In the summer of 2012, we endeavoured upon a new chapter in our lives. While still working day jobs to be sure we kept both ourselves and our children fed and housed, we decided it was time to place for focus on our passion – specifically on living actively and sharing our stories of how this more mindful approach to transportation has, in turn, positively affected our quality of life.
Part of that plan included travelling to cities around the world that offer a perspective differing from our own in Vancouver, and see what lessons we could learn from their processes, and insight we could offer in return. This has taken us to some amazing places, including New Zealand, but there has always been one country we knew was a “must-see”: The Netherlands.
Now that Modacity is a full-time job for the pair of us, we have more time to really dream of the endless possibilities. No longer restricted by allotted vacation time, and with the ability to work from anywhere in the world with Wi-Fi, it appears that the time has come to make it happen.
And so, with this in mind, we have decided to spend this coming summer exploring The Netherlands, fully immersing ourselves in the Dutch lifestyle, and learning all we can about the cultural changes needed to shift away from a car-centric paradigm, to one that puts people first.
Very few places exemplify the positive effect that multi-modal planning has on its citizens than in The Netherlands. Long admired as a "mecca" for non-motorized travel, as well as welcoming and effective public spaces, the Dutch offer a glimpse of what “could be” elsewhere in the world.
Our travels will take us to many places, with a specific focus on five cities – Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Eindhoven, and Groningen. By speaking with the people who live there day in and day out, we hope to determine what it is that has set the nation apart from others around the world. Each city offers a unique perspective on what is achievable, and the end goal will be to identify the possibilities of these outcomes elsewhere, with specific focus on Metro Vancouver.
As always, we will use our abilities as storytellers to create captivating written and visual material, aiming to push the conversation forward locally, and influence positive changes in the region towards sustainability, ideally around improvements to walking, cycling, and placemaking.
Living and writing abroad is a dream we have always held close, and are excited to finally make it a reality, not just for ourselves, but also for our children. Aside from better informing our process in our work, this will be an adventure that will provide lasting memories for the entire family.
Of course, travel anywhere in the world is an investment. For this reason, we are working with local and international sponsors to make this project a success. We have already partnered with Vancity Buzz, who will feature our written and visual work in a series of long-form articles following our travels, as well as Urban Systems, who we are proud to have worked with on previous projects aimed at promoting urban mobility.
We are currently seeking out other corporate sponsors to help fund this project, which we are calling “Urbanism Teachings”, with varying levels of benefits, not the least of which is sharing their generosity with our (and Vancity Buzz's) broad audience.
We also realize the value of reaching out to our family, friends, peers, and loyal followers for support, and therefore have put together a crowdfunding campaign with Fundrazr to source further fundraising. We’ve put together some exciting rewards, but welcome any support in making our dream a reality. Over the years, we’ve come to truly appreciate how the people we know come together to support one another. And while asking for help is a humbling experience, we recognize that this support is what makes so much of the work we (and others) do a reality.
2016 is proving to be another exciting year for Modacity and our family. We are so grateful of where this adventure has taken us, and look forward to the amazing places it will take us next!
If you wish to inquire about corporate sponsorship, please contact Melissa for more details on how you can get involved in supporting “Urbanism Teachings – The Netherlands”. You can also visit our Fundrazr page - The Modacity Family Discovers The Netherlands – and help us in other ways. Thank you in advance for your support!