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Leaving the Comfort Zone
Leaving the Comfort Zone showcases what it’s like to experience the full spectrum of life. From encountering different cultures to embracing the freedom of nature, making friendships, and traversing through new landscapes, this adventure ultimately takes you on a journey of self-discovery. Filled with striking imagery and expert advice, this book details a 40,000-kilometer journey spanning four years across several countries and continents using one's own muscle power.
We completed our journey together. A seemingly impossible journey—almost laughably foolish. A journey by bicycle, sailboat, canoe, and on foot, skis, and skates. Slow, healthy, and sustainable. A journey of four years, three continents, and one ocean spanning 40,959 kilometers (25,452 miles)—longer than the length of the equator. So little of our journey was planned out from the beginning. When we first conceived of the idea, we couldn’t imagine what any given day would look or feel like. But our book chronicles how our idea became a goal, our goal became a journey, and how that journey has shaped our lives. This book is part “how to” manual and part travelog. It includes practical information from the road combined with personal insights and travel tips. In it, we also share our personal ups and downs, our methods for overcoming adversity, and how we turned pitfalls into personal achievements. We hope you enjoy reading about our journey, and that within these pages, you find some inspiration for your own dreams.
2016 - 2020
In September 2016, we set off on an unknown adventure in Amsterdam on €100 second-hand bikes. We spent four years traveling around the world on human power, covering more than 40,000 kilometers in six different modes of travel.
We had no plan, no final destination and no experience! We did have a clear goal: to discover the world in an active and adventurous way, learn languages, meet people and share a positive story.
Leaving the Comfort Zone is the cherry on the cake.
"This is a true-to-life story where the soul is bared, a book of feelings, wonderings, sadness, experiences, happiness, and the simplest things like your visit to the center with the disabled people in The US. It gave me goosebumps. You let us laugh and shed a tear." - Daniel V.
MORE THAN A TRAVELOGUE
"Thank you so much for creating the book. A lifetime of inspiration is now here on the bookshelf. Our next adventure (however small) has been planned even faster as a result." - Jan Willem
"This morning the mailman called to hand over your book. I immediately read the first 20 pages and let them come to me. It is so enjoyable and inspiring that I immediately wish to congratulate you. I am sure your book will influence my life. Not only to do that which we later regret not having done. But especially to fill in a joint project as a 60-something retired couple. To make a push as a couple who have been together for 45 years. - Patrick L.
"Leaving the comfort zone has allure of a coffee table book - wonderful for dreaming. But it also provides an incentive to take the bike or canoe yourself, or just walk." - Alice goes wild
THE PATH TO YOUR ADVENTURE
LIVING ADVENTUROUSLY //
The road to an adventurous life is not about the easy path. It means trying new things that sometimes scare or make us nervous. Yet there is only one way to keep life adventurous: just do it.
We spent four years traveling the world on human power. As far as we are concerned, it is the most beautiful way to discover the world. It brings us close to culture, nature, people and ourselves. There is no greater satisfaction than earning a reward by hard work.
We started everything without any experience, from canoeing to winter camping. In life, we don't have to be an expert, be rich or a top athlete. So much more is possible than we think, as long as we believe in the power of our mind. Then anything is possible!
We are, Olivier van Herck and Zoë Agasi, a Belgian-Dutch couple who have spent four years traveling the world in six different travel methods. In 2016, we left inexperienced and for an indefinite period of time on two antique bicycles.
Olivier Van Herck
Olivier was born in 1988 and raised in Belgium. He studied Civil Engineering in Leuven. When he was 23, Zoë took him outside the borders of Europe. Since then, an insatiable wanderlust lives in his body. He is the caring planner, the writer, the man behind the statistics, and the video editor during the trip.
Zoë was born in 1992 and spent her entire childhood in Breda, in the south of The Netherlands. She studied Industrial Product Engineering and combined that with rugby on a professional level playing for the Dutch National Rugby Team. Zoë is the creator of ideas, the designer, and the social engine during the journey. The design of the book is entirely done by Zoë.
ABOUT THE PUBLISHER
gestalten is an international publishing house collaborating and engaging with the world’s most interesting
creatives to document and anticipate vital movements in architecture and interiors, design and fashion,
escape and mobility, travel, food, and beverage, as well as visual culture.
Exploring creativity in every form, gestalten is known and loved by millions around the globe for its unique lens across print and digital mediums. gestalten also publishes illustrated books for children through its imprint Little gestalten.