enjoying each other's company.

Can you tell us about a positive volunteering experience you have had?

This is a very difficult one. I have been a member of various volunteering organisations, like Hovos, since 2008. In these 11 years I have met, on different locations and in various situations, over 200 people. I have never ever regretted meeting anyone of them.

They came from many countries and many different backgrounds and that has enriched my life and created lifelong friendships. I’m still writing with many of them via Facebook or Whatsapp.

But surely one of my best periods has been the Spanish finca that I visited as a volunteer in 2012. I liked it so much there with Hannes and Maria on Finca La Sacristia that I returned in 2013. Both times it was for a 5-week period. And when I finally retired from my job in Denmark, I moved out to the very same Finca and started to live there for 3 years, managing the many many volunteers that we had to do all the small jobs in building up down there.

What do you look for in a volunteer?

Aside from skills that I need I don’t look for anything specific. The reason is that people volunteering already have selected themselves from the masses that do the 9 to 5 jobs by being a volunteer haha That’s easy.

They are flexible, open minded people. They all have their reasons to do this type of travelling and bring lots of joy to the place.

I can only advise people that have the room to host a volunteer and have jobs for them, to become a member of Hovos and search for the right person and enjoy the togetherness with them while doing some kind of work.

What jobs do you have in store for volunteers?

The jobs I am looking for are

- teaching me videomaking and editing

- riding the trip from Denmark to Greece with me

- helping me in the renovation work on my sailboat down there

- help in the daily things in the house, like food making and cleaning up.

In exchange for work, what do you offer volunteers?

For the teaching job, I offer a room in the summerhouse in Denmark that I’m borrowing from a friend, during the bike ride, I offer a spot in my tent or they bring their own and in Greece for the renovation, I offer a berth in my sailboat.

Besides that I offer food of course. In Greece, there may be sailing involved depending on the state of the renovation.

Are you currently looking for volunteers?

As said previously, I am looking for volunteers at this very moment, so anybody interested in either or all of these projects can write to me.

A Journey of a Lifetime!