Celebrating Pride Month: Meet Onceuponajrny

onceuponajrny

I hope you’re enjoying meeting new bloggers and influencers with our special Q&A in celebration of pride month! Earlier this week, I had the pleasure to interview THE Nomadic Boys, and today, we are featuring the faces behind Once Upon a Journey (Onceuponajrny). Once Upon a Journey is a blog by Roxanne Weijer and Maartje Hensen – two Dutch girls in love with each other, the world, writing, and photographing. Make sure you also check out their Instagram @onceuponajrny! 

 

Tell us a little about yourselves. How did you meet and did you just both happen to love travel?

BUT FIRST, tell us 3 words that describe each of you! 

Maartje: creative, ambivert, ambitious

Rox: enthusiast, social, loyal

Together: happy, crazy, balanced (yin yang)

onceuponajrny

Roxanne: I actually travelled to Southeast Asia & Oceania before. When I was 18 and graduated high school, I travelled for 6 months with another friend. Afterwards, I started my studies – physical therapy – in Amsterdam and decided to work in the cinema on the side!

Maartje: Which was the best idea, since I had worked there for a couple of months already! At first, we were ‘just friends’ and went partying together – not knowing we were into girls ourselves yet, let alone know it from each other. I started to feel bicurious and started dating a girl, told Rox about it and she said: wow, that’s awesome, I might be into girls also. I remember thinking ‘oh no, I hope she doesn’t fall in love with me’ (cocky me haha) and then of course, I fell for her – how could I not?

Roxanne: But it was the worst timing, as she left after five months of dating for a semester abroad in the States. We had to miss each other for five months, but I visited her for a week. We had done a weekend trip to Rome before, but a week of road tripping felt like travelling.

More about our love story here.

Maartje: Long story short, we both loved travelling already. So we had to do the whole world trip thing. And I wanted to document it, so I set up a blog. Rox hated it at first (and second, maybe even third). Stubborn as I am, I stuck with the plan and at some point Rox learned you could actually monetize a blog and Instagram. So three months into our trip, she got on board to do an Instagram together.

Roxanne: Fast forward to a year later: I’m in charge of the Instagram logistics, and write articles for our blog, but Maartje is in charge of content creation and blog-publication. She also makes a video and article for a Dutch newspaper every week.

 

Share an embarrassing or funny travel story.

Roxanne: When we were hitchhiking in Japan, we got in the car with an adorable old man. I mean, Japanese people are all so polite, so hitchhiking was the safest. Maartje was sitting in the front and I was on the backseat. I look around a bit and then I spot a huge, rusty, saw next to me. How scary? Later on we laughed about it, and joked: well at least it was closest to me, so if anything happened I could defend myself.

Maartje: For me, the funniest thing was meeting scary-looking Russian men on the Trans Siberian, who turned out to be the sweetest! One guy decided he was going to take care of us during the ride and brought us tea and croissants in the morning – how cute?

 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you pick? Why?

That is such a funny question, we’re currently in La Paz and for the first time during our trip we feel like we could live in this place! The marine life is incredible, the city is peaceful, people are nice, food is great and the weather is nice year-round (okay a little hot in Summer) – the perfect combination for us!

 

Describe your dream vacation.

Honestly, this entire world trip feels like a dream vacation! The more we travel, the more we want to see. There’s no particular number one on our list. Also, we like diversity. We like islands and tropics, but we’re just as happy in a vibrant city or a jungle. So there’s no specific ‘dream vacation’ for us.

 

What is one place you haven’t been to yet, but is at the top of your list. 

So there’s not just one… but India is very high on the list, Philippines, and we’d love to experience Pride in Israel! We are headed to New Zealand first though, also really excited about that!

 

Are you openly gay to your friends, family, and co-workers?

Yes! We’re lucky to be Dutch – the Netherlands is a pretty tolerant country. We don’t believe it’s as perfect as the world thinks it to be though.

Roxanne: It was still a big deal to come out to my parents, especially my mum. She did not take it well at first and said, “well at least it’s better than two guys kissing” – that hurt. But she always talks before she thinks. Luckily she soon got used to the idea of me being with Maartje.
More about Roxanne’s coming out story.

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How old were you when you came out to your family? Looking back, is there anything you’d have done differently? Do you wish you had told them sooner?

Maartje: I was 18 when I told my parents I was dating a girl. If I look back on it I maybe would’ve waited a bit longer actually. I had a boyfriend before, was into boys and hadn’t fallen in love with a girl – yet. Through my student association I met a lot of free spirits who were all at least bisexual and I kind of ‘decided’ I had to try it too. So the first girl I dated was a bit of an experiment (ugh this sounds so bad). And I told my mum about it. She gave herself the credits ‘cause she raised me so liberal’. Right. I told my dad when I was together with Rox, which felt better – as I was finally ‘certain’ myself. I should’ve given myself more time to figure it out first.

Roxanne: I was 21 years old and actually Maartje made me tell my parents and friends. We were already dating for a while and if it was up to me, I would’ve have kept our relationship a secret forever. Looking back, I’m glad that Maartje pushed me – but that wasn’t my feeling at first. I wish I told my closed friends sooner; somehow I was afraid to tell them. But best friends wouldn’t be best friends if they weren’t there for you, right?

 

Unfortunately, some cultures are not as friendly as others when it comes to same sex couples. Have you come across any issues while traveling to other countries?

Not really. But we are fortunate enough to pass for cisgender females, of which people wouldn’t ‘expect’ us to be queer. Hooray for femme invisibility. Kidding aside, we are always seen as ‘just friends’, unless we tell people. Girls also have the advantage to get away with some PDA, depending on the culture. In Russia and Korea all girls held hands – so we could too, and nobody thought anything of it. We always adapt though, and are careful whom we tell. We travelled to Brunei – which is a definite no-go country for gays – which was scary with the sharia laws. So we played the ‘normal friends’ act and nothing happened.

More about how we travel safely.

 

What has been the friendliest country so far? 

TAIWAN! Omg it’s the best country in the world to us so far. Better than the Netherlands! The beauty of Taiwan is that homosexuality was never officially ‘illegal’. It’s been something ‘different’ for sure, but it’s now widely accepted. Through the dominant religion, Buddhism, they are taught everything has a reason and you should respect that. So if a girl falls in love with a girl, there’s a reason, which should be respected. We have seen same sex couples walk hand-in-hand and even kiss in public! Side note: the elderly are more conservative and are not as accepted. But name a country where that’s different?!

 

Has Instagram changed the way you travel?

Yes and no. We are more focused on photo-spots, timing of the sun and trying to find more unique places. All good things while travelling, we think. We also connect with so many beautiful people worldwide! But, we also still travel the way we did before instagram. We travel really slow – and try to take in the culture. We stay with locals through couchsurfing, who show us amazing and unique places (good for Instagram again!). They provide real insight in the culture. That is really important to us: we learn so much!

onceuponajrny

This or That – Travel Edition

Maartje

Fly or Road Trip

Walk or Uber

Airbnb or Hotel Couchsurfing & Housesitting!

Luxury hotel or camping

Sleep In or Wake Up Early for Sunrise and Go Back to Bed

Nature or City Both

Mountains or Beach

Summer destination or winter destination

Adventure or Relaxing

East Coast or West Coast

Resort or Cruise – never really done any

Fine dining or street food

Planner or free spirit (what Insta does to a person)

One long trip or many short trips

 

Roxanne

Fly or Road Trip

Walk or Uber

Airbnb or Hotel

Luxury hotel or camping

Sleep In or Wake Up Early Both

Nature or City

Mountains or Beach

Summer destination or winter destination

Adventure or Relaxing

East Coast or West Coast

Resort or Cruise

Fine dining or street food

Planner or free spirit

One long trip or many short trips

Don’t forget to check out Once Upon a Journey ‘s blog and their Instagram @onceuponajrny! More fun Q&As coming soon!