The challenges of leaving home and heading into the Unknown…

Expedition: Vinson

Rolfe Oostra

The Oostras are a nomadic clan. I met my wife Marni in the hot desert sand of the Sinai Peninsula and we traveled together for a year or so through Africa before the kids came on the scene. But even this happy occasion did not quell our wanderlust. With Ollie and Bella in tow, we collectively lived or traveled in Egypt, Peru, Australia, Jordan, Tanzania, Eritrea, Kenya, Congo, Uganda, Morocco, Thailand, Malaysia, Nepal, and Borneo.  Every one of us loves the rewards that being on the move continuously provides and each of us is still actively traveling.

We call the French Pyrenees our basecamp. And like any good basecamp, we have made this place a home away from home. Equally a nomad’s home will always be where their heart is. And at this moment Ollie’s heart is captured by the wonders of Australia, Bella’s by university life in England, Marni’s by the tropical waters of Thailand and mine by the amazing adventure laying in store for me in the frozen south.

Leaving home and setting off on an adventure has become easier for all of us over the years as we know that each of us is living their lives as closely as they could wish for. We all know that this crazy ride called living can never entirely be what we imagine it to be and that it will forever throw unexpected surprises at us but by holding each other back from living the life we chose we will never learn its lessons.

Of course, we are in constant communication with each other.  W have 4 extremely different times zones we are juggling! Each of us reveling in the adventures of the other.  We love the amazing photos Ollie takes of his life on the road, on land and under the water, we relish hearing about the friendships Bella is making at university, and I enjoy knowing that Marni is back to her roots, loving life as a digital nomad whilst diving in Andaman azure waters laughing that I actually volunteered to freeze my proverbials off in Antarctica.

And that is what love is. Sharing adventures, life, and laughter together. Knowing that each of us is doing ok. And knowing that it is never really that long before we all catch up again in person. That soon our goodbyes become hellos again and that each time we meet we will have become a better person from having been able to follow our hearts.


If you want to explore more, then both Marni and I highly recommend Ethiopia. This was one of the first expeditions we took together over 22 years ago.. it blew us away. We arrived wide-eyed expecting to see the images that we grew up with .. but it was lush green and fertile. The people welcoming with open arms and hospitality brimming over with a strong sense of identity and pride.

Trek the Simiens. We can promise you that you will be blown away with the Simien mountain landscape, home to Ethiopia’s highest peaks where we will trek with troops of Gelada monkeys to mountaintop monasteries, before heading to the cultural sites of Gondar’s royal castles and the UNESCO rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. This place is so special and so different to what you might expect and we both still talk fondly of our incredible time there… The next trip date is in November 2020!


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