Martijn Doolaard is a popular YouTuber and author.
He has more than half-a-million subscribers on his eponymous YouTube channel.
Martijn is also a photographer, travel writer, freelance graphic designer and was a cyclist.
Martijn Doolaard was born on 17 December 1983 in Netherlands.
He grew up in Southern Netherlands in his family’s nursery, in a big garden.
Martijn’s father initially used to work as a landscaper and currently, he is a minister in a Dutch Protestant Church.
His mother was a caretaker and technical and financial manager of their house.
Martijn has three siblings, his oldest brother, Cees-Jan works as a carpenter, his second brother, Anne is a landscaper and his youngest brother, Siebren is a videographer and animator.
Education & career-
In 2003, Martijn joined De Eindhovense School to study Graphic Designing and graduated in 2006.
He worked as a designer at various organisations namely, Volle-Kracht Grafisch Ontwerp, Brandnew in Weesp, Design Bridge in Singapore, QNY Creative in New York.
Later, Martijn started working as a freelance designer for various organisations namely, Design Bridge, VBAT and dBOD.
He is also the owner of DAMP Design and is also a musician.
Love for cycling-
As Martijn had always lived in cities working as a designer, he missed being in nature.
Also, he grew tired by watching the computer screens all day long as a part of his work and wanted to take a break from it and his monotonous work and immerse himself in a physical activity.
So, Martijn decided to cycle from Amsterdam to Singapore.
He specifically chose to ride on a bicycle because it was fast enough to take him to his destination as he was confident that he could easily ride 100 kilometres per day and it could also carry all his luggage and connect him with nature.
He also loved the ease of parking a bicycle and its ability to ride on almost all types of roads.
Cycling from Amsterdam to Singapore-
On 16 April 2015, Martijn began his solo cycling journey in Amsterdam, Netherlands and started travelling eastwards.
He rode a Surly Long Haul Trucker bike and it took him a year to reach Singapore and, in this journey, he traversed through 18 countries and travelled more than 17,000 kilometres.
Martijn was fully independent in this journey as he had a tent, a sleeping bag and all the other required things.
During this trip, he camped in very remote places and led a minimalist life.
An interesting fact- Lorenzo Barone, a very popular cyclist also cycled a Surly Long Haul Trucker bike.
One Year on a Bike-
Initially, as Martijn was more into videography, he wanted to make a movie about his journey.
But as he had many photos of the journey and as he had also written a daily diary, he compiled them and wrote a book after he finished his journey and returned to Amsterdam.
On 25 March 2017, Martijn published his book ‘One Year on a Bike: From Amsterdam to Singapore’.
Planning for his second adventure-
After finishing his cycling journey, Martijn returned to the monotonous city life.
But a year later, he grew tired of it and once again, decided to do a long cycling journey.
But this time around, Martijn planned to work as a freelancer on his journey and so, decided to take along his laptop and hard disks.
From Vancouver to Patagonia-
Martijn moved to Vancouver, Canada and purchased a new bike, a Surly ECR 29+ and all the other gear required for the trip.
His plan was to travel from Vancouver all the way up to Patagonia in South America.
So, Martijn started bikepacking in June 2017 in Vancouver and he would take breaks in between his travels whenever he had freelance work to do.
As the Surly ECR 29+ bikes are discontinued, in one of his videos, he recommended to choose Surly Ogre bikes as these are very similar to the Surly ECR 29+.
Two Years on a Bike-
On 9 November 2021, Martijn published his second book ‘Two Years on a Bike: From Vancouver to Patagonia’, this book is based on his cycling journey from Vancouver to Patagonia.
This book is available in English, German and French.
Inspired to live off-the-grid-
On his journey from Vancouver to Patagonia, Martijn travelled through the British Columbia Highway 101 and here, in the Redwood Forest he met an old couple, Kent and his wife.
This couple was living deep in the forest for more than 35 years independently and this inspired him to live off-the-grid.
Also, Martijn used to camp outdoors a lot and this along with his love for nature, inspired him to live off-the-grid.
Settling in the Italian Alps-
Martijn first visited the Italian Alps on his bike and was mesmerised by its beauty and so, he quit travel and bought about six acres of land in the Alps and settled here and started living here full-time.
He purchased two historic stone cabins on top of a hill in the north side of the Alps and is working on them.
Martijn also owns a meadow near the hill, and he also owns an apartment in Amsterdam which he bought at 27.
He loves the silence and being alone in the lap of nature in the Alps.
Martijn relies on a small solar setup for all his electricity needs.
Prior to settling in the Alps, he travelled and lived in a Land Rover vehicle for a while.
An interesting fact- Eva zu Beck, a popular YouTuber lives in a Land Rover Defender.
YouTube’s the teacher-
Martijn learnt the required skills like carpentry, plumbing, etc. by watching multiple videos on YouTube and applying those teachings in his real-life.
He also learns a lot through the comments under his videos and he also calls up his carpenter brother for clarifications.
Martijn uses the SketchUp program for drawing the houses and learnt using this program by watching YouTube videos.
He also learns by Googling and reading.
His YouTube channel-
Martijn started his eponymous YouTube channel on 22 January 2011 but started working consistently on it only from 2021.
On 20 April 2015, he published the first video ‘One night on Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen)’.
As of March 2023, Martijn has 508K subscribers on his YouTube channel and 82.6K followers on Instagram.
He earns from a variety of sources like advertisements and ‘Super Thanks’ on his YouTube videos, affiliate marketing, selling merchandise and accepts donations on PayPal and Patreon.
Martijn also has a blog ‘EspirituLibre‘ though he stopped working on it in 2018.
Martijn used this drone and a Sony α7S II camera for shooting his bike journeys.
Thanks to the popularity of his YouTube channel, it serves him as an accountability partner to work on his property.
Martijn works as a freelance graphic designer and manages his YouTube channel on the side.
Martijn’s future plan after renovating his cabins in the Alps is to do farming, grow vegetables in the garden, have a chicken coop with chicken and have some animals, have a garden, a pond and an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven.
So, how are you inspired by the success story of Martijn Doolaard?
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Looking for inspiration to start your travel?
‘To Shake the Sleeping Self’ is the best book for travel inspiration.