You’ll Never See an Endearing Journey until You Met Everything in Between

Written by
Annisa Puspa Andira

Edited By
Fazrah LR Heryanda

Photograph by
Diego Yanuar
Marlies Fennema

Find the exact answer about life is kind of like a never-ending journey. That’s what drives Diego Yanuar and Marlies Fennema—two lovebirds traveling by cycling from the Netherlands to Indonesia. During their journey, these two gaining so many wonderful experiences and inspiration by raising a charity project expressing their concern for animal, plant, and people. Their project called ‘Everything in Between’ had been buzzing social media and bookstores before they said goodbye, uploading a post told us how grateful they are treasuring the moment. It is good to know when they are also able to prove the saying, ‘when there’s a will there’s a way’ albeit how impossible it was. Get to know them personally as they talk about a story about life, journey, and ‘Everything in Between’.

Hi, Marlies and Diego. First of all, can you tell our readers what Everything In Between is? And, what’s the inspiration behind it?

Diego: ‘Everything in Between’ is a trip of me and Marlies from Netherlands to Indonesia. The initial idea was because we had a long-distance relationship. Me in Jakarta and Marlies in Netherlands. We often visit each other back and forth. When we’re on a plane, we realize that there were many countries we passed on seems vague to us. Then one day, Marlies joked why don’t we just cycling from Netherland so we can see everything clearly. From that, we named our trip ‘Everything in Between’.

Marlies: We did this because we want to find out what ‘Everything in Between’ is. I mean like what’s happening on earth, between all the places we came from. There are many unanswered questions about life and we didn’t really know about what we want to do in life. Before this journey happens, we thought it doesn’t matter. We just want to explore and find out things in life because most people do have a lot of questions and we too. So, we thought that ‘Everything in Between’ was a good idea to find out about these questions.

Everything in Between has gained so much love and people really fall for your content on Instagram and website. As you stated in your website, you’re not only writing the tale of your journey, but also raising a charity for three social organizations engaged in animals, people, and plants. What’s your consideration to raise a charity for it?

Marlies: When we thought about this journey, quite soon we realize that if we’re really going to do this for one year it would be such a waste if we’re not gonna sharing with others. Also, we already care about those things that important to us, so it was easy to help them.

You’ve been cycling for 12.000 km, it’s not an easy trip to be honest. So, how do you prepare yourself for it?

Diego: Yes, we’ve done some preparation before we did this journey. First, we save money for almost 3 years, because we want to use our own money on this trip. Then, I learned about cycling more, because we didn’t know about cycling much especially technical part. Next, I learned about what to expect when the journey on. So, yeah things like that.

Marlies: I have no idea about what’s to be like and never learned it. What I learned for this journey is mostly the survival skill, like learned to make a fire, purify the water when we need to (but we’ve never need it that anyway). And, maybe some mental preparation to deal with tough journey.

Can you share with us some interesting story behind your journey? About people you’ve met or maybe places you’ve been.

Diego: We don’t know where to start because it’s such a long journey. It’s really difficult question because as we find diversity in this journey. And in diversity, it is hard to comprehend those things. We’ve met bunch of nice and kind people who helped us. As we experience good things in journey, our bad things also become memorable to us. The bad things can also be a good thing because you learned something new or you get good insights and counter new challenges.

Marlies: I think Diego want to share is that people are so friendly. The strangers that really surprise us. Actually, in most country people are really good to us. We met so many good friends. We experience awesome things because we were surrounded by local people and we become a part of their family. We also used application, WarmShowers for cyclist where we can go to another mostly cyclist house that offer place to stay, cook a good food, and even give clothes for free because they want to help other cyclists. In the end, we’re grateful to know people who understand what we were doing. If you check out our Instagram you will find more interesting story.

“Sometimes, we tend to confuse with what we want or need and we ended up adopting somebody else’s wants.”

Wow, it’s really cool! However, because you had a long and tough journey there must be some challenges you’ve dealt with it. So, what’s the most challenging things each one of you’ve experience?

Diego: I think our journey in Tajikistan is the most challenging trip for me. The field was extremely tough with low oxygen level, low temperature and mostly windy.

Marlies: As for me, it was our trip on Southeast Asia. The weather was always hot, humid, and it’s hard to find quiet road over there.

Then, how both of you feel for the first time when you’ve arrived in Jakarta?

Marlies: I was truly happy because many parts were heavy for me physically and more mentally. We were thankful and relieved that we made it safe.

Diego: It was overwhelming, because for eleven months we didn’t see anyone we know. When we arrived, we see all of them and it was weird but happy at the same time.

“If you want it something then just do it. Don’t hesitate or do it because others tell you to"

What you guys doing in ‘Everything in Between’ is inspirational for anyone, especially for the youngster today. So, is there any message for them you would like to share?

Diego: This journey taught us everything. About life and what we really need for our self. Sometimes, we tend to confuse with what we want or need and we ended up adopting somebody else’s wants. The thing is, if you want to do something, do it for yourself. Not because people wanted you to, but because you wanted it. Be curious and fill your own curiosity without anyone telling you about it.

Marlies: Yes, we learn a lot from this journey. With many challenges ahead, I still think that I didn’t overcome it. To be honest it was hard to overcome it. But what I learn is maybe you really don’t have to be brave; you just need to be flexible and open minded at the moment also have confident in yourself and the universe. Because, in the end those things will be alright again, eventually. Same as Diego, if you want it something then just do it. Don’t hesitate or do it because others tell you to. If that’s something you’ve been dreaming of, go for it.

Last but not least, after ‘Everything in Between’, is there any upcoming project we should know about?

Marlies: After received positive feedbacks for Everything in Between, I didn’t know that I was going to write a book. I just brought my stories as a diary and someone from Bentang Pustaka asked me If I want to publish a book. So, I said ‘yeah of course!’ as it would be my first book. It contains about our journey, preparation, about Diego and me, and completed with photos. But, most importantly, this book would be for our other charity project: ‘Every Tree in Between’. Means, from the first 1000 books, Rp 10.000 will go to the Dutch NGO ‘Trees for All’. They will plant trees back to compensate my book. As for Diego, he would gather up with other cyclists in Indonesia and do ‘estafet’, even though he still figuring it out how. Meanwhile, you can check out Andien’s song ‘Everything in Between’ where I wrote down the lyric. You can see some of our journeys video in it too.