Original article click here written by Jadrike Boels in Tubantia newspaper.
‘Du bist krank’; Ronald (24) travels on unicycle from Almelo to Berlin
ALMELO – ‘Du bist krank’, is a comment that Ronald van der Weijden throws at his head every day. The 24-year-old travels on an onewheel, an electronic unicycle, from Almelo to Berlin to pursue his ultimate dream: life as a digital nomad. “Freedom is not a fairy tale, it exists.”
A year ago, after completing his bachelor degree, Ronald was faced with a choice: whether to take over the house next to his parents that had belonged to his deceased grandfather or to move into the wider world. He chose the latter. “I do not want to have a job until I am 67 that I do not really like to be able to pay the mortgage. I want to get away from those fixed boxes. “He booked a single ticket to Barcelona and decided to pursue his dream: life as a digital nomad.” A digital nomad is someone who can work anywhere in the world as long as he has his laptop with him”, Ronald explains.
360 degree videos
The Almeloër (person from Almelo) makes 360-degree videos for hotels with special equipment. “That way you can virtually walk through a hotel before you book a room”, he explains. A niche market according to the 24-year-old, but he is not living for the money. “I do not have to make a profit, I just want to be able to live.” That’s why he exchanges most of the 360 content for hotel overnight stays. Only occasionally he asks for money. “I have to eat, right?”
Super fast unicycles
After four months of Barcelona, it started to itch again with the adventurer. The question ‘what is the next destination’ remained. A visit to a store full of electric unicycles offered a solution. “I was just a child in a candy store. A world opened up for me”, says Ronald enthusiastically. Where he has been riding recreational on a unicycle for 15 kilometers per hour for years, he discovered models in the shop with a speed of 40 kilometers per hour. That made him think of something new.
“What if I combine everything?” Ronald repeats his own question. “My love for traveling, filming and the unicycle.” And so the idea was born. He decided to fly back to the Netherlands and travel to Berlin from his home address in Almelo with his new faster unicycle. “There are many digital nomads there.”
His plan? On the way ‘couchsurfing’ (people sleeping on the couch) and in Berlin, like in Barcelona, taking 360 degrees photos and videos for hotels in exchange for overnight stays. His friends and parents declare him crazy. “You also have to be a bit crazy for this”, he says laughing.
The Almeloër has been on the road for seven days. The arranging of overnight stays has been successful every night. The couches to sleep on he searches through social media. “Sometimes it gets a bit scary” I fear that I will have to sleep somewhere in the middle of nowhere. “He laughs away from the exciting prospect. “It is all part of the adventure.”
And that adventure also includes an arrest by the police. “I actually knew that a unicycle was not allowed on public roads,” Ronald admits. “They have recorded my data and when I get caught again, I get fined.” He does not know exactly what ‘this fine’ exactly is. But the arrest makes his journey even more exciting: “I travel off the beaten track and avoid cities and provincial roads.”
On the way, he charges his electric unicycle in cafés, shops or people’s homes. Everywhere he gets to hear the same: “Nach Berlin? Mit das Einrad? Du bist krank! “Ronald laughs when he talks about the surprised looks he gets. “When I unfold the footrests next to the wheel and drive away, people really look at me with an open mouth.” The down-to-earth Almeloëer does not care about it.
He does not have stress. There are also no clear plans for the future. “I can see it all”, says the 24-year-old in a relaxed tone. “If I can not sell my services in Berlin with my half German knowledge, then I will just travel on.” Enjoyment is at the top of his list of priorities and that works every day. “Freedom is not a fairy tale, it exists.”
Wondering what the days of Ronald look like? You can follow it closely on his Facebook page 360NomadLife where he posts images of his trip every day.