Tamar Valkenier might be The Netherlandsthe most adventurous traveller. After a career as a star chef and then as an investigative psychologist at the Police, she stopped working in 2015. Since then she has been on an adventure and traveling around the world. Tamar has had unprecedented adventures in the past 6 years. For example, she chose to go to Singapore to cycle (12.000 km) and travel 1.600 km as a nomad through Mongolia, with the help of a camel, a dog and a horse.
She also went on an expedition for months in the mountains of New Zealand, where she went hunting and gathering in order to eat. She was then featured in a 52-minute TV episode of Floortje Dessing's “Back to the End of the World”.
Wereldreizigers.nl spoke to Tamar for an hour recently about her life and her new book: Fulltime Adventurer. An inspiring story about realizing dreams, conquering fears, having confidence in yourself and pushing boundaries.
Table of contents
Dreaming of adventure
leave everything behind
Tamar dreamed of leaving everything behind and leaving. She thought about quitting her good steady job in the Netherlands, selling her stuff and going on an adventure. Something you might ask is whether she wanted to flee her life in the Netherlands. Tamar says it wasn't. She had a nice life, but she just wanted more. The world called to her: 'Come outside and play!'
To overcome fears
Quit your job and sell stuff. It was the first threshold of many to follow. You can learn everything you can't do. And with that thought, Tamar actually seizes everything in her life. Fears are overcome, uncertainty becomes habituation and trying is mastery. If you dare and do.
Build your own bike
After Tamar quit her job and sold her stuff, she bought an old bicycle frame with the plan to build a complete bicycle herself and to cycle to Singapore with it. Tamar didn't have any experience with cycling, let alone how to build one yourself!
This too was part of the adventure. What you can't do, you can learn! Tamar started tinkering with her bicycle and enlisted the help of a bicycle repairman, who helped her build a bicycle with as little money as possible. Assembling wheels yourself with loose spokes and short requests for help that led to long Friday afternoon drinks at the bicycle repair shop.
Tamar got to know her bike inside and out and before she knew it it was time to leave.
The start of the full-time adventure
By bike to Singapore
Before leaving, Tamar decided to take her new bike for a test ride. 21 kilometers by bike, from Haarlem to Amsterdam. She got on her bike in good spirits, but once she arrived in Amsterdam she was exhausted. She even found it so difficult that she decided to take the train back home.
Cycling 12.000 kilometers to Singapore seemed impossible at the time. But as with everything in life, you just have to get on with it. Tamar left for Singapore in good spirits.
The first days Tamar cycled 30, 40 to 50 kilometers a day. Cycling slowly started to get used to and at a certain point she often even cycled 120 kilometers a day. Cycling became easier for her and the countries and months flew by.
With a horse, a camel and a dog through Mongolia
However, it did not stop at a world trip by bicycle. Tamar dreamed of traveling and living like a true nomad in Mongolia. She decided to buy a camel, a horse and a dog and travel around the country.
The camel was mainly used to find water and to transport things. The horse conquered mountains and rivers and took Tamar to places where no car or motorcycle could reach. The dog provided security from wolves and alerts to unwanted nighttime visitors. Together they walked more than 1.600 kilometers through Mongolia.
She could not ride a horse prior to this adventure. Also not setting up a Yurt. But here too Tamar took the adventure by simply learning and experiencing. This is how she developed into a real Kazakh. Although most days were beautiful, a few times things went wrong. An accident, animals ran away and even stolen once. But each time the nomads came to the rescue of Tamar. At these times it turns out that your social skills (being able to connect with other people) is the most important skill when you go on an adventure!
become a falconer
It didn't just stop at traveling through Mongolia. Tamar's last name is Falconer, so she also wanted to learn the skills to be able to falconry. She learned to hunt in Mongolia from the three-time eagle-hunting champion.
Finally she was a real falconer. Tamar returns to Mongolia for several months every year. She is there even more than in the Netherlands. With her animals, with her second family and in the wilderness she loves so much.
Viewing tip: The video below from National Geographic was made at the Kazakh family where Tamar Valkenier was a guest, and where she learned to hunt with an eagle. These are unprecedentedly beautiful images of Mongolia and the Kazahs, hunting with eagles.
Without food on an expedition in New Zealand
Tamar couldn't get enough of adventure and was looking for a new challenge. Together with girlfriend Miriam Lancewood (originally Miriam comes from the Achterhoek) she organized an 'epic female expedition' in the New Zealand Alps: a mountain massif that stretches the length of the South Island, with seventeen peaks above three thousand meters.
They went deep into the mountains, far from the people and close to the animals. Three months
long. Along the way, they no longer encountered an inhabited world and had to provide for their own food. It was a bit of an experiment: would it be possible? So long in the wilderness, so far from all facilities and then hunt and collect your own food. Could they do it?
During the conversation, Tamar tells us with a smile that she apparently succeeded, because she is still alive. Otherwise she wouldn't be there to tell her story. She is living proof that two young adventurous women can take on any adventure, although it was not always easy. Surviving for months without food is indeed as challenging as it sounds.
For example, they had a fishing rod with them, but there were few fish in the cold glacier water. They could not live on the edible plants either. Soap-tasting speargrass roots, some red clover flowers for tea, a little nectar from Harakeke flowers, and snowberries wouldn't satisfy the hunger for long. They had to hunt.
Hunting raised the necessary ethical questions for Tamar, but in New Zealand you do nature a favor with it. The government even encourages hunting: shoot as much as you want. The numbers of deer and hares are a plague for native flora and fauna due to lack of natural enemies. Thanks to the Europeans they once brought with them, they had plenty to eat.
Tamar Valkenier at Floortje Dessing
De Extreme Female Expedition did not go unnoticed by the media. Floortje Dessing had already visited Miriam Lancewood in an earlier episode and decided for her new program 'Floortje To The End Of The World', to visit Miriam and Tamar for three days during their expedition in New Zealand. You can watch the 52-minute episode here see back.
The book: Full-time Adventurer
Like the rest of her adventures, the idea of writing a book actually came quite spontaneously. She was motivated by many to write about her ultimate quest for freedom. She started writing over a year ago, but it didn't go very quickly at first. During the continuous expedition, it was very difficult for Tamar to find the peace and time to put everything down on paper.
This suddenly changed when she broke her ankle. The corona virus also caused many restrictions, as a result of which she had to sit at home on the couch for months. This turned out to be a happy accident, because during this period she was finally able to describe her great adventures in peace. You can read all about it in Tamar Valkenier – Full-time adventurer, here available at Bol.com.