Hello all! My name is Eef. I’m originally from Ternat in Belgium but I moved to Scandinavia 8 years ago. After finishing my masters in political science I concluded that neither city life nor a bureaucratic career was for me and I wanted to devote my life to te outdoors instead. I’ve been active as a snow mobile guide and dog sled guide in the Arctic. Every once in a while I skipped a season to complete a long distance hike somewhere on the planet. From summer my home will be in the Norwegian fjords where I will work at a mountain cabin.
Tell us about your latest expedition…
I am still in progress of crossing Norway on skis together with my partner PJ. Currently I’ve made it 1000km from the start, though not without many setbacks. It’s been a tough winter and I needed to pull out from the trail on several occasions, biding my time and then going back. The snow has already disappeared in southern Norway so I won’t be able to finish this one in one long haul, but I’m aiming to do what I can and enjoy myself in the process.
There's always a desire to go and seek something new.
Your biggest outdoor / endurance achievement so far?
Walking Nepal from the east to the west. The Himalaya are a category of their own, both for the physical and the mental part of being out there. That was the toughest five months I’ve experienced.
Could you put into words what you’re enjoying most when being out there in the wild?
To me, it’s really about simplifying life. You have one goal, one backpack with everything you need, and one day at a time you’ll get there. Being out in the mountains for a long time takes the noise of rushed society we live in away. It creates space to live by the rhythm of nature, and by that to think clearly.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I think it’s an inner drive, it’s hard to explain. A desire to go and seek something new...
How to decide what’s next?
That is mostly based on a gut feeling. There’s a certain passion and determination needed to bring hikes of several thousands of kilometres to an end. When I’ve found the right project to do next, I know it.
It’s all about simplifying life.
What about your food supply? How do you fuel your body for extreme performances?
Food supply is often meagre and long hikes involve lots of hunger. It’s important to take in enough of the three main components - fats, carbohydrates and protein - though in reality trail diet is often very rich in carbohydrates mainly. Now that we have sleds in winter we can balance it out more but we also use more energy, and even still you can only pull so much. We dehydrated a lot of meat and vegetables for this trip, but we are still losing weight. It’s about finding your personal balance as well: how much hunger can you sustain, and what do you need to keep yourself going? I find comfort in cheese. PJ munches on chocolate.
Which trail / trekking would you recommend for a total rookie?
Aurlandsdalen from Finse to Vassbygdi. It’s a nice cabin-to-cabin trek in western Norway. No food is needed and you can even have your luggage transported.
The most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
Gosh. I can’t say one. But I can say a few...
1) West Col and Makalu, Nepal
2) Lyngsalpene, Norway
3) Breast Hill and Mackenzie country, New Zealand
4) Hornstrandir, Iceland
5) Salam’s, Bolivia
Your biggest dream…
To keep having this life in the mountains, to sustain it, to find a home in it. And maybe one day to go to the South Pole.