“In this kind of process it’s not just about money and delivery times. It’s all about trust, and we really built that bond of trust together. It was a learning process that we want to share with everyone.”
Nol took early retirement from KLM where he earned a good reputation as Senior Purser and Vice Chair of the largest trade union within KLM. He was born to travel. The same could be said for Wilma too. They have covered a great many kilometres in their VW Transporter, along with their inseparable dogs.
“How did you come into contact with Twiga?”
“It’s a small world. I met another ambassador with a great Unimog who introduced us, around the time that Pier transferred his company to Willem & Willie, the new Twiga so to speak. We bought a special vehicle, the MAN L2000 – 10.224, a research vehicle with a sturdy, removable container on top. We felt that just a few adjustments would be needed to turn it into a real Expedition Vehicle.”
“And was that the case?”
“Sadly not. In all honesty we learned about all its shortcomings. The container was too heavy (almost 2,000 kg). Super insulated but produced a lot of condensation. It was built as an office rather than as a comfortable expedition vehicle. But then you see the craftsmanship and honesty of these builders. They advised us to rebuild it, but that didn’t work for us financially. Our interim solution was to equip the current container with a temporary IKEA interior and set off on our travels. After a period of four years, we knew exactly what we wanted.”
“We recreated our ideal interior exactly in wood. Really! We then made some adjustments and Twiga got to work with this scale model. We ended up with a length of 520 cm. Wilma looked for materials and colours for each part and the end result was impressive. We are happy with the lengthwise beds and the ‘clarity’ of the interior because we love that feeling of space. You need to be able to look through the whole space without feeling claustrophobic. And it worked! Twiga was that perfect combination of expertise and honesty.”
“This is a very special kind of build process. You see and consult each other a lot and then we found that our wishes were really taken into account. Our expertise was appreciated. The role of ‘client’ turned into more of an ambassador role. We were invited to share our experiences at their trade fairs. Wonderful.”
A question to Wilma: we often hear that women are unsure about the size of the vehicle but is it actually quite large?
“Well, there’s a difference between a ‘holiday vehicle’ and an ‘expedition vehicle’. The interior space that we have now is really enough. And it’s a smaller size compared to the original construction. It was 405 cm tall to begin with but now it is 360 cm. We still have our Transporter, but we are about to embark on a trip lasting nearly three months from Portugal and then I will really appreciate a spacious interior!”
Nol concludes: “In this kind of process it’s not just about money and delivery times. It’s all about trust, and we really built that bond of trust together. It was a learning process that we want to share with everyone.”
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