Two weeks ago, we randomly selected the Herder Gear x Ik Wil Hiken giveaway winner: Linda! Once we contacted Linda to discuss the details, like where to send the backpack, the size she would need, and the colors she would prefer - we found out she is currently living in Malawi! That, combined with the cool hiking pictures on her Instagram, got us interested in having a call and writing up a blog to get to know the story of the happy winner.
Right off the bat, we discovered that Linda currently lives in Nijmegen, the city where Simon, Stef, and I grew up. But it's crazier; her studio is in the very neighborhood of our primary school - Bottendaal! Even though we don't currently live there at the moment, it's crazy how randomness in the universe works. Of all the people that could join and then win the giveaway, The winner walked through the streets we played in, going to the supermarket where I had my first job.
At this point a quick side note for those who wonder how -randomly selected- worked in our giveaway, we assigned each of the 327 participants a number between 1 and 330 and used the spreadsheet formula " =RANDBETWEEN(1;327)" to pick the winning lot 🤓. The winning number was 120 - which we then looked up in the list of participants to find: Linda!
As part of her study to become a nurse, Linda chose to do an international internship as part of her minor. So that's how she got to live with local host families in Malawai for three months, working in three different hospitals.
The first hospital she worked at was in the city of Mzuzu. The hospital was quite large and modern, with decent supplies and resources, comparable to what she is used to in the Netherlands. Linda then moved from the city to the countryside, where she now lives in a remote village called Mzambazi. The diagnostic and treatment options at the hospital she's currently working at are very limited compared to the city. Even with the stark contrast in wealth, Linda is amazed at what the doctors and nurses are able to do (through hard work and experience). When she is not working, most of her free time is spent outdoors; taking a walk around town, having talks, seeing life there, and joining locals in a game of volleyball.
Once the internship is over, Linda has planned some weeks in Africa to see the beauty of life in the safari and nature by climbing the 3002m high Mulanje, the highest mountain of Malawi.
Sisterhood of the traveling adventure nurse
So Linda is a real traveling adventurer who got interested in hiking when she got back from living near the Rockies in the States. Not afraid to go on adventures alone, like her trip to Asia in 2019 and now Africa, she prefers to hike with a group.
She walked her first multiday hike about three years ago when she joined a group to walk the Laugavegur Trail in Iceland. Like most people, one trip was enough to have her hooked on being outside - having nothing on her mind but walking and sleeping in nature. So the next year she joined another group, walking in the Hardanger area of Norway (the same region where Stef, Simon, and I did our first multiday hikes together).
During these trips, she met new people, two of who she now regularly goes on hiking trips like the Mullerthal Trail in Luxembourg. Her first adventure with the giveaway prize will be back in Europe, where she is walking a part of the beautiful Alta Via 1 in the Italian Dolomites.
Linda picked the all-black and yellow set-up (even though these are the colors of her city's rival soccer club).
Compared to her old backpack, she will be carrying almost 2kg less!
Nijmegen is not the biggest city, but it's the oldest in the Netherlands.
Herder in the dialect of Nijmegen means Harder.
We can't wait to see Linda and her Zaino on the trails,
Thanks for reading 🙏,